North Breakwater Dome - Hokkaido

North Breakwater Dome (稚内港北防波堤ドーム), located in 1 Chome Kaiun, Wakkanai City in Hokkaido Prefecture, is an important historical landmark of the northernmost city of Japan. 

North Breakwater Dome (稚内港北防波堤ドーム)

North Breakwater Dome details

Construction of the North Breakwater Dome started in 1920 and was completed in 1936. This unique-looking structure was built to protect the old port of Wakkanai from windstorms and high waves.

North Breakwater Dome - Wakkanai City, Hokkaido Prefecture

The North Breakwater Dome measures 13.6 meters high, 427 meters long, and is supported by 70 pillars. As the story goes, the long arched "semi-domical" structure was the brainchild of a then 26-year-old engineer named Tsuchiya Minoru. It was said that he subconsciously patterned it from an ancient Greek temple. 

View from the elevated walkway on the western end of the North Breakwater Dome facing the hills of Wakkanai City

View from the elevated walkway facing the North Breakwater Dome


The North Breakwater Dome at night
The North Breakwater Dome at night

During the height of trade between Korsakov, Nevelsk, and Wakkanai, there was a train station inside the structure. However, by the end of the Second World War and with Southern Sakhalin falling into the hands of the Russians, the station closed and the dome was relegated to being a coal storage place. 

The monuments on the eastern end of the North Breakwater Dome

Wakkanai-Korsakov Line Memorial Monument

C5549 Driving Wheel

Mother Nature was not kind to the structure too. After half a century, the North Breakwater Dome significantly deteriorated. It was fully renovated for three years from 1978 to 1981. 

Photos of the North Breakwater Dome:

In 2001, the North Breakwater Dome was among the first to be designated as a Hokkaido Heritage Site. At present, it has become the symbol of Wakkanai City. You can see it in the eki stamps and manhole covers of the city. 

The Backpack Adventures visits the North Breakwater Dome

I got the opportunity to visit the North Breakwater Dome for the first time last March 20, 2022. It was my 20th weekend in Japan as an ALT under the JET Programme. Since I visited at night, I went back to check it out again the next day to further explore and appreciate its beauty. Overall, despite having nothing to do in the North Breakwater Dome, it was still a great experience for me as it was an architectural marvel. I also can't believe that I finally got to visit it personally after seeing it while researching the bike routes from Cape Soya to the Southern tip of Japan a few years ago.

North Breakwater Dome Entrance Fee

It's FREE to enter and explore the North Breakwater Dome. 

North Breakwater Dome Operating Hours

The North Breakwater Dome is open 24/7.

Why visit North Breakwater Dome?

Despite having nothing to do in the North Breakwater Dome but take photos and marvel at its beauty, it remains to be a must-visit as it is the symbol and pride of Wakkanai City. Hence, a visit to Wakkanai City won't be complete without visiting it. Aside from that, it's actually Instagram-worthy. As for me, I'm a lover of anything historic so this place was at the top of my list when I visited Wakkanai.

Getting to North Breakwater Dome

From Wakkanai Station, the North Breakwater Dome is 750 meters walk to the north. Just follow Fukuko Road until you see the unique-looking structure. 

If you're bringing your car, there are parking spots near the dome but make sure to come early as it tends to be crowded on the weekends.




Overall ratings


  1. I like how the North Breakwater Dome looks. If it was in my country it would surely be home to the homeless people.

    1. That sounds sad. In a way I think that would be the same case if it was in some parts of my country too.


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