View of Wakkanai from Wakkanai Park
Location of Wakkanai in Hokkaido Prefecture, highlighted in pink
|• Mayor||Hiroshi Kudo (since May 2011)|
|• Total||760.80 km2 (293.75 sq mi)|
|Population (September 30, 2016)|
|• Density||48.65/km2 (126.0/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)|
|- Tree||Sakura, rowan|
|- Flower||Rosa rugosa|
|Address||3-13-15 Chūō, Wakkanai-shi, Hokkaido 097-8686|
Wakkanai (稚内市 Wakkanai-shi, Ainu: ヤㇺワッカナイ Yam-wakka-nay meaning "cold water river") is a city located in Sōya Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the capital of Sōya Subprefecture, and the northernmost city in Japan. It contains Japan's northernmost point, Cape Soya, from which the Russian island of Sakhalin can be seen.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Climate
- 4 Transportation
- 5 Education
- 6 Tourist attractions
- 7 Sister cities and friendship cities
- 8 References
- 9 External links
- 1879: The village of Wakkanai was founded.
- 1897: Sōya Subprefecture established.
- 1901: Wakkanai village became Wakkanai town.
- 1949: Wakkanai town became Wakkanai city.
- 1955: Soya village was merged into Wakkanai city.
- 1959: Wakkanai Airport opened.
During WWII: The Imperial Japanese Navy used the harbor and port as a submarine base. Wakkanai was far enough north to be outside the range of American heavy bombers and was safe from air attack. Until the early to mid-1960s, the northern portion of the harbor remained divided by concrete sub-mooring pens. The large breakwater structure (which still exists) was actually a sub-repair facility. At the shore end there was a huge winching mechanism capable of hauling subs up into the partially enclosed structure where they could be repaired while completely out of the water. Built into the hills above the city there were several reinforced concrete bunker-type caves where (anecdotally) they were used either to store ammunition and armament, or as air raid shelters for the civilian populace. History would suggest the former use, rather than the latter. During a re-build/renovation of the harbor sometime during the 1960s or 1970s, the harbor was cleared of the concrete pens and the machinery was removed from the breakwater structure which was reconfigured.
Japan's northernmost point, Cape Soya is located near Wakkanai, which is on a peninsula jutting towards Sakhalin Island in Russia, of which it is 43 kilometres (27 miles) away from; on a clear day, the Russian island can be easily seen. There is also Benten-jima located northwest of Cape Soya.
- Rivers: Koetoi River
- Lakes: Ōnuma
Wakkanai has the typical humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) of Hokkaido, with cold winters, warm summers and generally heavy precipitation from the Aleutian Low, whose winds hit the city direct from the Sea of Japan. The mean annual temperature, at 6.8 °C (44.2 °F), is the second lowest for a significant population centre in Japan after Nemuro. Snowfall at 6.6 metres (260 in), the third highest for a big city in Japan after Asahikawa and Aomori and one of the highest anywhere in the world. For comparison, Nain in Canada receives 194 inches (4.9 m) of snow.
The Aleutian Low also makes the sunshine hours the lowest of Japan's major population centres and in the winter the wind speeds are the highest in Japan with an average of 20.2 km/h (12.6 mph), which adds to the −4.7 °C (23.5 °F) cold of a typical winter day. The city's port is usually usable throughout the year, but does occasionally freeze in cold winters.
|Climate data for Wakkanai (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||−2.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−4.7
|Average low °C (°F)||−6.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||84.3
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||173
|Average snowy days||26.2||24.2||9.2||1.2||0||0||0||0||0||3.4||17.7||28.2||110.1|
|Average relative humidity (%)||72||72||71||75||79||85||86||84||75||68||67||70||75.3|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||45.6||80.3||138.6||171.8||185.6||166.3||146.8||148.5||177.1||135.9||57.6||30.1||1,484.2|
|Source: Japan Meteorological Agency|
Wakkanai Airport is located in Wakkanai.
Heartland Ferry operates seasonal ferry service to Rebun Island and Rishiri Island. Ferry service to Korsakov on Sakhalin Island was terminated on September 18, 2015. Wakkanai governor KUDO Hiroshi pledged to restore ferry service to Sakhalin and in 2016, the route resumed operation between the months of June and September of each year and is commercially operated by the Commonwealth of Dominica flagged vessel Penguin 33, which is a High-speed craft owned by Penguin International Limited and operated by Sakhalin Shipping Company.
- Hokkaido Wakkanai High School
- Wakkanai Otani High School
Sister cities and friendship cities
- Port of Anchorage, United States (since 1982)
- アイヌ語地名リスト [Ainu Language Place Name List] (PDF) (in Japanese). Office of Ainu Measures Promotion, Department of Environment and Lifestyle, Hokkaido Government. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
- 稚内市の概要 [Outline of Wakkanai] (in Japanese). Wakkanai, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan: City of Wakkanai. 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
- 稚内市の人口と世帯 [Population and Households of Wakkanai] (in Japanese). Wakkanai, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan: City of Wakkanai. 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
- History of Wakkanai
- 稚内市. "Sakhalin regular line / Wakkanai-shi". www.city.wakkanai.hokkaido.jp.e.dh.hp.transer.com. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
- "HSL 北海道サハリン航路株式会社". hs-line.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2017-06-15.
- ESPN.com article
- International interaction of Wakkanai
- Domestic Interaction of Wakkanai