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    There are a number of ancient ruins scattered throughout Rumoi Subprefecture, such as the Kawaguchi Ruins of Teshio Town. From such settlements formed along the Teshio River, it is easy to imagine the hunter and gatherer lifestyle of the past: fishing salmon as they returned upstream to spawn, hunting Ezo deer or rabbit in the deep woods that formed the backdrop of the villages, and collecting mountain vegetables.

    In addition, the Shosanbetsu Ruins in Shosanbetsu Village, Chiraibetsu Ruins in Azachikubetsu of Haboro Town, and the Sandomari Ruins of Rumoi City are some of the other ancient ruins that can be found in the area. It is believed that Japanese people who were involved in fishing and trading first settled here around 1670.

    No account of the the Rumoi area's history would be complete without mention of the herring industry. Around 150 years ago, the herring that poured into the seaside communities of the Rumoi area enriched the lives of the people and many nishinbanya (lodging and work houses for herring fishermen) were constructed. The area was prominently known as Sengoku Basho, a name which conveyed that this was a place where scores of herring could be caught.

    For more than a century from when herring fishing first began in what is now Rumoi, the industry played a central role in the region. Around 60 years ago, however, the herring disappeared permanently from the area along with the many get-rich-quick dreams brought with it.

    The building and dock of the Saga Residence Banya, which illustrates the lifestyle of the people from this time, still remain today as Hokkaido's only untouched nishinbanya. The residence was designated as important cultural property by the national government in 1997. Today, the Okada Family Banya is still in Tomamae Town, showcasing its medium-sized yet striking structure first built in 1886.

    In addition, the Old Hanada Family Banya, also designated as important cultural property by the national government, serves as further proof of Obira Town's herring fishing heritage which must not be forgotten. At its height in 1905, it managed 18 fishing nets and employed more than 500 fishermen, and today is the largest banya constructed in Hokkaido that is currently still standing.

    These precious buildings are representative of the golden age of Rumoi's herring fishing heritage, and have each been designated as Hokkaido Heritage sites. Around 1870 in the town of Mashike, which also thrived on herring fishing, the first-generation head of the Honma family who settled here developed a business based on the sales of general goods and kimonos (a traditional Japanese garment). Meanwhile, he expanded his business operations in various other directions following trends towards shipping, brewing and more. As a result, even after the herring trade had dwindled, the presence of Japan's northernmost brewery and the historical townscape continue to convey the story of a glorious bygone era.


    One of the historic remains of the town that must not be forgotten is the Old Haboro Line. This was a longitudinal railroad that spanned 141 km connecting the Rumoi region from north to south. It opened as the Japan National Railway Haboro Line in October of 1955.

    The line offered unprecedented access to local resources such as black diamond (coal) and yellow diamond (herring roe) and traversed the vast wilderness of the Tenpoku area using heavy locomotives. The Haboro Line was the third longest line in Hokkaido and served as the main pillar of support for the shipping of high grade coal extracted from coalmines in the Rumoi area, such as Haboro Tanko and Chikubetsu Tanko. The line was also a means of transportation that supported the local people's lifestyle, but this mutually dependable relationship ended as gasoline later replaced coal as an energy source.

    In March 1987, the Haboro Line officially ceased operation. However, there are many places along the coastal portion of the National Route where traces of the old tracks can still be seen.

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