|Literal meaning||Successful Plain|
|North Korean name|
|South Korean name|
"Riwŏn" is the official North Korean romanization of the town's name, using the McCune–Reischauer system. The breve is often omitted. Due to the silting of the mouth of the Namdae, Riwon was located a little inland by the 1950s, with a larger port named Kunsŏn. The two communities have since merged under the name Riwon. In South Korean sources, the town's name often appears as 이원, now officially romanized as Iwon using Revised Romanization. The MR romanization used before the year 2000 was Iwŏn.
During Japan's 16th-century invasion of Korea, Katō Kiyomasa led its northeastern campaign. The Righteous Army of Jeong Munbu recaptured Riwon on the 12th day of the 11th lunar month of 1592.
As part of Operation Tailboard during the initial phase of the Korean War, the US Marines' 1st Division landed at Wonsan on October 25, 1950. Finding little opposition, Gen. Almond flew along the coast to find an advanced spot to land the US Army's 7th Infantry Division and settled on the beaches at Riwon. The 7th Division's 17th RCT began landing unopposed on October 29. Tanks and tractors were used to pull vehicles ashore across the beaches' loose sand until the 2nd ESB was able to bulldoze landing ramps, hiring local labor and purchasing timber and rice-straw sacks from local businesses. The majority of the division was landed by November 8 and began advancing north towards the Chinese border at the Yalu. The involvement of China's regular army in the war forced their retreat over the course of the next month.
Present-day Riwon is mostly a fishing center. The economy is also supplemented by local members of North Korea's navy. It has paved roads and is connected to the P'yŏngra line of the North Korean rail system. A separate railway (리원선) connects it with Chaho to the south.
- "Map of Korea", Pyongyang: Map Publishing House of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, 1986.
- "NK 52-11: Sōngjin", AMS Series L552, Washington: Army Map Service, 1954.
- ?, Seoul: National Geographic Information Institute, 2009. (in Korean)
- "Korea and Vicinity", Seoul: National Geographic Information Institute, 2010.
- Willoughby (2014), p. 220.
- Boose (2008), p. 226.
- Boose (2008), p. 228.
- Boose (2008), p. 229.
- Boose (2008), p. 230.
- Boose (2008), p. 231.
- Boose (2008), p. 2.