Kushiro, known as the "town of mist", is situated in the south eastern part of Hokkaido. With about 200,000 inhabitants, it is the largest city in the region and the base for deep-sea fishing. The marine products industry of Kushiro has flourished since the early 20 th century and many streets of this port town retain features of this era. Thanks to its strategic location on Hokkaido's Eastern Pacific seaboard and the area's only ice free port, Kushiro is experiencing steady growth as an important economic, social and cultural centre. A literary atmosphere can be attributed to the poet and novelist Takuboku Ishikawa, who lived here in the early 20th century. To the north of Kushiro lies one of its most renowned attractions, the Kushiro Shitsugen, Japan's largest marshland. Stretching out over the majority of the Kushiro Plain, it accounts for 60 percent of Japan's wetland and was designated to become the country's 28th National Park in 1987. As the marsh is considered one of the greatest treasure houses of flora and fauna in Japan, its protection, preservation and wise use are promoted by a national agreement. Equally famous is the marshland as the habitat of the Tancho (Japanese Crane). At one time, it could be seen in many places in Japan, but their numbers dwindled in the Meiji Era due to over hunting and environmental changes. In the late 19 th century, the cranes were thought to be almost extinct. Then several dozens cranes were discovered in the depths of the Kushiro Shitsugen, and after establishing special crane reserves, the birds rehabilitation has succeeded.