Abashiri, Hokkaido
is a city
Cities of Japan
||A is a local administrative unit in Japan. Cities are ranked on the same level as and , with the difference that they are not a component of...

 located in Okhotsk Subprefecture
Okhotsk Subprefecture
is a subprefecture of Hokkaido, Japan. It was renamed from the earlier Abashiri Subprefecture on April 1, 2010. Abashiri Subprefecture was established in 1897.-Naming:Abashiri Prefecture was named after the subprefectural office in Abashiri...

, Hokkaido
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...


Abashiri is known as the site of the Abashiri Prison, a Meiji-era facility used for the incarceration of political prisoner
Political prisoner
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a political prisoner is ‘someone who is in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country’....

s. The old prison has been turned into a museum, but the city's new maximum security prison is still in use.

As of 2008, the city has an estimated population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

 of 40,333 and a population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 of 85.6 persons per km². The total area is 470.94 km².

Abashiri is located in the eastern part of Abashiri Subprefecture, about 50 kilometers east of Kitami
Kitami, Hokkaido
is a city located in Okhotsk Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the most populous city and the commercial center in the subprefecture, although the subprefectural capital is Abashiri.Kitami is in central Okhotsk Subprefecture. The Kitami Mountains are nearby....

. There are no tall mountains, but there are many hills. Abashiri River
Abashiri River
is a river in Hokkaidō, Japan.-History:Around 1000 years ago, the Okhotsk culture settled the river basin and moved inland. Remains from the Jōmon period have been found on the bottom of Lake Abashiri.-Course:...

 flows and there are three lakes (Lake Abashiri
Lake Abashiri
is a lake in Abashiri, Hokkaidō, Japan. It is located in Abashiri Quasi-National Park. The Abashiri and Memanbetsu Rivers flow into the lake. Water exits the lake through the Abashiri River again and flows to the Sea of Okhotsk.-History and formation:...

, Lake Notori and Lake Tōfutsu) in the city. In the winter, tourists visit the city to watch the drift ice
Drift ice
Drift ice is ice that floats on the surface of the water in cold regions, as opposed to fast ice, which is attached to a shore. Usually drift ice is carried along by winds and sea currents, hence its name, "drift ice"....


Abashiri's sister city is Port Alberni, British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. Each year many students participate in student exchange programs between the two cities.

Abashiri is an important local port city and railroad terminal (Abashiri Station
Abashiri Station
is a railway station of the Hokkaido Railway Company , located in Abashiri in Hokkaidō, Japan. It is the main railway station in the city...

). Memanbetsu Airport
Memanbetsu Airport
is an airport in the Memanbetsu section of Ōzora, a town in Hokkaidō, Japan. The current airfield was opened in April 1985, replacing the original Memanbetsu Airport nearer to the city centre...

 is located in nearby Ōzora
Ozora, Hokkaido
is a town in Abashiri District, Okhotsk Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan.Ōzora was formed on March 31, 2006 as a result of the merger of the town of Memanbetsu, and the village of Higashimokoto, both from Abashiri District....



  • March, 1872 Abashiri Village (アバシリ村) founded, being given the name of Abashiri District
    Abashiri District, Hokkaido
    is a district located in Okhotsk Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan.As of 2004, the district has an estimated population of 38,013 and a population density of 25.37 persons per km²...

     in Kitami Province.
  • 1875 The kanji 網走村 given to Abashiri Village.
  • 1902 Abashiri Village, Kitami Town, Isani Village, and Nikuribake Village, all in Abashiri District, merge to form Abashiri Town.
  • 1915 Notoro Village, Mokoto Village merged.
  • 1921 Memanbetsu
    Memanbetsu, Hokkaido
    was a town located in Abashiri District, Hokkaidō, Japan.As of 2004, the town had an estimated population of 5,925 and a population density of 37.26 persons per km²...

     Village (later Memanbetsu Town, merged into Ōzora
    Ozora, Hokkaido
    is a town in Abashiri District, Okhotsk Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan.Ōzora was formed on March 31, 2006 as a result of the merger of the town of Memanbetsu, and the village of Higashimokoto, both from Abashiri District....

     in 2006) split.
  • 1931 Boundary with Memanbetsu Town modified.
  • February 11, 1947 Higashimokoto
    Higashimokoto, Hokkaido
    was a village located in Abashiri District, Abashiri, Hokkaidō, Japan. It was split off from Abashiri Town in 1947.As of 2004, the village has an estimated population of 2,745 and a density of 14.89 persons per km²...

     Village (merged into Ōzora in 2006) split. Abashiri Town becomes Abashiri City. All of the territory of Ōzora used to be a part of Abashiri.


Despite its reputation for extreme cold, Abashiri is not actually the coldest major town in Japan, being less cold in the winter than Obihiro
Obihiro, Hokkaido
is a city located in Tokachi, Hokkaidō, Japan. Obihiro is the only city in the Tokachi area. The next most populous municipality in Tokachi is the town of Otofuke, with less than a third of Obihiro's population. The city has approximately 500 foreign residents . The city contains the headquarters...

 and hotter in summer than Nemuro
Nemuro, Hokkaido
-Transportation:Nearby Nakashibetsu Airport serves Nemuro.-Railways:*Hokkaido Railway Company – Nemuro Main Line**Stations in the city: Nemuro, Higashi-Nemuro, Hanasaki, Nishi-Wada, Kombumori, Ochiishi, Bettoga, Hattaushi, Attoko-Sightseeing:*Cape Nosappu...

 or Kushiro
Kushiro, Hokkaido
is a city located in Kushiro Subprefecture, Hokkaidō, Japan. It is the capital city of Kushiro Subprefecture, as well as the most populous city in eastern Hokkaidō....

. Abashiri receives less precipitation than any other city in Japan due to its location on the drift ice-affected Sea of Okhotsk, which however causes Abashiri to receive less sunshine than the northeast coast since winter snowfall is heavier and fog
Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated...

 less confined to the summer months when the Oyashio Current
Oyashio Current
, also known as Oya Siwo, Okhotsk or the Kurile current, is a cold subarctic ocean current that flows south and circulates counterclockwise in the western North Pacific Ocean. It collides with the Kuroshio Current off the eastern shore of Japan to form the North Pacific Current...

is strongest.

Abashiri brewery

Hokkaidō has a brewery called Abashiri which sells a range of beers, including Bilk, a blend of beer and milk.

External links

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