Chiba Prefecture (千葉県 Chiba-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kantō region, and the Greater Tokyo Area. The sixth most populous prefecture, and 27th largest by land area, Chiba is on the east coast of Honshu and largely consists of the Bōsō Peninsula, which encloses the eastern side of Tokyo Bay. Its capital is the city of Chiba.
|Subdivisions||Districts: 6, Municipalities: 54|
|• Governor||Kensaku Morita|
|• Total||5,157.61 km2 (1,991.36 sq mi)|
(June 1, 2019)
|• Density||1,200/km2 (3,200/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||JP-12|
|Flower||Seiyō aburana blossom|
The name of Chiba Prefecture in Japanese is formed from two kanji characters. The first, 千, means "thousand" and the second, 葉 means "leaves". The name first appears as an ancient kuni no miyatsuko, or regional command office, as the Chiba Kuni no Miyatsuko (千葉国造). The name was adopted by a branch of the Taira clan, which moved to the area in present-day Chiba City in the late Heian period. The branch of the Taira adopted the name and became the Chiba clan, and held strong influence over the area of the prefecture until the Azuchi-Momoyama period. The name "Chiba" was chosen for the prefecture at the time its creation in 1873 by the Assembly of Prefectural Governors (地方官会議 Chihō Kankai Kaigi), an early Meiji-period body of prefectural governors that met to decide the structure of local and regional administration in Japan.
The compound word Keiyō (京葉), which refers to the Tokyo-Chiba region, is formed from the second character in Tokyo (京), and the second character in Chiba (葉), which can also be pronounced "kei" and "yō" respectively. This compound is used in terms such as the Keiyō Line, Keiyō Road, Keiyō Rinkai Railway Rinkai Main Line, and the Keiyō Industrial Zone.
Chiba Prefecture was settled in prehistoric times, as evidenced by the Jōmon period remains in every part of the region. The prefecture holds the largest kaizuka sea shell mounds in Japan, evidence of a large population in the prefecture that relied on the rich marine products of the Pacific Ocean and Tokyo Bay. Kofun burial mounds are found across the prefecture, with the largest group being in Futtsu along Tokyo Bay.
In the Asuka period (538 – 710), under the Taika Reform of 645, the administrative structure of present-day Chiba Prefecture changed significantly. The historical province of Fusa Province, which may have covered much of Chiba and Ibaraki prefectures, was divided into two provinces: Shimōsa Province (also called Shimofusa) in the north and Kazusa Province in the southern area. Awa Province at the south of Chiba Prefecture, was separated from Kazusa Prefecture in 718. These administrative units existed until they were abolished and merged into Chiba Prefecture after the Meiji restoration. The central government established a kokubunji provincial temple in each province.
The imperial court gradually extended its authority over the three provinces in the Nara (710 – 794) and Heian (794 – 1185) periods. Shōen feudal estates were established across the three provinces, and the region became an important source of tax revenue, agricultural and other products to the capital in Kyoto. As the Heian period progressed, however, the kokushi provincial governors came to exert military power independent of the central government in Kyoto. The Chiba clan broke entirely with the imperial court and was instrumental in the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate.
Chiba Prefecture was established on June 15, 1873 with the merger of Kisarazu Prefecture and Inba Prefecture. The 1923 Great Kantō earthquake caused widespread destruction in Chiba Prefecture, most notably in the southernmost part of the Bōsō Peninsula, where 1,300 residents were killed. Areas of the prefecture adjacent to Tokyo saw much damage, and mob violence against Koreans and other ethnic minorities occurred in the chaos after the earthquake in Funabashi, Ichikawa, and other areas. Koreans in several neighborhoods of Yachiyo were killed, and a tower was erected in 1972 near Yachiyodai Station to memorialize those killed in the incident. The militarization of Chiba Prefecture dates to the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905). Coastal fortifications were built along Tokyo Bay as far south as Tateyama to protect the capital of the Japanese Empire from attack. In the 1930s the north and central areas of the prefecture became a center of large-scale military production, and military bases and fortifications were constructed in most coastal areas of the prefecture. After the United States took control of Saipan the northern part of the prefecture, most notably the city of Chiba and Chōshi, were firebombed. Much of the industrialized north of the prefecture was destroyed. Operation Coronet, one of two parts of Operation Downfall, was the planned land invasion of Tokyo in March 1946 by the United States. Coronet planned Kujūkuri Beach as one of two initial landing bases, the other being Hiratsuka via Sagami Bay. The U.S. First Army would enter at Kujūkuri, sweep across the Bōsō Peninsula, and meet the U.S. Eighth Army at Tokyo. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki but due to the surrender of Japan in 1945, the plan was never carried out.
During the Occupation of Japan (1945–1952) Chiba Prefecture was controlled by American forces from the second floor of the prefectural capitol building in the city of Chiba. Numerous other cities in the prefecture, including Chōshi to the north and Tateyama to the south, were used as bases of the occupation. The rich agriculture areas across the prefecture protected the region somewhat from the level of food shortage and starvation immediately following the war. The immediate post-war period was characterized by carefully planned industrial expansion in the north of the prefecture and the significant increase of agricultural production after land reforms across the prefecture. The Keiyō Industrial Zone brought together smaller industrial areas along the entirety of the western coast of Chiba Prefecture, and the industrial zone became, and remains an important center of heavy industrial production and large-scale port facilities in Japan. Cities to the northeast of the prefecture in close proximity to Tokyo were connected by rail to the capitol, and became and remain bedroom communities to Tokyo. Narita International Airport began operation in 1978 in Narita after much protest to replace the overcrowded Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). The majority of international air traffic enters Japan via Chiba Prefecture. Agriculture, specifically of rice, and also vegetables to serve the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area expanded greatly and became a source of income to the northeast and central areas of the prefecture. Agriculture expansion of the central and southern regions of the prefecture was in contrast to the depopulation of these areas as a significant part of the population moved to the northeast of the prefecture as a result of the urbanization of Japan, a process that continues into the 21st century.
The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami affected areas as far south as Chiba Prefecture. While the loss of life and damage to housing and industry was far less than in the Tōhoku region, 20 people were killed in Chiba Prefecture, mostly from the tsunami that hit Asahi to the northeast of the prefecture and caused 13 deaths. An oil refinery fire, widely seen in the news media following the Tōhoku earthquake, was at the Cosmo Oil Chiba Refinery in Ichihara. Large liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks burned from March 11–21, 2011. Soil liquefaction in areas of reclaimed land across the northern and western areas of Chiba Prefecture caused damage, primarily to housing. Chiba City, Funabashi, Narashino, and especially Urayasu were greatly affected. As a result of permanent damage to housing stock due to soil liquefaction and evidence of radioactive materials, the population of Chiba Prefecture fell for the first time since 1920.
Chiba Prefecture borders Ibaraki Prefecture to the north at the Tone River, Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture to the west at the Edo River, the Pacific Ocean to the east and Tokyo Bay around its southern boundary. Most of Chiba lies on the hilly Boso Peninsula, a rice farming region: the east coast, known as the Kujūkuri Plain, is an especially productive area. The most populous zone, in the northwest of the prefecture, is part of the Kantō region that extends into the urban agglomeration of Tokyo and Saitama. The Kuroshio Current flows near Chiba, which keeps it relatively warm in winter and cooler in summer than neighbouring Tokyo.
With the exception of the large-scale Keiyō Industrial Zone in the northeast, the entirety of the coast of Chiba Prefecture is protected as two quasi-national parks and one prefectural natural park under the national park system of Japan. As of 1 April 2012, 6% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks.
Chiba Prefecture has designated and maintains eight prefectural natural parks to protect both natural and cultural areas, namely the Inba Tega, Kasamori Tsurumai, Kujūkuri, Mineokasankei, Ōtone, Takagoyama, Tomisan, and Yōrō Keikoku Okukiyosumi Prefectural Natural Parks. Cities, towns, and villages in the prefecture also have designated and protected parklands. These parks are maintained for environmental protection as well as providing local recreational facilities.
Thirty-seven cities are located in Chiba Prefecture:
These are the towns and villages in each district:
Chiba Prefecture is home to one of Japan's largest industrial areas. Prior to World War II manufacturing in the prefecture was centered on the brewing industry, specifically the production of soy sauce, sake and mirin sweet cooking sake. The manufacturing sector expanded greatly after the war. The prefecture was chosen as the site for a major Kawasaki Steel factory in 1950. In the same period the prefectural government embarked on a large-scale land reclamation program to dredge large plots of waterfront property. The large-scale construction of factories, warehouses, and docks on this reclaimed land around the Tokyo Bay area ultimately formed the Keiyō Industrial Zone. Chiba Prefecture is now 6th in Japan in industrial output with the bulk of the industry focused on the petroleum, chemical, and steel and machine industries. Together, these industries account for forty-five percent of the prefecture's exports. In recent years, the government has funded more than eighty industrial parks to bring development further inland as well.
The prefecture also boasts Japan's overall second-highest agricultural output. Among all the prefectures, only Hokkaidō produces more agricultural products, and Chiba leads Hokkaidō in vegetable production. Peanuts are considered a specialty product of Chiba: 78 per cent of the country's peanuts are produced in the prefecture.
Chiba Prefecture leads the nation in the production of several vegetables, including carrots; cabbage; daikon radish; negi, the ubiquitous Japanese cultivar of the Welsh onion; loquat; nashi, the Japanese cultivar of the pear, which has a two hundred-year history of cultivation in the prefecture; tomatoes; and spinach It is the nation's second largest producer of corn. Rice is also grown, and seaweed, specifically nori, is harvested in large quantities from Tokyo Bay.
Chiba's population is one of the wealthiest in Japan due to the prefecture's strong commercial and industrial sectors. Per capita GDP is ¥3.1 million, the fifth-highest in the country. 70% of the population is employed in the service sector, with 25% in industry and 5% in agriculture.
Chiba Prefecture has a Humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa) with hot, humid summers and mild, cool winters. The tsuyu rainy season occurs for approximately 50 days from June to July. According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency, the average of annual temperature is 15.7℃. The average high is 19.6℃ (67.3°F), and the average low is 12.3℃ (54.1°F).
The Chiba Prefectural Board of Education oversees municipal school districts in the prefecture. The board also directly operates the prefecture's public high schools.
Chiba Prefecture is home to one national-level museum and several prefectural and local museums. The National Museum of Japanese History is located in Sakura and focuses on the history, archaeology, and folk culture of Japan. The Chiba prefectural museums consist of a main museum, the Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba in the central Chuō-ku ward of Chiba City, and six branch museums throughout the prefecture. The Chiba Prefectural Museum of Art is in Chiba City. The Chiba Prefectural Boso-no-mura in Sakae focuses on the local culture of the late Edo period, and the Chiba Prefectural Otone Museum in Katori focuses on the culture of the Tone River basin. The reconstructed Japanese castles of Sekiyado and Ōtaki host regional historical museums. The Chiba Museum of Science and Industry is located in Ichihara on the site of a former factory, and the Coastal Branch of Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba in Katsuura focuses on the marine environment of the Pacific Ocean coast. Numerous other municipalities in the prefecture also host museums.
The Chiba Prefectural Library consists of three libraries. The Chiba Prefectural Central Library is located in the central Chuō-ku ward of Chiba City directly southwest of Chiba Castle and in close proximity to the City of Chiba offices. The Central Library houses a general collection as well as the central research collection for the prefecture. The Chiba Prefectural West Library is located in Matsudo next to the Matsudo Museum, and houses a research collection focused on natural history and the fine arts. The Chiba Prefectural East Library is located in Asahi, and houses a research collection focused on the literature and history of the prefecture. The Chiba Prefectural Archives are located across the Miyako River from the City of Chiba offices. The archive maintains a collection of rare books and materials from across the prefecture, as well as materials related to the administration of Chiba Prefecture. Each municipality in the prefecture maintains a local libraries, and many shrines and temples maintain archival collections related to their institutions.
The traditional diet of Chiba Prefecture is not fundamentally different than that of the rest of Japan. Chiba Prefecture produces prolific quantities of rice across all areas in the prefecture, vegetables in the northern area of the prefecture, and fish, seafood, and shellfish along the coastal areas of the prefecture. Chōshi has been a major center of worldwide soy sauce production since the Edo period, and the prefecture remains the top producer in Japan. Kikkoman is headquartered in Noda in northwestern Chiba Prefecture. These are all important components of Japanese cuisine.
Certain local products, however, are grown in abundance and have resulted in several dishes unique to the areas. Peanuts, grown in great quantities in the prefecture, appear fresh in markets in the prefecture and are eaten boiled as a snack. Miso paste mixed with peanuts is also produced in Chiba. Takenoko, whole bamboo shoot, are harvested in the central part of the Bōsō Peninsula. The takenoko of Ōtaki lack the concentration of arsenic typically found in uncooked bamboo shoots, and as such, are uniquely eaten raw in the area as "takenoko sashimi". Futomaki or futomakizushi, literally "fat roll", is a large version of the sushi roll. The futomaki popularly made in Chiba Prefecture is up to 4 inches in diameter. Futomaki in Chiba Prefecture often utilize various ingredients to form a pattern, such as a flower or a kanji character, when the roll is cut and served.
The following sports teams are based in Chiba.
Most Tokyo-bound visitors arriving on international flights land in Narita International Airport, which is situated in Narita in the north of the prefecture, and connected to Tokyo by the East Japan Railway's Narita Express and the Keisei Electric Railway's Skyliner.
The Tokyo Disney Resort is located in Urayasu near the western border of the prefecture. The Kamogawa Sea World is located in Kamogawa. There are also a number of tourist sites on the Chiba peninsula, such as Nokogiriyama; Kujūkuri Beach; and Onjuku beach.
Since 2009, the prefectural governor is Eiji Suzuki, better known under his stage name as Kensaku Morita, former actor, member of the House of Representatives (LDP/Independent – Tokyo 4th district) and member of the House of Councillors (Independent – Tokyo). He was reelected overwhelmingly to a second term as governor in the March 2013 election against only a Communist challenger and a minor, unaffiliated independent.
The assembly of Chiba Prefecture has a regular membership of 95, elected in 45 electoral districts, currently still in the unified local election cycle of 1947 (last round 2011). As of July 2014, it is composed as follows: LDP 52 members, DPJ 13, Kōmeitō 7, JCP 4, Shimin Net/SDP/Independents 4, Your Party 3, four other caucuses with 5 members in total.
In the National Diet, Chiba is represented by 13 members from single-member districts in the House of Representatives, and six members (three at-large per election) in the House of Councillors. After the most recent Diet elections of 2010, 2012 and 2013, the prefecture is represented by eleven Liberal Democrats and two Democrats in the House of Representatives, and three Liberal Democrats, two Democrats, and one Your Party member in the House of Councillors. Current Diet members from Chiba include former prime minister Yoshihiko Noda (H.R., DPJ – 4th district) and former ministers Kuniko Inoguchi (H.C., LDP – class of 2010) and Motoo Hayashi (H.R., LDP – 10th district).
As of 2014, Chiba is divided into 54 contiguous municipalities (see list above): 37 cities, 16 towns and one village, as in all of postwar Japan each with a directly elected mayor and assembly. The most populous and Chiba's only designated major city is the capital Chiba City. Two cities, Funabashi and Kashiwa, are core cities. After late 20th century mergers, much of the rest of the prefecture is also organized in independent cities: Of the (today purely geographical) counties, only six remain, four of which have only one or two remaining towns or villages. – After the reorganization of county and municipal governments in all prefectures in 1889/1890, there had initially been 12 counties and no city in Chiba; Chiba town in Chiba county became the first municipality in Chiba to be elevated to city status in 1921.
While by far not as large as that of neighbouring Tokyo, Chiba's police force is among the country's ten largest at more than 10,000 members (including the Narita airport police). As in every prefecture, the police are supervised by the public safety commission; its five members are appointed by the governor with approval by the assembly.
Chiba Prefecture has a sister-city relationship with:
ÆON Co., Ltd. (イオン株式会社, Ion Kabushiki-gaisha), commonly written AEON Co., Ltd., is the holding company of ÆON Group. It has its headquarters in Mihama-ku, Chiba, Chiba Prefecture.It operates all the AEON Retail Stores (formerly known as JUSCO supermarkets) directly in Japan. Meanwhile, AEON CO. (M) BHD operates all the AEON Retail Stores directly in Malaysia.
ÆON is the largest retailer in Asia. ÆON is a retail network comprising around 300 consolidated subsidiaries and 26 equity-method affiliated companies ranging from convenience stores "Ministop" and supermarkets to shopping malls and specialty stores, including Talbots. ÆON is Japan's single-largest shopping mall developer and operator.Chiba Lotte Marines
The Chiba Lotte Marines (千葉ロッテマリーンズ, Chiba Rotte Marīnzu) are a professional baseball team in Japan's Pacific League based in Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, in the Kantō region, and owned by Lotte Holdings Co., Ltd.Chiba Urban Monorail
The Chiba Urban Monorail (千葉都市モノレール, Chiba Toshi Monorēru) is a two-line suspended monorail system located in Chiba, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. It is owned and operated by Chiba Urban Monorail Co., Ltd (千葉都市モノレール株式会社, Chiba toshi monorēru kabushikigaisha), a so-called "third-sector" company established on March 20, 1979. Investors include Chiba Prefecture and the city of Chiba.
The first segment (Line 2 from Sports Center Station to Chishirodai Station) opened on March 28, 1988, the remainder 11 years later on March 24, 1999. The PASMO contactless smart card can be used to purchase fares.
It is the world's longest suspended monorail system at 15.2 km in track length.Disney Resort Line
The Disney Resort Line (ディズニーリゾートライン, Dizunī Rizōto Rain), officially called Dizunī Rizōto Rain-sen (ディズニーリゾートライン線, "Disney Resort Line Line"), is an automated monorail in Japan, which operates between Maihama Station and the Tokyo Disney Resort. The system is operated by Maihama Resort Line Co., Ltd. (舞浜リゾートライン, Maihama Rizōto Rain), the subsidiary of Oriental Land Co., Ltd. that operates the resort.
Legally speaking, the line is built as a "railway", just like ordinary rapid transits or commuter rail lines. As such, season tickets are available, and Pasmo and Suica IC cards can also be used on this line. In reality, however, the line mostly functions as the gateway attraction of the Disney Resort, and all of the stations are located on the private property of Oriental Land.Funabashi
Funabashi (船橋市, Funabashi-shi) is a city located in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. As of February 2016, the city had an estimated population of 623,679, and a population density of 7,280 persons per km². The total area is 85.62 square kilometres (33.06 sq mi).Ichihara, Chiba
Ichihara (市原市, Ichihara-shi) is a city located in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
As of December 2015, the city has an estimated population of 275,776, and a population density of 749 persons per km2. The total area is 368.20 square kilometres (142.16 sq mi). The city is home, together with the city of Chiba, to the JEF United soccer team.Ichikawa, Chiba
Ichikawa City (市川市, Ichikawa-shi) is in western Chiba Prefecture, Japan, facing Tokyo across the Edogawa River. It is located approximately 20 kilometers from the center of Tokyo and has been developing as an educational and residential city. The city has a concentration of the wide-area traffic network that connects the center of Tokyo with many areas of Chiba Prefecture. Major rail routes and roads pass through the city.
The northern part of the city is a prosperous agricultural region, boasting one of the highest production rates for pears in the country. There is a plenty of green space in Ichikawa, including many forests around residential areas. It is also an educational area with a variety of schools. The southern part of the city faces Tokyo Bay and plays a role in the Tokyo-Chiba industrial zone while forming a new urban residential area.Kashiwa
Kashiwa (柏市, Kashiwa-shi) is a city located in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. As of December 1, 2015, the city had an estimated population of 411,602, and a population density of 3,590 persons per km2. The total area is 114.72 square kilometres (44.29 sq mi).
The name of the city is written with a single kanji character: 柏, a reference to Quercus dentata, commonly known in English as the Japanese emperor oak or daimyo oak.Keisei Chiba Line
The Keisei Chiba Line (京成千葉線, Keisei Chiba-sen) is a railway line in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Keisei Electric Railway. It branches from the Keisei Main Line at Keisei Tsudanuma Station and connects to Chiba Chūō Station. At Chiba Chūō Station, the line is connected to the Chihara Line.Keisei Chihara Line
The Keisei Chihara Line (京成千原線, Keisei Chihara-sen) is a railway line in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, operated by the Keisei Railway. The line (with direct services to and from the Keisei Main Line and Keisei Chiba Line) starts from Chiba-Chūō Station and ends at Chiharadai Station.Keisei Higashi-Narita Line
The Keisei Higashi-Narita Line (京成東成田線, Keisei Higashi Narita-sen) is a 7.1 km branchline in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Keisei Electric Railway. It branches off from the Keisei Main Line at Keisei Narita Station to Higashi-Narita Station (the former Narita Airport Station).Kururi Line
The Kururi Line (久留里線, Kururi-sen) is a railway line in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East). It connects Kisarazu Station in Kisarazu to Kazusa-Kameyama Station in Kimitsu. The railway route extends through three cities, Kimitsu, Kisarazu, and Sodegaura. It has no double-track section, and trains can pass at only two stations, Yokota Station and Kururi Station.Matsudo
Matsudo (松戸市, Matsudo-shi) is a city located in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
As of February 2016, the city has an estimated population of 483,796, and a population density of 7,880 persons per km2. The total area is 61.38 square kilometres (23.70 sq mi).Michihiro Ogasawara
Michihiro Ogasawara (小笠原 道大, born October 25, 1973 in Mihama-ku, Chiba, Chiba Prefecture, Japan) is a Japanese former professional baseball player. He is currently the second team coach for Chunichi Dragons in Japan's Central League.
He had an illustrious career spanning 18 years with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Yomiuri Giants, and the Chunichi Dragons where he won two Japan Series, two MVP awards in both the Pacific and Central leagues; only one of two people to do so and the first to do it in consecutive seasons. He was an NPB All-Star 11 times. He was also a part of the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic winning Japan sides.NTT Communications Shining Arcs
The NTT Communications Rugby Football Club – commonly known as the Shining Arcs – is a rugby union team owned by NTT Communications and is part of Japan's Top League competition. The current head coach is Rob Penney.
The team is based in Ichikawa city, Chiba Prefecture in the Kantō region.Shin-Keisei Electric Railway
The Shin-Keisei Electric Railway (新京成電鉄, Shin-Keisei Dentetsu) is a private railway in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. It connects Narashino and Matsudo. It is a subsidiary of Keisei Electric Railway.
It has the following bus company subsidiaries.
Funabashi Shin-Keisei Bus
Matsudo Shin-Keisei BusTokyo Bay
Tokyo Bay (東京湾, Tōkyō-wan) is a bay located in the southern Kantō region of Japan, and spans the coasts of Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Chiba Prefecture. Tokyo Bay is connected to the Pacific Ocean by the Uraga Channel. Its old name was Edo Bay (江戸湾, Edo-wan). The Tokyo Bay region is both the most populous and largest industrialized area in Japan.Tōgane Line
The Tōgane Line (東金線, Tōgane-sen) is a railway line in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, owned and operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East). It connects Ōami Station in the city of Ōamishirasato and Narutō Station in the city of Sanmu.Urayasu
Urayasu (浦安市, Urayasu-shi) is a city located in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. As of December 1, 2015, the city had an estimated population of 163,258, and a population density of 9490 persons per km². The total area is 17.30 square kilometres (6.68 sq mi).
Urayasu is best known as the home of the Tokyo Disney Resort, which opened in April 1983, and the headquarters of The Oriental Land Company.
|Climate data for Chiba, Chiba|
|Average high °C (°F)||9
|Average low °C (°F)||1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||48.3
|Wards of Chiba|