Shizunai River
is a river in Shinhidaka
Shinhidaka, Hokkaido
is a town located in Hidaka District, Hidaka Subprefecture, Hokkaidō, Japan. Shinhidaka is the most populous town and the economic center of Hidaka Subprefecture.-History:...

, Hokkaidō
, 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...

. The Shizunai River drains from the Hidaka Mountains
Hidaka Mountains
Hidaka Mountains is a mountain range in southeastern Hokkaidō, Japan. It runs 150 km from Mount Sahoro or Karikachi Pass in central Hokkaidō south, running into the sea at Cape Erimo. It consists of folded mountains that range from 1500 to 2000 metres in height. Mount Poroshiri is the highest...

 into the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...


Origin of the name

The Shizunai River was known as Shibuchari and Shibechari. This name was derived from Shipe-ichan meaining a salmon spawning place in Ainu
Ainu language
Ainu is one of the Ainu languages, spoken by members of the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō....

. .

The name Shizunai is derived from the Ainu language and has three possible sources:
  • Shiputnai — A marsh at the origin of the Ainu.
  • Shuttonai — A marsh with lots of grapes.
  • Shutnai — A river at the foot of a mountain.


The Shizunai River flows generally southwest from its headwaters in the Hidaka mountains at the confluence of the Koikakushushibichari and Koibokushushibichari rivers. It flows into , a reservoir created by the Takami Dam. Past the dam, the Shizunai river flows into . Past the Shizunai Dam, the river encounters Futa Dam before leaving the mountains for the flood plain. The river flows past the outlying communities of Shizunai
Shizunai, Hokkaido
was a town that was located in Shizunai District, Hidaka, Hokkaidō, Japan.On March 31, 2006 Shizunai was merged with the town of Mitsuishi, from Mitsuishi District, to form the new town of Shinhidaka, in the newly-created Hidaka District....

 before entering the Pacific Ocean just northwest of Shizunai harbor.

Natural history

The Shizunai River was designated as a wildlife protection area in 1965. Whooper Swan
Whooper Swan
The Whooper Swan , Cygnus cygnus, is a large Northern Hemisphere swan. It is the Eurasian counterpart of the North American Trumpeter Swan. An old name for the Whooper Swan is Elk; it is so called in Francis Willughby and John Ray's Ornithology of 1676.-Description:The Whooper Swan is similar in...

s overwinter on the Shizunai River.


The Shizunai River basin was the home of Shakushain
Shakushain's Revolt
was an Ainu rebellion against Japanese authority on Hokkaidō between 1669 to 1672. It was led by Ainu chieftain Shakushain against the Matsumae clan, who represented Japanese trading and governmental interests in the area of Hokkaidō then controlled by the Japanese .The war initially began as a...

 the Ainu leader who lead a revolt against the 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...

ese especially the Matsumae clan
Matsumae clan
The was a Japanese clan which was granted the area around Matsumae, Hokkaidō as a march fief in 1590 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and charged with defending it, and by extension all of Japan, from the Ainu 'barbarians' to the north. The clan was originally known as the Kakizaki clan who settled...

 in the 1660s. In the Edo period
Edo period
The , or , is a division of Japanese history which was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family, running from 1603 to 1868. The political entity of this period was the Tokugawa shogunate....

 the region was used for gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...


List of (named) tributaries

From river mouth to source:
  1. Left —
  2. Right — Perari River
  3. Left — charcoal or coal mountain river
  4. Left — Shunbetsu River
  5. Right — Poyoppusawa River
  6. Right — Pisenaisawa River
  7. Left — Penkeonikemushi River
  8. Left — Ponpanbetsu Creek
  9. Left — Penkebetsusawa River
  10. Left — Porokaunnai River
  11. Right — Ibetsusawa River
  12. Right — Abeunnai River
  13. Confluence Left — Koibokushuchchari, Right — Koikakushuppichari
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