Tochigi Prefecture

Tochigi Prefecture (栃木県 Tochigi-ken) is a prefecture located in the Kantō region of Japan.[1] The capital is the city of Utsunomiya.[2]

Nikkō, with its ancient Shintō shrines and Buddhist temples, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[3]

Other famous parts of Tochigi include a region called Nasu known for onsen and local sake and ski resorts. The Imperial Family has a villa in Nasu. Nasu-Shiobara is a major Shinkansen station.

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

Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese栃木県
 • RōmajiTochigi-ken
Flag of Tochigi Prefecture

Official logo of Tochigi Prefecture

Location of Tochigi Prefecture
SubdivisionsDistricts: 5, Municipalities: 26
 • GovernorTomikazu Fukuda
 • Total6,408.09 km2 (2,474.18 sq mi)
Area rank20th
 (May 1, 2016)
 • Total1,969,042
 • Rank20th
 • Density307.27/km2 (795.8/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeJP-09
BirdBlue-and-white flycatcher
(Cyanoptila cyanomelana)
FlowerYashio tsutsuji
(Rhododendron albrechtii)
TreeJapanese horse chestnut
(Aesculus turbinata)

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 m), Nantai (2,484 m) and Nasudake (1,917 m) 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, Ashikaga Gakkō, Japan's oldest school of higher education, was re-established, holding over 3,000 students by the 16th century. Saint Francis Xavier introduced Ashikaga to the world as the best university in Japan.

In the early 17th century, Japan was unified by 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. The Tokugawa shogunate developed the Nikkō Kaidō (日光街道, part of the major road connecting Nikkō with Edo) and required 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. 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.[6]


Nikkō Cedar Avenue
The Kegon Falls in Nikkō
Tochigi City
Otawara, Tochigi, Japan

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.


Fourteen cities are located in Tochigi Prefecture:


These are the towns in each district:


List of Governor of Tochigi Prefecture (from 1947)

Term of office
37-38 Jyukichi Kodaira (小平重吉)
12 April, 1947 4 February, 1955
39 Kichi Ogawa (小川喜一)
5 February, 1955 4 February, 1959
40-43 Nobuo Yokokawa (横川信夫)
5 February, 1959 7 December, 1974
44-46 Yuzuru Funada (船田譲)
8 December, 1974 8 December, 1984
47-50 Fumio Watanabe (渡辺文雄)
9 December, 1984 8 December, 2000
51 Akio Fukuda (福田昭夫)
9 December, 2000 8 December, 2004
52-55 Tomikazu Fukuda (福田富一)
9 December, 2004 Present

Industry and agriculture

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:

Product Share
Camera lenses 71.3%
X-ray equipment for medical use 54.5%
Machinery and appliances for dental use 23.5%
X-ray equipment parts 57.5%
Injection molded plastic parts 14.1%

(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.


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


Ice hockey


  • Tochigi Brex



Tour de Tochigi, a cat 2.2 3-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.[7]

Statues in Nikkō
20100727 Nikko Tosho-gu Three wise monkeys 5965
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.


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.


  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. ^ "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.
  7. ^ Gardening World Records Archived 2008-10-14 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2 November 2008.


External links

Coordinates: 36°31′N 139°49′E / 36.517°N 139.817°E

Karasuyama Line

The Karasuyama Line (烏山線, Karasuyama-sen) is a railway line in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, owned and operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East). It connects Hōshakuji in the town of Takanezawa with Karasuyama in Nasukarasuyama.

Keno Province

Keno Province (毛野国 or 毛国, Keno no kuni), also known as Kenu Province, is an old province of Japan prior to the Nara Period. Keno was located in the area of Tochigi Prefecture and Gumma Prefecture.

Mito Line

The Mito Line (水戸線, Mito-sen) is a railway line connecting Oyama Station in Tochigi Prefecture and Tomobe Station in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. The line is 50.2 km (31.2 mi) long and is owned and operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East).

Joban Line E501 series and E531 series ten car sets continue on to Iwaki, Fukushima while the 5 car sets go to Oyama. They separate at Tomobe.

Motegi, Tochigi

Motegi (茂木町, Motegi-machi) is a town located in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. As of May 2015, the town had an estimated population of 13,501, and a population density of 78.2 persons per km². Its total area is 172.69 km².

Mount Nantai

Mount Nantai (男体山, Nantai-san) literally "man's body mountain", also called Futara-san (二荒山) is a stratovolcano in the Nikkō National Park in central Honshū, the main island of Japan. It stands at 2,486 m high. A prominent landmark, it can be seen on clear days from as far as the Pacific coast, 100 km away.

Mount Sukai

Mount Sukai (皇海山, Sukai-san) is one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains. The 2,144-metre-high (7,034 ft) peak lies in the Ashio Mountains of Japan, on the border of Nikkō in Tochigi Prefecture and Numata in Gunma Prefecture. Mount Sukai is an old stratovolcano, but with the whole mountain covered in forest today it does not appear like a typical volcano.

Nikkō Utsunomiya Road

The Nikkō Utsunomiya Road (日光宇都宮道路, Nikkō Utsunomiya Dōro) is a toll road in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. It is signed E81 under the "2016 Proposal for Realization of Expressway Numbering."

Nissan Proving Grounds

Nissan Motors operates a proving ground in Motegi, Haga District, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. The track includes an off-road facility for testing trucks and SUVs. The Motegi test center (茂木試験場)

is located at 555 Aida-Ōaza, Haga-gun, Motegi (栃木県茂木町大字鮎田555). The track was built by Tobishima Corporation (in Japanese) and completed in 1997.

Oyama Station

Oyama Station (小山駅, Oyama-eki) is a railway station in Oyama, Tochigi, Japan, operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East).

Ryōmō Line

The Ryōmō Line (両毛線, Ryōmō-sen) 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 (JR East). 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.

Takaku Station

Takaku Station (高久駅, Takaku-eki) is a railway station on the Tōhoku Main Line in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East).

Tochigi City FC

For the J. League club based in Utsunomiya, see Tochigi S.C.Tochigi City Football Club (栃木シティフットボールクラブ) is a Japanese football club based in Tochigi Prefecture.

The club was formed in 1947 as Hitachi Tochigi Soccer Club, the works team of the local Hitachi, Ltd. affiliate. In 2002 it adopted the moniker Uva (meaning "grape" in Italian, Portuguese and Spanish), after the vineyards of its home area, southern Tochigi Prefecture.

Tochigi Green Stadium

Tochigi Green Stadium (栃木県グリーンスタジアム, Tochigi-ken Gurīn Stajiamu) is a multi-use stadium in Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan, home of Tochigi S.C..

Originally it was a stadium with a single concrete stand and grass terraces on the other sides. A new concrete stand was built opposite the main stand and opened for the 2011 season. The stadium's capacity is 18,025 people.

It is also used sometimes for Top League rugby games.

Tochigi SC

Tochigi Soccer Club (栃木サッカークラブ), commonly referred to as Tochigi SC are a football club based in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. They will play in the J2 League. Their team colour is yellow.

Twin Ring Motegi

Twin Ring Motegi (ツインリンクもてぎ, Tsuin Rinku Motegi) is a motorsport race track located at Motegi, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Its name comes from the facility having two race tracks: a 2.493-kilometer (1.549 mi) oval and a 4.8-kilometer (2.98 mi) road course. It was built in 1997 by Honda, as part of the company's effort to bring the IndyCar Series to Japan, helping to increase their knowledge of American open-wheel racing.

Tōbu Utsunomiya Line

The Tōbu Utsunomiya Line (東武宇都宮線, Tōbu Utsunomiya-sen) is a 24.3-kilometre railway line in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, owned and operated by the private railway operator Tobu Railway. It connects Shin-Tochigi Station in Tochigi with Tobu Utsunomiya Station in Utsunomiya.

Shin-Tochigi Station offers connections to the Tōbu Nikkō Line and the Tobu Main Line network.

Utsunomiya Air Field

Utsunomiya Air Field (宇都宮飛行場, Utsunomiya Hikōjō) (ICAO: RJTU) is a military aerodrome of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Camp Kita-Utsunomiya (北宇都宮駐屯地, Kita-Utsunomiya Chūtonchi). It is located 3.3 NM (6.1 km; 3.8 mi) south of Utsunomiya in the Tochigi Prefecture, Japan.

Utsunomiya Brex

Utsunomiya Brex is a Japanese professional basketball team based in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. After winning the JBL 2 in 2008, the team currently plays in the National Basketball League.

In July 2015 it was announced that the team would compete in the first division of the new Japan Professional Basketball League (B.League), which started in October 2016. The team became the first champions of the B.League in 27 May 2017, defeating the Toshiba Kawasaki Brave Thunders by the final score of 85-79.

Utsunomiya University

Utsunomiya University (宇都宮大学, Utsunomiya daigaku) is a national university in Japan. The main campus is located in Miné-machi, Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture.

Shadow picture of Tochigi Prefecture Tochigi Prefecture
Core city
47 Prefectures


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