Prefectures of Japan

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Map of the regions and prefectures of Japan

Prefectures of Japan (都道府県 todōfuken?) are one of the basic local entities of Japan.[1] There are the 47 subdivisions of the island nation. Prefectures are the governmental bodies of Japan which are larger than cities, towns, and villages.

History[change | change source]

The former provinces of Japan were converted into prefectures between 1879 and 1876.[2]

The term todofuken combines suffixes which recognize Japan's 47 largest sub-national jurisdictions,[1] including

  • -to ....  one "metropolis" (都 -to'), which means Tokyo;[3]
  • -do ....  one “circuit” (道 -dō), which means Hokkaidō;
  • -fu ....  two urban prefectures (府 -fu), which means Osaka and Kyoto; and
  • -ken ... forty-three other prefectures (県 -ken).

Lists of prefectures[change | change source]

The different systems of parsing frame the ways in which Japanese prefectures are perceived.

List in Japanese ISO order[change | change source]

Reading of Imperial decree which established prefectures

The prefectures are also often grouped into nine regions (Chihō). Those regions are not formally specified, they do not have elected officials, nor are they corporate bodies. However, the practice of ordering prefectures based on their geographic region is traditional.[2] This ordering is mirrored in Japan's International Organization for Standardization (ISO) coding.[4] From north to south, the prefectures of Japan and their commonly associated regions are listed in traditional and in ISO 3166-2:JP order:

Hokkaidō

1. Hokkaidō

Tōhoku

2. Aomori
3. Iwate
4. Miyagi
5. Akita
6. Yamagata
7. Fukushima

Kantō

8. Ibaraki
9. Tochigi
10. Gunma
11. Saitama
12. Chiba
13. Tokyo[3]
14. Kanagawa

Chūbu

15. Niigata
16. Toyama
17. Ishikawa
18. Fukui
19. Yamanashi
20. Nagano
21. Gifu
22. Shizuoka
23. Aichi

Kansai

24. Mie
25. Shiga
26. Kyoto
27. Osaka
28. Hyōgo
29. Nara
30. Wakayama

Chūgoku

31. Tottori
32. Shimane
33. Okayama
34. Hiroshima
35. Yamaguchi

Shikoku

36. Tokushima
37. Kagawa
38. Ehime
39. Kōchi

Kyūshū

40. Fukuoka
41. Saga
42. Nagasaki
43. Kumamoto
44. Ōita
45. Miyazaki
46. Kagoshima

Okinawa


47. Okinawa

Okinawa Prefecture is traditionally parsed as part of the Kyūshū region of Japan.[5] Okinawa Prefecture is made up of islands which are southwest of the island of Kyushu.[6] The Japanese government recognize the prefecture as its own region in evolving 9-region, 11-region and 13-region systems.[7]

List in Western alphabetical order[change | change source]

The default alphabetic order in this sortable table can be altered to mirror the traditional Japanese regions and ISO parsing.
Prefecture Japanese Capital Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.png
Region
Island Population1 Area2 Density3 Distr. Municip. ISO
Aichi 愛知県 Nagoya Chūbu Honshū 7,043,235 5,153.81 1,366 15 88 JP-23
Akita 秋田県 Akita Tōhoku Honshū 1,189,215 11,612.11 102 8 29 JP-05
Aomori 青森県 Aomori Tōhoku Honshū 1,475,635 9,606.26 154 8 61 JP-02
Chiba 千葉県 Chiba Kantō Honshū 5,926,349 5,156.15 1,149 9 80 JP-12
Ehime 愛媛県 Matsuyama Shikoku Shikoku 1,493,126 5,676.44 263 7 28 JP-38
Fukui 福井県 Fukui Chūbu Honshū 828,960 4,188.76 198 10 29 JP-18
Fukuoka 福岡県 Fukuoka Kyūshū Kyūshū 5,015,666 4,971.01 1,009 17 91 JP-40
Fukushima 福島県 Fukushima Tōhoku Honshū 2,126,998 13,782.54 154 14 85 JP-07
Gifu 岐阜県 Gifu Chūbu Honshū 2,107,687 10,598.18 199 11 49 JP-21
Gunma 群馬県 Maebashi Kantō Honshū 2,024,820 6,363.16 318 12 61 JP-10
Hiroshima 広島県 Hiroshima Chūgoku Honshū 2,878,949 8,476.95 340 10 37 JP-34
Hokkaidō 北海道 Sapporo Hokkaidō Hokkaidō 5,682,950 83,452.47 68 66 207 JP-01
Hyōgo 兵庫県 Kobe Kansai Honshū 5,550,742 8,392.42 661 13 60 JP-28
Ibaraki 茨城県 Mito Kantō Honshū 2,985,424 6,095.62 490 13 61 JP-08
Ishikawa 石川県 Kanazawa Chūbu Honshū 1,180,935 4,185.32 282 7 25 JP-17
Iwate 岩手県 Morioka Tōhoku Honshū 1,416,198 15,278.51 93 12 46 JP-03
Kagawa 香川県 Takamatsu Shikoku Shikoku 1,022,843 1,861.70 549 5 17 JP-37
Kagoshima 鹿児島県 Kagoshima Kyūshū Kyūshū 1,786,214 9,132.42 196 11 49 JP-46
Kanagawa 神奈川県 Yokohama Kantō Honshū 8,489,932 2,415.42 3,515 7 35 JP-14
Kōchi 高知県 Kōchi Shikoku Shikoku 813,980 7,104.70 115 6 35 JP-39
Kumamoto 熊本県 Kumamoto Kyūshū Kyūshū 1,859,451 6,908.45 269 10 48 JP-43
Kyoto 京都府 Kyoto Kansai Honshū 2,644,331 4,612.93 573 6 28 JP-26
Mie 三重県 Tsu Kansai Honshū 1,857,365 5760.72 322 7 29 JP-24
Miyagi 宮城県 Sendai Tōhoku Honshū 2,365,204 7,285.16 325 10 36 JP-04
Miyazaki 宮崎県 Miyazaki Kyūshū Kyūshū 1,170,023 6,684.67 175 8 30 JP-45
Nagano 長野県 Nagano Chūbu Honshū 2,214,409 12,598.48 163 16 120 JP-20
Nagasaki 長崎県 Nagasaki Kyūshū Kyūshū 1,516,536 4,092.80 371 9 79 JP-42
Nara 奈良県 Nara Kansai Honshū 1,442,862 3,691.09 391 8 47 JP-29
Niigata 新潟県 Niigata Chūbu Honshū 2,475,724 12,582.37 197 16 111 JP-15
Ōita 大分県 Ōita Kyūshū Kyūshū 1,221,128 5,804.24 210 12 58 JP-44
Okayama 岡山県 Okayama Chūgoku Honshū 1,950,656 7,008.63 278 18 78 JP-33
Okinawa 沖縄県 Naha Kyūshū Ryūkyū
Islands
1,318,281 2,271.30 580 5 41 JP-47
Osaka 大阪府 Osaka Kansai Honshū 8,804,806 1,893.18 4,652 5 44 JP-27
Saga 佐賀県 Saga Kyūshū Kyūshū 876,664 2,439.23 359 8 49 JP-41
Saitama 埼玉県 Saitama Kantō Honshū 6,938,004 3,767.09 1,827 9 90 JP-11
Shiga 滋賀県 Ōtsu Kansai Honshū 1,342,811 4,017.36 334 11 50 JP-25
Shimane 島根県 Matsue Chūgoku Honshū 761,499 6,707.32 114 12 59 JP-32
Shizuoka 静岡県 Shizuoka Chūbu Honshū 3,767,427 7,328.61 484 12 74 JP-22
Tochigi 栃木県 Utsunomiya Kantō Honshū 2,004,787 6,408.28 313 7 33 JP-09
Tokushima 徳島県 Tokushima Shikoku Shikoku 823,997 4,145.26 199 10 50 JP-36
Tokyo[3] 東京都 Shinjuku Kantō Honshū 12,059,237 2,187.08 5,514 1 39 JP-13
Tottori 鳥取県 Tottori Chūgoku Honshū 613,229 3,507.19 175 6 39 JP-31
Toyama 富山県 Toyama Chūbu Honshū 1,120,843 4,247.22 264 6 27 JP-16
Wakayama 和歌山県 Wakayama Kansai Honshū 1,069,839 4,725.55 226 7 50 JP-30
Yamagata 山形県 Yamagata Tōhoku Honshū 1,244,040 9,323.34 133 9 44 JP-06
Yamaguchi 山口県 Yamaguchi Chūgoku Honshū 1,528,107 6,110.76 250 11 56 JP-35
Yamanashi 山梨県 Kōfu Chūbu Honshū 888,170 4,465.37 199 8 64 JP-19
Notes: 1- Population as of 2000; 2- Area km2; 3- Density per km2

Related pages[change | change source]

Administrative divisions of Japan
National

Sub-national
Local

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Web-Japan.org, "Local self-government," p. 1; retrieved 2012-12-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2002). "Provinces and prefectures" in Japan encyclopedia, p. 780.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Tokyo Prefecture means Tokyo-fu (東京府?, 1869-1943); and Tokyo, Tokyo means City of Tokyo (東京市 Tōkyō-shi?, 1869-1943). Tokyo means the Tokyo Metropolis (東京都 Tōkyō-to?, 1943-present).
  4. See ISO 3166
  5. Kanno, Eiji. (1998). New Japan Solo, p. 397; excerpt, "Administratively, Okinawa is part of Kyushu Region, even though it is l .000 km (625 miles) southwest of Kagoshima."
  6. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Okinawa-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, pp. 746-747.
  7. Hook, Glenn D. (2011). Decoding Boundaries in Contemporary Japan: The Koizumi Administration and Beyond, pp. 145-146.

Further reading[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]