Yamaguchi Prefecture

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.

Yamaguchi Prefecture

Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese山口県
 • RōmajiYamaguchi-ken
Flag of Yamaguchi Prefecture

Official logo of Yamaguchi Prefecture

Location of Yamaguchi Prefecture
RegionChūgoku (Sanyo)
Largest cityShimonoseki
SubdivisionsDistricts: 4, Municipalities: 19
 • GovernorTsugumasa Muraoka
 • Total6,112.30 km2 (2,359.97 sq mi)
Area rank22nd
 (February 1, 2018)
 • Total1,377,631
 • Rank27th
 • Density225.43/km2 (583.9/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeJP-35
BirdHooded crane (Grus monacha)
FishJapanese puffer (Takifugu rubripes)
FlowerBitter summer mandarin blossom (Citrus natsudaidai)
TreeRed pine tree (Pinus densiflora)


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).

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]


Map of Yamaguchi Prefecture Ja
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]


Central Shimonoseki and Kanmon Strait
Shimonoseki and Kanmon Strait
20100724 Iwakuni 5274
View of Tokuyama
Yoshida shoin seika ato
Hofu City view 2012

Thirteen cities are located in Yamaguchi Prefecture:

Towns and districts

These are the towns in each district:


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.

Akiyoshi Plateau from Akiyoshidai Karst Observation Deck (north)

Akiyoshi Plateau

From Iwakuni castle , 岩国城から - panoramio

Kintai Bridge in Iwakuni

Famous festivals and events

  • Kintaikyo Festival in Iwakuni - held in April 29
  • Nishiki River Water Festival in Iwakuni - held in August
  • Iwakuni Festival in August
  • Yokomichi Festival, Kintai Bridge November 19
  • Yanai Goldfish Lantern Festival in August
  • Yamaguchi Gion Festival in July 20 to 27
  • Yamaguchi Tanabata Lantern Festival in August 6 to 7
  • Hagi Era Festival in April
  • Hagi Festival in August 2 to 3
  • Shimonoseki Strait Festival in May 2 to 4
  • Shimonoseki Firework Festival in August



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.

  • Kanpu ferry to Pusan in South Korea regularly
  • Gwangyang Beech to Gwangyang in South Korea regularly
  • Orient ferry to Qingdao in China regularly
  • Orient ferry to Shanghai in China regularly

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 (in Japanese)
  13. ^ Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly: Electoral districts and district magnitudes (in Japanese)
  14. ^ Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly: Composition by group (in Japanese)


External links

Coordinates: 34°4′N 131°30′E / 34.067°N 131.500°E

Eidai SC

Eidai Soccer Club was a Japanese football club based in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The club has played in Japan Soccer League (Japanese former top division).

Fast Retailing

Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. (株式会社ファーストリテイリング, Kabushiki Kaisha Fāsuto Riteiringu) is a public Japanese retail holding company.

In addition to its primary subsidiary Uniqlo, it owns several other brands, including J Brand, Comptoir des Cotonniers, G.U., Princesse Tam-Tam, and Theory.

Hatabu Station

Hatabu Station (幡生駅, Hatabu-eki) is a railway station located in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West).


Hōfu (防府市, Hōfu-shi) is a city located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

As of September 30, 2016, the city has an estimated population of 117,387 and a population density of 622.44 of persons per km². The total area is 188.59 km².

Hōfu Air Field

Hōfu Air Field (防府飛行場, Hōfu Hikōjō) (ICAO: RJOF) is a military aerodrome of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Hōfu-kita Airbase (防府北基地, Hōfu-kita Kitchi). It is located 1.1 NM (2.0 km; 1.3 mi) southwest of Hōfu in the Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

Iwakuni Station

Iwakuni Station (岩国駅, Iwakuni-eki) is a railway station in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West).

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni or MCAS Iwakuni (IATA: IWK, ICAO: RJOI) is a United States Marine Corps air station located in the Nishiki river delta, 1.3 NM (2.4 km; 1.5 mi) southeast of Iwakuni Station in the city of Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Japan.

Mine Circuit

Mine Circuit (みねサーキット) was a 3.331 km motor racing circuit in Nagao, Nishiatsu-cho, Mine, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. It used to be known as Nishinihon. The track closed in February 2006.It was one of the main circuits in Japanese motorsport; until 2002, every year, one or more races of the most important national categories, (the Japan GT Championship and Formula Nippon series) were held at this circuit.

Mine Line

The Mine Line (美祢線, Mine-sen) is a railway line owned and operated by the West Japan Railway Company. It connects San'yō-Onoda to Nagato, both in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

Oze River

The Oze River (Japanese: 小瀬川(おぜがわ), Hepburn: ozegawa) is a river in Hiroshima Prefecture and Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. The river forms part of the border between the two prefectures, which used to be the border between former Suō Province and Aki Province. It is also known as Kono River (木野川).

Ozuki Air Field

Ozuki Air Field (小月飛行場, Ozuki Hikōjō) (ICAO: RJOZ) is a military aerodrome of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Ozuki Air Base (小月航空基地, Ozuki Kōkū-Kichi). It is located in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

Renofa Yamaguchi FC

Renofa Yamaguchi FC (レノファ山口FC, Renofa Yamaguchi FC) is a Japanese professional football team based in Yamaguchi city, Yamaguchi Prefecture. They play in the J2 League, the second tier of the Japanese football league system.

Sayumi Michishige

Sayumi Michishige (道重 さゆみ, Michishige Sayumi, (named after Sayumi Horie) born July 13, 1989) is a former sixth-generation member and former leader of the J-pop group Morning Musume. Following the departure of fifth-generation member Risa Niigaki on October 12, 2013, Michishige has the longest tenure of any member in the group's history.Michishige was born in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. She joined Morning Musume in 2003 along with Eri Kamei, Miki Fujimoto, and Reina Tanaka, who all debuted with Morning Musume on the group's nineteenth single, "Shabondama". In 2005, she was assigned as mentor to seventh-generation member Koharu Kusumi, until Kusumi left the group in December 2009. Michishige was also a member of the Hello! Project unit Ecomoni, along with former Morning Musume member Rika Ishikawa.

She portrays an extremely narcissistic image of herself in more TV shows, often calling herself the cutest member in Morning Musume and saying that her cuteness overwhelms her bad singing voice. In one of the skits known as Hello! Morning Theatre on their variety show, Hello! Morning, she frequently played a character known as "Ichiban Kawaii" (Cutest).


Shimonoseki (下関市, Shimonoseki-shi) is a city located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. Shimonoseki is the biggest city in Yamaguchi Prefecture. It is at the southwestern tip of Honshu, facing the Tsushima Strait and also Kitakyushu across the Kanmon Straits.

Nicknamed the "Fugu Capital," it is known for the locally caught pufferfish and is the largest harvester of the pufferfish in Japan.

As of October 1, 2016, the city has an estimated population of 265,684 and a population density of 370 persons per km². The total area is 716.14 km².

Shin-Yamaguchi Station

Shin-Yamaguchi Station (新山口駅, Shin-Yamaguchi-eki, literally "New Yamaguchi Station") is a railway station operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) in Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi, and is a stopping point for the Sanyō Shinkansen and the Sanyō Main Line, and serves as termini of Yamaguchi Line and Ube Line. It is also the starting station of sightseeing train SL Yamaguchi steam train on the Yamaguchi Line.

Sone Arasuke

Viscount Sone Arasuke (曾禰 荒助, February 20, 1849 – September 13, 1910) was a Japanese politician, diplomat, cabinet minister, and second Japanese Resident-General of Korea.

Ube Line

The Ube Line (宇部線, Ube-sen) is a railway line in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, operated by the West Japan Railway Company (JR West). The line connects Shin-Yamaguchi Station in Yamaguchi and Ube Station in Ube.

Yamaguchi 2nd district

Yamaguchi 2nd district (山口県第2区 Yamaguchi-ken dai-ni-ku) is a single-member electoral district for the House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Diet of Japan. It is located in Eastern Yamaguchi and consists of the cities of Kudamatsu, Iwakuni, Hikari, Yanai, and parts of Shūnan.

While Yamaguchi is generally a stronghold for the Liberal Democratic Party, the 2nd district has historically been regarded as a swing seat with closer margins of victory.

Yamaguchi Ube Airport

Yamaguchi Ube Airport (山口宇部空港, Yamaguchi Ube Kūkō) (IATA: UBJ, ICAO: RJDC) is a domestic airport located 4.6 km (2.9 mi) southeast of Ube-Shinkawa Station, Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. It is the westernmost airport on the island of Honshu, and is marketed as an alternative to the New Kitakyushu Airport for Yamaguchi prefecture residents flying to and from Tokyo.

Shadow picture of Yamaguchi PrefectureYamaguchi Prefecture
Core city
47 Prefectures


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