Ariake Sea

Satellite image of the Ariake Sea, 2007

The Ariake Sea (Japanese有 明海, Ariake -kai ) is a bay of the East China Sea off the Japanese island of Kyushu.


The bay is 90 km long, an average of 17 km wide and has an area of ​​1700 km ².

To the east in the bay dominates the Shimabara Peninsula, north of which is located at the mouth of Honmyo -gawa the Isahaya Bay (谏 早 湾, Isahaya - wan). The southern part of the Ariake Sea off the peninsula is also called Shimabara Bay (岛 原 湾, Shimabara - wan). The southern border is formed by the Amakusa Islands, with their opposite side the Yatsushiro Sea is located, which is in turn connected directly to the Ariake Sea. About the Hayasaki Strait (早 崎 瀬 戸, Hayasaki - seto ) between the Shimabara Peninsula and the island Shimoshima the Amakusa Islands it is connected to the East China Sea, where the sea area at this point Amakusa - nada (天 草滩) is called.

In the Ariake Sea lead eight Class 1 rivers - Chikugo -gawa, Yabe -gawa, Kase -gawa, Rokkaku -gawa, Honmyo -gawa, Kikuchi -gawa, Shirakawa and Midorikawa - with a catchment area of ​​6852 km ², and 104 class 2 rivers with a catchment area of ​​1303.91 km ². The Ariake Sea thus has a total catchment area of 8155.91 km ².

The Ariake Sea is only an average of 20 m relatively shallow and also has six meters with the highest tides in Japan. This form during low tide large watt levels with a width of five to seven kilometers, the 1992 had an area of ​​207 km ². Due to the flood deposited per year, about five centimeters of sediment from.

Human use

Used the extensive tidal flats for nori cultivation, so that two -thirds of the total Japanese production comes from here. In addition, early attempts to use the land to dry up, the first such action for the reign of the Empress Suiko (r. 593-628 ) was occupied. Until the 1970s, as piece by piece a total of 266 km ² were gained new territory. For these reasons coastline has changed considerably over the centuries and at river mouths are extensive fertile but highly flood -risk levels, to a great extent only up to three meters above sea level.

To the west is the Isahaya level (谏 早 平野, Isahaya heiya ) of Honmyo -gawa, which is now located because of the 450 years of land reclamation measures about 35 km ² and the largest granary of the Nagasaki prefecture. To the north is the extensive and very rich in water Saga level (佐贺 平野, Saga heiya ) and in the west the Kikuchi - level (菊池 平野, Kikuchi heiya ) of the Kikuchi -gawa, and the Kumamoto - level (熊 本 平野, Kumamoto heiya ) of Shirakawa and Midorikawa.


The prefectures and municipalities on the coast clockwise are:

  • Saga Prefecture tare
  • Kashima
  • Shiroishi
  • Saga
  • Yanagawa
  • Miyama
  • Omuta
  • Arao
  • Nagasu
  • Tamana
  • Kumamoto
  • Uto
  • Uki
  • Kami- Amakusa
  • Amakusa
  • Minami- Shimabara
  • Shimabara
  • Ounces
  • Isahaya