The Port of Abashiri is located on the northeastern shores of Hokkaidō, Japan’s second largest island and the largest of its 47 Prefectures. The Port of Abashiri was home to more than 40 thousand people in 2008.
Abashiri Village was founded in 1872. In 1902, the Port of Abashiri merged with Kitami Town, Isani Village, and Nikuribake Village to form Abashiri Town. Notoro Village was added to the Port of Abashiri in 1915. In 1947, Abashiri Town became Abashiri City.
In the past, the Port of Abashiri was known for being the home of Japan’s first maximum security prison. Built in 1890 when Japan decided to stop executing all convicted criminals, prisoners were put to hard labor. Many of the prisoners were political prisoners. They had unheated cells in a region where it was not unusual for temperatures to fall below -20°C (-4°F). The prison was closed in 1984.
The largest industry in the Port of Abashiri is fishing, and the town supports the industry. There is little of interest to travelers in Abashiri.