Kansai region

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.

Kansai region

The Kansai region in Japan
The Kansai region in Japan
 • Total33,124.82 km2 (12,789.56 sq mi)
 (1 October 2010)[1]
 • Total22,757,897
 • Density690/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
(nominal; 2012)[2][3]
 • Total$1 trillion
 • Per capita$42,000
Time zoneUTC+9 (JST)
6 %


Akashi Bridge
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.

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]

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]

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.

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

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 The Keep Towers
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(2008)
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.



Daisen Kofun, the largest burial mound in the world.[27]


Hōryū-ji Golden Hall, the oldest wooden structure in the world.


Daibutsu at Tōdai-ji, the largest bronze statue in the world.


Tōdai-ji Main Hall, the largest wooden structure in the world.

Biwa Lake

Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan and 3rd oldest lake in the world.

Okuni with cross dressed as a samurai

Izumo no Okuni, who founded Kabuki in Kyoto.

Kongo Gumi workers in early 20th century

Kongō Gumi, used to be the world's oldest continuously operating company, constructed several Japan's cultural assets.

Sen no Rikyu JPN

Sen no Rikyū, a merchant from Sakai, perfected the courtesy of tea ceremony.


Japan's tallest temple pagoda in Tō-ji, Kyoto.

Nintendo office

Nintendo became the world's most successful video game company.

See also


  1. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c 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. ^ a b 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. ^ a b 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


External links

Coordinates: 35°N 135°E / 35°N 135°E

Asahi Broadcasting Corporation

Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (朝日放送株式会社, Asahi Hōsō Kabushiki-gaisha, ABC) is a regional radio and television broadcaster headquartered in Osaka, Japan, serving in the Kansai region.

Awaji Island

Awaji Island (淡路島, Awaji-shima) is an island in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, in the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea between the islands of Honshū and Shikoku. The island has an area of 592.17 square kilometres (228.64 square miles), and is the largest of the Inland Sea's islands.

As a transit between those two islands, Awaji originally means "the road to Awa", the historic province bordering the Shikoku side of the Naruto Strait, now part of Tokushima Prefecture.

Chūbu region

The Chūbu region (中部地方, Chūbu-chihō), Central region, or Central Japan (中部日本) is a region in the middle of Honshū, Japan's main island. Chūbu has a population of 23,010,276 as of 1 June 2019. It encompasses nine prefectures (ken): Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi.It is located directly between the Kantō region and the Kansai region and includes the major city of Nagoya as well as Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan coastlines, extensive mountain resorts, and Mount Fuji.

The region is the widest part of Honshū and the central part is characterized by high, rugged mountains. The Japanese Alps divide the country into the Pacific side, sunny in winter, and the Sea of Japan side, snowy in winter.

Hyōgo Prefecture

Hyōgo Prefecture (兵庫県, Hyōgo-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kansai region on Honshu island. The capital of Hyogo is Kobe.

Kansai Electric Power Company

The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. (関西電力株式会社, Kansai Denryoku Kabushiki-gaisha, KEPCO), also known as Kanden (関電), is an electric utility with its operational area of Kansai region, Japan (including the Kobe-Osaka-Kyoto megalopolis).

The Kansai region is Japan's second-largest industrial area, and in normal times, its most nuclear-reliant. Before the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a band of 11 nuclear reactors — north of the major cities Osaka and Kyoto — supplied almost 50 percent of the region's power.

As of January 2012, only one of those reactors was still running. In March 2012, the last reactor was taken off the powergrid.


Kasuga-zukuri (春日造) is a traditional Shinto shrine architectural style which takes its name from Kasuga Taisha's honden. It is characterized by the use of a building just 1x1 ken in size with the entrance on the gabled end covered by a veranda. In Kasuga Taisha's case, the honden is just 1.9 m x 2.6 m.Supporting structures are painted vermilion, while the plank walls are white. It has a tsumairi (also called tsumairi-zukuri) (妻入・妻入造) structure, that is, the building has its main entrance on the gabled side.The roof is gabled (kirizuma yane (切妻屋根, gabled roof)), decorated with purely ornamental poles called chigi (vertical) or katsuogi (horizontal), and covered with cypress bark.After the nagare-zukuri style, this is the most common Shinto shrine style. While the first is common all over Japan, however, shrines with a kasuga-zukuri honden are found mostly in the Kansai region around Nara.

If a diagonal rafter (a sumigi (隅木)) is added to support the portico, the style is called sumigi-iri kasugazukuri (隅木入春日造).


Keihanshin (京阪神, "Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe") is a metropolitan region in Japan encompassing the metropolitan areas of the cities of Kyoto in Kyoto Prefecture, Osaka in Osaka Prefecture and Kobe in Hyōgo Prefecture. The entire region has a population (as of 2010) of 19,341,976 over an area of 13,033 km2 (5,032 sq mi). It is the second-most-populated urban region in Japan (after the Greater Tokyo area), containing approximately 15% of Japan's population.

The GDP in Osaka-Kobe is $681 billion as measured by PPP as of 2015, making it one of the world's most productive regions, a match with Paris and London. MasterCard Worldwide reported that Osaka is the 19th ranking city of the world's leading global cities and has an instrumental role in driving the global economy. If Keihanshin were a country, it would be the 16th-largest economy in the world, with a GDP of nearly $953.9 billion in 2012.The name Keihanshin is constructed by extracting a representative kanji from Kyoto (京都), Osaka (大阪), and Kobe (神戸), but using the Chinese reading instead of the corresponding native reading for each of the characters taken from Osaka and Kobe, and the Kan-on Chinese reading of the character for Kyoto instead of the usual Go-on Chinese reading.


Kinai (畿内, Capital Region) is a Japanese term denoting an ancient division of the country. Kinai is a name for the ancient provinces around the capital Nara and Heian-kyō. The five provinces were called go-kinai after 1760.The name is still used to describe part of the Kansai region, but the area of the Kinai corresponds only generally to the land of the old provinces.The region was established as one of the Gokishichidō ("Five provinces and seven roads") during the Asuka period (538-710). It consisted of Yamashiro, Yamato, Settsu, Kawachi, and Izumi provinces.

Kyoto Prefecture

Kyoto Prefecture (京都府, Kyōto-fu) is a prefecture of Japan in the Kansai region of the island of Honshu. Its capital is the city of Kyoto.


MBS TV (MBS(エムビーエス)テレビ, Emubīesu Terebī) is a regional television channel based in Osaka, Japan, and serving the Kansai region. It is wholly owned by Mainichi Broadcasting System, Inc.

The channel's call sign is JOOR-DTV (Osaka's 16th physical channel), its remote controller ID (button) is 4.

It is a member station of Japan News Network.

Mie Prefecture

Mie Prefecture (三重県, Mie-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kansai region of Honshu. Mie Prefecture has a population of 1,781,948 (1 June 2019) and has a geographic area of 5,774.41 km² (2,229.51 sq mi). Mie Prefecture borders Gifu Prefecture to the north, Shiga Prefecture and Kyoto Prefecture to the northwest, Nara Prefecture to the west, Wakayama Prefecture to the southwest, and Aichi Prefecture to the east.

Tsu is the capital and Yokkaichi is the largest city of Mie Prefecture, with other major cities including Suzuka, Matsusaka, and Kuwana. Mie Prefecture is located on the eastern coast of the Kii Peninsula, forming the western side of Ise Bay which feature the mouths of the Kiso Three Rivers. Mie Prefecture is a popular tourism destination home to Nagashima Spa Land, Suzuka International Racing Course, and some of the oldest and holiest sites in Shinto, the traditional religion of Japan, including the Ise Grand Shrine and the Tsubaki Grand Shrine.

Nara Prefecture

Nara Prefecture (奈良県, Nara-ken) is a prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. The capital is the city of Nara. Nara Prefecture has the distinction of having more UNESCO World Heritage Listings than any other prefecture.

Osaka Prefecture

Osaka Prefecture (大阪府, Ōsaka-fu) is a prefecture located in the Kansai region on Honshu, the main island of Japan. The capital is the city of Osaka. It is the center of Keihanshin area. Osaka is one of the two "urban prefectures" (府, fu) of Japan, Kyoto being the other (Tokyo became a "metropolitan prefecture", or to, in 1941).


Ponzu (ポン酢) is a citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is tart, with a thin, watery consistency and a dark brown color. Ponzu shōyu or ponzu jōyu (ポン酢醤油) is ponzu sauce with soy sauce (shōyu) added, and the mixed product is widely referred to as simply ponzu.

The term originally came into the Japanese language as ponsu as a borrowing of the now-obsolete Dutch word pons, meaning punch as in a beverage made from fruit juices. The sour nature of this sauce led to the final su being spelled with the character 酢 (su) meaning vinegar.Ponzu is made by simmering mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi flakes (from tuna), and seaweed (kombu) over medium heat. The liquid is then cooled, strained to remove the katsuobushi flakes, and finally the juice of one or more of the following citrus fruits is added: yuzu, sudachi, daidai, kabosu, or lemon.

Commercial ponzu is generally sold in glass bottles, which may have some sediment. Ponzu shoyu is traditionally used as a dressing for tataki (lightly grilled, then chopped meat or fish), and also as a dip for nabemono (one pot dishes) such as shabu-shabu. It is used as a dip for sashimi. In the Kansai region, it is offered as a topping for takoyaki.

Shiga Prefecture

Shiga Prefecture (滋賀県, Shiga-ken) is a prefecture of Japan, which forms part of the Kansai region in the western part of Honshu island. It encircles Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan. The capital is Ōtsu.

Sun Television

Sun Television Co. (株式会社サンテレビジョン, Kabushiki-gaisha San Terebijon, SUN, SUN-TV) is a commercial television station headquartered in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, and a member of the Japanese Association of Independent Television Stations (JAITS).

Wakayama Prefecture

Wakayama Prefecture (和歌山県, Wakayama-ken) is a prefecture of Japan on the Kii Peninsula in the Kansai region on Honshū island. The capital is the city of Wakayama.

Yamato River

Yamato River (Yamatogawa) is a Japanese class A river in the Kansai region and flows via the Nara Prefecture and Osaka Prefecture to the Osaka Bay.

The river flows via towns:

Nara Prefecture


Osaka Prefecture


Fujiidera - confluence with Ishikawa RiverSince 1704 the river was reconfigured, originally its flow was north from the Ishikawa River confluence point, where it joined the Shirinashi River and Kizu River.At the river mouth is a densely populated area and Yamatogawa forms a natural border between Osaka and Sakai cities.

Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation

Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation (讀賣テレビ放送株式会社, Yomiuri Terebi Hōsō Kabushiki-gaisha, YTV, ytv, Yomiuri TV (読売テレビ)) is a TV station in Osaka Business Park, Osaka, Japan, which serves the Kansai region, and is affiliated with the Nippon News Network (NNN) and Nippon Television Network System (NNS). Founded as New Osaka Television Co. (新大阪テレビ放送株式会社, Shin Ōsaka Terebi Hōsō Kabushiki-gaisha, NOTV) on February 13, 1958, and renamed "Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation" on August 1, the station started broadcasting on August 28 as the first TV station to be affiliated with Nippon Television Network Corporation.

47 Prefectures


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