Tochigi Prefecture

Last updated
Tochigi Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
   Japanese 栃木県
   Rōmaji Tochigi-ken
Ruins of Sakuyama castle (Tochigi, Japan).jpg
Autumn view over the ruins of Sakuyama castle in Gotenyama park, Ōtawara city, Tochigi prefecture
Flag of Tochigi Prefecture.svg
Emblem of Tochigi Prefecture.svg
Anthem: Kenmin no Uta
Map of Japan with highlight on 09 Tochigi prefecture.svg
Country Japan
Region Kantō
Island Honshu
Capital Utsunomiya
Subdivisions Districts: 5, Municipalities: 25
   Governor Tomikazu Fukuda
  Total6,408.09 km2 (2,474.18 sq mi)
  Rank 20th
 (June 1, 2023)
  Rank 19th
  Density300/km2 (770/sq mi)
Tochigi ・Ashikaga
ISO 3166 code JP-09
Bird Blue-and-white flycatcher
(Cyanoptila cyanomelana)
FlowerYashio tsutsuji
( Rhododendron albrechtii )
Tree Japanese horse chestnut
(Aesculus turbinata)

Tochigi Prefecture (栃木県, Tochigi-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kantō region of Honshu. [1] Tochigi Prefecture has a population of 1,897,649 (1 June 2023) and has a geographic area of 6,408 km² (2,474 sq mi). Tochigi Prefecture borders Fukushima Prefecture to the north, Gunma Prefecture to the west, Saitama Prefecture to the south, and Ibaraki Prefecture to the southeast.


Utsunomiya is the capital and largest city of Tochigi Prefecture, with other major cities including Oyama, Tochigi, and Ashikaga. [2] Tochigi Prefecture is one of only eight landlocked prefectures and its mountainous northern region is a popular tourist region in Japan. The Nasu area is known for its onsens, local sake, and ski resorts, the villa of the Imperial Family, and the Nasushiobara station of the Shinkansen railway line. The city of Nikkō, with its ancient Shintō shrines and Buddhist temples, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [3]

Current map of Tochigi Prefecture
City Town Map of Tochigi Prefecture Ja.svg
Current map of Tochigi Prefecture
     City     Town

Prefectural overview

Situated among the inland prefectures of the northern part of the Kantō region, Tochigi is contiguous with Ibaraki, Gunma, Saitama, and Fukushima Prefectures.

The climate of Tochigi may be classified as a humid temperate zone with broad variations in temperature. Winters are arid with dry winds, while summers are humid with frequent thunderstorms.

The population of Tochigi as of November 2010 is approximately 2,005,096.

Located in the center of the prefecture is the largest open plain in the Kantō region. Shirane (2,578 metres (8,458 ft)), Nantai (2,484 metres (8,150 ft)) and Nasudake (1,917 metres (6,289 ft)) mountain are in the northern part of the area. Kinugawa, Nakagawa, and Watarase River originate in this region, which flow across the Kanto plain before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. Tochigi is the 20th largest prefecture in Japan with a total area of 6,408.09 square km.

As of 1 April 2012, 21% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely Nikkō National Park, Oze National Park, and eight Prefectural Natural Parks. [4]


Before the Meiji Restoration, Tochigi was known as Shimotsuke Province. [5]

In the early 15th century, the Ashikaga Gakkō, Japan's oldest school of higher education, was re-established in the prefecture, holding over 3,000 students by the 16th century. Saint Francis Xavier introduced Ashikaga to the world as the best university in Japan.[ citation needed ]

In the early 17th century, Japan was unified under the shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu. After his death, Tōshō-gū shrine was built in Nikkō on what the shōguns thought of as holy ground to protect and worship Ieyasu. The establishment of the Nikkō Tōshō-gū in 1617 brought Nikkō to national attention. [ citation needed ] The Tokugawa shogunate developed the Nikkō Kaidō (日光街道, part of the major road connecting Nikkō with Edo) and acquired lavish processions to worship Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa line of shōguns.

In the late 19th century, the Tokugawa shogunate fell and the new government established the prefectures. The prefectural capital was established in the city of Tochigi after the unification of Utsunomiya Prefecture and Tochigi Prefecture in 1873. [6] By 1884, however, the capital was transferred to Utsunomiya.

In March 2011, following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, levels of radioactivity in Utsunomiya were 33 times higher than normal. [7]


The chief city of Utsunomiya is famous for its many gyoza specialist shops. Also located in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture has one of the largest shopping malls in the North Kantō region, Bell Mall.

Tochigi City Tochigi-panorama.jpg
Tochigi City


Fourteen cities are located in Tochigi Prefecture:


These are the towns in each district:


List of governors of Tochigi Prefecture (from 1947)

Term of office
37–38Jyukichi Kodaira (小平重吉)
12 April 19474 February 1955
39Kichi Ogawa (小川喜一)
5 February 19554 February 1959
40–43Nobuo Yokokawa (横川信夫)
5 February 19597 December 1974
44–46Yuzuru Funada (船田譲)
8 December 19748 December 1984
47–50Fumio Watanabe (渡辺文雄)
9 December 19848 December 2000
51Akio Fukuda (福田昭夫)
9 December 20008 December 2004
52–55Tomikazu Fukuda (福田富一)
9 December 2004Present

Industry and agriculture

Tochigi prefecture population pyramid in 2020 Tochigi prefecture population pyramid in 2020.svg
Tochigi prefecture population pyramid in 2020

Located close to Tōkyō, Tochigi is home to many corporations and industrial zones, including the Kiyohara Industrial Complex, one of the largest inland industrial complexes in the country.

Industrial manufacturing accounts for 36.6% of the prefecture's total output. Vehicle parts and accessories are the primary products, followed by vehicles, radios and televisions, pharmaceuticals, and wireless communication equipment.

Below are goods manufactured in Tochigi with the highest market share in Japan:

Camera lenses71.3%
X-ray equipment for medical use54.5%
Machinery and appliances for dental use23.5%
X-ray equipment parts57.5%
Injection molded plastic parts14.1%

(The 2004 industrial analysis report published by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)

The annual gross agricultural output in Tochigi is about 274 billion yen. Rice, vegetables, and livestock are produced in the region. Tochigi is also known for strawberries, Chinese chives, and Japanese pears sold throughout Japan and exported to other countries. Approximately 55% of Tochigi is covered by forests. Mushrooms, such as Shiitake mushrooms, make up half of the forest industry, with an output of approximately 5.6 billion yen.


Tochigi is home to many universities and colleges including those for science and technology, literature, medicine, education, and art. Below is an alphabetical list of some of the universities located in Tochigi.



Tochigi Green Stadium in Utsunomiya. Tochigi Green 20110417.jpg
Tochigi Green Stadium in Utsunomiya.

The sports teams and events listed below are based in Tochigi.

Football (Soccer)

Ice hockey




Tour de Tochigi, a cat 2.2 three-day road race of the UCI Asia Tour


Nikkō National Park is famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Site which was registered as the 10th World Heritage Site in 1999. This encompasses Rinnō-ji, Nikkō Tōshō-gū, Mount Nantai, and Futarasan Shrine. The Kegon Falls, also in Nikkō, is popular with tourists. To travel between the city and the falls, automobiles and buses take the Irohazaka, a road with dozens of switchbacks. In addition, 400-year-old Japanese Cedars (about 13,000 in total) line the famous Cedar Avenue of Nikkō for roughly 35 km, making it the longest tree-lined avenue in the world. [8]

Statues in Nikko AUnComposite.jpg
Statues in Nikkō
Three wise monkeys at Nikko Tosho-gu 20100727 Nikko Tosho-gu Three wise monkeys 5965.jpg
Three wise monkeys at Nikkō Tōshō-gū

A more recent and modern attraction is the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit race course, which hosts the only IndyCar race outside the United States. The track also hosts many other race events including Formula One and motorcycle races as well as festivals and fireworks events.

Tochigi has many traditional festivals and events such as Nikkō Tōshō-gū's 1000 Samurai Procession and Horseback Archery Festival, and the city of Tochigi's Autumn Festival where doll floats are pulled around the city once every five years.

Other attractions include:

Transportation and access


Traversing the prefecture along the north–south axis and connecting to the rest of the country are the Tōhoku Expressway and the new and old Route 4. From east to west spans Route 50, connecting southern Tochigi with Ibaraki and Gunma Prefectures.

Also connecting Tochigi, Gunma, and Ibaraki is the Kita-Kantō Expressway, with the 18.5 km that connect the Tochigi-Tsuga Interchange and the Utsunomiya-Kaminokawa Interchange. Portions of the Kita-Kantō Expressway are still being constructed and is set to be fully completed by 2011. The highway will link the region's other main transport arteries, the Tōhoku, the Jōban and the Kan-Etsu Expressways, providing a link to the international port of Hitachinaka in Ibaraki.


JR Utsunomiya Station JR Utsunomiya West Side April 2020.jpg
JR Utsunomiya Station
Tobu Nikko Station Tobu Nikko Station, ekisha.jpg
Tōbu Nikkō Station

The Tōhoku Shinkansen and the JR Utsunomiya Line are the main railways running north and south in Tochigi. Shinkansen runs from Tokyo Station to Oyama in south Tochigi in 43 minutes. Utsunomiya can be reached by rail in as little as 48 minutes, and many parts of Tochigi are within commuting range of central Tokyo. To the east and west, the Mito and Ryōmō Lines connect Tochigi to Ibaraki and Gunma.

Freight is served by the Utsunomiya Freight Terminal.

Air travel

Fukushima Airport is approximately an hour's drive from Utsunomiya on the Tōhoku Expressway. International and national air transportation is through Narita International Airport to the east of Tokyo, approximately three hours by vehicle from Utsunomiya.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ibaraki Prefecture</span> Prefecture of Japan

Ibaraki Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kantō region of Honshu. Ibaraki Prefecture has a population of 2,828,086 and has a geographic area of 6,097.19 square kilometres. Ibaraki Prefecture borders Fukushima Prefecture to the north, Tochigi Prefecture to the northwest, Saitama Prefecture to the southwest, Chiba Prefecture to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the east.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kantō region</span> Region of Japan

The Kantō region is a geographical region of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. In a common definition, the region includes the Greater Tokyo Area and encompasses seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. Slightly more than 45 percent of the land area within its boundaries is the Kantō Plain. The rest consists of the hills and mountains that form land borders with other regions of Japan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gunma Prefecture</span> Prefecture of Japan

Gunma Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kantō region of Honshu. Gunma Prefecture has a population of 1,937,626 and has a geographic area of 6,362 km2. Gunma Prefecture borders Niigata Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture to the north, Nagano Prefecture to the southwest, Saitama Prefecture to the south, and Tochigi Prefecture to the east.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tochigi (city)</span> City in Kantō, Japan

Tochigi is a city located in Tochigi Prefecture, in the northern Kantō region of Japan. As of 1 June 2023, the city had an estimated population of 151,842 in 66,018 households, and a population density of 458 persons per km². The total area of the city is 331.50 square kilometres (127.99 sq mi). Because the city escaped war damage during World War II, many historical temples, traditional shops and kura remain in the city center. The city was awarded the "Utsukushii-machinami Taisho" prize from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in 2009.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Utsunomiya</span> Core city in Kantō, Japan

Utsunomiya is the capital & largest city of Tochigi Prefecture in the northern Kantō region of Japan. As of 1 July 2023, the city had an estimated population of 513,584, and a population density of 1,232 persons per square kilometre (3,190/sq mi). The total area of the city is 416.85 km2 (160.95 sq mi). Utsunomiya is famous for its gyoza. There are more than two hundred gyoza restaurants in Utsunomiya.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nikkō</span> City in Kantō, Japan

Nikkō is a city in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. As of 2 December 2020, the city had a population of 80,239, in 36,531 households. The population density was 55 persons per km2. The total area of the city is 1,449.83 square kilometres (559.78 sq mi).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ōtawara</span> City in Kantō, Japan

Ōtawara is a city located in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 July 2020, the city had an estimated population of 72,189 in 30,136 households, and a population density of 210 persons per km2. The total area of the city is 354.36 square kilometres (136.82 sq mi). The city's name may also be spelled "Ohtawara" as indicated by the official city website.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yaita</span> City in Kantō, Japan

Yaita is a city located in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 July 2020, the city had an estimated population of 31,859 in 13,173 households, and a population density of 67 persons per km². The total area of the town is 170.46 square kilometres (65.81 sq mi).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shimotsuke Province</span> Former province of Japan

Shimotsuke Province was a province of Japan in the area of Japan that is today Tochigi Prefecture. Shimotsuke was bordered by Kōzuke, Hitachi, Mutsu and Shimōsa Provinces. Its abbreviated form name was Yashū (野州). Under the Engishiki classification system, Shimotsuke was ranked as one of the 13 "great countries" (大国) in terms of importance, and one of the 30 "far countries" (遠国) in terms of distance from the capital. The provincial capital is located in what is now the city of Tochigi. The Ichinomiya of the province is the Futarasan jinja located in what is now the city of Utsunomiya.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nogi, Tochigi</span> Town in Kantō, Japan

Nogi is a town located in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 April 2020, the town had an estimated population of 25,050 in 10,153 households, and a population density of 830 persons per km². The total area of the town is 30.26 square kilometres (11.68 sq mi).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ryōmō Line</span> Railway line in Japan

The Ryōmō Line is a Japanese railway line connecting Oyama in Tochigi Prefecture with Maebashi in Gunma Prefecture. 84.4 km (52.4 mi) long, the line is owned and operated by the East Japan Railway Company. The name refers to the fact that Gunma and Tochigi prefectures were once part of an ancient province called Keno (毛野), which was later split into Kōzuke (Gunma) and Shimotsuke (Tochigi). This line connects both halves of the old province.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nasushiobara</span> City in Kantō, Japan

Nasushiobara is a city located in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 August 2020, the city had an estimated population of 115,794 in 48,437 households, and a population density of 67 persons per km². The total area of the city is 592.74 square kilometres (228.86 sq mi).

National Route 4 is a major national highway in eastern Honshū, Japan. Measuring 738.5 kilometers long (458.9 mi), it is the longest highway in the country. When oversea routes are included, it is the second longest highway in Japan, with National Route 58 then measuring 884.4 kilometers (549.5 mi) because of its maritime sections. The highway connects Tokyo and Aomori via Utsunomiya, Kōriyama, Sendai, and Morioka.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Japan National Route 6</span> National highway in Japan

National Route 6 is a Japanese highway from Tokyo to Sendai that goes through the cities Mito, Iwaki and Sōma. It traces the old Mito Kaidō route from Tokyo to Mito, and, for much of its 353.6-kilometer (219.7 mi) route, it runs parallel to the Jōban railway line and the Jōban Expressway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nikkō National Park</span> National Park in Kantō, Japan

Nikkō National Park is a national park in the Kantō region, on the main island of Honshū in Japan. The park spreads over three prefectures: Tochigi, Gunma and Fukushima, and was established in 1934.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Utsunomiya Station</span> Railway station in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

Utsunomiya Station is a railway station in the city of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture Japan, operated by the East Japan Railway Company. The station also is a freight depot for the Japan Freight Railway Company.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oyama, Tochigi</span> City in Kantō, Japan

Oyama is a city located in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 August 2020, the city had an estimated population of 167,647 in 70,928 households, and a population density of 980 persons per km². The total area of the city is 171.76 square kilometres (66.32 sq mi). In 2006, Oyama became the second most populous city in Tochigi Prefecture, with the capital Utsunomiya retaining the number one spot.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ōshū Kaidō</span> Major route in Edo period

The Ōshū Kaidō (奥州街道) was one of the five routes of the Edo period. It was built to connect Edo with Mutsu Province and the present-day city of Shirakawa, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. It was established by Tokugawa Ieyasu for government officials traveling through the area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kita-Kantō Expressway</span> 4-landed national expressway in Kita-Kantō region, Japan

The Kita-Kantō Expressway is a 4-laned national expressway in Japan. It is owned and operated by East Nippon Expressway Company.


  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Tochigi prefecture" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 967 , p. 967, at Google Books; "Kantō" in p. 479 , p. 479, at Google Books.
  2. Nussbaum, "Utsunomiya" at p. 1019 , p. 1019, at Google Books.
  3. "World Heritage Committee: Report of the 23rd Session, Marrakesh 1999". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  4. "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. 1 April 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  5. Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" at p. 780 , p. 780, at Google Books.
  6. "Tochigi Prefecture / History". Tochigi Prefecture. Tochigi Prefectural Office. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  7. "Nuclear Radiation Levels and Effect on Human Health as Sieverts increase in Japan – What you need to Know - Green World Investor". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  8. Gardening World Records Archived 2008-10-14 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved on 2 November 2008.


36°31′N139°49′E / 36.517°N 139.817°E / 36.517; 139.817