Evolving into a Diverse Maritime City
Hachinohe is a city which "began with the sea and has developed with the sea."
The origins of the maritime city can be seen in the fish bones, shells, and fishing tools unearthed from the Choshichiyachi Shell Midden from the early Jomon period (approximately 9000 to 6000 years ago).
In the early 17th century during the Edo period, present-day coastal areas Minato, Shirogane, and Same were together called Hachinohe Minato or Hachinohe Ura, where shipbuilding was a thriving industry. After the establishment of the Hachinohe-han fief in 1664, a direct sea route between Hachinohe and Edo (present-day Tokyo) opened, and sardine products began to be shipped to the capital.
In the 1890s, offshore fishery replaced beach seine fishery as the main fishing style, rapidly modernizing Hachinohe's fishing industry.
Moreover, as a result of the 1891 opening of the Tohoku Main Line, the 1894 opening of the Minato Line (part of present-day Hachinohe Line), and the construction repairs of Same Fishing Port from 1919 to 1932, transportation of goods between the sea and the inland areas increased tremendously.
In the Showa period, Same Fishing Port and Minato Kawaguchi were together designated as a national commercial port, which was later renamed the Port of Hachinohe. In 1935 it was designated as a Type II Important Port; in 1939 as a National Trade Port; and in 1951 as an Important Port.
In addition, the course alteration works of the Mabechi River was begun in 1937, which led to the development of the First Industrial Port and establishment of various facilities such as a refinery, electric power plant, and oil tanks.
In this way, the Port of Hachinohe came to include fishing, commercial, and industrial ports. Furthermore, after the 1964 designation as a New Industrial City, new facilities such as papermaking and metal manufacturing plants were built, which prompted the development of the Second Industrial Port. As a result, Hachinohe has become one of the largest maritime industrial zones in northern Tohoku.
In recent times, building of a global network and a base for direct shipping has been promoted. The construction of Port Island was begun in 1988; in 1994 container shipping lines to Southeast Asia, North America, China and South Korea, and a coastal feeder line were opened. In 1996 the area was designated as an FAZ (Foreign Access Zone), and the Multipurpose International Distribution Terminal was brought into service in 2001.
Various efforts towards environmental protection have been made. In 2003 the Port of Hachinohe was designated as a Recycle Port, a network base for marine transport of recyclable materials. In addition, there is an ongoing effort to establish a ship recycling business in which large ships are scrapped and recycled.
Natural gas is expected to be one of the key sources of energy in a low-carbon economy. In 2010, construction of an LNG (liquefied natural gas) import base, scheduled to open in 2015, was begun. When completed, it is expected to become a key natural gas supply base for Hokkaido and northern Tohoku. In addition, the amount of container shipping has steadily increased with the 2010 extension of the China-South Korea Line to the New Port of Tianjin and the expansion of the coastal feeder line to include the Port of Kobe and the Port of Nagoya. Through numerous efforts such as enhancement of distribution functions following the designation as an Important Port, vitalization of industrial activities in the coastal area, revitalization of fisheries through concentration of fish market functions, development of recreational spaces near the sea, and enhancement of industrial tourism, Hachinohe is evolving to become a diverse maritime city.
The Niida River Delta and the Coastal Industrial Zone
The Niida and Mabechi Rivers, which flow through Hachinohe, merge near the ocean to form a fertile fan-shaped delta. In 1937 the Mabechi River course alteration works were begun to build the First Industrial Port, and eventually, the coast was reclaimed and a new delta was formed.
The area, called Toyosu, is uninhabited but has facilities such as a refinery, oil tanks, and Tohoku Electric Power thermal power plant; it has become a symbolic zone for Hachinohe's coastal industrial area. In 1988 Port Island was constructed and is continually being developed, and in February 2011 the construction of Tohoku Electric Power Solar Power Plant "Mega Solar" was begun.
Hattaro Second Wharf with
the Multipurpose International Distribution Terminal, etc.
The beach that stretches north from Minato Kawaguchi used to be called Kitahama or the North Beach. The winding sandy beach stretched afar, with black pine forests parallel to the shoreline. Long ago the area was a beach seining ground for sardines; fishermen picking Sakhalin surf clams were also a common sight.
Today, as its nickname "Factory Town" indicates, the Second Industrial Zone spreads on the reclaimed land, and on the tip facing the Pacific Ocean, there are facilities such the Multipurpose International Distribution Terminal, Ferry Terminal, and Fodder Processing Complex.
View of Minatomachi from Uenoyama
The area of Minatomachi by the mouth of the Niida River is called Uenoyama, and the cape jutting out into the sea is called Tatehana. In the feudal days, the fief's lookout was located here, and "the harvest moon seen from Uenoyama" is listed as one of the Eight Scenic Sights of Hachinohe. Today the area has become Tatehana Park; the Guretto Tower Minato commands a panoramic view of the city by the Pacific Ocean.
The area along the coastline was once a large beach, a fishermen's town with steam rising from pots boiling sardines everywhere. Today the area has been reclaimed and rezoned, with numerous buildings and marine product processing plants. The Hachinohe-ohashi Bridge which connects the area with the Kawaragi area stands imposingly.
Numadate, a Waterfront Project in Progress
In Numadate there is a canal-like harbor called Kawaragi First Industrial Port. This is a new channel created by the Mabechi River course alteration works which were begun in 1937 and completed in 1956. The Mabechi River was once called "Onagawa" or "Female River" for its gentle flow, but the construction drastically changed the scenery along the river. Today it is being developed through a waterfront project, with a large shopping mall, public bath facility, sports facility, and an excursion boat dock.