Japan by Prefecture: A New Weekly Series

Welcome to ‘Japan by Prefecture‘ – a new weekly series here on Haikugirl’s Japan. I contemplated calling the series ‘Do you ken?’ as a play on words (‘ken’ meaning ‘know’ in Scottish dialect and ‘prefecture’ in Japanese, 県), but I thought that might be a bit confusing. So, I’ve stuck with a nice simple title that will hopefully make sense to all who pass by.

Japan has 47 prefectures, and over the coming year I will be choosing a different prefecture to write about each week.

Prefectures of Japan

(Image source)

I’ll be going through the prefectures according to Japan’s International Organization for Standardization (ISO) coding. From north to south, the prefectures of Japan and their associated regions are:

1. Hokkaido (北海道)

TOHOKU (東北地方)
2. Aomori (青森県)
3. Iwate (岩手県)
4. Miyagi (宮城県)
5. Akita (秋田県)
6. Yamagata (山形県)
7. Fukushima (福島県)

KANTO (関東地方)
8. Ibaraki (茨城県)
9. Tochigi (栃木県)
10. Gunma (群馬県)
11. Saitama (埼玉県)
12. Chiba (千葉県)
13. Tokyo (東京)
14. Kanagawa (神奈川県)

CHUBU (中部地方)
15. Niigata (新潟県)
16. Toyama (富山県)
17. Ishikawa (石川県)
18. Fukui (福井県)
19. Yamanashi (山梨県)
20. Nagano (長野県)
21. Gifu (岐阜県)
22. Shizuoka (静岡県)
23. Aichi (愛知県)

KANSAI (関西地方)
24. Mie (三重県)
25. Shiga (滋賀県)
26. Kyoto (京都府)
27. Osaka (大阪府)
28. Hyogo (兵庫県)
29. Nara (奈良県)
30. Wakayama (和歌山県)

CHUGOKU (中国地方)
31. Tottori (鳥取県)
32. Shimane (島根県)
33. Okayama (岡山県)
34. Hiroshima (広島県)
35. Yamaguchi (山口県)

36. Tokushima (徳島県)
37. Kagawa (香川県)
38. Ehime (愛媛県)
39. Kochi (高知県)

40. Fukuoka (福岡県)
41. Saga (佐賀県)
42. Nagasaki (長崎県 )
43. Kumamoto (熊本県)
44. Oita (大分県)
45. Miyazaki (宮崎県)
46. Kagoshima (鹿児島県)
47. Okinawa (沖縄県)

Each week I will be writing about the key features of each prefecture, such as the local food, famous sightseeing spots, festivals and important history related to the area. I’ve only been to 22 of the 47 prefectures (Hokkaido, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Toyama, Ishikawa, Yamanashi, Nagano, Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, Wakayama and Hiroshima), so I will be relying on you, dear reader, to help me fill in the gaps! At the end of each post I will tell you what’s coming up next, and ask you to leave your comments and suggestions for the following week’s post. It would be really great if you all joined in, and I hope to hear from lots of new people too! Perhaps you have been to a particular prefecture and experienced something really interesting, or maybe you lived there or are from there. If I use something you suggested in the next post you’ll get a mention of course!

So, next week I will be writing about Hokkaido (北海道). Have you been there? What’s good to eat there? What are the best sightseeing spots or hidden gems? Please do share your thoughts below, and join me next week for Japan by Prefecture!

Mountain Asahidake, Hokkaido ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO

Mountain Asahidake, Hokkaido ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO

17 thoughts on “Japan by Prefecture: A New Weekly Series

  1. I did something similar on my blog, but never finished. It was a lot of work doing the research! I got stuck on Niigata before taking a “break.” Haven’t been back to it since.


  2. I visit Japan quite a lot but I’ve never been to Hokkaido for one reason: it seems too much like Canada. I don’t fly 14 hours to see stuff that is in my own backyard as it were. Snowy winters, grain fields, cow farms, impressive natural scenery, beautiful coastlines, etc. I will be interested to see your upcoming article. Cheers.


      • Hokkaido? I don’t even know where to start! I’ve been there 3 times, every time during a different season. The Yuki Matsuri is coming up and I’m currently writing about that. But summer in Hokkaido is awesome. All the flower fields! (*_*) I also recommend all the beautiful lakes there. ^^


  3. Sounds like a great idea Ali, and looking forward to the series. A few highlights of Hokkaido for me are:

    The Chitose and Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival which will run from Jan 30 to Feb 22
    The Sapporo Snow Festival which will run from Feb 5 to 11
    Niseko for some of the best skiing/snowboarding in the world – also full of a lot of Aussies like me 🙂
    Furano for its beautiful flower and lavender fields
    Hakodate for its historical heritage and delicious fresh seafood

    Many more but just a few to help you get going 🙂


  4. Looking forward to the new series, sounds like a great idea!

    I didn’t know the Scottish ‘ken’ so I thought that somehow what you said was a play on words for ‘sword’ (剣) (^^)


  5. It is a great idea! I’m especially interested because we travel to a new location almost every weekend, mostly because I like to photograph things, people, landscapes, etc. Our last trip was to Shirakawago….. beautiful!!!! But, I do have a favourite prefecture, and that’s Osaka, second is Kyoto =)


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