Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower - Hokkaido

Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower (開基百年記念塔) is an observatory and a local history museum rolled into one. It is located in Yamuwakkanai Wakkanaimura, Wakkanai City, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan.

Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower (開基百年記念塔)

Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower details

The 80-meter-tall Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower was constructed in July 1978 to mark the 30th anniversary of Wakkanai's designation as a city as well as the 100th anniversary of Soya Village's founding in what is now Soya District, Wakkanai City.

Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower - Wakkanai City, Hokkaido Prefecture

Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower photos

Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower houses the Wakkanai Northern Memorial Museum on its ground floor and an observatory. Around the tower is the Wakkanaishi Kitagata Botanical Gardens.

Does anybody know the name of this beautiful sculpture?

Wakkanaishi Kitagata Botanical Gardens

Speaking of the Wakkanai Northern Memorial Museum, this local history museum has numerous displays that chronicle the tale of the establishment, development, past, and culture of the city. The displays also include Rinzo Mamiya's excursions to Karafuto (now Sakhalin). The museum also houses several taxidermied animals.

Wakkanai Northern Memorial Museum displays*

I posted only a handful of photos of the exhibits and I purposely didn't label them so that you would only get a glimpse of what the Wakkanai Northern Memorial Museum has to offer. Please visit it and enjoy it with your own eyes.

The observatory on the tower's top floor is 240 meters above sea level and gives a spectacular 360-degree view of the Sarobetsu Plain to the south, Wakkanai City and Soya Port to the east, and on a clear day, the islands of Rishiri and Rebun in the Sea of Japan to the west, and Sakhalin to the north. If you visit in the months of June until October, stay until it gets dark to see the illuminated Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower.

The elevator going up to the observatory

We are excited to go up to the observatory for the first time

View from the observatory

East View

North view

South view

West view

My family and I visited Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower for the first time last August 13, 2022, my 41st weekend here in Japan as an ALT under the JET Programme. It was one of the destinations we visited on the 2nd day of our 5-day Drive Up North Road Trip. We managed to go up the tower and see Wakkanai City from a very good vantage point. Sadly, since we were rushing to get to the nearby Wakkanai Forest Park Camping Ground, we failed to fully explore the museum.

Team Nicerio visits Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower

Overall, the observatory's view was beautiful, and we learned a little bit about Wakkanai City during our quick visit to the museum there. We look forward to revisiting Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower. Hopefully, we get to spend more time exploring it.

Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower Admission Fee

200 yen (per student) and 400 yen (per adult)

Parking is FREE.

Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower Operating Hours:

[April/May/October] 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

[June to September] 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM

It’s closed on Mondays and also during the winter season (November – early April)

Why visit Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower?

If you want to see Wakkanai City from a higher vantage point then you should visit the Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower. Aside from the view, you would also learn about the history of the city at the Wakkanai Northern Memorial Museum. Heads up, there are times when bears are spotted in the area, in that case, the road up the tower would be closed or there might be warning signs posted at the foot of the hill.

Getting to Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower:


There is no public transportation going to Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower. If you don’t have a car then prepare to walk uphill for about half an hour to an hour depending on your pace.

If you have a vehicle, it only takes 10 minutes from Wakkanai JR Station to Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower. There is a free parking area near the tower.




Overall rating


  1. That's a beautiful building. I will include it in my itinerary next time I visit Wakkanai.


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