Hamada (浜田市 Hamada-shi?) is a city located in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. It is the third largest city in the prefecture and is located at the southwestern end of the prefecture. It is a coastal city on the Sea of Japan and possesses beautiful white sand beaches, which make the city a popular destination for local tourists in the summer. Although Hamada is a relatively small city, it is conveniently located on the expressway across Chugoku to Hiroshima City with a journey time of about 1 hour 40 minutes. The city was founded on November 3, 1940. On October 1, 2005, the towns of Asahi, Kanagi and Misumi, and the village of Yasaka (all from Naka District) were merged into Hamada. Therefore, Naka District was dissolved as a result of this merger. As of March 2011, Hamada City has an estimated population of 61,286, with roughly 43,000 people living in the coastal urban 'city' area. The prefectural university (The University of Shimane) is located in Hamada, as is the Institute for Northeast Asian Research. Hamada is one of the few cities in the region to possess a heavy tonnage shipping port. The Hamada Commercial Port can accept vessles up to a maximum of 50,000 tonnes deadweight (DWT).