Hachinohe, Aomori

Hachinohe, Aomori

Infobox City Japan
Name= Hachinohe
JapaneseName= 八戸市

Region= Tōhoku
Prefecture= Aomori
Area_km2= 305.17
PopDate= April 30, 2008
Population= 245,921
Density_km2= 806
LatitudeDegrees= 40
LatitudeMinutes= 30
LongtitudeDegrees= 141
LongtitudeMinutes= 29
Tree= Japanese Yew
Flower= Chrysanthemum
Bird= Black-tailed Gull
SymbolDescription= Flag
Mayor= Makoto Kobayashi
CityHallPostalCode= 031-8686
CityHallAddress= 1-1-1, Uchimaru, Hachinohe-shi, Aomori-ken
CityHallPhone= 0178-43-2111
CityHallLink= [http://www.city.hachinohe.aomori.jp/ Hachinohe City]

Hachinohe (八戸市; -shi) is a city located in Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

As of 2008, the city has an estimated population of 241,613 and a density of 792 persons per km². The total area is 305.17 km².

The city was founded on May 1, 1929. It was a castle town during the Tokugawa era (1603–1867) and served as a small commercial centre and port for the fishing grounds off southeastern Hokkaidō. Today, the port still serves the fishing industry as well as a number of international cargo vessels.

The northern terminus of the Tōhoku Shinkansen is at Hachinohe Station.

The symbol of Hachinohe is a black horse, called the Yawata-uma, with gold saddle markings and a decorative plume attached to its head. The Hachinohe area has been known since the Kamakura period (1185 - 1333) for its breed of battle horses. Their farming horses have supported the lives of the commoners and have often been used as the theme for dances and folk tales. Horses have played an important role in the people's lives; thus the art of Yawata-uma figurines, or carved and painted wooden horses emerged and has become a regional art form.

During the Meiji era, there was a debate as to whether the capital of newly-formed Aomori Prefecture should be at Hachinohe or Hirosaki; in the end the Meiji government decided to build a new town called Aomori and designate it as the capital of the prefecture.

On March 31, 2005 the village of Nangou was merged into Hachinohe.

Tourist Attractions and Festivals

Kabushima Shrine (see photo below) is a sacred shrine that also serves as a habitat for forty thousand seagulls. It is situated on the bayside. There is a festival there on the third Sunday of April each year.

Enburi is a city-wide festival which is also celebrated in nearby towns. The object of the festival is to pray for a bountiful harvest in the coming year. It originated as a dance with an agricultural tool (the "eburi"; "enburi" is a local pronunciation), which was used to teach people how to cultivate the land. Nowadays it is a parade of 15-20 people, with 3-5 dancers and a singer accompanied by wooden flutes, drums and bells. The festival takes place February 17–20, and marks the official end of the long, harsh winter.

Sansha Taisai is another city-wide festival and is considered to be the main festival of the town. It is also billed as "Japan's Biggest Float Festival". "Sansha" means "three shrines" and "Taisai" means "festival": It is held by three shrines ("jinja"): "Ogami Jinja", "Shinra Jinja", and "Shinmeigu". Floats proceed through the main streets of the city, accompanied by people with drums, flutes and loud calls. 27 different floats are used, and they are proudly constructed and flourished by the members of various organisations, such as schools and the city hall. The floats are also accompanied by men in samurai costumes on horseback, and Tiger Dancers. On the second and third days of the festival, a traditional game of a sport similar to polo is held at the stables of Shinra Shrine. This sport (賀美流騎馬打毬 - "Kaga BiRyu Kiba Dakyû") is officially an "intangible cultural asset" of the prefecture of Aomori. Sansha Taisai takes place from July 31st to August 4th every year.

The ruins of Hachinohe Castle are located in the city.

ister City

Hachinohe has the following sister city, according to [http://www.cityoffederalway.com/Page.aspx?view=183] :

*flagicon|USA Federal Way, Washington


External links

* [http://www.city.hachinohe.aomori.jp/ Hachinohe official website] in Japanese
* wikitravelpar|Hachinohe
* [http://hometown.infocreate.co.jp/en/tohoku/hachino/hachin-e.html Hachinohe Information page]

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