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Political Map of Japan

by Vishal Kumar

The political map of Japan illustrates the surrounding countries with 47 prefecture boundaries with their capitals and the national capital.

Political Map of Japan



Japan is a nation of rich cultural heritage and many natural wonders. Referred to as ‘The Land Of The Rising Sun”, Japan has become the epicenter of international trade and finance with the technological advances made by the Japanese and by Japanese companies.

Location of Japan:

Situated in East Asia, Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands. It is surrounded by the North Pacific Ocean to the east, the Sea of Japan to the west, and the East China Sea, and the Philippine Sea to the south. China, North Korea, South Korea, and Russia share maritime boundaries with Japan. Japan’s Geographic Coordinates are 35.41⁰ N and 135.83⁰E.

Economy and Agriculture

Japan’s economic growth after World War II has been phenomenal. The shrewd government policies and dedicated work culture have propelled the country’s economy to great heights.

For three decades from the 1960s to the 1980s, Japan’s real economic growth had been remarkable. In the 1990s however, Japan faced an economic crisis. with government spending having been promptly cut and investments made, the economy recovered again in 2009-2010.

Japan’s TimeLine

30,000BC   Earliest Known Inhabitation of Japan
535 AD Contact with Korea and China introduced Buddhism
710AD Japan’s First Permanent Capital Founded At Nara
The Golden Age of Japan starts at the beginning of the Nara period.
784 AD Hein Period follows
1192 Yoritomo of the Minamoto clan sets up a military government known as Shogunate
1543 Portuguese enter Japan for trade
1603-1867 Tokugawa period starts
1633 Foreigners banned; trade with foreign countries suspended
1853 The US demands a reopening of trade
1867 Edo Shogunate fails
1868 Meiji Emperor ascends the throne
1894 Japan and China go to war
1904 Russia and Japan go to war
1912 Meiji Emperor dies
1914 In world war I, Japan joins the British Allies
1940 Japan become allies with Germany and Italy in Second World War
1945 Two Japanese cities were bombed by the USA (Hiroshima and Nagasaki)- the only known use of nuclear bombs in a war
1947 Japan signs peace treaties with the United States and other countries
1952 Japan regains full independence
1956 Liberal Democratic party formed
1956 Japan becomes a member of the United Nation
1982 Japanese automaker (Honda) opens its first plant in the US
1993 Seven Party coalition government formed
1994 Coalition government collapses, LDP and socialist support new administration take over.
2011 Earthquake hits Japan, followed by Tsunami causing a nuclear disaster
2011 China overtakes the Japanese economy, pushing Japan to the fourth position.

Unfortunately, Japan suffered again in 2011 due to a major earthquake and Tsunami, forcing Japan’s position down to the 4th largest economy in the world. Japan has a GDP (PPP) of $4.389 trillion (2011 est.) Japan’s agriculture sector is small and highly subsidized. Its major agricultural products are rice, fish, vegetables, dairy products, etc. Japan imports about 60% of its food and its industrial sector also heavily import its fuel and raw materials. PM Noda has currently proposed to open the service sector and agricultural sector to foreign competition to boost its export.

Political History and Divisions

Japan has a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary government, with the Prime Minster as the head of the government. The role of the monarch is mainly ceremonial. After the death of the Meiji emperor in 1912 followed by the world wars, the reign of monarchs almost ended. By 1952, Japan had regained its full independence and in 1956 Liberal Democratic Party was formed. By this time constitutional monarchy was completely taken over by the parliamentary government. The Japanese government has two houses; the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors. Japan is divided into 47 prefectures, which are further divided into cities. Each prefecture has a governor and an assembly elected by the people. There are about eight to nine informal geographic regions in Japan, which do not serve any political purpose.

Major Cities of Japan

Tokyo: Tokyo is actually a prefecture and a metropolis with 23 municipal wards. It is also the capital of Japan and is the seat of the Japanese government. Considered the third pillar of the world economy after New York and London, Tokyo is also one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Yokohama:  It is the capital of Kanagawa prefecture and the second largest city in the country by population. It is also a major commercial hub of the country.

Osaka: This is the capital of Osaka Prefecture. This city is the third largest in the country and is also one of the command centers of Japan’s economy.

Kyoto: It is the capital of the Kyoto Prefecture. It is also one of the academic centers of the country. Kyoto has the second largest transportation station in the country.

Besides the above mention cities Nagoya, Sapporo, Kobe, Kawasaki, Saitama, Hiroshima, etc, are also prominent cities in Japan.

Prefecture Population Area(km.²) Area(mi.²) Region Capital
Aichi 7,043,300 5,105 1,971 Chubu Nagoya
Akita 1,189,279 11,609 4,482 Tohoku Akita
Aomori 1,475,728 9,614 3,712 Tohoku Aomori
Chiba 5,926,285 5,103 1,970 Kanto Chiba
Ehime 1,493,092 5,664 2,187 Shikoku Matsuyama
Fukui 828,944 4,188 1,617 Chubu Fukui
Fukuoka 5,015,699 4,934 1,905 Kyushu Fukuoka
Fukushima 2,126,935 13,781 5,321 Tohoku Fukushima
Gifu 2,107,700 10,596 4,091 Chubu Gifu
Gumma 2,024,852 6,356 2,454 Kanto Maebashi
Hiroshima 2,878,915 8,453 3,264 Chugoku Hiroshima
Hokkaido 5,683,062 78,515 30,315 Hokkaido Sapporo
Hyogo 5,550,574 8,362 3,229 Kinki Kobe
Ibaraki 2,985,676 6,087 2,350 Kanto Mito
Ishikawa 1,180,977 4,196 1,620 Chubu Kanazawa
Iwate 1,416,180 15,277 5,898 Tohoku Morioka
Kagawa 1,022,890 1,877 725 Shikoku Takamatsu
Kagoshima 1,786,194 9,149 3,532 Kyushu Kagoshima
Kanagawa 8,489,974 2,384 920 Kanto Yokohama
Kochi 813,949 7,106 2,744 Shikoku Kochi
Kumamoto 1,859,344 7,383 2,851 Kyushu Kumamoto
Kyoto 2,644,391 4,612 1,781 Kinki Kyoto
Mie 1,857,339 5,774 2,229 Kinki Tsu
Miyagi 2,365,320 7,288 2,814 Tohoku Sendai
Miyazaki 1,170,007 7,734 2,986 Kyushu Miyazaki
Nagano 2,215,168 13,585 5,245 Chubu Nagano
Nagasaki 1,516,523 4,098 1,582 Kyushu Nagasaki
Nara 1,442,795 3,692 1,425 Kinki Nara
Niigata 2,475,733 12,577 4,856 Chubu Niigata
Oita 1,221,140 6,331 2,444 Kyushu Oita
Okayama 1,950,828 7,079 2,733 Chugoku Okayama
Okinawa 1,318,220 2,244 866 Ryukyu Naha
Osaka 8,805,081 1,845 712 Kinki Osaka
Saga 876,654 2,416 933 Kyushu Saga
Saitama 6,938,006 3,799 1,467 Kanto Saitama
Shiga 1,342,832 4,016 1,551 Kinki Otsu
Shimane 761,503 6,627 2,559 Chugoku Matsue
Shizuoka 3,767,393 7,770 3,000 Chubu Shizuoka
Tochigi 2,004,817 6,414 2,476 Kanto Utsunomiya
Tokushima 824,108 4,144 1,600 Shikoku Tokushima
Tokyo 12,064,101 2,145 828 Kanto Tokyo
Tottori 613,289 3,492 1,348 Chugoku Tottori
Toyama 1,120,851 4,252 1,642 Chubu Toyama
Wakayama 1,069,912 4,722 1,823 Kinki Wakayama
Yamagata 1,244,147 9,325 3,600 Tohoku Yamagata
Yamaguchi 1,527,964 6,090 2,351 Chugoku Yamaguchi
Yamanashi 888,172 4,463 1,723 Chubu Kofu
47 divisions 126,925,843 372,273 143,732


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