Japan is divided into 47 administrative and legal divisions named todōfuken. In English, we usually refer to them as the 47 prefectures of Japan, with the term prefecture derived from texts written by 16th century Portuguese explorers and traders; Portuguese speaking men who used the term prefeitura to describe the fiefdoms they encountered in Japan.

The 47 prefectures of Japan consists of:

  • 43 standard prefectures (ken)
  • Two urban prefectures (fu): Osaka and Kyoto
  • One metropolis prefecture (to): Tokyo
  • One circuit/territory prefecture (): Hokkaido

The 47 prefectures

These are the 47 prefectures listed in alphabetical order.

Prefecture Kanji Capital Region Major island
 Aichi 愛知県 Nagoya Chūbu Honshu
 Akita 秋田県 Akita Tōhoku Honshu
 Aomori 青森県 Aomori Tōhoku Honshu
 Chiba 千葉県 Chiba Kantō Honshu
 Ehime 愛媛県 Matsuyama Shikoku Shikoku
 Fukui 福井県 Fukui Chūbu Honshu
 Fukuoka 福岡県 Fukuoka Kyushu Kyushu
 Fukushima 福島県 Fukushima Tōhoku Honshu
 Gifu 岐阜県 Gifu Chūbu Honshu
 Gunma 群馬県 Maebashi Kantō Honshu
 Hiroshima 広島県 Hiroshima Chūgoku Honshu
 Hokkaido 北海道 Sapporo Hokkaido Hokkaido
 Hyōgo 兵庫県 Kōbe Kansai Honshu
 Ibaraki 茨城県 Mito Kantō Honshu
 Ishikawa 石川県 Kanazawa Chūbu Honshu
 Iwate 岩手県 Morioka Tōhoku Honshu
 Kagawa 香川県 Takamatsu Shikoku Shikoku
 Kagoshima 鹿児島県 Kagoshima Kyushu Kyushu
 Kanagawa 神奈川県 Yokohama Kantō Honshu
 Kōchi 高知県 Kōchi Shikoku Shikoku
 Kumamoto 熊本県 Kumamoto Kyushu Kyushu
 Kyoto 京都府 Kyoto Kansai Honshu
 Mie 三重県 Tsu Kansai Honshu
 Miyagi 宮城県 Sendai Tōhoku Honshu
 Miyazaki 宮崎県 Miyazaki Kyushu Kyushu
 Nagano 長野県 Nagano Chūbu Honshu
 Nagasaki 長崎県 Nagasaki Kyushu Kyushu
 Nara 奈良県 Nara Kansai Honshu
 Niigata 新潟県 Niigata Chūbu Honshu
 Ōita 大分県 Ōita Kyushu Kyushu
 Okayama 岡山県 Okayama Chūgoku Honshu
 Okinawa 沖縄県 Naha Kyushu Ryukyu Islands
 Osaka 大阪府 Ōsaka Kansai Honshu
 Saga 佐賀県 Saga Kyushu Kyushu
 Saitama 埼玉県 Saitama Kantō Honshu
 Shiga 滋賀県 Ōtsu Kansai Honshu
 Shimane 島根県 Matsue Chūgoku Honshu
 Shizuoka 静岡県 Shizuoka Chūbu Honshu
 Tochigi 栃木県 Utsunomiya Kantō Honshu
 Tokushima 徳島県 Tokushima Shikoku Shikoku
 Tokyo 東京都 Tokyo Kantō Honshu
 Tottori 鳥取県 Tottori Chūgoku Honshu
 Toyama 富山県 Toyama Chūbu Honshu
 Wakayama 和歌山県 Wakayama Kansai Honshu
 Yamagata 山形県 Yamagata Tōhoku Honshu
 Yamaguchi 山口県 Yamaguchi Chūgoku Honshu
 Yamanashi 山梨県 Kōfu Chūbu Honshu

The eight regions (chihō)

The 47 prefectures of Japan are commonly grouped into eight geographical regions called chihō. From north to south, they are: Hokkaidō, Tōhoku, Kantō, Chūbu, Kansai, Chūgoku, Shikoku, and Kyūshū.


1. Hokkaidō


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


8. Ibaraki
9. Tochigi
10. Gunma
11. Saitama
12. Chiba
13. Tōkyō
14. Kanagawa


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


24. Mie
25. Shiga
26. Kyōto
27. Ōsaka
28. Hyōgo
29. Nara
30. Wakayama


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


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


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

Which are the most populated prefectures?

The most populated prefecture by a wide margin is Tokyo, which isn’t surprising since it includes the megacity Tokyo. In 2015, the Tokyo Prefecture was home to over 13.5 million people.

On second place, we find the prefecture Kanagawa, which includes the major city Yokohama. In 2015, over 9.1 people lived in Kanagawa.

On third place is the prefecture Osaka, which is an urban prefecture for the urban Osaka area. In 2015, this population size for this prefecture exceeded 8.8 million.

Which is the most densely populated prefecture?

Tokyo isn’t just the prefecture with the largest population; it is also the most densely populated prefecture. Data from 2015 show a population density of 6,168.1 residents per square kilometer for this prefecture.

Which is the largest prefecture?

The largest of the 47 prefectures is Hokkaido with 83,424.22 square kilometers. This is also the northernmost of the prefectures.

Which is the smallest prefecture?

The smallest prefecture is Kagawa, which is only 1,876.73 square kilometers in size. It is located on Shikoku Island in southern Japan.

Investing in Japan

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