Everything Osaki in the Land of the Sun

People visiting Japan for the first time would most likely check out the popular areas that are packed with tourist destinations. Aside from Tokyo and Kyoto, one of the most popular places that foreign tourists check out is Osaka. However, with changing just one letter, there is already another place in Japan that one can visit, which is Osaki. Osaki may refer to two places, namely, one that is a city and the other that is a place located in Tokyo.

Basic Facts on the City of Osaki in Miyagi, Japan

Kinori [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Also known as Osaki-shi in Japanese, Osaki is a city in Miyagi Prefecture in Mutsu Province, situated in the region of Tohoku in the northern portion of Japan. As of the 28th of February in the year 2017, Osaki has an estimated population of 132,930. With a total area of 796.76 square kilometers, which is equivalent to 307.63 square miles, the city has a population density of 167 persons per square kilometer, which is equivalent to 430 persons per square mile.

With the coordinates of 38° 34′ 37.6″ North and 140° 57′ 20.1″ East, the city is under the governance of Mayor Yasushi Ito. The tree of the city of Osaki is the Rose while its flower is the Flowering Dogwood. The city is located on the north-central part of Miyagi, which is situated in the northern Sendai Plain. Neighboring municipalities of Osaki include Tome, Misato, Wakuya, Ohira, Kami, Yamagata Prefecture, Akita Prefecture, Kurihara, Osato, Shikama, Matsushima, Mogami, and Yuzawa.

With a Köppen climate classification of Cfa, Mutsu experiences a maritime climate. This means that the city experiences a mild summer season but a cold winter season. The city also experiences an average annual temperature of 11.5 degrees Celsius. The wettest month of the year in Osaki is September while the average annual rainfall in the city is 1,249 millimeters. The highest temperature in the city is about 24.4 degrees Celsius, which occurs in the month of August. The lowest temperature in the city is about -0.6 degrees Celsius, which occurs in the month of January.

The population in the city has grown over the last 40 years. The population of the city was 126,057 in the year 1970, 130,266 in the year 1980, 135,208 in the year 1990, 139,313 in the year 2000, and 135,147 in the year 2010. The town of Furukawa was founded and established on the 1st of April in the year 1889. This establishment was aided by the creation of the municipalities system. The town was granted city status on the 15th of December in the year 1950.

The modern Osaki city was established on the 31st of March in the year 2006. It occurred with the city of Furukawa absorbing a number of towns. These towns include Iwadeyama and Naruko from Tamatsukuri District; Kashimadai, Matsuyama, and Sanbongi from Shida District; and Tajiri from Toda District. The government of Osaki is a mayor-council form. The mayor is elected with a unicameral city legislature composed of 30 members. The economy of the city thrives in agriculture, specifically in the cultivation of rice.

Schools can also be found in the city of Osaki. Miyagi Seishin Junior College is housed in this city. Osaki also houses 30 elementary public schools and 11 public junior high schools, all of which are run by the city government. Five public high schools and a single combined public middle and high school in the city of Osaki are run by the Miyagi Prefectural Board of Education. There are also two private high schools, a single combined private middle and high school, and a special education school in the city of Osaki.

There are various railways in the city of Osaki. This includes the East Japan Railway Company or JR East Tohoku Shinkansen, JR East Tohoku Main Line, JR East Rikuu East Line, Furukawa, and Kashimadai - Matsuyama-Machi - Tajiri. Their highways include the Tohoku Expressway - Furukawa IC, National Route 4, National Route 47, National Route 108, National Route 346, National Route 347, and National Route 457. Some of the recommended spots to visit in the city of Osaki include Yubikan, Yamahata Cave Tomb Cluster, Nakazawame Shell Mound, Myodate Government Offices Site, Miyazawa Site, Daikichiyama Tile Kiln Site, Kido Tile Kiln Site, and Dewa Sendai Kaido Nakayamagoe Pass.

Osaki Station in Tokyo: Map and the Yamanote Line

By Cheng-en Cheng from Taichung City, Taiwan (DSC_0900) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As for the other Osaki, it is located in Tokyo, Japan. Also known as Osaki-eki in Japanese, Osaki Station is a railway situated located in Shinagawa Ward. The station is operated by two companies, namely, the East Japan Railway Company, also known as JR East, and the Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit, also known as TWR. Several lines serve this station including the JR East Yamanote, Saikyo, and Shonan-Shinjuku Lines. The TWR Rinkai Line also serves this station.

The station consists of four tracks with two of them going in one direction and the other two going the other direction. This is so as not to interrupt with the continuing trains. The east side of the station houses the Yamanote platforms while the west side of the station houses the Saikyo, Shonan-Shinjuku, and Rinkai platforms. Osaki Station is among the stations wherein trains serving the Yamanote Line can either be put in or removed from service.

The native name of the station is りんかい線. The average daily ridership of Osaki Station is 200,200. Opened in the year 1996, its owner is the Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit. Its rolling stocks are the TWR 70-000 series and the E233-7000 series. The line length of the station is 12.2 kilometers, which is equivalent to 7.6 miles. On the other hand, the track gauge of the station is 1,067 millimeters, which is equivalent to 3 feet and 6 inches. Its electrification is 1,500 V DC overhead catenary.

Constructed under JR specifications, Osaki Station is not part of the Tokyo subway network. Nonetheless, the Rinkai Line that serves this station is fully grade divided. Furthermore, the line operates underground for almost 10 kilometers of its 12.2-kilometer distance. That means that the lines can go as low as 40 meters below ground level when it crosses below the Port of Tokyo. On the other hand, the Shinonome-Shin-Kiba portion, which utilizes the previous Keiyo Freight line, is above natural ground.

The TWR 70-000 series electric multiple unit or EMU trains use Yaship Depot as its base. This can be accessed through a spur that is situated in the middle of Tennozu Isle Station and Tokyo Teleport Station. The Tokyo Freight Terminal can also be accessed by this spur track. On the other hand, the 205 series trains, as well as the E233 series trains, uses Kawagoe Depot as its base.

As for the owner of the station, the Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit, Inc. was founded on the 12th of March in the year 1991. Also known as Tokyo Rinkai Kosoku Tstseudo Kabushiki-gaisha in Japanese, TWR was founded for the sole purpose of building and running the railway line. A third-sector Japanese company, TWR shares are held by various entities.

As of the 1st of April in the year 2013, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government holds 91.32 percent of TWR shares. Other entities that hold a certain percentage of shares of TWR include JR East, Shinagawa Ward, Mizuho Bank, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

Despite its extreme financial situation, the company was still able to donate 5 million yen to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on the 16th of October in the year 2009. The purpose of this donation was to support the city’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. Were the games to be held in Tokyo, one of the companies that would benefit greatly would be TWR, given that many of the proposed venues were situated along the Rinkai Line.

History of and Future Plans for Osaki Station

By Sui-setz (日本語: 投稿者本人撮影 English: own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It was in the year 1992 when construction of the line began. The eastern end of the line utilized the right-of-way of the Keiyo Freight Line, which was previously left behind in the year 1983. On the 30th of March in the year 1996, the first part of the line serving between Tokyo Teleport and Shin-Kiba opened to the public. It was then called Rinaki Fukutoshin Line or Rinkai-fukutoshin-sen.

However, this name was altered to its official name of Rinkai Line on the 1st of September in the year 2000. On the 31st of March in the year 2001, the extension line to Tennozu Isle was finally opened to the public. Lastly, the final part to Osaki was opened on the 1st of December in the year 2002.

The estimated final cost of this project was more than 440 billion yen, which was way over budget. The average ridership of Rinkai line in the year 2005 was 140,000 passengers per day. A year later, Rinkai Line eventually was able to generate its first operational profit in the year 2006. However, by then, the interest payments have already reached 389 billion yen. Thankfully, the ridership of Rinkai Line has grown steadily through the years, with its ridership reaching 200,200 passengers per day in the year 2010.

As of the month of August in the year 2014, there have been talks about negotiations between JR East and TWR. It was said that JR East wishes to buy out the Rinkai Line. Through this, the line would be easily considered and incorporated into the plans for building a direct line to Haneda Airport. This would also help in offering services to and from the Keiyo Line.

Shopping and Hotels Near Osaki Station

Nagono [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The area of Osaki in Tokyo has been developing quite rapidly through the years. This development is not only in terms of construction but also in terms of technology and business. With these rapid improvements of the area, some major companies have already started moving into the area of Osaki. Today, Osaki is recognized as among the most important, as well as advanced, business districts in the Tokyo metropolis.

What set Osaki apart is its futuristic look. This depiction consists of several modern “cities,” which are a cluster of buildings. These structures are a combination of both commercial and residential units. Some of these buildings include Osaki New City, Art Village Osaki, Gate City Osaki, and ThinkPark.

Connected to Osaki Station via a pedestrian walkway, Osaki New City is comprised of five buildings. These buildings consist of three commercial buildings, a shopping mall, and a hotel. An art museum, as well as a patio, stands along the walkway. Just across the street stands Gate City Osaki. Connected by a bridge, this area is composed of two tall buildings. One building is residential while the other one is composed offices, stores, halls, restaurants, and parks.

Just a two-minute walk away is Art Village Osaki. It is composed of two tall buildings, namely, the View Tower and the Central Tower. The View Tower is a residential building while the Central Tower consists of stores, restaurants, and offices. Just a minute-walk away is the ThinkPark. Out of all the “cities,” ThinkPark is the newest and most innovative complex in Osaki. Composed of 40 percent trees and grass, ThinkPark Tower at the heart of the area.

A section of the complex is known as ThinkPark Plaza, where shops and restaurants can be found. On the other hand, ThinkPark Area houses hotels and fitness clubs for residents and visitors. A medical center is also present should there be any emergencies. If one would like to stay at a hotel near Osaki Station, one may also opt to check out the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa, Laforet Hotel Tokyo, and Shinagawa Prince Hotel. These hotels offer great rooms and free Wi-Fi among its many facilities. Reception can also speak English for foreign travelers.

The district of Osaki holds so many promises as it further develops into one of the most innovative areas in the Tokyo metropolis. People can also travel to nearby areas after going around Osaki such as Tsukiji, Shibuya, and Ginza. Taking public transportation should be taken into account and should not really be a big deal; there are trains and buses that people can take to move around the area. This is an exciting time for the area of Osaki, which would be welcoming businesses and markets as well as tourists and new residents as the improvements continue to finish through the years.