Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
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Ports and Harbours Bureau
Port town development aimed at revitalization through people-to-people interaction and activities (Port of Muroran)


Panorama view of the Port of Muroran
[Panorama view of the Port of Muroran]

Change in number of sightseers visiting the port
[Change in number of sightseers visiting the port]
  Current local conditions
Port of Muroran (specially designated major port)
Port management body: Muroran City
Administrative municipality: Muroran City, Hokkaido
Population: 102,000 (Basic Resident Register as of May 31, 2003)
Number of tourists: Approximately 1.25 million people (Muroran City survey, Fiscal 2004)

Port built the local region as a strategic transport location
  With the Hokkaido Development Commission located in Sapporo and the Sapporo Main Road constructed between Hakodate and Sapporo, regular ship service between Muroran and Mori on opposite sides of Uchiura Bay was established in 1872. The port was constructed in the sea area near the Central Wharf, and the Port of Muroran opened and developed as a strategic location for traffic in the region.
  As the first public wharf in Muroran, the Central Wharf completed in 1952 was used as a loading facility for coal. Although the facility later handled miscellaneous freight such as paper products, the wharf was renovated as a passenger ship berth in 1995, because the amount of freight handled had declined as a result of the facility's age and obsolescence and the construction of a large-scale public wharf in the district outside the port.
  As an urban renewal project, the central wharf base port administration area was completed in 1975 by filling in the private wharf that had been used to handle coal, and today is a new town district lined with buildings housing including government and municipal agencies and other offices.
  Furthermore, a ferry wharf has been constructed on bank opposite the Central Wharf, and currently the ferries connecting Hokkaido and Honshu offer 17 service runs per week over three navigation routes (March 2005).

  Local issues
  The population of Muroran peaked at 160,000 in 1970. Since then, the population has been declining as a result of changes such as rationalization and cutbacks in production at key firms, including Nippon Steel Corporation and The Japan Steel Works, Ltd., and local revitalization is needed, particularly revitalization of the commercial district that formed the core of western Muroran.

Central Wharf
[Central Wharf]

Irie Athletic Park
[Irie Athletic Park]

Irie Seaside Park
[Irie Seaside Park]
  Objectives of port town development
Development of a port town with human interaction and activity
  The "Muroran Marine Museum concept," which utilizes the existing port facilities at the Port of Muroran central wharf, was formed by NPO Compass, which worked on the port town development. The final objective was to position the Port of Muroran's original historic location and the Central Wharf and Irie district as a cultural and art base, to serve as the spark for revitalization of Muroran and the entire surrounding area by reproducing development of a port town with human interaction and activity.

  Port assets utilized
 Passenger ship berth
  A berth dedicated to passenger ships, this location offers an excellent view of the port and surrounding areas, and will be used as the core of the waterfront development effort by taking advantage of its unique location near the urban area.
 Central Wharf Warehouse No. 3
  The publicly-managed Warehouse No. 3, located at the end of the Central Wharf, has seen its use decline as a result of freight consolidation at other wharves, and its use for events or special activities is being explored.
 Irie Athletic Park
  This facility is located close to the passenger ship berth and offers high potential for attracting visitors as the city's integrated sports park, with events such as holding J League J2 soccer games. The plan will create an energetic space through its synergistic effect with the passenger ship berth.
 Irie Seaside Park
  Provides a venue for the local populace and port to meet. As a recreation facility, the park is equipped with garden paths and fountains; as an event space, includes a plaza visitors can use freely.

  Creation of a flow between the dynamic port and people
Administrative organization
  When managed, programs will be implemented by the Port Town Development Concept Decision Council centered on the NPO Compass.


Flea market in Warehouse No. 3
[Flea market in Warehouse No. 3]

Concert/Citizens Chorus
[Concert/Citizens Chorus]

Morning fair
[Morning fair]

Kaiwo Maru port call
[Kaiwo Maru port call]
Management of the Seaside Fair
Summary of actions
  To reproduce port town development offering human interaction and excitement in the Central Wharf and Irie district, used the passenger ship berth and storage sheds behind the berth to hold a Seaside Fair in conjunction with a port call by the National Institute for Sea Training sailing ship Kaiwo Maru.
Fair date: October 17, 2004
Location: Central Wharf and adjacent storage sheds
Activities: Flea market, surprise market, outdoor stalls market, concerts, rental bicycles, stamp rally and other events
Participation: 150 flea market groups, 15 outdoor stalls, three product sale shops
Number of visitors: 20,000

Overall high level of satisfaction with the event
Result of actions
  Roughly 65% of all visitors where from Muroran, and about 35% were outside visitors. About 45% of the visitors cited the flea market as the reason for their visit, and 35% visited to see the sailing ship.
  The overall level of satisfaction with the event was high, with about 90% of those polled especially satisfied with the Kaiwo Maru sail drill, rental bicycles and concert.
  In addition, about 30% of visitors stopped in the city for shopping and dining , and the event sponsors learned they can revitalize the local area by strengthening cooperation with the city's shopping district.
  There was large demand for facilities such as toilets, restaurants and food and beverage spots, with especially frequent need for more restroom facilities, and measures to address this are needed for future events.
  Desire to participate could be said to be high, with about 50% expressing a desire to participate in event planning and management, and support for port town development in the future is expected to be popular.

Results of event satisfaction rating questionnaire
[Results of event satisfaction rating questionnaire]

Rental bicycles
[Rental bicycles]

Stamp rally lottery drawing
[Stamp rally lottery drawing]

Rental bicycle user residence
[Rental bicycle user residence]
Implementation of rental bicycles, stamp rally
Summary of actions
   To improve convenience for port users such as ships' crews and embarking visitors, and create a flow of people between the port and existing shopping streets, utilized 50 used bicycles (50 units) purchased at low cost to provide free rental bicycles when passenger ships and other vessels entered port.
  Placed stamps and stamp forms at the Central Wharf and along central district shopping streets, and sponsored a stamp rally that included the history, nature and foods around the port, contact with the local population, and a lottery drawing.
  Rental bicycles
Implementation dates: Five times (September 17 - November 3)
Location: Central Wharf passenger ship berth
Users: 60 individuals
  Stamp rally
Implementation date: September 17 - October 17, 2004
Location: Central Wharf and central district shopping street
Participants: 114 individuals

Response to cooperation with the surrounding shopping streets and revitalization effort
Result of actions
  Based on the results of loaning bicycles, mainly to passengers and crews of passenger ships, about 60% of the rental bicycle users were individuals from outside Hokkaido. Less than 30% of the users were individuals from Hokkaido. Nearly 40% of the users were non-Japanese.
  According to questionnaires, when asked where they would set the rental fee, for example, the largest number of users (60%) answered a fee of 100 yen for one hour; many individuals said they wanted to be able to use the bicycles and relax, with 50% indicating they would use a "one-day rental" and 30% responding they would use a "half-day rental."
  As a result of the effort, the port was able to cooperate with shopping streets in the surrounding area and work towards local revitalization, and learned ways of utilizing the port.

  Future port town development efforts

Rental bicycle use
  Study effective uses of the rental bicycles for times other than when passenger ships enter port.
Study holding regular events and effective utilization of the warehouses
  Continually sponsor events, work to achieve local revitalization and encourage citizen participation in event management, with the Implementation Committee as the key management entity.
  For beneficial use of the warehouses, study issues such as actions on various laws and regulations and allocation of roles for needs such as improvement of lighting and other fixtures, management entities, and creation and upkeep of facilities.

Column: Ask the leader!
  What points in the effort were difficult?
Initially only a small group of acquaintances was concerned about how to revitalize Muroran and the best approach to take to improve Muroran as an industry port and economic port. Because they took a renewed interest in the natural harbor's atmosphere and the beauty of the natural landscape, however, and were concerned about the benefits of a "port that transmits and creates culture" by taking maximum advantage of Muroran's unique characteristics, incorporating not only the traditional image of Muroran as an industrial city but also the natural environment enabled them to organize the current efforts and events.
  Expectations towards future "port town development"
Even today, Muroran has an image as a port city, and needs to fulfill its role as the core urban area in the western Iburi region. To do so, Muroran will aim at being a port city role model for the 21st century by using the concept of "a city where people are free to contemplate and live at a human pace" as a theme, to be a city that incorporates nature as it appears, where "people can relax and feel healed just by stopping in town," and create the port town Muroran, a city that is not only a logistics port for the economy and industry but a city that boasts culture and sightseeing as well.
Mr. Koichi Shirakawa, NPO Compass
[Mr. Koichi Shirakawa, NPO Compass]
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