Yamaguchi Prefecture

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Yamaguchi Prefecture

Japanese transcription(s)
   Japanese 山口県
   Rōmaji Yamaguchi-ken
Flag of Yamaguchi Prefecture.svg
Emblem of Yamaguchi Prefecture.svg
Map of Japan with highlight on 35 Yamaguchi prefecture.svg
Country Japan
Region Chūgoku (Sanyo)
Island Honshu
Capital Yamaguchi
Largest city Shimonoseki
Subdivisions Districts: 4, Municipalities: 19
   Governor Tsugumasa Muraoka
  Total6,112.30 km2 (2,359.97 sq mi)
Area rank 22nd
 (February 1, 2018)
  Rank 27th
  Density225.43/km2 (583.9/sq mi)
ISO 3166 code JP-35
Website www.pref.yamaguchi.lg.jp/foreign/english/index.html
Bird Hooded crane (Grus monacha)
Fish Japanese puffer (Takifugu rubripes)
Flower Bitter summer mandarin blossom (Citrus natsudaidai)
Tree Red pine tree (Pinus densiflora)

Yamaguchi Prefecture(山口県,Yamaguchi-ken) is a prefecture of Japan in the Chūgoku region of the main island of Honshu. [1] The capital is the city of Yamaguchi, in the center of the prefecture. [2] The largest city, however, is Shimonoseki.

Prefectures of Japan countrys 47 first-order subnational jurisdictions

Japan is divided into 47 prefectures, forming the first level of jurisdiction and administrative division. They consist of 43 prefectures proper, two urban prefectures, one "circuit" or "territory" and one "metropolis". In 1868, the Meiji Fuhanken sanchisei administration created the first prefectures to replace the urban and rural administrators in the parts of the country previously controlled directly by the shogunate and a few territories of rebels/shogunate loyalists who had not submitted to the new government such as Aizu/Wakamatsu. In 1871, all remaining feudal domains (han) were also transformed into prefectures, so that prefectures subdivided the whole country. In several waves of territorial consolidation, today's 47 prefectures were formed by the turn of the century. In many instances, these are contiguous with the ancient ritsuryō provinces of Japan.

Japan Country 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.

Chūgoku region Region

The Chūgoku region, also known as the San'in-San'yō, is the westernmost region of Honshū, the largest island of Japan. It consists of the prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. In 2010, it had a population of 7,563,428.



Yamaguchi Prefecture was created by the merger of the provinces of Suō and Nagato. [3] During the rise of the samurai class during the Heian and Kamakura Periods (794–1333), the Ouchi family of Suō Province and the Koto family of Nagato Province gained influence as powerful warrior clans. In the Muromachi period (1336—1573), Ouchi Hiroyo, the 24th ruler of the Ouchi family conquered both areas of Yamaguchi Prefecture. The Ouchi clan imitated the city planning of Kyoto. They gained great wealth through cultural imports from the continent and trade with Korea and Ming Dynasty China. As a result, Yamaguchi came to be known as the "Kyoto of the West," and Ouchi culture flourished. Sue Harutaka defeated the 31st ruler of the Ouchi clan. The Sue clan was then defeated by Mōri Motonari, and the Mōri family gained control of the Chūgoku region. Yamaguchi was ruled as part of the Mōri clan domain during the Sengoku period. Mōri Terumoto was then defeated by Tokugawa Ieyasu in the battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He was forced to give up all his land except for the Suō and Nagato areas (current-day Yamaguchi Prefecture), where he built his castle in Hagi. Mōri sought to strengthen the economic base of the region and increase local production with his Three Whites campaign (salt, rice, and paper).

Suō Province province of Japan

Suō Province was a province of Japan in the area that is today the eastern part of Yamaguchi Prefecture. It was sometimes called Bōshū (防州). Suō bordered on Aki, Iwami, and Nagato Provinces.

Nagato Province province of Japan

Nagato Province, often called Chōshū (長州), was a province of Japan. It was at the extreme western end of Honshū, in the area that is today Yamaguchi Prefecture. Nagato bordered on Iwami and Suō Provinces.

Samurai Military nobility of pre-industrial Japan

Samurai (侍) were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan.

After Commodore Matthew Perry's opening of Japan, clans from Nagato (also called Chōshū) played a key role in the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate and the establishment of the new imperial government. Four years after the Edo Shogunate was overthrown and the Meiji government formed in 1868, the present Yamaguchi Prefecture was established. The Meiji government brought in many new systems and modern policies, and promoted the introduction of modern industry, though the prefecture was still centered on agriculture during this period. In the Taishō period, from 1912 to 1926, shipbuilding, chemical, machinery, and metal working plants were built in Yamaguchi's harbors in the Seto Inland Sea area. During the post-World War II Shōwa Period, Yamaguchi developed into one of the most industrialized prefectures in the country due to the establishment of petrochemical complexes. [4]

Chōshū Domain Japanese historical estate in Nagato and Suō province

The Chōshū Domain was a feudal domain of Japan during the Edo period (1603–1867). It occupied the whole of modern-day Yamaguchi Prefecture. The capital city was Hagi. The name Chōshū was shorthand for Nagato Province. The domain played a major role in the Late Tokugawa shogunate. It is also known as the Hagi Domain.

Tokugawa shogunate Last feudal Japanese military government which existed between 1600 and 1868

The Tokugawa Shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa Bakufu (徳川幕府) and the Edo Bakufu (江戸幕府), was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867. The head of government was the shōgun, and each was a member of the Tokugawa clan. The Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo Castle and the years of the shogunate became known as the Edo period. This time is also called the Tokugawa period or pre-modern.

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.


Map of Yamaguchi Prefecture
City Town Map of Yamaguchi Prefecture Ja.svg
Map of Yamaguchi Prefecture
     City     Town

As of April 1, 2012, 7% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Setonaikai National Park; Akiyoshidai, Kita-Nagato Kaigan, and Nishi-Chūgoku Sanchi Quasi-National Parks; and Chōmonkyō, Iwakiyama, Rakanzan, and Toyota Prefectural Natural Parks. [5]

Setonaikai National Park national park of Japan

Setonaikai National Park is a national park comprising areas of Japan's Inland Sea and of ten bordering prefectures. Designated a national park in 1934, it has since been expanded several times. It contains about 3,000 islands, including the well-known Itsukushima. As the park is formed of many non-contiguous areas and covers a tiny proportion of the Inland Sea's total extent, control and protection is problematic, with much of the wider area heavily industrialized.

Akiyoshidai Quasi-National Park Quasi-National Park in Yamaguchi Prefecture

Akiyoshidai Kokutei Kōen (秋吉台国定公園) is a Quasi-National Park in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. It was founded on 1 November 1955 and has an area of 45.02 km².

Kita-Nagato Kaigan Quasi-National Park

Kita-Nagato Kaigan Quasi-National Park is a Quasi-National Park on the coast of Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. It was founded on 1 November 1955 and has an area of 80.21 km2 (30.97 sq mi).


Shimonoseki and Kanmon Strait Central Shimonoseki and Kanmon Strait.JPG
Shimonoseki and Kanmon Strait
Iwakuni 20100724 Iwakuni 5274.jpg
Shunan View of Tokuyama.JPG
Hagi Yoshida shoin seika ato.JPG
Hofu Hofu City view 2012.JPG

Thirteen cities are located in Yamaguchi Prefecture:

Hagi, Yamaguchi City in Chūgoku, Japan

Hagi is a city located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, which was incorporated on July 1, 1932.

Hikari, Yamaguchi City in Chūgoku, Japan

Hikari is a city located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

Kudamatsu City in Chūgoku, Japan

Kudamatsu is a city in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

Towns and districts

These are the towns in each district:

Abu District, Yamaguchi district in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan

Abu is a district located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

Abu, Yamaguchi Town in Japan

Abu is a town located in Abu District, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

Kuga District, Yamaguchi district in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan

Kuga is a district located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.


Economic development

For the purposes of development analysis, Yamaguchi is construed to be part of Northern Kyushu. Although Yamaguchi is not part of the island of Kyushu, it has become a functional satellite of the Kanmon Straits metropolitan area. [6]


The most popular place for tourism is Shimonoseki, for example Karato Fish Market. There is a large fireworks festival in summer.

Another attraction is the Kintai Bridge in the town of Iwakuni. This five-arched wooden structure is considered a symbol of Western Honshū. The area on the banks of the Nishiki river close to the bridge is considered among the best places in Japan for Hanami, when groups of family and friends gather in early April to view cherry blossoms.

Hagi City is in the north of Yamaguchi. It is a very traditional city. The usual color of Japanese post boxes is red, but in Hagi they are painted green or brown. The Hagi Museum is modeled after a traditional samurai residence. The exhibits are detailed and realistic, and are changed every year. The permanent collection is data about Hagi's history and collections about Takasugi Shinsaku. Hagi also contains a reverberatory furnace which has been designated a World Heritage Site. [7]

Kawara soba (hot tile noodles) is a popular food in Yamaguchi. It was developed during the Seinan Rebellion that broke out in 1877. Soldiers cooked wild grass and meat on hot tiles. Now it is a local dish of Yamaguchi people. They fry green tea noodles on a hot tile, and arrange thin fried egg, stewed beef, green onions and grilled liver on top.

Akiyoshidai Quasi-National Park, which includes Japan’s longest cave, the Akiyoshido(秋芳洞), is another popular destination.

Famous festivals and events



Private universities


Ferries from Shimonoseki Port International Terminal

Two ferry services provide regular sea transport from the Shimonoseki Port International Terminal: Kanpu Ferry provides round-trip service to Busan, South Korea; the Orient Ferry provides round-trip service to Qingdao and Shanghai, respectively.

Other ferry routes


Yamaguchi Ube Airport is a domestic airport with service to Haneda Airport (Tokyo).




Toll roads

  • Hagi Misumi Road
  • Kanmon Bridge
  • Yamaguchi Ube Onoda Road
  • Ogori Hagi Road
  • Kanmon Road Tunnel

National highways

  • Route 2
  • Route 9
  • Route 187 (Iwakuni-Tsuwano-Masuda)
  • Route 188
  • Route 189 (Iwakuni-Yanai-Hikari-Kudamatsu)
  • Route 262
  • Route 315 (Shunan-Hagi)
  • Route 316
  • Route 376 (Yamaguchi-Shunan-Iwakuni)
  • Route 435
  • Route 437
  • Route 489
  • Route 490
  • Route 491

Prefectural symbols





Notable people from Yamaguchi Prefecture

Sister districts

Yamaguchi Prefecture has alliance with the following three districts. [11]


Since the Meiji Restoration in which lower-rank nobility from Chōshū played a major role, many politicians from Yamaguchi have held important positions in national politics. In the post-war era, the most prominent political family from Yamaguchi is the Kishi-Abe/Satō prime ministerial dynasty, and Yamaguchi is leaning solidly towards the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Delegation to the National Diet

Since the electoral reform of the 1990s, Yamaguchi elects four members directly to the House of Representatives. Three of the new single-member districts have been held exclusively by Liberal Democrats as of 2013, the easternmost district bordering Hiroshima was initially won by Shinji Satō (Eisaku Satō's son) in 1996, but went to Democrat Hideo Hiraoka in several later elections. Currently, following the 2014 general election, Yamaguchi's directly elected delegation to the lower house consists of LDP president Shinzō Abe (4th district, 8th term), LDP vice president Masahiko Kōmura (1st district, 12th term), the chairman of the House of Representatives rules committee (as of 190th Diet, January 2016), [12] Takeo Kawamura (3rd district, 9th term), and the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, Abe's brother Nobuo Kishi (2nd district, 2nd term, former two-term member of the House of Councillors). For the proportional representation segment of the House of Representatives, Yamaguchi forms part of the Chūgoku block.

In the House of Councillors, Yamaguchi is represented by two members, making it one of the currently 31 winner-take-all single-member districts. As of 2013, the two members are Yoshimasa Hayashi (LDP, 4th term, up in 2019), agriculture minister in the 2nd Abe Cabinet, and following the April 2013 by-election to replace Nobuo Kishi, Kiyoshi Ejima (LDP, 1st term, up in 2016), former mayor of Shimonoseki city.


The current governor of Yamaguchi is former MIC bureaucrat Tsugumasa Muraoka. He won the gubernatorial election in February 2014 with more than 60% of the vote against other two candidates, and succeeded Shigetarō Yamamoto who had been hospitalized since October 2013 and resigned in January 2014.

Elected governors of Yamaguchi have been:

  1. Tatsuo Tanaka, 1947–1953 (2 terms, resigned mid-term to enter national politics), the son of pre-war prime minister Baron Giichi Tanaka
  2. Tarō Ozawa, 1953–1960 (2 terms, resigned mid-term to enter national politics), Tanaka's son-in-law
  3. Masayuki Hashimoto, 1960–1976 (4 terms), previously member of the House of Representatives from Yamaguchi for the LDP
  4. Tōru Hirai, 1976–1996 (5 terms), previously Home Affairs Ministry bureaucrat and vice-governor of Yamaguchi under Hashimoto
  5. Sekinari Nii, 1996–2012 (4 terms), previously Home Affairs Ministry bureaucrat and treasurer of Yamaguchi under Hirai
  6. Shigetarō Yamamoto, 2012–2014 (1 term, resigned for health reasons), former LDP candidate for the House of Representatives in Yamaguchi's 2nd district


The prefectural assembly of Yamaguchi has 47 members, elected in unified local elections in 15 electoral districts: 5 single-member districts, four two-member districts and six districts that elect each between four and nine members. [13] In the 2015 election, the LDP won a majority. Liberal Democrats form several parliamentary groups together with independents. As of June 8, 2015, the assembly is composed as follows: LDP 24 members, LDP Shinseikai 5, Kōmeitō 5, DPJ/Rengō no Kai 4, LDP Kensei Club 2, JCP 2, SDP/Citizens League 2, and the independent "groups" shinsei club, mushozoku no kai and kusa no ne have one member each. [14]


  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Yamaguchi-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, pp. 1039-1040 , p. 1039, at Google Books; "Chūgoku" at p. 127 , p. 127, at Google Books.
  2. Nussbaum, "Yamaguchi" at p. 1039 , p. 1039, at Google Books.
  3. Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in p. 780 , p. 780, at Google Books.
  4. The History of Yamaguchi Prefecture
  5. "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment . Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  6. Sakamoto, Hiroshi. (2011). "CGE Analysis of Regional Policy in the Northern Kyushu Area." Kitakyushu: The International Centre for the Study of East Asian Development (ICSEAD), Working Paper Series Vol. 2011-03
  7. "HAGI Sightseeing Guide". Burari HAGI aruki_HAGI Sightseeing Guide. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  8. Kantei bio notes
  9. Tsuchida, Akihiko (6 November 2016). エヴァ新幹線 あすから運行 徳山駅でも出発式 /山口 [EVA Shinkansen starts operating tomorrow]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan: The Mainichi Newspapers. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  10. 代表取締役会長兼社長 柳井 正 [Managing Director & President Tadashi Yanai]. Nippon Shacho (in Japanese). Japan: Ishin. 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  11. "Yamaguchi Prefecture's International Exchange". Yamaguchi Prefecture official website (in Japanese). Japan: Yamaguchi Prefecture. 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  12. House of Representatives: Leadership, committee chairs and other officials ‹See Tfd› (in Japanese)
  13. Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly: Electoral districts and district magnitudes ‹See Tfd› (in Japanese)
  14. Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly: Composition by group ‹See Tfd› (in Japanese)

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Coordinates: 34°4′N131°30′E / 34.067°N 131.500°E / 34.067; 131.500