The city of Aomori owes its development to its unique position as transportation and distribution hub for the north of Japan. This vital factor also holds out great promise for continued urban development as Aomori heads into the 21st century. With a population of about 290,000, Aomori is an attractive modern city, bordered on one side by the Hakkoda mountain range and on the other by the sea and a fine natural harbor. Sitting at the southern end of the international waters of the Tsugaru Straits, Aomori is situated at approximately the same latitude as New York, Beijing, and Rome. As one of Japan's Northern urban centers, Aomori hopes to play an international role in circulating information about life in snowy regions.