Wakkanai Karafuto Museum - Hokkaido

Wakkanai Karafuto Museum (稚内市樺太記念館) is a museum dedicated to Karafuto Prefecture (South Sakhalin). It is located at 1-6-28 Minato (Wakkanai Fukuko Market 2F), Wakkanai City in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan.

Wakkanai Karafuto Museum

Wakkanai Karafuto Museum details

Opened in 2018, the Wakkanai Karafuto Museum also referred to as the Wakkanai Karafuto Memorial Hall houses hundreds of artifacts related to Karafuto Prefecture. For those unfamiliar with its history, Karafuto was a prefecture of Japan from 1907 to 1949. It is commonly known as South Sakhalin.

Wakkanai Karafuto Museum - Wakkanai City, Hokkaido Prefecture

The RX-78-2 Gundam manhole cover installed near the entrance of the museum

Karafuto was acquired by the Empire of Japan after the Russo-Japanese War. The area of Sakhalin south of 50°N was surrendered by the Russian Empire under the Treaty of Portsmouth. The Japanese government reclassified Karafuto from an "External Territory" in 1907 to a "Inner Land" in 1943.

Inside Wakkanai Karafuto Memorial Hall

Showa Period Minatomachi 1-Chome Shopping Street

Team Nicerio visits Wakkanai Karafuto Museum

Following Japan's surrender in World War II, the Japanese authority in Karafuto ceased to exist in 1945. On June 1, 1949, the Japanese government formally abolished Karafuto Prefecture as a legal entity. Japan surrendered its claims to Sakhalin in the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 but did not formally recognize Soviet authority over it.

FM Wappy Satellite Studio

Wakkanai Sakhalin Museum

The indoor playground of Wakkanai Karafuto Museum

2F Terrace

Wakkanai Fukuko Market

Wakkanai Fukuko Market as seen from the 2nd-floor viewing deck of Wakkanai Karafuto Museum

Today, visitors can see various displays related to Karafuto from the clothing and tools used by the Ainu people in Karafuto to photos and memorabilia showing how the prefecture looked like during the times when it was under the Japanese.

Karafuto Karafuto 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 Karafuto Museum has to offer. Please visit it and enjoy it with your own eyes.

My family and I visited Wakkanai Karafuto Museum last August 14, 2022, during the 3rd day of our 5-day Drive Up North road trip which was my 286th day here in Japan as an ALT under the JET Programme. While the museum has a total floor area of about two classrooms, it is packed with informative displays that remind visitors of the lands and lives lost due to the war. Overall, it’s a nice side trip if you are visiting the Wakkanai Fukuko Market.

Wakkanai Karafuto Museum Admission Fee

It’s FREE to enter and explore the Wakkanai Karafuto Museum. All you need to do is register in the logbook. There is also FREE parking around the establishment.

Wakkanai Karafuto Museum Operating Hours

Wakkanai Karafuto Museum is open from 10 AM to 5 PM.

The museum is closed every Monday (if Monday is a holiday, the following day will be closed).

Why visit Wakkanai Karafuto Museum?

If you’re a history buff like me, visiting Wakkanai Karafuto Museum is a must. You would learn a lot about Japan’s lost prefecture. It’s also a place to deepen your knowledge about Japan’s political and military history.

Getting to Wakkanai Karafuto Museum


From JR Wakkanai Station, you can ride the Soya Bus and board down at Minato 2-chrome bus stop. From there, Wakkanai Karafuto Museum is about a few meters away.

Another option is to walk from JR Wakkanai Station to Wakkanai Karafuto Museum. It would take around 12 – 15 minutes to reach it on foot.




Overall Rating


  1. I like that Gundam manhole cover.

    1. There are other Gundam manhole covers around Wakkanai and Teshio.


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