Based from our favorite Japan Guide website, here are our curated information about the eight regions of Japan. We will be sharing more in-depth info about each region / prefecture in the future here at JLM Lists. We hope that the map that we have illustrated above can also serve as an inspiration / board for your personal “Japan bucket list”. Hopefully someday, we can also travel and share our on-hand experiences in different parts of Japan!
Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost and least developed of Japan’s four main islands. Its weather is harsh in winter with lots of snowfall, below zero temperatures and frozen seas, while in summer it does not get as hot and humid as in the other parts of the country.
北海道 (Tōhoku Chihō)
The Tohoku Region (literally “North East Region”) consists of six prefectures in the north of Japan’s largest island, Honshu. It is well known for its countryside, mountains, lakes, hot springs, high quality rice and rough winters.
The Tohoku Region was hit by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 and the ensuing nuclear accident. However, most areas of the Tohoku Region are now safe and welcoming tourists again. Of all the destinations in our travel guide, only Sendai, Matsushima, Iwaki and the Sanriku Coast suffered direct damage from the earthquake and tsunami, and even there most attractions reopened within a few weeks or months. (source)
The Kanto (literally “east of the border”) is Japan’s largest plain and very densely populated. The large metropolises of Tokyo and Yokohama are located in the Kanto Region which consists of seven prefectures. (source)
中部地方 (Chūbu Chihō)
The Chubu Region (literally “central part”) consists of nine prefectures and is located in the center of Japan’s largest island Honshu.
The northern part of the Chubu Region along the Sea of Japan coast (Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama) is also known as Hokuriku Region, while the southern part (Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu) is also known as Tokai Region and the prefectures of Yamanashi, Nagano and Niigata as the Koshinetsu Region. (source)
The Kinki Region also commonly known as Kansai (関西, literally “west of the border”) encompasses the Kinki Plain and consists of seven prefectures. It used to be the political and cultural center of Japan for many centuries and includes the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe. (source)
中国地方 (Chūgoku Chihō)
The Chugoku Region (literally “central country”) makes up the western part of Japan’s main island Honshu. It is commonly subdivided into the heavily urbanized and industrialized Sanyo Region along the Seto Inland Sea coast and the much more rural Sanin Region along the Sea of Japan coast. (source)
Kyushu ( literally “nine provinces”) is Japan’s third largest island, located southwest of the main island Honshu. An early center of Japanese civilization, Kyushu offers many historic treasures, modern cities and natural beauty. (source)
Shikoku (literally “four countries”) is Japan’s fourth largest island, southwest of Japan’s main island Honshu. True to its name, Shikoku is divided into four prefectures. (source)
How about you? How many and which regions in Japan have already visited? Tell us your experience!
Header artwork by Kita