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The Kansai region
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
Keihanshin
region) is the second-most populated in Japan
Japan
after the Greater Tokyo
Tokyo
Area.

Contents

1 Overview 2 History 3 Major cities

3.1 Other major cities

4 Education

4.1 International schools

5 Gallery 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links

Overview[edit]

The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a centre span of 1,991 m

The Kansai region
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
Osaka
Plain with the cities of Osaka
Osaka
and Kyoto
Kyoto
forms the core of the region, from there the Kansai area stretches west along the Seto Inland Sea
Seto Inland Sea
towards Kobe
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
Amanohashidate
in Kyoto
Kyoto
Prefecture and Awaji Island
Awaji Island
in Hyōgo. The Kansai region
Kansai region
is often compared with the Kantō region, which lies to its east and consists primarily of Tokyo
Tokyo
and the surrounding area. Whereas the Kanto region is symbolic of standardization throughout Japan, the Kansai region
Kansai region
displays many more idiosyncrasies – the culture in Kyoto, the mercantilism of Osaka, the history of Nara, or the cosmopolitanism of Kobe
Kobe
– and represents the focus of counterculture in Japan. This East-West rivalry has deep historical roots, particularly from the Edo
Edo
period. With a samurai population of less than 1% the culture of the merchant city of Osaka
Osaka
stood in sharp contrast to that of Edo, the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogunate.[7]

Kansai region
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. Kanto 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][8] 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
Kyoto
is considered a mecca of traditional Japanese cuisine
Japanese cuisine
like kaiseki. Kansai has many wagyu brands such as Kobe
Kobe
beef and Tajima cattle
Tajima cattle
from Hyōgo, Matsusaka beef from Mie and Omi beef from Shiga. Sake
Sake
is another specialty of the region, the areas of Nada-Gogō
Nada-Gogō
and Fushimi produce 45% of all sake in Japan.[9] 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][8] 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
Nippon Professional Baseball
teams, Hanshin Tigers
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
Kobe
belong to J. League Division 1
J. League Division 1
and Kyoto
Kyoto
Sanga F.C. belongs to J. League Division 2, the top professional leagues in Japan. History[edit]

Map of 8th century Japan

The terms Kansai (関西), Kinki (近畿), and Kinai
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
Ritsuryō
reforms of the seventh and eighth centuries, the Gokishichidō
Gokishichidō
system established the provinces of Yamato, Yamashiro, Kawachi, Settsu and Izumi. Kinai
Kinai
and Kinki, both roughly meaning "the neighbourhood of the capital", referred to these provinces.[10] In common usage, Kinai
Kinai
now refers to the Osaka-Kobe- Kyoto
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
Osaka
Tollgate (逢坂関), the border between Yamashiro Province
Yamashiro Province
and Ōmi Province
Ōmi Province
(present-day Kyoto
Kyoto
and Shiga prefectures).[11] During the Kamakura period, this border was redefined to include Ōmi and Iga Provinces.[11] It is not until the Edo period
Edo period
that Kansai came to acquire its current form.[12] (see Kamigata) Like all regions of Japan, the Kansai region
Kansai region
is not an administrative unit, but rather a cultural and historical one, which emerged much later during the Heian Period
Heian Period
after the expansion of Japan
Japan
saw the development of the Kanto Region
Kanto Region
to the east and the need to differentiate what was previously the center of Japan
Japan
in Kansai emerged.

Himeji Castle

The Kansai region
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.[13] This period (AD 710–784) saw the spread of Buddhism
Buddhism
to Japan
Japan
and the construction of Tōdai-ji
Tōdai-ji
in 745. The Kansai region
Kansai region
also boasts the Shinto
Shinto
religion's holiest shrine at Ise Shrine
Ise Shrine
(built in 690 AD) in Mie prefecture.[14] The Heian period
Heian period
saw the capital moved to Heian-kyō
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
Tendai
sect of Buddhism
Buddhism
established his monastery at Mount Hiei
Mount Hiei
in Shiga prefecture. Japan's most famous tale, and some say the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji
The Tale of Genji
was penned by Murasaki Shikibu while performing as a lady-in-waiting in Heian-kyo. Noh
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 Region

Kansai's unique position in Japanese history, plus the lack of damage from wars or natural disasters has resulted in Kansai region
Kansai region
having more UNESCO World Heritage Listings than any other region of Japan.[15] The five World Heritage Listings include: Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji
Hōryū-ji
Area, Himeji Castle, Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto
Kyoto
(Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities), Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, and Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.[16] Major cities[edit]

Osaka: a designated city, the capital of Osaka
Osaka
Prefecture Kobe: a designated city, the capital of Hyōgo Prefecture Kyoto: a designated city, the capital of Kyoto
Kyoto
Prefecture, formerly the Imperial capital of Japan Tsu: the capital of Mie Prefecture Wakayama: a core city, the capital of Wakayama Prefecture Nara: a core city, the capital of Nara Prefecture Otsu: a core city, the capital of Shiga Prefecture Sakai: a designated city

Other major cities[edit]

Himeji, Hyōgo: a core city Higashiōsaka, Osaka: a core city Nishinomiya, Hyōgo: a core city Amagasaki, Hyōgo: a core city Toyonaka, Osaka: a core city Takatsuki, Osaka: a core city Hirakata, Osaka: a special city Suita, Osaka: a special city Yokkaichi, Mie: a special city Akashi, Hyōgo: a special city Ibaraki, Osaka: a special city Yao, Osaka: a special city Kakogawa, Hyōgo: a special city Takarazuka, Hyōgo: a special city Neyagawa, Osaka: a special city Kishiwada, Osaka: a special city

Education[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2015)

International schools[edit] As of 2002 there were 12 international schools for foreign expatriates in the Kansai region. Alex Stewart of The Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Japan
wrote that this made the Kansai region one of two places in Japan, the other being the Tokyo
Tokyo
area, with significant education options available for foreign expatriates with dependent children.[17] Historically expatriates preferred to live in Kobe,[18] with a concentration of them being in and around Rokko Island as of 2002;[19] the Osaka
Osaka
area did not get an international school for foreign expatriates until 1991.[18] The Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake of 1995 caused a decline in demand for international schools, as there were about 2,500 U.S. nationals each resident in Osaka
Osaka
and Kobe
Kobe
after the earthquake while the pre-earthquake number each was about 5,000. American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Japan
(ACCJ) Kansai chapter president Norman Solberg stated that since 2002 the numbers of expatriates in Kansai were recovering "but the fact is there is still a persistent exodus to Tokyo."[17] As of 2002 the largest international school for expatriates in the Kansai region
Kansai region
was Canadian Academy
Canadian Academy
in Kobe.[19] There are two European international schools in Kansai: Deutsche Schule Kobe/European School in Kobe
Kobe
and Lycée Français de Kyoto
Kyoto
(formerly École française du Kansai) in Kyoto.[20] Gallery[edit]

Daisen Kofun, the largest burial mound in the world.[21]

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

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

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

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

Izumo no Okuni, who founded Kabuki
Kabuki
in Kyoto.

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

Amanohashidate, one of Three Views of Japan.

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

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

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

Osaka
Osaka
Castle.

See also[edit]

Geography of Japan List of regions in Japan Kansai Science City Transport in Keihanshin Ōban (Great Watch)

Notes[edit]

^ a b Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
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.  ^ https://resources.realestate.co.jp/news/international-comparison-of-gdp-of-japans-prefectures-tokyos-gdp-is-bigger-than-indonesias/ ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-16. Retrieved 2015-11-01.  ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kansai" in Japan
Japan
Encyclopedia, p. 477, p. 477, at Google Books. ^ Mie Prefecture homepage: About Mie (pdf) ^ Kansai Now: History, retrieved January 17, 2007 ^ a b c Omusubi
Omusubi
– "Japan's Regional Diversity", retrieved January 22, 2007 ^ a b Livingabroadin.com – "Prime Living Locations in Japan", retrieved January 22, 2007 ^ Kansai Window Archived 2009-04-25 at the Wayback Machine. – "Japan's number one sake production", retrieved January 24, 2007 ^ Nussbaum, "Kinai" in p. 521, p. 521, at Google Books. ^ a b Entry for 「関西」. Kōjien, fifth edition, 1998, ISBN 4-00-080111-2 ^ Entry for 「上方」. Kōjien, fifth edition, 1998, ISBN 4-00-080111-2 ^ Kansai Economic Federation: "Kansai Brief History", retrieved January 17, 2007 ^ Japan
Japan
Reference – "Ise Jingu Guide", retrieved January 17, 2007 ^ Kansai, retrieved 19 June 2012 – GoJapanGo ^ 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 ^ a b Stewart, Alex. "education kansai" (). The Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Japan
(Jānaru), Volume 40, Issues 7–12. The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Japan
(ACCJ), 2003. p. 41. ^ a b Stewart, Alex. "education kansai" (). The Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Japan
(Jānaru), Volume 40, Issues 7–12. The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Japan
(ACCJ), 2003. p. 43. ^ a b Stewart, Alex. "education kansai" (). The Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Japan
(Jānaru), Volume 40, Issues 7–12. The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Japan
(ACCJ), 2003. p. 42. ^ Stewart, Alex. "education kansai" (). The Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Japan
(Jānaru), Volume 40, Issues 7–12. The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Japan
(ACCJ), 2003. p. 42-43. ^ Consulate-General of Japan
Japan
in San Francisco - "History", retrieved March 15, 2007

References[edit]

Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kansai region.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kansai.

Visit Kansai travel guide Kansai Connect Kansai News Welcome! KANSAI Kansai Window Kansai Economic Federation Mie Prefecture Official website (in English) Nara Prefecture Official website Wakayama Prefecture Official website (in English) Kyoto
Kyoto
Prefecture Official website (in English) Osaka
Osaka
Prefecture Official website (in English) Hyōgo Prefecture Official website (in English) Shiga Prefecture Official website (in English)

v t e

Regions and administrative divisions of Japan

Regions

Hokkaido Tōhoku Kantō

Nanpō Islands

Chūbu

Hokuriku Kōshin'etsu Shin'etsu Tōkai

Kansai Chūgoku

San'in San'yō

Shikoku Kyushu

Northern Southern Okinawa

47 Prefectures

Hokkaido

Hokkaido

Tōhoku

Aomori Iwate Miyagi Akita Yamagata Fukushima

Kantō

Ibaraki Tochigi Gunma Saitama Chiba Tokyo Kanagawa

Chūbu

Niigata Toyama Ishikawa Fukui Yamanashi Nagano Gifu Shizuoka Aichi

Kansai

Mie Shiga Kyoto Osaka Hyōgo Nara Wakayama

Chūgoku

Tottori Shimane Okayama Hiroshima Yamaguchi

Shikoku

Tokushima Kagawa Ehime Kōchi

Kyushu

Fukuoka Saga Nagasaki Kumamoto Ōita Miyazaki Kagoshima Okinawa

Coordinates: 35°N 135°E / 35°N 135°E / 35; 135

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 254473915 GND: 46904

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