Hokkaido (北海道 Hokkaidō, literally "Northern Sea Circuit"; Japanese pronunciation: [hokːaꜜidoː] (listen)), formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is the second largest island of Japan, and the largest and northernmost prefecture. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu. The two islands are connected by the undersea railway Seikan Tunnel. The largest city on Hokkaido is its capital, Sapporo, which is also its only ordinance-designated city. About 43 km north of Hokkaido lies Sakhalin Island, Russia. To its east and north-east are the disputed Kuril Islands.
|• Governor||Harumi Takahashi|
|• Total||83,453.57 km2 (32,221.60 sq mi)|
(September 30, 2016)
|• Density||64.5/km2 (167/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||JP-01|
|Flower||Hamanasu (rugosa rose, Rosa rugosa)|
|Tree||Ezomatsu (Jezo spruce, Picea jezoensis)|
|Bird||Tanchō (red-crowned crane, Grus japonensis)|
The Nihon Shoki, finished in 720 AD, is often said to be the first mention of Hokkaido in recorded history. According to the text, Abe no Hirafu led a large navy and army to northern areas from 658 to 660 and came into contact with the Mishihase and Emishi. One of the places Hirafu went to was called Watarishima (渡島), which is often believed to be present-day Hokkaido. However, many theories exist in relation to the details of this event, including the location of Watarishima and the common belief that the Emishi in Watarishima were the ancestors of the present-day Ainu people.
During the Nara and Heian periods (710–1185), people in Hokkaido conducted trade with Dewa Province, an outpost of the Japanese central government. From the Middle Ages, the people in Hokkaido began to be called Ezo. Hokkaido subsequently became known as Ezochi (蝦夷地, lit. "Ezo-land") or Ezogashima (蝦夷ヶ島, lit. "Island of the Ezo"). The Ezo mainly relied upon hunting and fishing and obtained rice and iron through trade with the Japanese.
During the Muromachi period (1336–1573), the Japanese created a settlement at the south of the Oshima Peninsula. As more people moved to the settlement to avoid battles, disputes arose between the Japanese and the Ainu. The disputes eventually developed into a war. Takeda Nobuhiro killed the Ainu leader, Koshamain, and defeated the opposition in 1457. Nobuhiro's descendants became the rulers of the Matsumae-han, which was granted exclusive trading rights with the Ainu in the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods (1568–1868). The Matsumae family's economy relied upon trade with the Ainu. They held authority over the south of Ezochi until the end of the Edo period in 1868.
The Matsumae clan rule over the Ainu must be understood in the context of the expansion of the Japanese feudal state. Medieval military leaders in northern Honshū (ex. Northern Fujiwara, Akita clan) maintained only tenuous political and cultural ties to the imperial court and its proxies, the Kamakura Shogunate and Ashikaga Shogunate. Feudal strongmen sometimes located themselves within medieval institutional order, taking shogunal titles, while in other times they assumed titles that seemed to give them a non-Japanese identity. In fact, many of the feudal strongmen were descended from Emishi military leaders who had been assimilated into Japanese society. The Matsumae clan were of Yamato descent like other ethnic Japanese people, whereas the Emishi of northern Honshu were a distinctive group related to the Ainu. The Emishi were conquered and integrated into the Japanese state dating back as far as the 8th century, and as result began to lose their distinctive culture and ethnicity as they became minorities. By the time the Matsumae clan ruled over the Ainu most of the Emishi were ethnically mixed and physically closer to Japanese than they were to Ainu. This dovetails nicely with the "transformation" theory that native Jōmon peoples changed gradually with the infusion of Yayoi immigrants into the Tōhoku rather than the "replacement" theory which posits that one population (Jōmon) was replaced by another (Yayoi).
There were numerous revolts by the Ainu against the feudal rule. The last large-scale resistance was Shakushain's Revolt in 1669–1672. In 1789, a smaller movement, the Menashi–Kunashir rebellion, was also crushed. After that rebellion, the terms "Japanese" and "Ainu" referred to clearly distinguished groups, and the Matsumae were unequivocally Japanese. In 1799–1821 and 1855–1858, the Edo Shogunate took direct control over Hokkaido in response to a perceived threat from Russia.
Leading up to the Meiji Restoration, the Tokugawa Shogunate realized there was a need to prepare northern defenses against a possible Russian invasion and took over control of most of Ezochi. The Shogunate made the plight of the Ainu slightly easier, but did not change the overall form of rule.
Hokkaido was known as Ezochi until the Meiji Restoration. Shortly after the Boshin War in 1868, a group of Tokugawa loyalists led by Enomoto Takeaki temporarily occupied the island (the polity is commonly but mistakenly known as the Republic of Ezo), but the rebellion was crushed in May 1869. Ezochi was subsequently put under control of Hakodate-fu (箱館府), Hakodate Prefectural Government. When establishing the Development Commission (開拓使 Kaitakushi), the Meiji Government introduced a new name. After 1869, the northern Japanese island was known as Hokkaido; and regional subdivisions were established, including the provinces of Oshima, Shiribeshi, Iburi, Ishikari, Teshio, Kitami, Hidaka, Tokachi, Kushiro, Nemuro and Chishima.
The primary purpose of the development commission was to secure Hokkaido before the Russians extended their control of the Far East beyond Vladivostok. Kuroda Kiyotaka was put in charge of the venture. His first step was to journey to the United States and recruit Horace Capron, President Grant's Commissioner of Agriculture. From 1871 to 1873 Capron bent his efforts to expounding Western agriculture and mining with mixed results. Capron, frustrated with obstacles to his efforts returned home in 1875. In 1876, William S. Clark arrived to found an agricultural college in Sapporo. Although he only remained a year, Clark left a lasting impression on Hokkaido, inspiring the Japanese with his teachings on agriculture as well as Christianity. His parting words, "Boys, be ambitious!", can be found on public buildings in Hokkaido to this day. The population of Hokkaido boomed from 58,000 to 240,000 during that decade.
In 1882, the Development Commission was abolished. Transportation on the island was still underdeveloped, so the prefecture was split into several "sub-prefectures" (支庁 shichō), namely Hakodate Prefecture (函館県 Hakodate-ken), Sapporo Prefecture (札幌県 Sapporo-ken), and Nemuro Prefecture (根室県 Nemuro-ken), that could fulfill administrative duties of the prefectural government and keep tight control over the developing island. In 1886, the three prefectures were demoted, and Hokkaido was put under the Hokkaido Agency (北海道庁 Hokkaidō-chō). These sub-prefectures still exist today, although they have much less power than they possessed before and during World War II; they now exist primarily to handle paperwork and other bureaucratic functions.
In mid-July 1945 shipping, cities and military facilities in Hokkaido were attacked by the United States Navy's Task Force 38. On 14 and 15 July aircraft operating from the task force's aircraft carriers sank and damaged a large number of ships in ports along Hokkaido's southern coastline as well as in northern Honshu. In addition, on 15 July a force of three battleships and two light cruisers bombarded the city of Muroran. Before the Japanese surrender was formalized, the Soviet Union made preparations for an invasion of Hokkaido, but President Harry Truman made it clear that the surrender of all of the Japanese home islands would be carried out by General MacArthur per the 1943 Cairo Declaration.
Hokkaido became equal with other prefectures in 1947, when the revised Local Autonomy Law became effective. The Japanese central government established the Hokkaido Development Agency (北海道開発庁 Hokkaidō Kaihatsuchō) as an agency of the Prime Minister's Office in 1949 to maintain its executive power in Hokkaido. The Agency was absorbed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in 2001. The Hokkaido Bureau (北海道局 Hokkaidō-kyoku) and the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau (北海道開発局 Hokkaidō Kaihatsukyoku) of the Ministry still have a strong influence on public construction projects in Hokkaido.
When establishing the Development Commission (開拓使 Kaitakushi), the Meiji Government decided to change the name of Ezochi. Matsuura Takeshirō submitted six proposals, including names such as Kaihokudō (海北道) and Hokkaidō (北加伊道), to the government. The government eventually decided to use the name Hokkaidō, but decided to write it as 北海道, as a compromise between 海北道 and 北加伊道 because of the similarity with names such as Tōkaidō (東海道). According to Matsuura, the name was thought up because the Ainu called the region Kai. Historically, many peoples who had interactions with the ancestors of the Ainu called them and their islands Kuyi, Kuye, Qoy, or some similar name, which may have some connection to the early modern form Kai. The Kai element also strongly resembles the On'yomi, or Sino-Japanese, reading of the characters 蝦夷 (on'yomi as [ka.i, カイ], kun'yomi as [e.mi.ɕi, えみし]) which have been used for over a thousand years in China and Japan as the standard orthographic form to be used when referring to Ainu and related peoples; it is possible that Matsuura's Kai was actually an alteration, influenced by the Sino-Japanese reading of 蝦夷 Ka-i, of the Nivkh exonym for the Ainu, namely Qoy or IPA: [kʰuɣɪ].
There is no known established Ainu language word for the island of Hokkaido. However, the Ainu people did have a name for all of their domain, which included Hokkaido along with the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, and parts of northern Honshu, which was Aynu Mosir (アィヌ・モシリ), a name taken by the modern Ainu to refer to their traditional homeland. "Ainu Mosir" literally translates as "The Land Where People (the Ainu) Live", and it was traditionally used to be contrasted with Kamuy Mosir, "The Land of the Kamuy (spirits)".
In 1947, Hokkaido became a full-fledged prefecture, but the -ken suffix was never added to its name, so the -dō suffix came to be understood to mean "prefecture". "Hokkai-do-ken" (literally "North Sea Province Prefecture") is, therefore, technically speaking, a redundant term, although it is occasionally used to differentiate the government from the island itself. The prefecture's government calls itself the "Hokkaido Government" rather than the "Hokkaido Prefectural Government".
|Native name: |
|Area||77,981.87 km2 (30,108.97 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,290 m (7,510 ft)|
|Highest point||Mount Asahi|
|Largest settlement||Sapporo (pop. 1,890,561)|
|Population||5,377,435 (September 30, 2016)|
|Pop. density||64.5 /km2 (167.1 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Ainu |
The island of Hokkaido is located at the north end of Japan, near Russia, and has coastlines on the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Pacific Ocean. The center of the island has a number of mountains and volcanic plateaux, and there are coastal plains in all directions. Major cities include Sapporo and Asahikawa in the central region and the port of Hakodate facing Honshu.
The governmental jurisdiction of Hokkaido incorporates several smaller islands, including Rishiri, Okushiri Island, and Rebun. (By Japanese reckoning, Hokkaido also incorporates several of the Kuril Islands). Because the prefectural status of Hokkaido is denoted by the dō in its name, it is rarely referred to as "Hokkaido Prefecture", except when necessary to distinguish the governmental entity from the island.
The island ranks 21st in the world by area. It is 3.6% smaller than the island of Ireland while Hispaniola is 6.1% smaller than Hokkaido. By population it ranks 20th, between Ireland and Sicily. Hokkaido's population is 4.7% less than that of the island of Ireland, and Sicily's is 12% lower than Hokkaido's.
In the east, there are two areas (surrounding, for example, Shari and the Nakashibetsu Airport) where a grid with spacing of nearly 3 km is formed by narrow bands of forest. It was designed to buffer wind, especially during blizzards, to protect cattle. It also serves as habitat and transportation corridors for animals and hikers.
There exist many undisturbed forests in Hokkaido, including:
|Shiretoko National Park*||知床|
|Akan National Park||阿寒|
|Kushiro-shitsugen National Park||釧路湿原|
|Daisetsuzan National Park||大雪山|
|Shikotsu-Tōya National Park||支笏洞爺|
|Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park||利尻礼文サロベツ|
|Abashiri Quasi-National Park||網走|
|Hidaka-sanmyaku Erimo Quasi-National Park||日高山脈襟裳|
|Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park||ニセコ積丹小樽海岸|
|Ōnuma Quasi-National Park||大沼|
|Shokanbetsu-Teuri-Yagishiri Quasi-National Park||暑寒別天売焼尻|
|Lake Akkeshi, Bekkanbeushi Wetland||厚岸湖・別寒辺牛湿原||1993-06-10,|
|Notsuke Peninsula, Notsuke Bay||野付半島・野付湾|
|Lake Fūren, Shunkunitai||風蓮湖・春国岱|
There are three populations of the Hokkaido brown bear subspecies (Ursus arctos yesoensis). There are more brown bears in Hokkaido than anywhere else in Asia besides Russia. The Hokkaido brown bear is separated into three distinct lineages. There are only eight lineages in the world. Those on Honshu died out long ago. Native conifer species in Northern Hokkaido is the Abies sachalinensis (sakhalin fir) The Hydrangea hirta species is also located on this island.
|1||Sorachi||空知総合振興局||Iwamizawa||Iwamizawa||338,485||5,791.19||10 cities||14 towns|
|a||↳ Ishikari||石狩振興局||Sapporo||Sapporo||2,324,878||3,539.86||6 cities||1 town||1 village|
|2||Shiribeshi||後志総合振興局||Kutchan||Otaru||234,984||4,305.83||1 city||13 towns||6 villages|
|3||Iburi||胆振総合振興局||Muroran||Tomakomai||419,115||3,698.00||4 cities||7 towns|
|b||↳ Hidaka||日高振興局||Urakawa||Shinhidaka||76,084||4,811.97||7 towns|
|4||Oshima||渡島総合振興局||Hakodate||Hakodate||433,475||3,936.46||2 cities||9 towns|
|c||↳ Hiyama||檜山振興局||Esashi||Setana||43,210||2,629.94||7 towns|
|5||Kamikawa||上川総合振興局||Asahikawa||Asahikawa||527,575||10,619.20||4 cities||17 towns||2 villages|
|d||↳ Rumoi||留萌振興局||Rumoi||Rumoi||53,916||3,445.75||1 city||6 towns||1 village|
|6||Sōya||宗谷総合振興局||Wakkanai||Wakkanai||71,423||4,625.09||1 city||8 towns||1 village|
|7||Okhotsk||オホーツク総合振興局||Abashiri||Kitami||309,487||10,690.62||3 cities||14 towns||1 village|
|8||Tokachi||十勝総合振興局||Obihiro||Obihiro||353,291||10,831.24||1 city||16 towns||2 villages|
|9||Kushiro||釧路総合振興局||Kushiro||Kushiro||252,571||5,997.38||1 city||6 towns||1 village|
|e||↳ Nemuro||根室振興局||Nemuro||Nemuro||84,035||3,406.23||1 city||4 towns|
|* Japan claims the southern part of Kuril Islands (Northern Territories), currently administered by Russia,|
belong to Nemuro Subprefecture divided into six villages. However, the table above excludes these islands' data.
As of April 2010, Hokkaido has 9 General Subprefectural Bureaus (総合振興局) and 5 Subprefectural Bureaus (振興局). Hokkaido is one of eight prefectures in Japan that have subprefectures (支庁 shichō). However, it is the only one of the eight to have such offices covering the whole of its territory outside the main cities (rather than having them just for outlying islands or remote areas). This is mostly due to its great size; many parts of the prefecture are simply too far away to be effectively administered by Sapporo. Subprefectural offices in Hokkaido carry out many of the duties that prefectural offices fulfill elsewhere in Japan.
Between 1869 and the time leading up to the current political divisions, Hokkaido was divided into provinces. See Former provinces of Hokkaido.
Japan's coldest region, Hokkaido has relatively cool summers and icy/snowy winters. Most of the island falls in the humid continental climate zone with Köppen climate classification Dfb (hemiboreal) in most areas but Dfa (hot summer humid continental) in some inland lowlands. The average August temperature ranges from 17 to 22 °C (62.6 to 71.6 °F), while the average January temperature ranges from −12 to −4 °C (10.4 to 24.8 °F), in both cases depending on elevation and distance from the ocean, though temperatures on the western side of the island tend to be a little warmer than on the eastern.
The northern portion of Hokkaido falls into the taiga biome with significant snowfall. Snowfall varies widely from as much as 11 metres (400 in) on the mountains adjacent to the Sea of Japan down to around 1.8 metres (71 in) on the Pacific coast. The island tends to see isolated snowstorms that develop long-lasting snowbanks, in contrast to the constant flurries seen in the Hokuriku region. Total precipitation varies from 1,600 millimetres (63 in) on the mountains of the Sea of Japan coast to around 800 millimetres (31 in) (the lowest in Japan) on the Sea of Okhotsk coast and interior lowlands and up to around 1,100 millimetres (43 in) on the Pacific side.
Unlike the other major islands of Japan, Hokkaido is normally not affected by the June–July rainy season and the relative lack of humidity and typically warm, rather than hot, summer weather makes its climate an attraction for tourists from other parts of Japan.
In winter, the generally high quality of powder snow and numerous mountains in Hokkaido make it a popular region for snow sports. The snowfall usually commences in earnest in November and ski resorts (such as those at Niseko, Furano, Teine and Rusutsu) usually operate between December and April. Hokkaido celebrates its winter weather at the Sapporo Snow Festival.
During the winter, passage through the Sea of Okhotsk is often complicated by large floes of drift ice. Combined with high winds that occur during winter, this frequently brings air travel and maritime activity to a halt beyond the northern coast of Hokkaido. Ports on the open Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan are generally ice-free year round, though most rivers freeze during the winter.
Hokkaido's largest city is the capital, Sapporo, which is a designated city. The island has two core cities: Hakodate in the south and Asahikawa in the central region. Other important population centers include Rumoi, Iwamizawa, Kushiro, Obihiro, Kitami, Abashiri, Wakkanai, and Nemuro.
Although there is some light industry (most notably paper milling and beer brewing) most of the population is employed by the service sector. In 2001, the service sector and other tertiary industries generated more than three-quarters of the gross domestic product.
However, agriculture and other primary industries play a large role in Hokkaido's economy. Hokkaido has nearly one fourth of Japan's total arable land. It ranks first in the nation in the production of a host of agricultural products, including wheat, soybeans, potatoes, sugar beet, onions, pumpkins, corn, raw milk, and beef. Hokkaido also accounts for 22% of Japan's forests with a sizable timber industry. The prefecture is also first in the nation in production of marine products and aquaculture.
Tourism is an important industry, especially during the cool summertime when visitors are attracted to Hokkaido's open spaces from hotter and more humid parts of Japan and other Asian countries. During the winter, skiing and other winter sports bring other tourists, and increasingly international ones, to the island.
Hokkaido's only land link to the rest of Japan is the Seikan Tunnel. Most travellers travel to the island by air: the main airport is New Chitose Airport at Chitose, just south of Sapporo. Tokyo–Chitose is in the top 10 of the world's busiest air routes, handling more than 40 widebody round trips on several airlines each day. One of the airlines, Air Do was named after Hokkaido. Hokkaido can also be reached by ferry from Sendai, Niigata and some other cities, with the ferries from Tokyo dealing only in cargo. The Hokkaido Shinkansen takes passengers from Tokyo to near Hakodate in slightly over four hours. 
Within Hokkaido, there is a fairly well-developed railway network (see Hokkaido Railway Company), but many cities can only be accessed by road.
Hokkaido is home to one of Japan's three Melody Roads, which is made from grooves cut into the ground, which when driven over causes a tactile vibration and audible rumbling transmitted through the wheels into the car body.
The Hokkaido Prefectural Board of Education oversees public schools (except colleges and universities) in Hokkaido. Public elementary and junior high schools (except Hokkaido Noboribetsu Akebi Secondary School and schools attached to Hokkaido University of Education) are operated by municipalities, and public high schools are operated by either the prefectural board or municipalities.
Hokkaido has 37 universities (7 national, 5 local public, and 25 private universities), 34 junior colleges, and 5 colleges of technology (4 national and 1 local public colleges). National universities located in Hokkaido are:
Hokkaido government runs Sapporo Medical University, a medical school in Sapporo.
The sports teams listed below are based in Hokkaido.
As of January 2014, 74 individual municipalities in Hokkaido have sister city agreements with 114 cities in 21 different countries worldwide.
The current governor of Hokkaido is Harumi Takahashi. She won a fourth term in the gubernatorial election in 2015 with centre-right support. Her first election in 2003 in a close race against centre-left supported Yoshio Hachiro and seven other candidates ended a 20-year streak of victories by Socialist Party heavyweight Takahiro Yokomichi and then his former vice governor Tatsuya Hori who beat Hideko Itō twice by large margins. Itō, a former Socialist Diet member was supported by the Liberal Democratic Party against Hori in 1995 (at the time, Socialists and Liberal Democrats formed the ruling "grand" coalition on the national level); In 1999, Hori was supported by all major non-Communist parties and Itō ran without party support. Before 1983, the governorship had been held by Liberal Democrats Naohiro Dōgakinai and Kingo Machimura for 24 years. In the 1971 election when Machimura retired, the Socialist candidate Shōhei Tsukada lost to Dōgakinai by only 13,000 votes; Tsukada was also supported by the Communist Party – the leftist cooperation in opposition to the US-Japanese security treaty had brought joint Socialist-Communist candidates to victory in many other prefectural and local elections in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1959, Machimura had defeated Yokomichi's father Setsuo in the race to succeed Hokkaido's first elected governor, Socialist Toshibumi Tanaka who retired after three terms. Tanaka had only won the governorship in 1947 in a run-off election against Democrat Eiji Arima because no candidate had received the necessary vote share to win in the first round as required by law at the time.
The Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly has 101 members from 47 electoral districts. As of April 30, 2015, the LDP caucus holds a majority with 51 seats, the DPJ-led group has 26 members. Other groups are the Hokkaidō Yūshikai of New Party Daichi and independents with twelve seats, Kōmeitō with eight, and the Japanese Communist Party with four members. General elections for the Hokkaido assembly are currently held together with gubernatorial elections in the unified local elections (last round: April 2015).
For the lower house of the National Diet, Hokkaido is divided into twelve single-member electoral districts. In the 2017 election, candidates from the governing coalition of Liberal Democrats and Kōmeitō won seven districts and the main opposition Constitutional Democrats five. For the proportional election segment, Hokkaido and Tokyo are the only two prefectures that form a regional "block" district of their own. The Hokkaido proportional representation block elects eight Representatives. In 2017, the Liberal Democratic Party received 28.8% of the proportional vote and won three seats, the Constitutional Democratic Party won three (26.4% of the vote), one seat each went to Kibō no Tō (12.3%) and Kōmeitō (11.0%). The Japanese Communist Party, who won a seat in 2014, lost their seat in 2017 while receiving 8.5% of the votes.
In the upper house of the National Diet, a major reapportionment in the 1990s halved the number of Councillors from Hokkaido per election from four to two. After the elections of 2010 and 2013, the Hokkaido electoral district – like most two-member districts for the upper house – is represented by two Liberal Democrats and two Democrats. In the 2016 upper house election, the district magnitude will be raised to three, Hokkaidō will then temporarily be represented by five members and six after the 2019 election.
^[note 1] Source: English edition of Sightseeing in Hokkaido, Winter Festival and Events
Ainu (; Ainu: アイヌ・イタㇰ Aynu=itak; Japanese: アイヌ語 Ainu-go) is a language spoken by members of the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
Until the 20th century, Ainu languages were also spoken throughout the southern half of the island of Sakhalin and by small numbers of people in the Kuril Islands. There are three main dialects along with 19 other dialects of the Ainu languages. Only the Hokkaido variant survives, the last speaker of Sakhalin Ainu having died in 1994. Hokkaido Ainu is moribund, though attempts are being made to revive it. The Japanese government made a decision to recognize Ainu as indigenous in June 2008. Currently, the Japanese government is constructing a facility dedicated to preserving Ainu culture, including the language.Ainu has no generally accepted genealogical relationship to any other language family.Ainu people
The Ainu or the Aynu (Ainu アィヌ Аину Aynu; Japanese: アイヌ Ainu; Russian: Айны Ajny), in the historical Japanese texts the Ezo (蝦夷), are an indigenous people of Japan (Hokkaido, and formerly northeastern Honshu) and Russia (Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, and the Kamchatka Peninsula).The official number of the Ainu is 25,000, but unofficially is estimated at 200,000, as many Ainu have been completely assimilated into Japanese society and have no knowledge of their ancestry.Asahikawa
Asahikawa (旭川市, Asahikawa-shi) is a city in Kamikawa Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the capital of the subprefecture, and the second-largest city in Hokkaido, after Sapporo. It has been a core city since April 1, 2000. The city is currently well known for the Asahiyama Zoo and Asahikawa ramen.
On July 31, 2011, the city had an estimated population of 352,105, with 173,961 households, and a population density of 470.96 persons per km² (1,219.8 persons per sq. mi.). The total area is 747.6 km2 (288.6 sq mi).Hakodate
Hakodate (函館市, Hakodate-shi) is a city and port located in Oshima Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the capital city of Oshima Subprefecture.
As of July 31, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 279,851 with 143,221 households, and a population density of 412.83 persons per km2 (1,069.2 persons per sq. mi.). The total area is 677.77 km2 (261.69 sq mi). The city is now the third biggest in Hokkaido after Sapporo and Asahikawa.Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo
Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo (北海道コンサドーレ札幌, Hokkaidō Konsadōre Sapporo) is a Japanese professional football club, which plays in the J1 League. The team is based in Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido.
The club name of "Consadole" is made from consado, a reverse of the Japanese word Dosanko (道産子, meaning "people of Hokkaido") and the Spanish expression Ole.
Unlike other teams, their main home ground at Sapporo Dome is also used by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball team, so some home games are moved to Sapporo Atsubetsu Stadium.Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (北海道日本ハムファイターズ, Hokkaidō Nippon-Hamu Faitāzu) are a Japanese professional baseball team based in Sapporo, Hokkaidō. They compete in the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball, playing the majority of their home games at the Sapporo Dome. The Fighters also host a select number of regional home games in cities across Hokkaidō, including Hakodate, Asahikawa, Kushiro, and Obihiro. The team's name comes from its parent organization, Nippon Ham, a major Japanese food processing company.
Founded in 1946, the Fighters called Tokyo home for 58 years, as co-tenants of the Tokyo Dome with the Central League's Yomiuri Giants near the end of their tenure in the capital city. The franchise has won three Japan Series titles, in 1962, 2006, and, most recently, 2016.Hokkaido Railway Company
The Hokkaido Railway Company (北海道旅客鉄道株式会社, Hokkaidō Ryokaku Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha) is one of the constituent companies of the Japan Railways Group (JR Group), and is often referred to using its official abbreviation of JR Hokkaido (JR北海道, Jeiāru Hokkaidō). It operates intercity and local rail services in Hokkaido, Japan. The company introduced Kitaca, a smart card ticketing system, in autumn 2008.
At the time of its privatization in 1987, JR Hokkaido operated 21 railway lines totalling 3,176.6 kilometres (1,973.8 mi) of narrow-gauge (1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)) track, as well as a ferry service to Aomori. Since then, that figure has dwindled to just below 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi), as unprofitable lines have been shut down or spun off (in the case of the Hokkaidō Chihoku Kōgen Railway). The ferry service has also been replaced by the Seikan Tunnel.
On 19 November 2016, JR Hokkaido's President announced plans to further rationalize its network by the withdrawal of services from up to 1,237 km, or about 50% of the current network, including closure of the remaining section of the Rumoi Main Line (the Rumoi - Mashike section closed on 4 December 2016), the Shin-Yubari - Yubari section of the Sekisho Line, the non-electrified section of the Sassho Line and the Nemuro Line between Furano and Kami-Ochiai Junction. Other lines including the Sekihoku Main Line, Senmo Main Line, the Naroyo - Wakkanai section of the Soya Line and Kushiro - Nemuro section of the Nemuro Line are proposed for conversion to Third Sector operation, but if local governments are not agreeable, such sections will also face closure.
Hokkaido Railway's headquarters are in Chūō-ku, Sapporo.Hokkaido Shinkansen
The Hokkaido Shinkansen (北海道新幹線, Hokkaidō Shinkansen) is a Japanese high-speed shinkansen rail line that links up with the Tōhoku Shinkansen in northern Aomori Prefecture in Honshu and continues on into the interior of Hokkaido through the undersea Seikan Tunnel. Construction started in May 2005, and the initial Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto section opened on 26 March 2016. Extension of the line to Sapporo is scheduled to open by March 2031. The line is operated by the Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido).Hokkaido University
Hokkaido University (北海道大学, Hokkaidō daigaku), or Hokudai (北大), is a Japanese national university in Sapporo, Hokkaido. It is a member of the Imperial Universities, which were established to be the nation's finest institutes of higher education or research. It is located in downtown Sapporo, just north of Sapporo Station, and stretching approximately 2.4 kilometers northward. It is considered one of the top universities in Japan.Kushiro, Hokkaido
Kushiro (釧路市, Kushiro-shi) is a city in Kushiro Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the capital city of Kushiro Subprefecture, as well as the most populous city in eastern Hokkaido.List of mountains and hills of Japan by height
The following is a list of the mountains and hills of Japan, ordered by height.List of towns in Japan
A town (町; chō or machi) is a local administrative unit in Japan. It is a local public body along with prefecture (ken or other equivalents), city (shi), and village (mura). Geographically, a town is contained within a district.
Note that the same word (町; machi or chō) is also used in names of smaller regions, usually a part of a ward in a city. This is a legacy of when smaller towns were formed on the outskirts of a city, only to eventually merge into it.Muroran, Hokkaido
Muroran (室蘭市, Muroran-shi) is a city and port located in Iburi Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the capital city of Iburi Subprefecture.
As of February 29, 2012, the city has an estimated population of 93,716, with 47,868 households and a population density of 1,162.01 people per km2 (3,009.59 people per sq. mi.). The total area is 80.65 km2 (31.14 sq mi).Obihiro, Hokkaido
Obihiro (帯広市, Obihiro-shi) is a city in Tokachi Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. Obihiro is the only designated city in the Tokachi area. The next most populous municipality in Tokachi is the adjacent town of Otofuke, with less than a third of Obihiro's population. The city had approximately 500 foreign residents in 2008. The city contains the headquarters of the Fifth Division of the Northern Army of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. It also hosts the Rally Japan World Rally Championship-event.
In 2008, Obihiro was designated a "model environmental city" in Japan.Sapporo
Sapporo (札幌市, Sapporo-shi) is the fifth largest city of Japan by population, and the largest city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. It is the capital city of Hokkaido Prefecture and Ishikari Subprefecture. It is an ordinance-designated city.
Sapporo hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics (the first ever held in Asia). Its annual Sapporo Snow Festival draws more than 2 million tourists from abroad.Sapporo Dome
The Sapporo Dome (札幌ドーム, Sapporo Dōmu) is a stadium located in Toyohira-ku, Sapporo, Japan, and is primarily used for baseball and association football. It is the home field of the baseball team Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and the association football club Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. It is one of the planned football venues for the 2020 Summer Olympics, was the venue for the opening ceremony of the 2017 Asian Winter Games, and is a planned venue of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The stadium was previously a venue of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.Shinkansen
The Shinkansen (Japanese: 新幹線, pronounced [ɕĩŋkã̠ɰ̃sẽ̞ɴ]), meaning new trunkline, but colloquially known in English as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. Initially, it was built to connect distant Japanese regions with Tokyo, the capital, in order to aid economic growth and development. Beyond long-distance travel, some sections around the largest metropolitan areas are used as a commuter rail network. It is operated by five Japan Railways Group companies.
Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen (515.4 km, 320.3 mi) in 1964, the network has expanded to currently consist of 2,764.6 km (1,717.8 mi) of lines with maximum speeds of 240–320 km/h (150–200 mph), 283.5 km (176.2 mi) of Mini-Shinkansen lines with a maximum speed of 130 km/h (80 mph), and 10.3 km (6.4 mi) of spur lines with Shinkansen services. The network presently links most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, and Hakodate on northern island of Hokkaido, with an extension to Sapporo under construction and scheduled to commence in March 2031. The maximum operating speed is 320 km/h (200 mph) (on a 387.5 km section of the Tōhoku Shinkansen). Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record 603 km/h (375 mph) for SCMaglev trains in April 2015.The original Tōkaidō Shinkansen, connecting Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, Japan’s three largest cities, is one of the world's busiest high-speed rail lines. In the one-year period preceding March 2017, it carried 159 million passengers, and since its opening more than five decades ago, it has transported more than 5.6 billion total passengers The service on the line operates much larger trains and at higher frequency than most other high speed lines in the world. At peak times, the line carries up to thirteen trains per hour in each direction with sixteen cars each (1,323-seat capacity and occasionally additional standing passengers) with a minimum headway of three minutes between trains.
Japan's Shinkansen network had the highest annual passenger ridership (a maximum of 353 million in 2007) of any high-speed rail network until 2011, when the Chinese high-speed railway network surpassed it at 370 million passengers annually, reaching over 1.7 billion annual passengers in 2017, though the total cumulative passengers, at over 10 billion, is still larger. While the Shinkansen network has been expanding, Japan's declining population is expected to cause ridership to decline over time. The recent expansion in tourism has boosted ridership marginally.Tomakomai, Hokkaido
Tomakomai (苫小牧市, Tomakomai-shi) is a city and port in Iburi Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the largest city in the Iburi Subprefecture, and the fifth largest city in Hokkaido.
As of February 29, 2012, it had an estimated population of 174,216, with 83,836 households, and a population density of 310.27 persons per km² (803.60 persons per sq. mi.). The total area is 561.49 km2 (216.79 sq mi).Tōyako, Hokkaido
Tōyako (洞爺湖町, Tōyako-chō) is a town in Iburi Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It was formed on March 23, 2006, through the merger of the town of Abuta and the village of Tōya.
As of 30 September 2016, the town has an estimated population of 9,231, and a population density of 51 persons per km². The total area is 180.54 km².The name of the town was derived from the nearby Lake Tōya (Tōya-ko).