Discover Japan #2: Chiba (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Japan National Tourist Organization London Office)

Chiba Prefecture is crisscrossed by rivers, surrounded by the sea and blessed with rich natural resources, including the water and forests. It is located on the eastern side of the Tokyo metropolitan area, and occupies a peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. The southeastern part of the peninsula faces the Pacific Ocean, while the western side faces Tokyo Bay. The Prefecture adjoins the Tokyo metropolis and Saitama Prefecture to the northwest, and Ibaraki Prefecture to the north.

Land area and topography
Chiba Prefecture has a land area of 5,156.68 km2, making it the 28th largest prefecture in the country. It is larger than the total area of the Tokyo metropolis and Kanagawa Prefecture combined (as of October 1, 2005). The Prefecture has the Boso Hills, a chain of hills 200 to 300 m in height, and the relatively flat Shimousa plateau, Tone River basin, and plains along the Kujukuri coast. The coastline extends 534.3 km (as of March 31, 2005). It offers some highly varied scenery.

The region where present-day Chiba Prefecture is located originally consisted of three states, Awa-no-kuni, Kazusa-no-kuni, and Shimousa-no-kuni. According to the Kogoshui, or the Gleanings from Ancient Stories, a man called Ame-no-Tomi-no-Mikoto, along with some members of Imbe clan of Awa, proceeded to the eastern districts of Japan to grow hemp. They named the fertile hemp-growing district “Fusa-no-kuni,” or the land of Fusa (meaning hemp in ancient Japanese), and named the place “Awa-no-kuni” where Awa-no-Imbe resided. Later, the nearer part of Fusa-no-kuni from the capital was called “Kazusa-no-kuni,” and the farther part “Shimousa-no-kuni.” Now, the whole place where those three states were located is called “Boso”: “bo” in the word Boso was taken from one of the kanji characters used for Awa-no-kuni, and “so” was taken from the kanji characters used for the names of Kazusa-no-kuni and Shimousa-no-kuni. When the Kamakura Shogunate was about to begin, the Chiba Clan had become influential. In the age of provincial wars, the Satomi Clan became prevalent in Awa-no-kuni. After Ieyasu Tokugawa established the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo, the Boso was considered as an important area that was directly influenced by the Shogunate, and was classified into two categories: territories directly controlled by the Shogunate and domains controlled by the Shogunate direct subordinates. Back then, all domains in Boso were relatively small, and the Sakura domain was the biggest. In 1871, the Meiji Government abolished the domain system and established the prefecture system. In Boso area, twenty-four prefectures were established, including Tateyama and Sakura Prefectures. Subsequently, the two regions of Kazusa and Awa merged into one to form Kisarazu Prefecture, and the region of Shimousa became Imba Prefecture.On June 15, 1873, Chiba Prefecture was established by integrating Kisarazu and Imba Prefectures. In 1983, the population of Chiba Prefecture exceeded 5 million. To commemorate this, June 15th was designated as the Prefecture’s official Citizens’ Day in 1984.

Greetings from the Governor
What sets Chiba Prefecture apart are its vast land area, interspersed with green rolling hills, and its mild climate that keeps flowers blooming all year round. Chiba is bordered by the sea on three sides. Its extensive coastline varies from wide sandy beaches as found around Kujukuri to rugged reefs, beckoning visitors to enjoy a wide range of all-season leisure activities, from swimming and sunbathing to camping, fishing and more. About six million people, Chiba Prefecture has achieved well balanced development between its agriculture, fishery, commerce and industry. With gateways to the world through Narita Airport and the Port of Chiba, and a good sampling of high-tech industries that have settled in the prefecture, Chiba is exceptionally well positioned to secure a leading role for itself among Japan’s prefectures. We want to make Chiba Prefecture a place where everybody, from young to old, can lead a full and meaningful life. To this end, we want to improve medical and welfare services, education, and other aspects of our society, protect the natural beauty of our prefecture so close to the Tokyo metropolitan area, and encourage the development of new industries under the motto of “Building an alluring Chiba for the 21st century”. Through the pages of this web site, we hope to introduce you to the many facets of our prefecture and leave you with an impression of the diverse beauty and possibilities it has to offer. Our homepage is currently under revision to make it more attractive and easier to use.
I hope you enjoy it.
– Akiko Domoto –
(Governor of Chiba Prefecture)

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