Saroma Town Hall
|Prefecture||Hokkaido (Okhotsk Subprefecture)|
|• Mayor||Akio Kawane|
|• Total||404.99 km2 (156.37 sq mi)|
|• Density||14/km2 (36/sq mi)|
|• Tree||Tilia maximowicziana Shirasawa (Linden)|
|• Flower||Rhododendron dauricum (Purple Azalea)|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (JST)|
|City hall address||3-1, Eidai-chō, Saroma-chō, Tokoro-gun, Hokkaidō|
Saroma was established in 1894, as part of the Japanese expansion into Hokkaido. The first permanent Japanese settler was Jingorou Suzuki, who homesteaded near present-day Hamasaroma, on Saroma Lake. The following decade saw the establishment of a city hall, a railroad, agricultural zoning, and the building of roads. In 1914, the Saroma area was established as Tofutsu Village, the name changed the next year to Saroma Village.
In the early Shōwa period (1930s), additional railroad connections were built to Saroma and several hundred households moved to the area. In 1948, Saroma High School was opened as a night school. 1953 saw Saroma become an official town, with the establishment of a town song and official seal. In 1955, the population reached 15,656. The following year, Saroma merged with neighboring Wakasa Village.
The 1960s and 70s saw greater development in Saroma, with the beginning of full-time operation at Saroma High in 1962 and construction of a proper road over Rukushi Pass to Kitami in 1968. In 1972, the Morinaga Corporation opened a butter factory in central Saroma. The population in 1975 was 9,307.
In 1980, Saroma and the city of Palmer, Alaska became official sister cities. With the privatization of Japan Railways in 1987, the Yumo Line through Saroma was closed, and replaced with a bus service paralleling the former train routes. The following year the Saroma Tunnel was opened through Rukushi pass, allowing year-round access to the nearby city of Kitami. 1994 marked the 100th anniversary of the town, which was celebrated with the building of a memorial park and park golf course.
On November 7, 2006, a tornado struck the town, killing nine people and injuring twelve more. See also 2006 Saroma tornado. Floods also hit the town the same year, causing widespread damage but no injuries. Saroma gained easier access to neighboring communities with new a tunnel to Engaru completed in 2002, and in 2009 with the 4.1 km New Saroma Tunnel to Kitami.
The areas of the town near Lake Saroma do not experience a large temperature range compared to inland areas, which have colder winters and hotter summers.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
As of 2013[update], many Saroma residents used healthcare facilities in Engaru and Kitami due to a lack of healthcare facilities in Saroma. The town previously had a full hospital. The facility was downgraded to a clinic, Saroma Kosei Clinic and at a later point it closed. Oda Clinic also closed, and in the 2010s Saroma had no healthcare facilities. By 2013 Sendai company Keishoukai Medical opened Clinic Saroma as a limited service healthcare facility.
There are five public schools in Saroma.
Saroma Town Board of Education manages education in town from preschool through compulsory education grades 1-9. The Superintendent is Kenichi Kagawa. Saroma High School (北海道佐呂間高等学校) (grades 10-12) is managed by Hokkaido Prefecture.
Municipal chools in Saroma:
- Saroma Junior High School (佐呂間中学校)
- Saroma Elementary School (佐呂間小学校)
- Hamasaroma Elementary School (浜佐呂間小学校)
- Wakasa Elementary School (若佐小学校)
There are also three preschools, one associated with each of the elementary schools.
- Palmer, Alaska, United States
On October 28, 1980, Saroma and Palmer agreed to a bilateral sister relation to promote cultural exchange and support a home-stay program for their residents. The relationship began with a friendship formed between Mr. Mutsuhiro Ishiguro, an English teacher at Saroma High School, and Palmer resident Edward Holmes. They met over their ham radios, and over time formed a friendship. Mr. Holmes eventually visited Saroma, which then led to a delegation from Saroma to Palmer, where they signed the sister city accords. Since that time, additional relationships have formed under the auspices of the town connection.
- Saroma High School with Palmer High School, established 1991
- Saroma Junior High School with Palmer Junior Middle School and Colony Middle School, established 2003
- Saroma Elementary School with Pioneer Peak Elementary, established 1991
- Saroma Christian Church with Palmer Presbyterian Church
The sister city relationship is managed by the Palmer Saroma Kai (パーマ・サロマ会).
- Akagi Sanpei (赤木 三兵), Journey of Hokkaidō Place Names—Notes on Ainu Language Place Names (北海道 地名の旅—アイヌ語地名解 Hokkaidō Chimei no Tabi — Ainugo Chimei Kai), page 56
- "Saroma Town Historical Population Data (Japanese)". Saroma Town. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
- "Deadly Tornado Hits Japanese Town". Sky News Website. Sky News. November 7, 2006. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
- Holland, Sean. "News from Saroma." Palmer, Alaska-Saroma, Japan Sister City News. City of Palmer. Summer 2013. p. 5/6. Retrieved on March 12, 2017.
- "Palmer Alaska Saroma Japan." Palmer, Alaska-Saroma, Japan Sister City News. City of Palmer. Fall 2012. p. 6/6. Retrieved on March 12, 2017.
- "Sister City Program." City of Palmer. Retrieved on March 13, 2017.
- "Palmer and Saroma Sister City Churches." Palmer, Alaska-Saroma, Japan Sister City News. City of Palmer. Spring 2014. p. 6/6. Retrieved on March 12, 2017.
- "国際交流（パーマ高校短期留学）." Saroma High School (北海道佐呂間高等学校). Retrieved on March 13, 2017.