Kansai region

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Kansai region

Japan Kinki Region large trans.png
The Kansai region in Japan
  Total33,124.82 km2 (12,789.56 sq mi)
(1 October 2010) [1]
  Density690/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Japanese
 (nominal; 2012) [2] [3]
  Total$1 trillion
  Per capita$42,000
Time zone UTC+9 (JST)
6 %

The Kansai region(関西地方,Kansai-chihō) or the Kinki region(近畿地方,Kinki-chihō) lies in the southern-central region of Japan's main island Honshū. [4] The region includes the prefectures of Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyōgo and Shiga, sometimes Fukui, Tokushima and Tottori. While the use of the terms "Kansai" and "Kinki" have changed over history, in most modern contexts the use of the two terms is interchangeable. The urban region of Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto (Keihanshin region) is the second-most populated in Japan after the Greater Tokyo Area.

Japan Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

A prefecture is an administrative jurisdiction or subdivision in any of various countries and within some international church structures, and in antiquity a Roman district governed by an appointed prefect.

Mie Prefecture Prefecture of Japan

Mie Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan, which is part of the Kansai region on the main Honshu island. The capital is the city of Tsu.



The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a centre span of 1,991 m Akashi Bridge.JPG
The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a centre span of 1,991 m

The Kansai region is a cultural center and the historical heart of Japan, with 11% of the nation's land area and 22,757,897 residents as of 2010. [1] The Osaka Plain with the cities of Osaka and Kyoto forms the core of the region, from there the Kansai area stretches west along the Seto Inland Sea towards Kobe and Himeji and east encompassing Lake Biwa, Japan's largest freshwater lake. In the north, the region is bordered by the Sea of Japan, to the south by the Kii Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean, and to the east by the Ibuki Mountains and Ise Bay. [5] Four of Japan's national parks lie within its borders, in whole or in part. The area also contains six of the seven top prefectures in terms of national treasures. [6] Other geographical features include Amanohashidate in Kyoto Prefecture and Awaji Island in Hyōgo.

Osaka Plain plain

The Osaka Plain refers to a 1,600 km² area of flat land, the largest plain in the Kinki region, including a large part of Osaka Prefecture and a southeastern portion of Hyōgo Prefecture. It is bordered on the north by the Hokusetsu Mount Range, on the east by the Ikoma Mount Range and Kongō Mount Range, on the south by the Izumi Mount Range, and on the west by Osaka Bay. On occasion, it is called the Sekkasen Plain after the names of former Settsu Province, Kawachi Province and Izumi Province.

Kyoto Designated city in Kansai, Japan

Kyoto, officially Kyoto City, is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture, located in the Kansai region of Japan. It is best known in Japanese history for being the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area.

Seto Inland Sea A marginal sea between Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū

The Seto Inland Sea, also known as Setouchi or often shortened to Inland Sea, is the body of water separating Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū, three of the four main islands of Japan. The region that includes the Seto Inland Sea and the coastal areas of Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū is known as the Setouchi Region. It serves as a waterway, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan. It connects to Osaka Bay and provides a sea transport link to industrial centers in the Kansai region, including Osaka and Kobe. Before the construction of the San'yō Main Line, it was the main transportation link between Kansai and Kyūshū.

The Kansai region is often compared with the Kantō region, which lies to its east and consists primarily of Tokyo and the surrounding area. Whereas the Kantō region is symbolic of standardization throughout Japan, the Kansai region displays many more idiosyncrasies – the culture in Kyoto, the mercantilism of Osaka, the history of Nara, or the cosmopolitanism of Kobe – and represents the focus of counterculture in Japan. This East-West rivalry has deep historical roots, particularly from the Edo period. With a samurai population of less than 1% the culture of the merchant city of Osaka stood in sharp contrast to that of Edo, the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogunate. [7] [8] [9] [10]

Kantō region Region

The Kantō region is a geographical area of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. The region includes the Greater Tokyo Area and encompasses seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. Within its boundaries, slightly more than 45 percent of the land area is the Kantō Plain. The rest consists of the hills and mountains that form the land borders. According to the official census on October 1, 2010 by the Japan Statistics Bureau, the population was 42,607,376, amounting to approximately one third of the total population of Japan.

Tokyo Metropolis in Kantō

Tokyo, officially Tokyo Metropolis, one of the 47 prefectures of Japan, has served as the Japanese capital since 1869. As of 2018, the Greater Tokyo Area ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world. The urban area houses the seat of the Emperor of Japan, of the Japanese government and of the National Diet. Tokyo forms part of the Kantō region on the southeastern side of Japan's main island, Honshu, and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo was formerly named Edo when Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu made the city his headquarters in 1603. It became the capital after Emperor Meiji moved his seat to the city from Kyoto in 1868; at that time Edo was renamed Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolis formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo. Tokyo is often referred to as a city but is officially known and governed as a "metropolitan prefecture", which differs from and combines elements of a city and a prefecture, a characteristic unique to Tokyo.

Nara, Nara Core city in Kansai, Japan

Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture located in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, bordering Kyoto Prefecture. Eight temples, shrines, and ruins in Nara remain: specifically Tōdai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangō-ji, Yakushi-ji, Tōshōdai-ji, and the Heijō Palace, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During 710 CE - 784 CE, Nara was the capital of Japan, and the Emperor (天皇) lived there before moving the capital to Kyoto.

Kansai region with prefectures Kinki-en.png
Kansai region with prefectures

Many characteristic traits of Kansai people descend from Osaka merchant culture. Catherine Maxwell, an editor for the newsletter Omusubi , writes: "Kansai residents are seen as being pragmatic, entrepreneurial, down-to-earth and possessing a strong sense of humor. Kantō people, on the other hand, are perceived as more sophisticated, reserved and formal, in keeping with Tokyo’s history and modern status as the nation’s capital and largest metropolis." [7] [11]

Kansai is known for its food, especially Osaka, as supported by the saying "Kyotoites are ruined by overspending on clothing, Osakans are ruined by overspending on food"(京の着倒れ、大阪の食い倒れ,Kyō no Kidaore, Ōsaka no Kuidaore). Popular Osakan dishes include takoyaki, okonomiyaki, kitsune udon and kushikatsu. Kyoto is considered a mecca of traditional Japanese cuisine like kaiseki. Kansai has many wagyu brands such as Kobe beef and Tajima cattle from Hyōgo, Matsusaka beef from Mie and Ōmi beef from Shiga. Sake is another specialty of the region, the areas of Nada-Gogō and Fushimi produce 45% of all sake in Japan. [12] As opposed to food from Eastern Japan, food in the Kansai area tends to be sweeter, and foods such as nattō tend to be less popular. [7] [11]

<i>Takoyaki</i> dish

Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼) is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special molded pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito. There are many variations to the takoyaki recipe, for example, ponzu, goma-dare or vinegared dashi.

Okonomiyaki dish

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "how you like" or "what you like", and yaki meaning "cooked". Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region. In Tokyo, there is a semi-liquid okonomiyaki called 'monjayaki.'

<i>Udon</i> a type of thick wheat flour noodle of Japanese cuisine

Udon is a type of thick wheat flour noodle used frequently in Japanese cuisine. It is often served hot as a noodle soup in its simplest form, as kake udon, in a mildly flavoured broth called kakejiru, which is made of dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. It is usually topped with thinly chopped scallions. Other common toppings include tempura, often prawn or kakiage, or aburaage, a type of deep-fried tofu pockets seasoned with sugar, mirin, and soy sauce. A thin slice of kamaboko, a halfmoon-shaped fish cake, is often added. Shichimi can be added to taste.

The dialects of the people from the Kansai region, commonly called Kansai-ben , have their own variations of pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. Kansai-ben is the group of dialects spoken in the Kansai area, but is often treated as a dialect in its own right.

Japanese dialects Dialects in the Japanese language

The dialects of the Japanese language fall into two primary clades, Eastern and Western, with the dialects of Kyushu and Hachijō Island often distinguished as additional branches, the latter perhaps the most divergent of all. The Ryukyuan languages of Okinawa Prefecture and the southern islands of Kagoshima Prefecture form a separate branch of the Japonic family, and are not Japanese dialects, although they are sometimes referred to as such.

Kansai dialect dialect

The Kansai dialect is a group of Japanese dialects in the Kansai region of Japan. In Japanese, Kansai-ben is the common name and it is called Kinki dialect in technical terms. The dialects of Kyoto and Osaka, especially in the Edo period, are also called Kamigata dialect. The Kansai dialect is typified by the speech of Osaka, the major city of Kansai, which is referred to specifically as Osaka-ben. It is characterized as being both more melodic and harsher by speakers of the standard language.

Kansai is one of the most prosperous areas for baseball in Japan. Two Nippon Professional Baseball teams, Hanshin Tigers and Orix Buffaloes, are based in Kansai. Koshien Stadium, the home stadium of the Hanshin Tigers, is also famous for the nationwide high school baseball tournaments. In association football, the Kansai Soccer League was founded in 1966 and currently has 16 teams in two divisions. Cerezo Osaka, Gamba Osaka, and Vissel Kobe belong to J. League Division 1 and Kyoto Sanga F.C. belongs to J. League Division 2, the top professional leagues in Japan. [13] [14]


Map of 8th century Japan Gokishichido.jpg
Map of 8th century Japan

The terms Kansai( 関西 ), Kinki( 近畿 ), and Kinai ( 畿内 ) have a very deep history, dating back almost as far as the nation of Japan itself. As a part of the Ritsuryō reforms of the seventh and eighth centuries, the Gokishichidō system established the provinces of Yamato, Yamashiro, Kawachi, Settsu and Izumi. Kinai and Kinki, both roughly meaning "the neighbourhood of the capital", referred to these provinces. [15] In common usage, Kinai now refers to the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto (Keihanshin) area, the center of the Kansai region.

Kansai (literally west of the tollgate) in its original usage refers to the land west of the Osaka Tollgate (逢坂関), the border between Yamashiro Province and Ōmi Province (present-day Kyoto and Shiga prefectures). [16] During the Kamakura period, this border was redefined to include Ōmi and Iga Provinces. [16] It is not until the Edo period that Kansai came to acquire its current form. [17] (see Kamigata ) Like all regions of Japan, the Kansai region is not an administrative unit, but rather a cultural and historical one, which emerged much later during the Heian Period after the expansion of Japan saw the development of the Kantō region to the east and the need to differentiate what was previously the center of Japan in Kansai emerged.

Himeji Castle Himeji Castle The Keep Towers.jpg
Himeji Castle

The Kansai region lays claim to the earliest beginnings of Japanese civilization. It was Nara, the most eastern point on the Silk Road, that became the site of Japan's first permanent capital. [18] This period (AD 710–784) saw the spread of Buddhism to Japan and the construction of Tōdai-ji in 745. The Kansai region also boasts the Shinto religion's holiest shrine at Ise Shrine (built in 690 AD) in Mie prefecture. [19]

The Heian period saw the capital moved to Heian-kyō (平安京, present-day Kyoto), where it would remain for over a thousand years until the Meiji Restoration. During this golden age, the Kansai region would give birth to traditional Japanese culture. In 788, Saicho, the founder of the Tendai sect of Buddhism established his monastery at Mount Hiei in Shiga prefecture. Japan's most famous tale, and some say the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji was penned by Murasaki Shikibu while performing as a lady-in-waiting in Heian-kyo. Noh and Kabuki, Japan's traditional dramatic forms both saw their birth and evolution in Kyoto, while Bunraku, Japanese puppet theater, is native to Osaka.

World Heritage Sites in Kansai Region World Heritage Sites in Kansai(2008).PNG
World Heritage Sites in Kansai Region

Kansai's unique position in Japanese history, plus the lack of damage from wars or natural disasters has resulted in Kansai region having more UNESCO World Heritage Listings than any other region of Japan. [20] The five World Heritage Listings include: Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji Area, Himeji Castle, Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities), Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, and Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range. [21]

Major cities

Other major cities


International schools

International schools have served expatriates in the Kansai region since 1909. Outside of Tokyo and Yokoyama, Kansai has the largest number of international schools.

In 1909, Deutsche Schule Kobe was founded to serve German, Austrian and German-speaking Swiss expatriates, traders and missionaries living in the Kobe area. [22] After a long history of teaching a German curriculum, the school changed to The Primary Years Programme (PYP) in 2002. Today, Deutsche Schule Kobe/European School provides curriculum in three languages: German, English, and Japanese.

In 1913, Canadian Methodist Academy opened its doors to sixteen children. [23] The school, renamed Canadian Academy in 1917, served children of missionary parents from grade one through high school and offered boarding facilities for students from throughout Asia. Today, the day and boarding school offers a PreK to Grade 12 education on the campus on Rokkō Island, a man-made island. The school, which is no longer affiliated with Canada or the church, is the largest school for expatriates in Kansai. The school is approved by the Japanese Ministry of Education and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges[2](WASC) and the Council of International Schools[3]. The school awards both the International Baccalaureate (IB) and U.S. high school diplomas.

The number of international schools burgeoned after World War II.

In 1946, St. Michael's International School was established by Anglican Bishop Michael Yashiro and Miss Leonora Lee, a British missionary. [24] Today, the school offers a distinctive British-style primary education based on the National Curriculum of England and Wales. The school has joint accreditation from the Council of International Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Brother Charles Fojoucyk and Brother Stephen Weber founded Marist Brothers International School in 1951 after communist authorities pressured them to leave Tientsin, China. [25] Today, the international Montessori - Grade 12 school enrolls approximately 300 students. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

In 1957, a missionary homeschooled her son, his best friend and another student in their home. The next year, the home turned into Kyoto Christian Day School and a full-time teacher was hired. [26] The school was renamed Kyoto International School in 1966. Today, the school serves students from two to fourteen years old. The school has bee accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since 1992 and authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) since 2006.

Kansai is also served by Osaka International School, Lycée français international de Kyoto as well as Chinese and Korean schools.

See also


  1. 1 2 Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Statistics Bureau (26 October 2011). "平成 22 年国勢調査の概要" (PDF). Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  2. "International comparison of GDP of Japan's Prefectures: Tokyo's GDP is bigger than Indonesia's?!". realestate.co.jp. 13 August 2015. Archived from the original on 1 May 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  3. "Yearly Average Rates". UKForex. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  4. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kansai" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 477 , p. 477, at Google Books.
  5. "Mie Prefecture homepage: About Mie (pdf)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  6. Kansai Now: History, retrieved January 17, 2007
  7. 1 2 3 Omusubi – "Japan's Regional Diversity", retrieved January 22, 2007
  8. "Kansai Region Travel Guide - Kinki Region Travel Guide". www.japan-guide.com. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  9. "Kansai - JapanGov". JapanGov. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  10. Planet, Lonely. "Kansai travel - Lonely Planet". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  11. 1 2 Livingabroadin.com – "Prime Living Locations in Japan", retrieved January 22, 2007
  12. Kansai Window Archived 2009-04-25 at the Wayback Machine – "Japan's number one sake production", retrieved January 24, 2007
  13. "Kansai | JapanVisitor Japan Travel Guide". www.japanvisitor.com. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  14. "8 Tips for Travelling in Japan's Kansai Region". TripZilla. 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  15. Nussbaum, "Kinai" in p. 521 , p. 521, at Google Books.
  16. 1 2 Entry for 「関西」. Kōjien, fifth edition, 1998, ISBN   4-00-080111-2
  17. Entry for 「上方」. Kōjien, fifth edition, 1998, ISBN   4-00-080111-2
  18. Kansai Economic Federation: "Kansai Brief History", retrieved January 17, 2007
  19. Japan Reference – "Ise Jingu Guide", retrieved January 17, 2007
  20. Kansai, retrieved 19 June 2012 – GoJapanGo
  21. UNESCO World Heritage Centre: Japan, retrieved January 17, 2007 – Kiyomizu-Dera, Todai-ji, and Mount Koya are part of collections of sites and chosen as representative
  22. "School History: DSK International - World IB School in Kobe". DSK International. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  23. "Canadian Academy: History". www.canacad.ac.jp. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  24. "About". www.smis.org. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  25. "Our History - Marist Brothers International School". www.marist.ac.jp. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  26. "History - Kyoto International School". Kyoto International School. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  27. Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco - "History", retrieved March 15, 2007

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This page lists Japan-related articles with romanized titles beginning with the letter K. For names of people, please list by surname. Please also ignore particles when listing articles.

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Coordinates: 35°N135°E / 35°N 135°E / 35; 135