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Aomori (city)

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Aomori (青森市, Aomori-shi, Japanese: [oʊꜜmoɾi]) is the capital city of Aomori Prefecture, in the Tōhoku region of Japan. As of 1 June 2019, the city had an estimated population of 276,567 in 136,209 households,[1] and a population density of 335 persons per km². The city is one of Japan's 48 core cities. The total area of the city was 824.61 square kilometres (318.38 sq mi).


From top to bottom, left to right: The Hakkōda Mountains, Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, Sannai-Maruyama site, Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship Hakkōda Maru, the waterfront of Aomori as seen from Aomori Bay, the Aomori City Forestry Museum, and Asamushi Onsen
From top to bottom, left to right: The Hakkōda Mountains, Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, Sannai-Maruyama site, Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship Hakkōda Maru, the waterfront of Aomori as seen from Aomori Bay, the Aomori City Forestry Museum, and Asamushi Onsen
Flag of Aomori
Official seal of Aomori
Location of Aomori in Aomori Prefecture]
Location of Aomori in Aomori Prefecture]
Aomori is located in Japan
Coordinates: 40°49′20.4″N 140°43′50.6″E / 40.822333°N 140.730722°E / 40.822333; 140.730722Coordinates: 40°49′20.4″N 140°43′50.6″E / 40.822333°N 140.730722°E / 40.822333; 140.730722
Country Japan
PrefectureAomori Prefecture
Aomori-machi1 April 1889
Aomori-shi1 April 1898
 • MayorAkihiko Onodera
 • Total824.61 km2 (318.38 sq mi)
0 to 1,584 m (0 to 5,197 ft)
 (1 June 2019)
 • Total276,567
 • Density340/km2 (870/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)
City symbols 
• TreeMaries' fir
• FlowerRosa rugosa
• BirdUral owl
• InsectFirefly
Phone number017-734-1111
Address1-22-5 Chūō, Aomori-shi, Aomori-ken 030-8555
ExpresswaysE4 Expressway (Japan).png E4A Expressway (Japan).png E4A Expressway (Japan).png E64 Expressway (Japan).png
WebsiteOfficial website


View of Aomori from Aomori Bay

Aomori is located in central Aomori Prefecture, on a plain between the southern end of Aomori Bay, which it faces to the north and the Hakkōda Mountains to the south. Among other smaller rivers, the city has two large rivers flowing through it, the Komagome River and its tributary, the Arakawa River.

Neighbouring municipalitiesEdit


Like most of Tōhoku, Aomori has a humid temperate climate with hot summers, and cold, though not extreme, winters. The city has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa).

Aomori and its surrounding area are renowned for heavy snowfall, the heaviest among all Japanese cities, and, in fact, among the heaviest in the world. In February 1945 the city recorded a maximum snow cover of 209 centimetres (82 in), but the extreme low of −24.7 °C (−12 °F) was recorded 14 years earlier. In contrast, Sapporo's heaviest snowfall occurred in 1939, and that was only 164 centimetres (65 in), and more northerly Wakkanai has recorded similar maxima. The particularly heavy snow is caused by several winds that collide around the city and make the air rise and cool, resulting in quick, thick cloud formation followed by intense precipitation.

In summer, a cool wind called "Yamase" often blows from the east, which sometimes results in abnormally cool weather and poor harvests. Additionally, thick fogs from the Oyashio Current are often observed in mountainous areas in the summer. Due to this fog, flights to Aomori Airport are often cancelled.

Climate data for Aomori, Aomori
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.5
Average high °C (°F) 1.6
Daily mean °C (°F) −1.2
Average low °C (°F) −3.9
Record low °C (°F) −23.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 144.9
Average snowfall cm (inches) 225
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.5 mm) 24.3 20.7 16.7 11.2 11.5 9.4 10.3 10.7 11.8 14.5 18.8 23.3 183.2
Average snowy days 28.5 24.2 19.5 3.3 0 0 0 0 0 0.4 9.4 23.1 108.4
Average relative humidity (%) 78 76 69 66 70 78 80 79 76 73 72 77 75
Mean monthly sunshine hours 51.3 69.8 130.5 182.3 201.1 179.6 159.5 180.3 158.4 149.7 87.6 52.8 1,602.7
Source #1: Japan Meteorological Agency[2]
Source #2: Kishōchō[3]


Per Japanese census data,[4] the population of Aomori has remained relatively steady over the past 40 years.

Census Year Population
1970 261,743
1980 309,768
1990 308,782
2000 318,732
2010 299,520


Sannai-Maruyama site

Aomori literally means blue forest, although it could possibly be translated as "green forest". The name is generally considered to refer to a small forest on a hill which existed near the town. This forest was often used by fishermen as a landmark. A different theory suggests the name might have been derived from the Ainu language.

The area has been settled extensively since prehistoric times, and numerous Jōmon period sites have been found by archaeologists, the most famous being the Sannai-Maruyama Ruins located just southwest of the city center dating to 5500-4000 BC, and the Komakino Site slightly farther south dating to around 4000 BC. The large scale of these settlements revolutionized theories on Jōmon period civilization. During the Heian period, the area was part of the holdings of the Northern Fujiwara clan, but remained inhabited by the Emishi people well into the historic period. After the fall of the Northern Fujiwara in the Kamakura period, the territory was part of the domain assigned to the Nambu clan, and into the Sengoku period, it came under the control of the rival Tsugaru clan, whose main castle was located in Namioka. After the start of the Edo period, what would become the core of present-day Aomori was a minor port settlement in the Hirosaki Domain called Utō (善知鳥村, Utō-mura). The town was rebuilt in 1626 under orders of the daimyō, Tsugaru Nobuhira and renamed "Aomori", but this name did not come into common use until after 1783; however, the historical accuracy of this claim is debated since there is no written material from the time to definitively connect Utō to Aomori. Some evidence even claims that Aomori and Utō co-existed in different parts the city in its current state. It wasn't until 1909 that a local scholar claimed that the village of Utō became Aomori.[5]

After the Meiji Restoration, the feudal domains were abolished and replaced with prefectures, of which a total of six were initially created in the territory of modern Aomori Prefecture. These were merged into the short-lived Hirosaki Prefecture in July 1871. However, due to the historic enmity between the former Tsugaru territories in the west and the former Nambu territories in the east, the prefectural capital was relocated from Hirosaki to the more centrally-located Aomori immediately after the merger and the prefecture was renamed Aomori Prefecture on 23 September 1871. However, the municipality of Aomori was not given town status within Higashitsugaru District until 1 April 1889. It was later designated as a city on 1 April 1898.

The Hokkaidō Colonization Office began operations of a ferry service from Aomori to Hakodate in Hokkaido from 1872. In September 1891, Aomori was connected with Tokyo by rail with the opening of the Tōhoku Main Line. The Ōu Main Line running along the Sea of Japan coast opened in December 1894. The development of modern Aomori was primarily due to its prefectural capital status and the singular importance as the terminus of these rail lines and the Seikan Ferry, which officially opened in 1908. The 8th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army were stationed in Aomori from 1896. In the winter of 1902, 199 of 210 soldiers on a military cold-weather readiness exercise perished while attempting to cross the Hakkōda Mountains from Aomori to Towada in what was later called the Hakkōda Mountains incident.

Much of the town burned down in a large fire on 3 May 1910. The port facilities were expanded in 1924, and the city received its first bus services in 1926. Japan Air Transport began scheduled air services from 1937.

Towards the final stages of World War II, on the night of 28-29 July 1945, Aomori was subject to an air raid as part of the strategic bombing campaign waged by the United States of America against military and civilian targets and population centers during the Japan home islands campaign. The 28–29 July bombing claimed 1,767 lives and destroyed 88% of the city.

In the post war period, Aomori rebuilt as the local political and commercial center. The Tsugaru Line railway opened in 1951, and Aomori Airport in 1964. The city was connected to Tokyo by highway in 1979 with the opening of the Tōhoku Expressway. Aomori's landmark pyramidal Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center opened in 1986. On 1 October 2002, Aomori was proclaimed a core city with increased local autonomy.

On 1 April 2005, Aomori absorbed the town of Namioka which was to create the new and expanded city of Aomori; but lost a portion of Namioka to the town of Fujisaki (from Minamitsugaru District) on 1 September 2007.


City hall of Aomori as it appeared before 2018. The building is currently being expanded.

Aomori has a mayor-council form of government with a directly elected mayor and a unicameral city legislature of 35 members. The city also contributes 10 members of the 48 member Aomori Prefectural Assembly. In terms of national politics, most of the city falls within the Aomori 1st district, a single-member constituency of the House of Representatives in the national Diet of Japan, which also includes the city of Goshogawara and Higashitsugaru District and Kitatsugaru District; however, the former town of Namioka is within the Aomori 4th district.


Aomori serves as the regional commercial center for central Aomori Prefecture. Agriculture and commercial fishing form only 4% of the city economy, with manufacturing forming 16.2% and the service sector forming 78.2%.




Aomori Station has been the main station of the city since 1891. The two trunk lines of the Tōhoku region, the Tōhoku Main Line (now Aoimori Railway) and the Ōu Main Line, terminated at Aomori Station and were continued to Hakodate by the Seikan Ferry. In 1988, Seikan Tunnel replaced the ferry, but the station was still the connecting point between main line trains and trains for Aomori-Hakodate section.

The Tōhoku Shinkansen opened in 2010 with a new terminal at Shin-Aomori Station. The Shinkansen provides High-speed service between Shin-Aomori, Hachinohe, Morioka, Sendai and Tokyo.



  • Port of Aomori - The Seikan Ferry operates ferries to Hakodate. It takes about four hours to go by ferry from Aomori to Hakodate. From 1908 to 1988 the ferry served as the primary transport between the island of Honshū and the northern island of Hokkaido. In March 1988, the Seikan Tunnel opened up, travelling under the Tsugaru Strait, this quickly replaced the slow-moving ferry as the primary transportation between the two islands.


Aomori is the only prefectural capital in Japan which has no national university, instead, nearby Hirosaki became the site for the prefecture's highest educational facility. The city has 45 public elementary schools and 19 public junior high schools operated by the city government, as well as two private junior high schools. The city has 10 public high schools operated by the Aomori Prefectural Board of Education and three private high schools. The prefecture also operates eight special education schools.

Local attractionsEdit

A float from Aomori's Nebuta Festival
The Memorial Statue of the Hakkoda Death March portrays Fusanosuke Gotō

Aomori Nebuta Matsuri is a famous festival performed from 2–7 August annually and is listed as one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment.[6] Besides this, major attractions of Aomori include ruins, museums, and mountains. The Hakkōda Mountains have good locations for trekking with hot spas (onsen), such as Sukayu Onsen.


Aomori has hosted several international curling events, two in 2003 (including the Asian Winter Games), and the local women's "Team Aomori" was selected to represent Japan at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy[1] and at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. From 17-25 March 2007, Aomori hosted the World Women's Curling Championships[2].

Sports facilitiesEdit

Sister city relationsEdit

Notable people from AomoriEdit


  1. ^ Aomori city official statistics(in Japanese)
  2. ^ 平年値(年・月ごとの値). Kishōchō. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  3. ^ 観測史上1~10位の値(年間を通じての値). Kishōchō. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  4. ^ Aomori population statistics
  5. ^ "「青森」地名伝承の誤解=41" (in Japanese). 1 February 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  6. ^ "100 Soundscapes of Japan". Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  7. ^ Sannai-Maruyama Site official website
  8. ^ "青森・函館ツインシティ" (in Japanese). Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d "International Exchange". List of Affiliation Partners within Prefectures. Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR). Retrieved 27 November 2019.

External linksEdit