Daily Archives: January 4, 2013

2013 Weekly Series – Exploring Japan

Last year, I completed the Picture of the Week successfully.  This year, I’m doing more of a writing series, all about Japan.

Every week, I’ll write a post about a different prefecture in alphabetic order.  Following that, I’ll post about the 4 biggest cities, not including Tokyo.  Tokyo is kind of a special beast.  It’s not really a city, it’s not really a prefecture, it’s a metropolis.  It will be covered as a prefecture.  That means there will be 51 posts.

But wait, aren’t there 52 weeks?  Why, yes there are!  This is post number 1 right here.  This is the introduction, and I will briefly talk about the prefecture system in Japan, as well as types of cities.

Prefectures

There are 47 prefectures in Japan, 4 of them having special status.  The regular prefectures have the suffix “ken (県).”  The special prefectures are as follows:

  • Metropolis “to (都)” – Tokyo
  • Urban prefectures “fu (府)” – Osaka and Kyoto
  • Territory “do (道)” – Hokkaido

Tokyo is the really special one.  It doesn’t have a city government.  In fact, the “city” part is separated into 23 special wards that are officially cities on their own.  The Tokyo government governs the entire metropolis, which also includes the cities of western Tokyo.

So, for the first 47 posts, I’ll be discussing each prefecture, including vital statistics, the biggest cities, places I’d like to see, and local food I’d like to try.  Here are the prefectures in alphabetic order, the order I’ll be posting:

  1. Aichi
  2. Akita
  3. Aomori
  4. Chiba
  5. Ehime
  6. Fukui
  7. Fukuoka
  8. Fukushima
  9. Gifu
  10. Gunma
  11. Hiroshima
  12. Hokkaido
  13. Hyogo
  14. Ibaraki
  15. Ishikawa
  16. Iwate
  17. Kagawa
  18. Kagoshima
  19. Kanagawa
  20. Kochi
  21. Kumamoto
  22. Kyoto
  23. Mie
  24. Miyagi
  25. Miyazaki
  26. Nagano
  27. Nagasaki
  28. Nara
  29. Niigata
  30. Oita
  31. Okayama
  32. Okinawa
  33. Osaka
  34. Saga
  35. Saitama
  36. Shiga
  37. Shimane
  38. Shizuoka
  39. Tochigi
  40. Tokushima
  41. Tokyo
  42. Tottori
  43. Toyama
  44. Wakayama
  45. Yamagata
  46. Yamaguchi
  47. Yamanashi

At the end, I’ll be asking for advice about good places to see, events, and food.

Cities

There are 4 kinds of cities in Japan.  The first is the regular city with a population of at least 50,000 people.  Second is special city, which has at least 200,000 people.  Then it’s core city, which has at least 300,000 people and they take control of some prefectural level functions.  Finally, we have the designated cities.  These have at least 500,000 people, and control many functions normally designated to prefectures.  They are also required to be divided into wards “ku (区)” which take over many functions that cities perform.

I will be showing you the 4 largest cities of Japan, not including Tokyo.  They are all designated cities.  They are:

  1. Yokohama, Kanagawa
  2. Osaka, Osaka
  3. Nagoya, Aichi
  4. Sapporo, Hokkaido

I will do the same as the prefectures, discuss vital statistics, places I’d like to see, and food I’d like to try.  As for Yokohama, I’ve lived in and around this city for nearly 8 years, so I can also talk about places I’d recommend.

So, I hope you enjoy this series.  Any questions?

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