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For the anime, see Ōban Star-Racers
The Ōban (大判) was the largest denomination, valued at 10 Ryōs. Here, a Keichō Ōban, minted from 1601.
Maneki Neko, with Ōban attached to collar

An Ōban was a monetary ovoid gold plate, and the largest denomination of Tokugawa coinage. Tokugawa coinage worked according to a triple monetary standard, using gold, silver and bronze coins, each with their own denominations.[1]

Keichō gold coinage: Ōban, Koban, Ichibuban, 1601-1695.

The first Oban were minted by the Gotō family under the orders of Hideyoshi in 1588.[2]

The Ōban (大判) was equivalent to ten Ryōs, or ten Koban (小判) plates, with a weight of 165 g.


  1. ^ Metzler p.15
  2. ^ The Cambridge History of Japan: Early modern Japan by John Whitney Hall p.61 [1]


Coordinates: 56°24′44″N 5°28′13″W / 56.412356°N 5.470232°W / 56.412356; -5.470232
Scottish Gaelic: An t-Oban
Scots: Oban

Oban shown within Scotland
Population 8,120 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference NM859298
Council area Argyll and Bute
Lieutenancy area Argyll and Bute
Constituent country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town OBAN
Postcode district PA34
Dialling code 01631
Police Strathclyde
Fire Strathclyde
Ambulance Scottish
European Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Argyll and Bute
Scottish Parliament Argyll and Bute
List of places: UKScotland

Oban (An t-Òban in Scottish Gaelic meaning The Little Bay) is a resort town within the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland. It has a total resident population of 8,120[1]. Despite its small size, it is the largest town between Helensburgh and Fort William and during the tourist season the town can be crowded by up to 25,000 people. Oban occupies a beautiful setting in the Firth of Lorn. Oban Bay is a near perfect horseshoe bay, protected by the island of Kerrera, and beyond Kerrera is Mull. To the north is the long low island of Lismore, and the mountains of Morvern and Ardgour.

Oban "The Gateway to the Isles" has a large Gaelic speaking population of 1200, although most of this population speak English . All road and street signs are translated into the Scottish language.

Attractions in Oban include the Waterfront Centre, the Cathedral of St Columba, the Oban Distillery, Dunollie Castle, Dunstaffnage Castle and McCaig's Tower, which dominates the town's skyline. Oban is an excellent base from which to explore the sights of Kilmartin Glen.

The Oban Tourist Information Centre, operated under VisitScotland, is located in the centre of the town in Argyll Square. It is housed in an old Church of Scotland building. In 2004, the Oban Tourist Information Centre was the busiestTemplate:Fact tourist office in Scotland, miles ahead of Edinburgh and Glasgow.




1940 to today

in 1889]]

During World War II, Oban was a busy port used by merchant and Royal Navy ships. The RN had a signal station near Ganavan which is now a private house. Also near Ganavan was a anti-submarine indicator loop station which detected any surface or submarine vessels between Oban, Mull and Lismore. There was a controlled minefield in the Sound of Kerrera which was controlled from a building near the caravan site at Gallanach. There is one surviving air raid shelter in the centre of Oban.

There was also a Royal Air Force flying boat base at Ganavan and on Kerrera. The airfield at North Connel was originally built by the Royal Air Force during World War II. A Sector Operations Room was built near the airfield and after the war this was extended to become the Royal Observer Corps Group HQ.

Oban was also important during the Cold War because the first Transatlantic Telephone Cable (TAT-1) came ashore at Gallanach Bay and this carried the "Hot Line" between the US and USSR Presidents. There was protected accommodation for the cable equipment at Gallanach Bay.


In 2003, Oban hosted the 100th Royal National Mod (a Gaelic festival), in anticipation of which many signs were replaced with bilingual versions. Not only was Oban the venue for the 100th Mod but it also hosted the centenary Mod in 1992 (the year it became Royal). The reason for the different dates for the 100th and the centenary being stoppages for the wars. Oban is considered the home of The Royal National Mod as the Mod was first held in Oban in 1892 with 10 competitors on a Saturday Afternoon. The 2009 Mod is to again be held in Oban.

The town boasts a two-screen cinema. Oban has also been used as a backdrop to several films including Ring of Bright Water and Morvern Callar. See [2].

The excellent Oban War and Peace Museum advances the education of present and future generations by collecting, maintaining, conserving and exhibiting items of historical and cultural interest relating to the Oban area in peace time and during the war years.


The local amateur football team is "Oban Saints" with a small stadium situated in Mossfield. However, shinty is a more popular game locally, with two major teams, Oban Camanachd and Oban Celtic, playing in the town. The Oban Times runs a popular "Spot the Shinty Ball" competition each week. Oban also boasts Oban Cricket Club that was formed in 2003 and play their home fixtures in nearby Taynuilt. The town is also home to the Oban Lorne rfc which are one of the more successful rugby teams to come from the Highlands.

The Highlanders are a WWE wrestling tag-team originally from (and billed) Oban. Scuba Diving is also readily available around Oban. There are many dive operators running services in and around the area. The wreck diving is spectacular, with the Sound of Mull offering some truly world-class dive sites. Although weather and visibility can be variable the local geography means that a dive somewhere can aways be achieved.

The largest weekend chess congress is held in Oban each year in the Royal Hotel. It usually takes place the last weekend of November or the first weekend of December and brings 150 - 200 players to Oban along with their families. The event is the one that most players look forward to with the warm friendly welcome and extra events that are put on.

The West Highland Tennis Championships are held annually in July at Atlantis Leisure and attract some of Scotland's best players to the town. Past champions include Colin Fleming and Judy Murray[2].


Oban High School and Scotland High School (located in sister city of Laurinburg, North Carolina) share an exchange programme which enlightens many students on the different and similar cultures within the two countries. The two schools have hosts families of 20 students (10 from each) which share experiences for two weeks in the summer (Oban) and 2 weeks in the autumn (Laurinburg). The exchange was expanded in 2007 to include a participating law enforcement officer from each community. The law enforcement officer exchange is during the same time as the schools' exchange.


Oban is served by Kilmore & Oban Parish Church of the Church of Scotland. [3] There are three church buildings in the united parish, namely at Glencruitten Road and the white church (opened in 1957) at Corran Esplanade in the town, as well as Kilmore Church. The minister (since 2007) is the Rev Dugald Cameron, who formerly served at St. John's Renfield Church, Glasgow. [3]

The mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Argyll and the Isles is St Columba's Cathedral at the north end of the Esplanade. The Cathedral was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and constructed between 1932 and 1959.

The Scottish Episcopal Church is represented in Oban by the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, situated in George Street. [4] It is one of two cathedrals of the united Diocese of Argyll and the Isles (Episcopal), the other being the Cathedral of the Isles in Millport.

There are several other churches in the town, including the Free Church of Scotland in Rockfield Road, the Baptist Church in Albany Street, Salvation Army in Stevenson Street and the Associated Presbyterian Church in Campbell Street. [5] The Congregational Church in Tweedale Street was built in 1880. [6]



Oban lies at the western end of the A85 road. It also has a railway station where a number of First ScotRail services operate to and from Glasgow Queen Street on a daily basis. The town is also an important ferry port, being Caledonian MacBrayne's busiest terminal. Oban is known as the Gateway to the Isles, with ferries sailing to the islands of Lismore, Colonsay, Islay, Coll, Tiree, Craignure on Mull, and to Castlebay in Barra and Lochboisdale in South Uist. In 2005 a brand new modern ferry terminal was opened. In 2007 a second link span opened now allowing two of the vessels to load/unload at the same time.

Scottish Citylink operate services from Glasgow's Buchanan bus station several times a day, and during the summer a service from Dundee via Perth is also operated.

West Coast Motors operate many local services and also coach links as far south as Campbeltown and as far north as Fort William.

Blue Bus operate a return service once a day from Livingston in West Lothian.

Oban is also reachable by plane via Oban Airport at the village of North Connel. The airport is currently being upgraded (costing some £4.2 million), so commercial planes can operate life-line island services, using Oban as a hub.

In 2007 a further airlink was created between Oban and west-central Scotland with a Seaplane service making it possible to fly from Glasgow city centre's Seaplane Terminal off the Clyde into the bay in Oban.

Town twinning

See also

  • Oban Times
  • Oban, New Zealand, a small village on Stewart Island, New Zealand, named for Oban

External links


  1. Analyser UV04
  2. [1]West Highland Tennis Week

Further reading

  • Hughes, Mike, The Hebrides at War Canongate Books 1998, ISBN 0-86241-771-6
  • Batstone, Stephanie, Wren's Eye View, The Adventures of a Visual Signaller, Parapress Ltd 1994, ISBN 1-898594-12-0 Written by a Wren based in Oban for most of WWII.


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