A town of heavy industries centered on iron
he name of the city is derived from an Ainu word "Mo Ruerani", which means "a small downward road". The origin of Muroran is the trading place called Etomo-basho, which was established by the Matsumae clan in order to trade with the Ainu people during the Keicho period (around 1600). A trading post called Unjo-ya was built there. When the Muroran Kaisekisho (sea barrier station) was established in Muroran Village (Sakimori Town) in 1872, the excavation of the Sapporo Hondo (main road) connecting Hakodate, Mori, Muroran and Sapporo was started as the first step in the Hokkaido development plan. Since then, the establishment of a regular service between Muroran and Mori, the construction of the railway between Muroran and Iwamizawa by a coal mine railway company, and the start of a regular line of steamers connecting Muroran, Hakodate and Aomori by Nippon Yusen have helped the Muroran Port develop as a chief part of land/sea transportation between Honshu and Hokkaido. Currently, Muroran is a harbor city and a center of the heavy chemical industry representing Hokkaido, with a group of large plants surrounding the harbor. It has a population of approximately eighty-eight thousand people.