The History of Ogata-Mura

The Hachirogata Lagoon before reclaim
The Hachirogata Lagoon before reclaim

The Hachirogata Lagoon was located about 40°N and 140°E. It had a surface area of 12 by 27km (7.5 by 17 miles) with a circumference of 82 km (51 miles) it was the second largest body of water in Japan. Its waters harbored seventy different species of fish.

After a 1954 feasibility study by Professor Ph. Jansen and Engineer A. Volker of the Delft Institute of Technology in the Netherlands, the World Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) threw their support behind the reclamation of the lagoon. Work was started in 1957 and lasted 20 years. In March 1977, at a cost of 85.2 billion dollars, the Hachirogata Lagoon had been converted into 17,203 hectares (42,491 acres) of fertile land.

Fishermen on the old lagoon (Photo by Kinjiro MIURA)
Fishermen on the old lagoon
(Photo by Kinjiro MIURA)

The reclamation works are shown in "The Reclamation Museum".

The first pioneers settled on the barely dry land as early as 1964, and after a nationwide campaign the name chosen for the new village was "Ogata" ("Big Lagoon") , the ancient name of the Hachirogata Lagoon.

Applications came from all over Japan, but only the best farmers were selected.

The purpose of the reclamation project was "To establish an agricultural model for Japan by raising production and income levels through greater efficiency, and by building a prosperous, comfortable and modern farming community." Is it an exaggeration to say that this purpose has been more than achieved?

The Hachirogata lagoon, once the second largest lake in Japan.
The Hachirogata lagoon, once the second largest lake in Japan.

Ogata-mura, after reclamation works.
Ogata-mura, after reclamation works.