Geography of Japan

I use a lot of geographical terms on this website, and wanted to make a quick explanation of the different words for those who may be unfamiliar. I’ll try to keep it simple and as painless as possible!

Japan is divided into “prefectures” which are much like the American-style states, only less autonomous. There are 47 prefectures in Japan. Prefectures are then grouped into regions which often share certain characteristics, culture, climate, etc. Here is a map of Japan with the prefectures named:

 photo 2000px-Regions_and_Prefectures_of_Japan_2.svg.png
Thanks Wikipedia!



Starting from the top, the regions are as follows:

Red – Hokkaido (only Hokkaido Prefecture)
Yellow – Tohoku (Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi, Fukushima)
Green – Kanto (Tokyo, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa)
Blue – Chubu (Niigata, Nagano, Yamanashi*, Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui)
Purple – Kansai** (Shiga, Mie, Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, Wakayama, Hyogo)
Pink – Shikoku (Tokushima, Ehime, Kochi, Kagawa)
Orange – Chugoku (Okayama, Tottori, Shimane, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi)
Grey – Kyushu (Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Oita, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Okinawa***)

*Yamanashi is sometimes grouped in Kanto.
**Kansai is also called Kinki
***Okinawa is often also considered by itself, like Hokkaido, but sometimes grouped into Kyushu

Further, the prefectures of Niigata, Ishikawa, Toyama, and Fukui (Japan Sea prefectures in the Chubu region) form the subregion of Hokuriku. I only add this particular subregion because I tend to use it, whereas the other subregion terms I don’t. Also, Kansai people sometimes don’t like Mie included in Kansai. But Mie definitely doesn’t really fit with Chubu, so… poor Mie!

I hope that helps with any confusion about names I might use on this website! If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask.

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