Prefectures of Japan

Prefectures of Japan is something unique to the Island of Japan. Let’s begin with a simple question of what is a prefecture? The prefecture is Japan’s jurisdiction and there are 47 prefectures or jurisdictions.  In Japanese, the prefectures of Japan are commonly referred toas todōfuken. The prefectures are governmental bodies larger than cities, towns, and villages. The elected governor is the chief executive of each prefecture. Each prefecture is further subdivided into cities (市 shi) and districts (郡 gun), then the district is further subdivided into towns (町 chō or machi) and villages (村 son or mura).

Prefecture Background

The current system of Prefecture was established in July 1871 by the Meiji government, after the abolition of the Hansystem. From the Han system’s 300 prefectures, it was reduced to 72 in the latter part of 1871, and 47 in 1888. Furthermore, in 1947, the current prefecture system for more political power. Though the Japanese language remains the official language of Japan, a number of indigenous languages are still spoken in each prefecture. 

From the map below, try to find out out what prefecture is Tokyo in or what prefecture is Osaka in?

Map of Japan with Prefectures

Tokyo is in Tokyo prefecture (however Tokyo Megalopolis Region consists of Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures. Osaka is in Osaka prefecture.


List of  47 Prefectures of Japan

PrefectureJapaneseCapitalRegionIsland
Aichi愛知県NagoyaChūbuHonshū
Akita秋田県AkitaTōhokuHonshū
Aomori青森県AomoriTōhokuHonshū
Chiba千葉県ChibaKantōHonshū
Ehime愛媛県MatsuyamaShikokuShikoku
Fukui福井県FukuiChūbuHonshū
Fukuoka福岡県FukuokaKyūshūKyūshū
Fukushima福島県FukushimaTōhokuHonshū
Gifu岐阜県GifuChūbuHonshū
Gunma群馬県MaebashiKantōHonshū
Hiroshima広島県HiroshimaChūgokuHonshū
Hokkaidō北海道SapporoHokkaidōHokkaidō
Hyōgo兵庫県KobeKansaiHonshū
Ibaraki茨城県MitoKantōHonshū
Ishikawa石川県KanazawaChūbuHonshū
Iwate岩手県MoriokaTōhokuHonshū
Kagawa香川県TakamatsuShikokuShikoku
Kagoshima鹿児島県KagoshimaKyūshūKyūshū
Kanagawa神奈川県YokohamaKantōHonshū
Kōchi高知県KōchiShikokuShikoku
Kumamoto熊本県KumamotoKyūshūKyūshū
Kyoto京都府KyotoKansaiHonshū
Mie三重県TsuKansaiHonshū
Miyagi宮城県SendaiTōhokuHonshū
Miyazaki宮崎県MiyazakiKyūshūKyūshū
Nagano長野県NaganoChūbuHonshū
Nagasaki長崎県NagasakiKyūshūKyūshū
Nara奈良県NaraKansaiHonshū
Niigata新潟県NiigataChūbuHonshū
Ōita大分県ŌitaKyūshūKyūshū
Okayama岡山県OkayamaChūgokuHonshū
Okinawa沖縄県NahaKyūshūRyūkyū Islands
Osaka大阪府OsakaKansaiHonshū
Saga佐賀県SagaKyūshūKyūshū
Saitama埼玉県SaitamaKantōHonshū
Shiga滋賀県OtsuKansaiHonshū
Shimane島根県MatsueChūgokuHonshū
Shizuoka静岡県ShizuokaChūbuHonshū
Tochigi栃木県UtsunomiyaKantōHonshū
Tokushima徳島県TokushimaShikokuShikoku
Tokyo東京都ShinjukuKantōHonshū
Tottori鳥取県TottoriChūgokuHonshū
Toyama富山県ToyamaChūbuHonshū
Wakayama和歌山県WakayamaKansaiHonshū
Yamagata山形県YamagataTōhokuHonshū
Yamaguchi山口県YamaguchiChūgokuHonshū
Yamanashi山梨県KofuChūbuHonshū

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