A walking event in Yubari at the area flooded by a dam

Old Kashima area downtown district
Former Mitsubishi Oyubari Railway Asahisawa Bridge (left)

On September 6, Yubari City’s Kashima area hosted its first walking event. That area is now underneath water in a dam lake at Yubari Shuparo Dam. When the lake waterline drops during the dry summer season, the sunken area emerges from the lake bottom. The walking event took advantage of this, attracting about 1,600 visitors from Yubari City and out-of-town to get a close-up look at ruins such as a bridge at the Former Mitsubishi Oyubari Railway. Participants thought back on the prosperity of an area that was once home to 20,000 people.

The event was created by a committee consisting of business owners in the city. They planned it hoping that this could be a resource for tourism. The area originally prospered thanks to the Mitsubishi Oyubari Coal Mine, but the population decreased drastically in 1973 after the closure of the mine. The completion of the dam in 2015 submerged the town area of approximately 600 hectares. But in the summer, about 80% of the land appears and the ruins of the railroad bridge and the city are visible.

A female Sapporo resident who used to live in the Kashima area until graduating from junior high school reminisced fondly, “This really reminded me of those days, with memories like the time my older brother took me to see a Yujiro Ishihara movie at the movie theater that was in the area.” A member of the committee said, “More visitors came to see the sunken town than expected. This could be an idea for revitalizing Yubari.”


Yubari Shuparo Dam