Todōfuken

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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NagoyaChūbuHonshu
 Akita秋田県AkitaTōhokuHonshu
 Aomori青森県AomoriTōhokuHonshu
 Chiba千葉県ChibaKantōHonshu
 Ehime愛媛県MatsuyamaShikokuShikoku
 Fukui福井県FukuiChūbuHonshu
 Fukuoka福岡県FukuokaKyushuKyushu
 Fukushima福島県FukushimaTōhokuHonshu
 Gifu岐阜県GifuChūbuHonshu
 Gunma群馬県MaebashiKantōHonshu
 Hiroshima広島県HiroshimaChūgokuHonshu
 Hokkaido北海道SapporoHokkaidoHokkaido
 Hyōgo兵庫県KōbeKansaiHonshu
 Ibaraki茨城県MitoKantōHonshu
 Ishikawa石川県KanazawaChūbuHonshu
 Iwate岩手県MoriokaTōhokuHonshu
 Kagawa香川県TakamatsuShikokuShikoku
 Kagoshima鹿児島県KagoshimaKyushuKyushu
 Kanagawa神奈川県YokohamaKantōHonshu
 Kōchi高知県KōchiShikokuShikoku
 Kumamoto熊本県KumamotoKyushuKyushu
 Kyoto京都府KyotoKansaiHonshu
 Mie三重県TsuKansaiHonshu
 Miyagi宮城県SendaiTōhokuHonshu
 Miyazaki宮崎県MiyazakiKyushuKyushu
 Nagano長野県NaganoChūbuHonshu
 Nagasaki長崎県NagasakiKyushuKyushu
 Nara奈良県NaraKansaiHonshu
 Niigata新潟県NiigataChūbuHonshu
 Ōita大分県ŌitaKyushuKyushu
 Okayama岡山県OkayamaChūgokuHonshu
 Okinawa沖縄県NahaKyushuRyukyu Islands
 Osaka大阪府ŌsakaKansaiHonshu
 Saga佐賀県SagaKyushuKyushu
 Saitama埼玉県SaitamaKantōHonshu
 Shiga滋賀県ŌtsuKansaiHonshu
 Shimane島根県MatsueChūgokuHonshu
 Shizuoka静岡県ShizuokaChūbuHonshu
 Tochigi栃木県UtsunomiyaKantōHonshu
 Tokushima徳島県TokushimaShikokuShikoku
 Tokyo東京都TokyoKantōHonshu
 Tottori鳥取県TottoriChūgokuHonshu
 Toyama富山県ToyamaChūbuHonshu
 Wakayama和歌山県WakayamaKansaiHonshu
 Yamagata山形県YamagataTōhokuHonshu
 Yamaguchi山口県YamaguchiChūgokuHonshu
 Yamanashi山梨県KōfuChūbuHonshu

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.

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. Tōkyō
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. Kyōto
27. Ōsaka
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
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.

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