Chubu means “middle” or “center”, accurately reflecting its position locating between the two Japanese poles of Kansai (Kinki) and Kanto. The region includes the major city of Nagoya as well as along Pacific and Sea of Japan coastlines, many high-altitude mountains such as Mount Fuji and the Japanese Alps. The Japanese Alps divide the region into the Pacific side, sunny in winter, and the Sea of Japan side, snowy in winter.
Aichi is situated in the center of Japan and is roughly divided into a mountainous, hilly area and a plain. It has been a pivotal point for traffic between western and eastern Japan, and has flourished as a base for industries for centuries. The major industries of the prefecture are the ceramics in Seto and Tokoname, the automobile manufacturing in Toyota, and the woolen textile industry in Ichinomiya.
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Fukui is located in the northwest part of the Chubu region and faces the Sea of Japan to the north. On its east side lies the land made up of a mountainous country linked to the Tateyama Mountain Range and Fukui Plains. By contrast, its western part consists of a stretch of hills and a relatively narrow flatland. The city of Fukui thrived as the former castle town of Shibata Katsuie, a war lord in the 16th century, then later as the seat of the government of a daimyo in the Tokugawa family from the 17th century to the 19th century. The city is dotted with historic remains that reflect its prosperity in those days.
Located in the center of Honshu, with more than 80% of its total area occupied by forests, Gifu Prefecture spreads out from the mountainous Hida region to the flat Nobi Plains downstream from the Kiso-sansen (Three Kiso Rivers). The Hida Mountain Range, rising to a height of 3,000 meters above sea level, is part of Chubu-Sangaku National Park. The Ryohaku Mountains, with a vast forest of Japanese beech and alpine plants, are part of Haku-san National Park. The rows of traditional thatched roof houses at the World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go, located at the foot of Mt. Haku-san, are a must-see.
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Takayama is a well-preserved old town which attracts many tourists from all over the world. Local museums and famous morning markets are indispensable for learning more about town.
Shirakawa-go is a village which is known for farmhouses with steep thatched roofs called Gassho-zukuri. This traditional style is a motif of hands giving prayers. The village was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with Gokayama in 1995.
Ishikawa is located in the center of Honshu facing the Sea of Japan, and is divided into the Noto and Kaga districts. The northern part is the Noto-hanto Peninsula that juts out into the Sea of Japan. Its coastline reaches as long as 580 kilometers. Since Ishikawa stretches long and narrow from north to south, the topographies of the Noto and the southern Kaga districts are significantly different.
Nagano is an inland prefecture situated in the central part of Honshu that spreads across the Central Highland, also known as the Roof of Japan. Because it is situated between the Kanto and Kansai regions, it developed while being influenced by the cultures of both eastern and western Japan.
Centered around the national treasure Matsumoto Castle, Matsumoto has thrived as a castle town for over 400 years. Located in Nagano Prefecture, the central part of Japan, the history and culture of Matsumoto have been nurtured in the area’s beautiful natural environment. It commands a spectacular view of the Japan Alps, which are over 3,000 meters in altitude to the west, and the Utsukushi-ga-hara-kogen Highlands, which is 2,000 meters in altitude, to the east.
Visitors to Matsumoto can enjoy nature during all four seasons such as special events for cherry blossom and moon viewing at Matsumoto Castle as well as Japanese culture such as traditional festivals and music. It is also intriguing to see the contrast between the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum and the modern art museum featuring Yayoi Kusama, the old streets with modern cafes, the old buildings and the modern architecture of Matsumoto Performing Arts Center.
Niigata Prefecture, a long prefecture facing the Sea of Japan, is situated in the center of Honshu, the largest of Japan’s four main islands. It prospered as a port on the sea of Japan during the Edo period in the 17th and 18th centuries, and, after the 19th century, developed as a base for trade with Russia and South Korea.
Shizuoka Prefecture, with a population of 3.79 million, is located in nearly the center of the Japanese archipelago, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the south, and Mt. Fuji and the southern Japan Alps to the north. The average yearly temperature of approximately 17 degrees Celsius makes it a very mild climate, and except for the northern mountain district, hardly any snow falls on the level ground, even in winter. Shizuoka Prefecture, which is also located between the two major cultural climates of Tokyo and Osaka, has its own unique natural features which cannot be associated with either of these.
Surrounded by steep mountains and spreading its fields as if to embrace the deep bay, Toyama prefecture is a small area, only 50 kilometers in radius, with the prefectural capital Toyama City at its center. Over the years, Toyama has enjoyed a relationship with other countries located on the opposite shore, such as countries on the Asian Continent and the Korean Peninsula. With its advantages and rich experience, Toyama has played an active role as the center of the Northwest Pacific Region.
Yamanashi is encircled by the mountains and mountain ranges designated as national and quasi-national parks, such as Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi-National Park, Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, Yatsugatake-Chushin Quasi-National Park, and the South Japan Alps National Park. It is a prefecture where nature abounds with varying spectacular views of lakes and valleys.