The Port of Ishinomaki lies on the northeastern shores of Honshu, Japan’s largest island, on the Kitakami River estuary. In 2003, about 171 thousand people lived in the Port of Ishinomaki.
The Port of Ishinomaki was founded in the 4th Century. In 1623, excavations were begun for a port on the north river. During the Tokugawa era from the early 17th to middle 19th Centuries, it was a busy and wealthy rice-exporting port.
When the Tohoku Line railway opened in the late 1800s, Port of Ishinomaki’s traffic on the river decreased. However, the Port of Ishinomaki rebounded when it became an important deep-sea fishing port, primarily for skipper and tuna.
The Port of Ishinomaki received city status in 1933. In 2005, it merged with six other towns: Kahoku, Kitakami, Kanan, Ogatsu, Monou and Oshika. This merger increased the Port of Ishinomaki’s area by over four times and added almost 60 thousand people to its population. The Port of Ishinomaki boasts the second biggest fish market in the Eastern Hemisphere. The Port of Ishinomaki also has a full-size replica of the San Juan Bautista, a Japanese warship commissioned in 1613 by Date Musamune to send an embassy to the Vatican.
Today, seaweed and oysters are grown on the Port of Ishinomaki’s coastline. The Port of Ishinomaki’s industries produce marine products (including whaling harpoons) and pulp. Reclaimed land in the western part of the Port of Ishinomaki support fruit and vegetable growers.
The Port of Ishinomaki is a busy distribution center for Pacific coast traffic and the inland Tohoku region.
From 1911 to 1946, dredging activities and expanded port facilities allowed 500-ton freighters to navigate their way to the Port of Ishinomaki. In 1960, construction of the industrial port began in the western estuary area about three kilometers from the original port site. In 1964, the Port of Ishinomaki was designated an important harbor. In 1967, the port was approved for emigration and immigration traffic.
In 1968, the Port of Ishinomaki became a “quarantine port,” and it qualified for plant quarantines related to the transportation of lumber. (Port quarantine is the isolation of a ship at port for a time period to allow the manifestation of any of disease.) In 1969, it received approval to receive grains under the plant quarantine method. In 1991, the Port of Ishinomaki began to receive animal product imports when it won approval for animal quarantine under the Domestic Animal Infectious Disease Prevention Act, and the animal quarantine shed was operating by 1994.