Comparison of regions of Japan

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Traditional regions of Japan

The Comparison of regions of Japan highlights differences and similarities. The regions of Japan are a fusion of historical divisions and modern administrative needs".[1]

Geography and culture[change | change source]

The geography and administrative subdivisions of Japan have evolved and changed during the course of its history. Since the late-7th century, the regions of Japan have been grouped according to geographic position.[2]

In the Meiji period, the modern regional system was made by Imperial decree. Japan was divided into regions (chihō). A regional council (chihō gyōsei kyōgisai) was headed by the governor of the most powerful prefecture in the regional grouping. The council also included regional chiefs of central government ministries.[3] In this time, political development is marked by persistent loyalty to region and locality.[4]

Kansai region[change | change source]

The Kansai region is used as a basic framework for description and comparison.[5]

Kinai[change | change source]

Since the late-7th century, the Kinai region, also known as Go-Kinai, included the "Five Home Provinces" which surrounded the old capital city of Kyoto.[6] In 645, Kinai was created as part of the Taika Reform.[7] These lands are also called the Kansai region[8] or Kinki.[9]

Table: Kansai region[change | change source]

Province Province capital Gokishichido.svg
Pre-modern regions
Prefecture Prefecture capital Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.png
Regions today
Notes
Izumi[10] Kinai Osaka Osaka Kansai created in 716 from Kawachi, then rejoined back in 740, later re-split in 757
Kawachi[11] Kinai Osaka Osaka Kansai
Settsu[12] Osaka Kinai Hyōgo; Osaka Kobe; Osaka Kansai
Yamashiro[13] Kyoto Kinai Kyoto; Nara Kyoto; Nara Kansai
Yamato[14] Wakigami Kinai Nara Nara Kansai northern Nara without Yoshino

Kantō region[change | change source]

The Kantō region is used as a basic framework for description and comparison.[5]

Tōkaidō[change | change source]

Since the late-7th century, the Tōkaidō region or "Eastern Sea Circuit" was made up of 15 provinces on the Pacific Ocean from Sendai Bay to Kinai. Fuji-san, Tokyo, Yokohama, and other important or well-known places are in this region.[6] Tōkaidō also names a road which connects the provincial capitals of this region on the island of Honshū.[15]

Table: Kanto Region[change | change source]

Province Province capital Gokishichido.svg
Pre-modern regions
Prefecture Prefecture capital Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.png
Regions today
Notes
Awa Minamibōsō Tōkaidō Chiba; Ibaraki Chiba; Mito Kantō created in 718 from Kazusa, then rejoined back in 741, later re-split in 781
Hitachi near Ishioka Tōkaidō Ibaraki Mito Kantō
Iga Ueno Tōkaidō Mie Tsu Kansai created in 680 from Ise
Ise Uji-Yamada Tōkaidō Mie Tsu Kansai
Izu Tōkaidō Shizuoka; Tokyo Shizuoka; Tokyo Chūbu created 680 from Suruga
Kai Tōkaidō Yamanashi Kōfu Chūbu
Kazusa near Ichihara Tōkaidō Chiba Chiba Kantō created from Fusa in the 7th centur
Mikawa Tōkaidō Aichi Nagoya Chūbu
Musashi near Fuchu Tōkaidō Kanagawa; Tokyo; Saitama Yokohama; Tokyo; Saitama Kantō transferred in 771 from Tōsandō
Owari near Inazawa Tōkaidō Aichi Nagoya Chūbu
Sagami near Hiratsuka Tōkaidō Kanagawa Yokohama Kantō
Shima Tōkaidō Mie Tsu Kansai created at the beginning of the 8th century from Ise
Shimōsa Tōkaidō Chiba; Ibaraki Chiba; Mito Kantō created from Fusa in the 7th century
Suruga Tōkaidō Shizuoka Shizuoka Chūbu
Tōtōmi Tōkaidō Shizuoka Shizuoka Chūbu

Tōhoku region[change | change source]

The Tōhoku region is used as a basic framework for description and comparison.[5]

Tōsandō[change | change source]

Since the late-7th century, the Tōsandō region or "Eastern Mountain Circuit" was made up of 13 provinces.[6] Tōsandō also names a road which connects the provincial capitals of this region on the island of Honshū.[16] Tōsandō included Musashi Province after 711.

Table: Tōhoku region[change | change source]

Province Province capital Gokishichido.svg
Pre-modern regions
Prefecture Prefecture capital Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.png
Regions today
Notes
Hida Tōsandō Gifu capital city Chūbu notes
Iwaki Tōsandō Fukushima; Miyagi Fukushima; Miyagi Tōhoku created during the Meiji Restoration in 1868 from Mutsu
Iwashiro Tōsandō Fukushima Fukushima Tōhoku created during the Meiji Restoration in 1868 from Mutsu
Kōzuke Maebashi Tōsandō Gunma Maebashi Kantō broke off from Kenu during the 4th century
Mino near Gifu Tōsandō Gifu Gifu Chūbu notes
Mutsu Tōsandō Aomori, Iwate Morioka Tōhoku created in the 7th century from Hitachi
Ōmi Ōtsu Tōsandō Shiga Ōtsu Tōhoku notes
Rikuchū Tōsandō Akita; Iwate; Miyagi Akita; Morioka; Sendai Tōhoku created during the Meiji Restoration in 1868 from Mutsu
Rikuzen Tōsandō Iwate Morioka Tōhoku created during the Meiji Restoration in 1868 from Mutsu
Shimotsuke Tōsandō Tochigi Utsunomiya Kantō created from Kenu during the 4th century
Shinano Matsumoto Tōsandō Nagano Nagano Chūbu notes
Suwa Tōsandō Nagano Nagano Chūbu created in 721 from Shinano, later rejoined back in 731
Uzen Tōsandō Yamagata Yamagata Tōhoku created from Dewa in 1868
Ugo Tōsandō Akita; Yamagata Akita; Yamagata Tōhoku created from Dewa during in 1868

Chūbu region[change | change source]

The Chūbu region is used as a basic framework for description and comparison.[5]

Hokurikudō[change | change source]

Since the late-7th century, the Hokurikudō region or the "Northern-land Circuit" was made up of 7 provinces on the Sea of Japan.[17] Hokurikudō also names a road which connects the provincial capitals of this region on the island of Honshū.[18]

Table: Chūbu region[change | change source]

Province Province capital Gokishichido.svg
Pre-modern regions
Prefecture Prefecture capital Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.png
Regions today
Notes
Echigo Hokurikudō Niigata[17] Niigata Chūbu created from Koshi in late-7th century
Echizen Echizen Hokurikudō Fukui Fukui Chūbu created from Koshi in late-7th century
Etchū Takaoka Hokurikudō Toyama[17] Toyama Chūbu created from Koshi in late-7th century
Kaga Hokurikudō Ishikawa[17] Kanazawa Chūbu created in 823 from Echizen
Noto Nanao Hokurikudō Ishikawa Kanazawa Chūbu created in 718 from Echizen, then part of Etchū in 741; split from Etchū in 757
Sado Hokurikudō Niigata Niigata Chūbu occupied in 743 by Echigo, later re-split in 752
Wakasa Obama Hokurikudō Fukui[17] Fukui Chūbu

Chūgoku region[change | change source]

The Chūgoku region is used as a basic framework for description and comparison.[5]

San'indō[change | change source]

Since the late-7th century, the San'indō region or "Mountain-shade Circuit" was made up of 8 provinces on the Sea of Japan.[19] San'indō also names a road which connects the provincial capitals of this region on the island of Honshū.[20]

San'yōdō[change | change source]

Since the late-7th century, the San'yōdō region or "Mountain-sun Circuit" was made up of provinces on south or 'sunny' side of the mountains.[19] San'indō also names a road which connects the 8 provincial capitals of this region on the island of Honshū.[20]

Table: Chūgoku region[change | change source]

Province Province capital Gokishichido.svg
Pre-modern regions
Prefecture Prefecture capital Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.png
Regions today
Notes
Aki San'yōdō Hiroshima Hiroshima Chūgoku
Bingo[20] Fuchu San'yōdō Hiroshima Hiroshima Chūgoku created from Kibi in late-7th century
Bitchū[20] Soja San'yōdō Okayama Okayama Chūgoku created from Kibi in late-7th century
Bizen[20] near Okayama San'yōdō Okayama Okayama Chūgoku created from Kibi in late-7th century
Harima[20] Himeji San'yōdō Hyōgo Kobe Chūgoku
Hōki[20] near Kurayoshi San'indō Tottori Tottori Chūgoku
Inaba[20] Tottori San'indō Tottori Tottori Chūgoku
Iwami[20] Hamada San'indō Shimane Shimane Chūgoku
Izumo[20] Matsue San'indō Shimane Matsue Chūgoku
Mimasaka,[20] Tsuyama San'yōdō Okayama Okayama Chūgoku created in 713 from Bizen
Nagato[20] Shimonoseki San'yōdō Yamaguchi Yamaguchi Chūgoku
Oki[20] Saigō San'indō Shimane Shimane Chūgoku
Suō Hofu San'yōdō Yamaguchi Yamaguchi Chūgoku
Tajima[20] Hidaka San'indō Hyōgo Kobe Chūgoku
Tamba,[20] Kameoka San'indō Hyōgo; Kyoto Kobe Chūgoku created from Ni in 713
Tango,[20] Maizuru; Miyazu San'indō Kyoto Kyoto Chūgoku created from Ni in 713

Shikoku region[change | change source]

The Shikoku region is used as a basic framework for description and comparison.[5]

Nankaidō[change | change source]

Since the late-7th century, the Nankaidō region or the "South-sea Circuit" made up of 6 provinces (the island of Awaji, the 4 provinces of Shikoku, and Kishiu on Honshū).[6] Nankaidō also names a road which connects the provincial capitals of this region.[21]

Table: Shikoku region[change | change source]

Province Province capital Gokishichido.svg
Pre-modern regions
Prefecture Prefecture capital Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.png
Regions today
Notes
Awa[21] Nankaidō Tokushima Tokushima Shikoku
Awaji[21] Nankaidō Hyōgo Kobe Kansai
Iyo[21] Imabari Nankaidō Ehime Matsuyama Shikoku
Kii[21] Nankaidō Wakayama Wakayama Kansai
Sanuki[21] Nankaidō Kagawa Takamatsu Shikoku
Tosa[21] near Nantoku Nankaidō Kōchi Kōchi Shikoku

Kyūshū region[change | change source]

The Kyūshū region is used as a basic framework for description and comparison.[5]

Since the late-7th century, the Saikaidō region or the "West-sea Circuit" was made up of the 9 provinces of the Kyūshū region.[22] Saikaidō also names a road which connected the provincial capitals of this region.

After 1878, the region included the Ryukyu Islands.

Table: Kyūshū region[change | change source]

Province Province capital Gokishichido.svg
Pre-modern regions
Prefecture Prefecture capital Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.png
Regions today
Notes
Buzen near Toyatsu Saikaidō Fukuoka; Ōita Fukuoka; Ōita Kyūshū created from Toyo at the end of the 7th century
Bungo Saikaidō Ōita Ōita Kyūshū created from Toyo at the end of the 7th century
Chikuzen near Dazifu Saikaidō Fukuoka Fukuoka Kyūshū created from Chikushi until the end of the 7th century
Chikugo near Kurume Saikaidō Fukuoka Fukuoka Kyūshū created from Chikushi until the end of the 7th century
Hizen near Saga Saikaidō Nagasaki; Saga Nagasaki; Saga Kyūshū created from Hi until the end of the 7th century
Higo Saikaidō Kumamoto Kumamoto Kyūshū created from Hi until the end of the 7th century
Hyūga near Saito Saikaidō Miyazaki Miyazaki Kyūshū
Iki Iki Saikaidō Nagasaki Nagasaki Kyūshū also known as Ikishima
Okinawa Shuri Saikaidō Okinawa Naha annexed in 1878-79; traditional sub-region, but some sources consider the Ryukyu Islands as a distinct region
Ōsumi near Kokubu Saikaidō Kagoshima Kagoshima Kyūshū created in 702 from Hyūga
Satsuma Saikaidō Kagoshima Kagoshima Kyūshū created in 702 from Hyūga
Tane Saikaidō Kagoshima Kagoshima Kyūshū created in 702 from Hyūga, later occupied in 824 by Ōsumi; islands of Tanegashima and Yakushima
Tsushima Tsushima Saikaidō Nagasaki Nagasaki Kyūshū also known as Tsushimajima

Hokkaidō region[change | change source]

The Hokkaidō region is used as a basic framework for description and comparison.[5]

In the late 19th-century, the Hokkaidō region or "North Sea Circuit" was made up of the 10 provinces of Yezo. The Kurile Islands became an 11th northern province which was added in 1875.[6]

Table: Hokkaidō region[change | change source]

Province Province capital Gokishichido.svg
Pre-modern regions
Prefecture Prefecture capital Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.png
Regions today
Notes
Hokkaidō, 1886-  [23] Tōhoku Hokkaidō, 1947-  [23] Sapporo Hokkaidō the far north is sub-region of Tōhoku until 20th century

Related pages[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), "Regions of Japan"; retrieved 2012-4-11.
  2. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Provinces and prefectures" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 780; excerpt, "Japan's former provinces were converted into prefectures by the Meiji government ... [and] grouped, according to geographic position, into the 'five provinces of the Kinai' and 'seven circuits'."
  3. Steiner, Kurt. (1965). Local Government in Japan, p. 62.
  4. Fraser, Andrew et al. (1995). Japan's early parliaments, 1890-1905: structure, issues, and trends, p. 67.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Tames, Richard. (2008). A Traveller's History of Japan, pp. 264-267; see map at p. 265.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Gilman, Daniel Coit and Harry Thurston. (1907). "Japan," in The New International Encyclopædia, Vol. 11, p. 132.
  7. Nussbaum, "Kinai," at 521; excerpt, "This region is still called Kinai, though its area now corresponds only vaguely to the provinces it once encompassed."
  8. Nussbaum, "Kansai," p. 477; excerpt, "Region between Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto without well-defined borders (as opposed to the term Kinki").
  9. Nussbaum, "Kinki," p. 522.
  10. Nussbaum, "Provinces and Prefectures," p. 780.
  11. Nussbaum, "Kawachi," p. 496.
  12. Nussbaum, "Yamato," p. 846.
  13. Nussbaum, "Yamashiro," p. 1045.
  14. Nussbaum, "Yamato," p. 1046.
  15. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 57 n1; Nussbaum, "Tōkaidō" at p. 973.
  16. Titsingh, p. 57 n1; Nussbaum, "Tōsandō" at p. 988; excerpt, "The road ... was called Ura-kaidō ("the wrong path"), as opposed to the Tōkaidō, called Omote-kaidō ("the right path")."
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Nussbaum, "Hokuriku" at p. 344; excerpt, "It is now called Tōhoku."
  18. Nussbaum, "Hokurikudō" at p. 345.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Gilman, p. 132; excerpt, "... frequently spoken of as [part of] Chūgoku region or the 'central provinces'".
  20. 20.00 20.01 20.02 20.03 20.04 20.05 20.06 20.07 20.08 20.09 20.10 20.11 20.12 20.13 20.14 20.15 Titsingh, p. 65 n3; Nussbaum, "San'in" at p. 817.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 Titsingh, pp. 65-66 n3.
  22. Gilman, p. 132; excerpt, "For administrative purposes the Empire ... comprises the Loo-choo Islands, annexed in 1878-79. and is grouped with Kiushiu as Okinawa Ken."
  23. 23.0 23.1 Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2002). "Hokkaido" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 343; Travel-around-Japan.com, "Former Hokkaido Government office building"; retrieved 2012-4-11.