Shown above is the Japan prefecture map. It is a map of Japan that is separated by regions which, in turn, are separated by prefectures. Prefectures are similar to provinces or states in other countries.
The East Asian country’s prefectures are marked on the map by symbols and emblems. Reddit user u/chaosof99 notes that most designs in the map “date back only to the 1950s and 1960s,” and says that a majority of these symbols are “stylized versions of characters with clearly modern design sensibilities.”
According to u/OuchYouPokedMyHeart, the emblems in the map are perhaps influenced by Mon or Kamon, which they described as “crests that represent your family or lineage or heritage.”
Reddit user u/MakeSouthBayGR8Again adds that these symbols contain “the first hiragana letters of the respective prefectures and all symbolize something significant for their regions.” Hiragana is one of the writing systems in the Japanese language, which is syllabic in nature.
Japan has eight regions and 47 prefectures.
Hokkaido is both an island region and a prefecture located in the north of Japan. Reddit user u/jimi15 notes that the island only became officially recognized as part of Japan in 1947.
Five regions are housed in the country’s largest island, Honshu. These regions are:
- Tohoku region in the north
- Kanto region in the east
- Chubu region in the west
- Kansai region in the southeast
- Chugoku region in the southwest
The Tohoku region has six prefectures:
The Fukushima prefecture is the location of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This power plant was badly damaged during a massive earthquake and tsunami that occurred in the country in March 2011, now known as the Great East Japan Earthquake. Its destruction resulted in the power plant’s closure.
Seven prefectures are located in the Kanto region:
The nation’s capital, Tokyo, is located in the Kanto region, in the central part of the country. Kanagawa is the subject of the famed 19th-century artwork by Katsushika Hokusai named “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” or simply the “Great Wave”. In December 2020, Jumpei Mitsui, a LEGO Master, recreated the “Great Wave” painting using only LEGO blocks.
The region of Chiba houses nine prefectures:
The southeast Kansai region, also known as the Kinki region, is the home of seven prefectures:
Located in the Osaka prefecture is the Kansai International Airport, the third busiest in Japan in terms of passenger traffic. It is one of the few airports in the world that is situated on artificial islands.
Five prefectures comprise the Chugoku region:
Did you know that Chugoku is also the Japanese term for mainland China (i.e. the People’s Republic of China)? To avoid confusion, the suffix -chihou is used when referring to Japanese regions (in this case, Chugoku-chihou).
Located southeast of the Honshu island is the Shikoku island region. It comprises four prefectures:
Finally, the vast southern Kyushu region consists of eight prefectures:
The Okinawa prefecture is part of the Ryukyu island located southwest of the main Kyushu island and northeast of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Despite that, it remains part of the Kyushu region.
If you can’t wait to travel to Japan, do consider these books for more information:
- Moon Japan: Plan Your Trip, Avoid the Crowds, and Experience the Real Japan
- Tokyo Megacity
- Osaka Insider: A Travel Guide for Osaka Prefecture
- Japan for the Global Traveler: Nagano Prefecture
- Journey of Self: Six Months in the Japanese Countryside
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