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This past summer on August 12, the city of Shimanto in Kochi Prefecture experienced a record-setting temperature of 41 degrees Celcius (105.8 Fahrenheit), the highest ever recorded in the country. But the little city on Japan’s southern island of Shikoku took the less than ideal title in stride, using it as a new way to promote the area. The city’s “41℃” campaign has been received positively by tourists and citizens alike, boosting the area’s tourism industry and bringing a little fame to the relatively unknown city.

Shimanto is actually a newly formed city that was created in 2005 from the merger of Nakamura City and Nishitosa Village. With a population of just over 35,000, Shimanto’s original claim to fame is its namesake river, the longest in Shikoku.

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Although the area is currently known as the hottest in all of Japan, it wasn’t always. Shimanto just recently took the title away from Kumagaya City in Saitama Prefecture and Tajimi City in Gifu Prefecture. Both areas experienced temperatures of 40.9 degrees Celsius (105.6 Fahrenheit) on August 16, 2007.

To promote the newest “No.1 hot town of Japan,” and as part of the “41℃” campaign, Shimanto’s tourism board has created three different styles of shirts. All of them have proven extremely popular, quickly selling out.

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They have also held various events promoting Shimanto and its hot reputation.

▼ “Japan’s hottest. 41℃ Kochi Prefecture, Shimanto City, Ekawasaki”Shimanto8

▼ “Welcome!! Japan’s hottest town. Kochi Prefecture, Shimanto City, Nishitosa Ekawasaki”Shimanto9

▼ “The hottest in Japan! To commemorate [our record of] 41℃, shaved ice is 41 yen!”
(41 yen = US$0.41) Shimanto10

Aside from making plenty of people sweat in its record-breaking heat, Shimanto City offers visitors a variety of beautiful sights.

▼  Ekawasaki Bridge
With a view this beautiful, it’s hard to believe the area can get so hot.

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▼  The Daimonji Okuribi event is held every year in the Nakamura area of Shimanto, which is also known as “Little Kyoto.” Daimonji Shimanto

▼  The four seasons in Shimanto. It doesn’t get anywhere near 41 degrees Celsius in the winter.Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 4.37.57 AM

The area is also famous for ayu salmon, the city’s official fish, which can be hand-caught in the Shimanto River, as well as various water sports and outdoor activities. So the next time you’re in Shikoku, why not stop by the hottest place in Japan? You’ll find yourself in a quaint river community, filled with a rich cultural history tied to the natural surroundings. Just be sure to bring a sweat towel in the summer.

Source: Yomiuri Online
Images: T-shirt (YouTube), Cut outs (Shiropi Diary, SLS Japan), Shaved ice (Naniwa Rojin), Scenery (Shimanto Facebook), Daimonji (Shimanto Blog), Four seasons (Shimanto Kankou)