The Port of Wakkanai is located on the Noshappu Peninsula in far northwest Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island. On the Sōya Bay, where you can see Russia’s Sakhalin island, the Port of Wakkanai is a major deep-sea fishing port with a busy marine products industry. In 1926, the Sōya Line railroad was opened in the Port of Wakkanai, and steamship service to Rebun and Rishiri (offshore islands) started in 1934. In 2005, over 41 thousand people lived in the Port of Wakkanai.
The Wakkanai Base Company (WABCO) is the port authority responsible for managing and operating the Port of Wakkanai. The Port of Wakkanai is an international trading port visited by about four thousand vessels and 70 thousand foreigners each year. The marine products industry is the base of the port’s economy. The Port of Wakkanai also operates busy ferry services to Rebun and Rishiri (which are national parks) as well as an international ferry service to Sakhalin Island, Russia. The Port of Wakkanai has a unique dome-shaped breakwater that recalls a Greek temple. The 427-meter-long half-arch breakwater hides an inside walkway.
Being the most northern city in Japan, the Port of Wakkanai lies between the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk. Called the “wind town” due to the strong winds that invade the port, it is a center for fishing boats bringing in shellfish like crab, scallop, and sea urchin.
The Port of Wakkanai is home of Daisuke Matsuzaka, a Japanese starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. An Olympic bronze medalist, he was selected the MVP in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics. The city is proud to host a museum dedicated to this world-famous athlete.
Being so far north, the Port of Wakkanai is well-known for the ryuhyo, or floating ice, that drifts in from the sea each February or March. The city also holds dog sled races each February.