Saturday, 17 October 2009

Discover Japan #9: Kanagawa Prefecture (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Japan National Tourist Organization London Office)

Kanagawa Prefecture is a prefecture located in the southern Kantō region of Honshū, Japan. The capital is Yokohama. Kanagawa is part of the Greater Tokyo Area.

There are some archaeological sites of Jōmon period (around 400 BC). About 3000 years ago, Mount Hakone made volcanic explosion and Lake Ashi on the western area of this prefecture.
It’s estimated, Yamato Dynasty ruled this area from 5th century. In the ancient era, plains and damps were widely spread with few inhabitants.Kamakura in central Sagami was the capital of Japan during the Kamakura period. In medieval Japan, Kanagawa was part of the provinces of Sagami and Musashi.
During the Edo period, the western part of Sagami Province was governed by the daimyo of Odawara Castle, while the eastern part was directly governed by the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo (Tokyo). Commodore Matthew Perry landed in Kanagawa in 1853 and 1854, and signed the Convention of Kanagawa to force open Japanese ports to the United States. Yokohama, the largest deep-water port in Tokyo Bay, was opened to foreign traders in 1859 after several more years of foreign pressure, and eventually developed into the largest trading port in Japan. Nearby Yokosuka, closer to the mouth of Tokyo Bay, developed as a naval port and now serves as headquarters for the U.S. 7th Fleet and the fleet operations of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. After the Meiji Period, many foreigners lived in Yokohama City, and visited Hakone. The Meiji Government developed the first railways in Japan, from Shinbashi (in Tokyo) to Yokohama in 1872.

The epicenter of the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923 was deep beneath Izu Ōshima Island in Sagami Bay. It devastated Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama, surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, and caused widespread damage throughout the Kantō region. The sea receded as much a quarter of a mile from the shore at Manazaru Point, and then rushed back towards the shore in a great wall of water which swamped Mitsuishi-shima.
At Kamakura, the total death toll from earthquake, tsunami, and fire exceeded 2,000 victims.At Odawara, ninety percent of the buildings collapsed immediately, and subsequent fires burned the rubble along with anything else left standing. Yokohama, Kawasaki and other major cities were heavily damaged by the U.S. bombing in 1945.
In the years after the war, the prefecture underwent rapid urbanization as a part of the Tokyo Greater Zone. The population was about 8.9 million as of 2008, and Kanagawa became the second most populated prefecture in 2006.

Kanagawa is a relatively small prefecture located at the southeastern corner of the Kantō Plain wedged between Tokyo on the north, the foothills of Mount Fuji on the northwest, and the Sagami Bay and Tokyo Bay on the south and east. The eastern side of the prefecture is relatively flat and heavily urbanized, including the large port cities of Yokohama and Kawasaki. The southeastern area nearby the Miura Peninsula is less urbanized, with the ancient city of Kamakura drawing tourists to temples and shrines. The western part, bordered by Yamanashi Prefecture and Shizuoka Prefecture on the west, is more mountainous and includes resort areas like Odawara and Hakone. The area, stretching 80 km from west to east and 60 km from north to south, contains 2,400 sq km of land, accounting for 0.64 % of the total land area of Japan.Topographically, the prefecture consists of three distinct areas. The mountainous western region features the Tanzawa Mountain Range and Hakone Volcano. The hilly eastern region is characterized by the Tama Hills and Miura Peninsula. The central region, which surrounds the Tama Hills and Miura Peninsula, consists of flat stream terraces and low lands around major rivers including the Sagami River, Sakai River, Tsurumi River, and Tama River. The Tama River forms much of the boundary between Kanagawa and Tokyo. The Sagami River flows through the middle of the prefecture. In the western region, the Sakawa River runs through a small lowland, the Sakawa Lowland, between Hakone Volcano to the west and the Ōiso Hills to the east and flows into Sagami Bay.The Tanzawa Mountain Range, part of the Kantō Mountain Range, contains Mount Hiru (1,673 m), the highest peak in the prefecture. Other mountains measure similar mid-range heights: Mount Hinokiboramaru (1,601 m), Mount Tanzawa, (1567 m), Mount Ōmuro (1588 m), Mount Himetsugi (1,433 m), and Mount Usu (1,460 m). The mountain range is lower in height southward leading to Hadano Basin to the Ōiso Hills. At the eastern foothills of the mountain range lies the Isehara Plateau and across the Sagami River the Sagami Plateau.

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