Utashinai, Hokkaido


Utashinai city hall


Location of Utashinai in Hokkaido (Sorachi Subprefecture)

Location in Japan

Coordinates: 43°31′N 142°2′E / 43.517°N 142.033°E / 43.517; 142.033Coordinates: 43°31′N 142°2′E / 43.517°N 142.033°E / 43.517; 142.033
Country Japan
Region Hokkaido
Prefecture Hokkaido (Sorachi Subprefecture)
  Mayor Takaoki Murakami
  Total 55.99 km2 (21.62 sq mi)
Population (November 30, 2016)
  Total 3,530
  Density 63.05/km2 (163.3/sq mi)
  Tree Japanese rowan
  Flower Azalea
  Bird Japanese bush-warbler
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
City hall address 5, Aza Honchō, Utashinai-shi, Hokkaidō
Website city.utashinai.hokkaido.jp

Utashinai (歌志内市 Utashinai-shi) is a city located in Sorachi Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It is Japan's smallest city by population.

As of February 29, 2012, the city has an estimated population of 4,287, with 2,296 households, and a density of 76.57 persons per km2. The total area is 55.99 km2.


It was formerly a prosperous coal mining city, but has declined greatly since the closing of the coal mines. The population hit a maximum of 46,000 in 1948.

Efforts to transform Utashinai from a gritty coal mining town to an alpine tourist destination have met with mixed success. The town has adopted a Swiss theme as part of its tourist oriented strategy, and many new buildings are Swiss chalet style. A medium-sized ski hill, Kamoidake, attracts a decent crowd of locals and hosts frequent ski meets, while a hot spring resort called Tyrol, after the Austrian region, is known throughout Hokkaido for the quality of its water. However, despite these new projects, Utashinai continues to experience population decline and economic stagnation. The high school closed in 2007, with students now traveling to Sunagawa, Akabira or Takikawa for their secondary education.


Penkeutashunai River, a tributary of Ishikari River, flows through Utashinai. There is Mount Kamoi on the northwest of the city.


The name is derived from the Ainu ota-us-nay (オタウㇱナイ) meaning "River connected to a sandy beach".[1]


  1. アイヌ語地名リスト [Ainu Language Place Name List] (PDF) (in Japanese). Office of Ainu Measures Promotion, Department of Environment and Lifestyle, Hokkaido Government. Retrieved January 29, 2015.

External links

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