is a city
located in Miyazaki
As of April 1, 2006 according to the 2005 National Census, the city has an estimated population of 43,976 and a density of 149.35 persons per km². The total area is 294.46 km², and there are 17,595 households in Nichinan.
Nichinan’s most productive industries are agriculture (mandarins and the early rice harvest thanks to the warmer climate), forestry (Obi Cedar), fishing (tuna and bonito) and paper (Oji Paper Company’s Nichinan Factory).
Nichinan is on Japan's subtropical island, Kyūshū. The average annual temperature is 18.7 degrees celsius with average annual rainfall of 2573.5 millilitres.
The city was founded on January 1, 1950.
It is said that Nichinan city began as part of the Fujiwara Manor in the Heian Era
. The city's history and development were much influenced by the history of Obi Town, a district of Nichinan which still exists today. Obi was one of the eight districts of Hyūga
, an old province in Eastern Japan, which was ruled by the Itō clan
who were based out of Obi Castle.
Throughout the Sengoku period (Warring States period), the Itō clan's most serious rival was their neighbour, the Shimazu clan. The Shimazu clan, which had unified Satsuma Province and Ōsumi Province under their control, began to clash with the Itō in 1570. The Itō clan was finally defeated by the Shimazu clan in 1578. After seeking help from then Shōgun, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the family's lands were restored in 1587 after his invasion of Kyūshū and subjugation of the Shimazu clan. By the Edo Era, the Itō clan retained their holdings, which came to be known as the Obi Domain.
In the period after the Edo Era, efforts were poured into quality education at the Shintoku Clan School in Obi which is where the Meiji Era diplomat Baron Jutaro Komura graduated from.
On January 1, 1950 the city was established through an amalgamation of Agata town, Aburatsu town Obi town and Togo village. On February 1, 1955 Futo village and Hosoda town joined and the current Nichinan city was established on April 1, 1956 when it amalgamated with Sakatani Village, Kahara village and the Odotsu district.
In 1998 plans were made to extend the eastern Kyūshū expressway to come as far as Kitagō Town and Nichinan. Also, in 1999 a 12-meter wharf was completed at the eastern head of Aburatsu port. Aburatsu's increasing role as a harbour has made it a regular stopover for both domestic and foreign ships. It is progressing toward becoming an authentic international trading port. From 2001 until 2010 a general plan for the future of Nichinan was drawn with the simple theme of progressing Nichinan as, "a city that combines its fragrant history and culture with the sunshine and lush green mountains."
A planned merger of municipalities will be implemented on March 30, 2009; Nichinan and the Minaminaka District towns of Kitagō and Nangō will merge into the new city of Nichinan. Minaminaka District will cease to exist.
Festivals and Events
(3rd Weekend in October)
This Edo Era festival unfolds in Obi Town. In the parade there is a procession of warriors, the traditional Nichinan Taihei dance and the princesses of the festival along with many other public events.
(Usually the 3rd Weekend in July)
This festival encourages many people to come and see the Japanese rowing and Shihanmato (bow and arrow) Competition. You can also have a look inside a Marine Self Defense Force Ship. There are also many street stalls, traditional Yukata (a summer Kimono) is worn and there is a fireworks display.
(Late March ~ Early April)
Held amongst 1000 blossoming Somei-Yoshino Cherry trees, like any other with an added light show.
Smaller Festivals and Events
- Hiroshima Toyo Carp Spring Camp (February)
- National Folk song competition “Shanshan-uma-dochu” (Late March)
- Swimming season (Odotsu and Futo Swimming beaches) (July ~ August)
- Swim and Run Meet (Mid-July)
- Ise-Ebi (Spiny Lobster) Festival (September ~ end of October)
- Hiroshima Toyo Carp Autumn Camp (November)
- Tsuwabuki Half Marathon (3rd Sunday of November)
- Aburatsu Horikawa Festival (Mid November)
- Morning Markets (Chuo (Central) Park) 1st Sunday of every month
- Aburatsu Morning Markets (Fishing Port) 4th Sunday of every month
Places of Interest
- :During the civil war period, a fierce battle over the domination of the Obi Castle occurred between the Itō clan and the Shimazu clan. It was a battle that continued for over 80 years. Yoshiyuki Ito achieved his wish and gained domination of the castle from Tadaoya Shimazu but then it fell back into Shimazu’s hands. However, after that, in 1588 Yoshiyuki’s child Suketake Ito was able to take residence in the castle, by order of the Shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi.
- :From then, until the beginning of the Meiji era 280 years later the Ito family crossed 14 generations and so began the Obi clan. Otemon (the main gate) of the castle was restored with 100 year old Obi cedar in 1978 and it now appears as the heroic castle entrance it used to be. Within the castle the samurai’s mansion, the storehouse and the white-walled merchant building still remain. The walls of Obi castle are made of 51,000 stones. The castle is full of culture and historical landmarks and it is because of its quiet appearance and those historical ruins that it is called the mini-Kyoto of Kyushu. It has also been selected as one of the nation’s most important historical structures for preservation.
- :Here you’ll find an exhibition of approximately 220 historical materials such as precious armor, swords, old documents and clothing of the Obi clan passed down from the Ito family and their vassals.
- :This replica of the original palace has been recreated using 100 year old Obi Cedar.
- :This building is representative of Obi Castle’s Merchant town. It was built by Gohei Yamamoto in 1870 and its splendid appearance is made from 200 year old Obi cedar. The building itself tells of the prosperity of its day.
- :This building was built in 1869 as the residence of the head of the Itō family and held the highest status amongst the Samurai Mansions in the Obi Castle town. The area on the southern side is said to be a garden for a military school and in the wide open space the garden stones, lanterns and trees have been skillfully placed.
- :This school was built for the Obi clan to encourage learning. The school boasts famous scholars such as Soshu Yasui, Soken Yasui and Shōhei Obira. And in particular Jutaro Komura who went on to become Minister of Foreign Affairs.
- :Opened in 1993, as a memorial to Baron Jūtarō Komura – the Meiji Era diplomat and founder of Japan’s modern diplomacy. It introduces the life and achievements of the Baron Komura through videos and some of Komura's own materials. It also boasts a large meeting room for 300 people and a smaller meeting room that can accommodate 50 people.
- :It is estimated that this samurai mansion was built at the beginning of the 19th century. It is typical of the Samurai mansions in Obi and it boasts two riding grounds along the stone wall and a natural Japanese style garden.
- :Aburatsu became the stage location for the movie Otoko wa tsuraiyo ("It's tough being a man"). The surrounds of this beautiful town were introduced on the big screen and its name became known all over the country. As far as sightseeing is concerned, the symbol of the town is the Horikawa Canal.
- :The length of the Horikawa Canal is 900m and it was built at the beginning of the Edo period in 1685. The main purpose of its construction was to transport Obi Cedar safely down to Aburatsu Port. The cedar was transported using a method called the "benko ikada nagashi" where the cedar was gathered onto a raft and then pulled down the canal behind a boat. This method is being restored as a precious traditional technical skill from the Horikawa Canal.
- :A stone arch bridge. It was made in the Meiji Era by a famous Obi stone mason Fumiyoshi Ishii. It is registered as one of the assets of the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
- :There are pamphlets of the Horikawa district and scenes from the movie Otoko wa tsurai yo displayed here.
- :This three story “Red Brick Hall” was built in the mid-Taishō period as a warehouse for the village wood. It is a building of character with an arch-shaped thoroughfare down the centre.
- :The Hiroshima Tōyō Carp baseball team commenced their Nichinan camp in 1963. Every Spring and Autumn they come down to Nichinan and use the Tenpuku and Tokoji grounds.
- :Locally, it is called the watchtower mountain and in the Second World War it became an air watchtower. It was also used as a weather forecasting mountain by fleets of ships based at Aburatsu Port during the days of the Obi clan. The ships used the summit of the harbor as a marker and made their way into Aburatsu Port. It takes about 10 minutes of climbing to reach the top. You can observe a fantastic view of the city and the beach from this point.
- :Literally “Wild Boar Nose Promontory”, it is called so because the shape of this land that sticks out into the sea, looks like the nose of a wild boar.
- :It is said that Kyūshū is the northern boundary of the habitat of the endangered Tsumabeni butterfly. Since the local discovery of a plant that the butterfly larva eats, efforts have been poured into its multiplication and the butterflies are being raised in a sanctuary in Izakibana Park.
- :The shrine is built in a cave on a cliff on the Nichinan Coastline. According to myths, the main deity of the shrine is the father of the first emperor of Japan, the Emperor Jinmu. The shrine has become known as a miracle working place for match-making, safe child birth and child care. Below the cliff there is a huge rock shaped like a turtle and people try to throw the stones into the depression in the centre. Men use their left had and women use their right hand. It is said that your wishes will come true if you can throw a stone into the centre.
- :"Sun Messe Nichinan" is located above a small beach over-looking the Nichinan coastline. Here, replicas 7 Moai statues from Easter Island stand with their back to the Pacific Ocean. These are the first replicas in the world of the Moai Statues. In the park there is a sky tower, a museum, a restaurant, a souvenir shop, and a farm.
A taste that contains 100 years of tradition. It is a regional product that has been passed down by the local people. It is made by grinding up small fresh fish, and mixing them with tofu, brown sugar and miso paste. It is then cooked in canola oil.
'Spiny Lobster Cuisine'
The Nichinan coastline facing Hyuga Sea flourishes with sea life. In particular the spiny lobster is abundant and you will find this special cuisine at hotels and road-stops.
Nichinan is surrounded by sightseeing spots including the Nichinan Coastline, Udo Shrine, Obi Castle Town, Horikawa Canal, Aburatsu Port and the terraced rice fields of Sakatani; all which are visited by many sightseers every year.
- 1,072,754 people per year.
Respective Sightseeing Locations
- Udo shrine – 695,000 visitors,
- Saboten Cactus Herb garden – 98,000 visitors (closed in 2006)
- Sun messe Nichinan – 123,000 visitors,
- Obi castle – 98,000 visitors,
- Isakibana Park – 46,000 visitors.
- 7 Kindergartens and 516 Students.
- 13 Elementary schools and 2629 Students.
- 7 Middle School and 1430 Students.
- 4 High Schools and 2022 students.
- 8 hospitals with 1160 beds.
- 38 Clinics with 149 beds.
- 22 dental facilities.
- Aburatsu Port and Naha Port have a long history of exchange, both economic and cultural. And during the war residents of Naha and Okinawa prefecture sought refuge in Nichinan City so if felt natural that the two cities sign a sister city agreement. They participate in many exchange activities between the city citizens – including sports exchanges like housewives volleyball, kids baseball.
- This sister city relationship was formed because Meiji Era diplomat Baron Komura Jutaro(born in Nichinan) was a signatory to the Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905
- The second daughter of Suketaka Ito (early chief of Obi castle) married the older brother of the first chief of Inuyama castle. So this sister city relationship was formed on an historical basis. The cities enact various exchanges, such as swapping products made from their respective native trees and performances of local dances.
- The sister port relationship was formed to promote economic and cultural exchange between the two ports. Aburatsu Port started importing woodchips from Albany Port in 2001. There are high expectations for this exchange which involves not only the import of woodchips, but also a Junior high school student homestay program between Nichinan and Albany.
- 143 Fishing Businesses,
- 335 Fishing households,
- 518 Employees.
- 1134 Forestry Households.
- 3451 hectares of land used for forestry.
- 90 factories of more than 4 workers - 2416 employees.
- Annual production is worth ¥47,236,370,000 per year.
- 105 Enterprises with 718 Employees and ¥38,928,220,000 in annual sales.
- 730 enterprises with 3385 Employees and ¥45,893,280,000 in annual sales
- Obi, Nichinan – part of the National Trust to preserve traditional architecture
- Sakamoto Terraced Rice fields – ranked in the top 100 in Japan
- Nichinan Gakuen High school baseball team made it to the national finals in 2004
- Nichinan is location for Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball camp since 1963
- 2005 was the 150th anniversary of Baron Jutaro Komura’s birth and the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty.
- Obi, Nichinan was location for the TV drama “Wakaba” broadcast on NHK from September 2004 to March 2005.
All information from Nichinan City General Affairs Division and translated from a pamphlet called “Visiting Nichinan”, made by the Nichinan Tourism Association, 2007.