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Obihiro

The meaning of «obihiro»

Obihiro (帯広市, Obihiro-shi) is a city in Tokachi Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. Obihiro is the only designated city in the Tokachi area. The next most populous municipality in Tokachi is the adjacent town of Otofuke, with less than a third of Obihiro's population. The city had approximately 500 foreign residents in 2008.[1] The city contains the headquarters of the Fifth Division of the Northern Army of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. It also hosts the Rally Japan World Rally Championship-event.

In 2008, Obihiro was designated a "model environmental city" in Japan.[2]

The Tokachi-Obihiro Airport is located to the south of downtown Obihiro, but is still within the city's borders. It takes 50 minutes by car or 1 hour by bus from Obihiro Station to the airport. The next major airport nearby is New Chitose Airport. From Obihiro, it takes 2 hrs 30 mins to get New Chitose Airport by train and just over 4 hours to get there by car. Both airports have direct flights to and from Haneda Airport.

Obihiro was the area first settled by Benzō Yoda in May 1883. It became a city on April 1, 1933. In 1957 the villages of Taishō and Kawanishi merged with Obihiro, bringing it to its current size.

Obihiro, along with most of Tokachi, has a large agricultural sector that revolves around large scale farming operations. Farms within the boundaries of Obihiro have an average of approximately 24 hectares of arable land; exceeding the Hokkaido average (17.41 ha) and the national average (1.57 ha). The main crops produced are wheat, potatoes, beets, and beans, but there has also been progress in the production of nagaimo (Dioscorea polystachya) and gobō (Arctium lappa); two of Tokachi's specialty products. The headquarters of 3 nationally renowned pastry companies (Rokkatei, Ryugetsu, and Cranberry) are also located in Obihiro.

Obihiro has 26 public elementary schools and 14 public middle schools. It also has five prefectural high schools, two private high schools, and one municipal high school. The Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine is the only university in Tokachi. Due to the decreasing birth rate in the area (and across the entire nation) some elementary schools are scheduled for closing by 2012.[citation needed]

Obihiro has one of Japan's most pristine rivers flowing through its city limits. Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has chosen Obihiro's Satsunai River, which joins the Tokachi River outside of town, as the cleanest Class A river in Japan seven times since 1991.[5] It is designated as a Class A River by the Japanese government due to its importance to environmental conservation and the national economy. In the Ainu language, Satnay means "dry river", and even today, most of its 82 km (51 mi) run is shallow. The city draws most of its drinking water from the Satsunai. The biggest pollutant in the river is nitrates from fertilizer run off from all the farming operations along the river's banks. The other major river in the city is the Tokachi, but its water is not used for drinking as it has much higher pollution levels.

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