The Port of Sakaiminato is on the southwestern shores of Japan’s main island, Honshu. It faces the Sea of Japan from the northern tip of the Yumigahama Peninsula. The Port of Sakaiminato is one of Japan’s most famous fishery ports and the major port for the Tottori Prefecture.
The Port of Sakaiminato also serves the city of Yonago about 15 kilometers away on the Yumigahama Peninsula. In fact, the cities make up an urban agglomerate that is an important commercial center for southwestern Japan. While the Port of Sakaiminato has a population over 35 thousand, the urban area including Yonago is home to over 1.1 million people.
The City of Sakaiminato was founded in 1956. Citizens of the Port of Sakaiminato recently voted not to merge politically or administratively with Yonago; therefore, the Port of Sakaiminato remains an autonomous municipality.
The Port of Sakaiminato is home to the creator of GeGeGe no Kitaro, Shigeru Mizuki. The character is popular throughout Japan, and there is a street in the Port of Sakaiminato dedicated to him with a hundred bronze statues of all the characters from Mizuki’s stories. The famous photographer Shōji Ueda was also from Sakaiminato.
With an excellent natural port, the Port of Sakaiminato is protected from monsoons and rough waves and winds by the Shimane Peninsula. The central government designated it a port of foreign trade in 1896. In 1902, it became a terminal for the Sanin region railroad for the transport of cargo. During the 1930s, shipping services began to the Port of Dalian in China as well as Busan, Incheon, Chongzin, Pohang in Korea.
By 1951, the Port of Sakaiminato was designated a key national port. Its foreign trade performance and strategic geographic location lent to this recognition as well as its excellent infrastructure. That infrastructure derives from outer harbor reclamation and the construction of piers capable of serving the latest ultra-large freight-carrying vessels.
In 1995, the Sakaiminato Free Access Zone (FAZ) Plan was approved and container services with China and Korea began. In 2004, vessels of 50 thousand DWT were able to start using the Port of Sakaiminato as the result of additions of heavy-lift gantry crane equipment.