Nishiwaga, Iwate

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is a town located in Waga District, Iwate, Japan. The town was founded on November 1, 2005 from the merger of the town of Yuda and the village of Sawauchi. This merger occurred under pressure from the national government of Japan and in the face of steady but significant depopulating trends in Yuda and Sawauchi, as well as rural Japan in general. The new town's name came as the result of a competition open to entries from all residents of the former Yuda Town and Sawauchi Village, in preparation for the merger. The final decision was made by a vote of representatives from both municipalities. The chosen name, literally "West-Waga Town," reflects the status of the new town as comprising the western portion of Waga County, named for the Waga river (see Natural Setting below). A similar competition was held for the new town symbol and motto, all of which may be found on Nishiwaga's homepage, cited in the references section below.

As of October 1, 2000 population data, the town has an estimated population of 7,983 and a density of 13.51 persons per km². The total area is 590.78 km².

Natural setting

Nishiwaga has many natural onsen hot springs ("yukko" in the local dialect). There are several natural hot springs baths operated by the municipality, and inexpensive monthly passes are available to residents. There is also a hot spring heated sand bath ("suna-yukko") at one of the sites. Many traditional bed and breakfast inns operate in these...
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