Fukushima Prefecture

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Fukushima Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese 福島県
 • Rōmaji Fukushima-ken
Official logo of Fukushima Prefecture
Symbol of Fukushima Prefecture
Location of Fukushima Prefecture
Country Japan
Region Tōhoku
Island Honshu
Capital Fukushima (city)
 • Governor Yūhei Satō
 • Total 13,782.54 km2 (5,321.47 sq mi)
Area rank 3rd
Population (2010-10-01[1])
 • Total 2,028,752
 • Rank 17th
 • Density 154/km2 (400/sq mi)
ISO 3166 code JP-07
Districts 13
Municipalities 59
Flower Nemotoshakunage (Rhododendron brachycarpum)
Tree Japanese zelkova (Zelkova serrata)
Bird Narcissus Flycatcher (Ficedula narcissina)
Website www.pref.fukushima.jp/index_e.html

Fukushima Prefecture (福島県 Fukushima-ken?) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Tōhoku region on the island of Honshu.[2] The capital is the city of Fukushima.[3]


Until the Meiji Restoration, the area of Fukushima prefecture was known as Mutsu Province.[4]

The Shirakawa Barrier and the Nakoso Barrier were built around the 5th century to protect 'civilized Japan' from the 'barbarians' to the north. Fukushima became a Province of Mutsu after the Taika Reforms were established in 646.[5]

In 718, the provinces of Iwase and Iwaki were created, but these areas reverted to Mutsu some time between 722 and 724.[6]

The province of Fukushima was conquered by Prince Subaru in 1293. This region of Japan is also known as Michinoku and Ōshū.

The Fukushima Incident took place in the prefecture after Mishima Michitsune was appointed governor in 1882.

2011 earthquake and subsequent disasters[edit]

The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the tsunami that followed, and the resulting Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant disaster caused significant damage to the prefecture, primarily but not limited to the eastern Hama-dōri region.

Earthquake and tsunami[edit]

On Friday, 11 March 2011, 14:46 JST, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. Shindo measurements throughout the prefecture reached as high as 6-upper in isolated regions of Hama-dōri on the eastern coast and as low as a 2 in portions of the Aizu region in the western part of the prefecture. Fukushima City, located in Naka-dōri and the capital of Fukushima Prefecture, measured 6-lower.[7]

Following the earthquake there were isolated reports of major damage to structures, including the failure of Fujinuma Dam[8] as well as damage from landslides.[9] The earthquake also triggered a massive tsunami that hit the eastern coast of the prefecture and caused widespread destruction and loss of life.

In the two years following the earthquake, 1,817 residents of Fukushima Prefecture had either been confirmed dead or were missing as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.[10]

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster[edit]

In the aftermath of the earthquake and the tsunami that followed, the outer housings of two of the six reactors at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma exploded followed by a partial meltdown and fires at three of the other units. Many residents were evacuated to nearby localities due to the development of a large evacuation zone around the plant. Radiation levels near the plant peaked at 400 mSv/h (millisieverts per hour) after the earthquake and tsunami, due to damage sustained. This resulted in increased recorded radiation levels across Japan.[11] On April 11, 2011, officials upgraded the disaster to a level 7 out of a possible 7.[12]


Map of Fukushima Prefecture.

Fukushima is both the southernmost prefecture of Tōhoku region and the prefecture of Tōhoku region that is closest to Tokyo. It is divided by mountain ranges into three regions called (from west to east) Aizu, Nakadōri, and Hamadōri.

The coastal Hamadōri region lies on the Pacific Ocean and is the flattest and most temperate region, while the Nakadōri region is the agricultural heart of the prefecture and contains the capital, Fukushima City. The mountainous Aizu region has scenic lakes, lush forests, and snowy winters.

As of 1 April 2012, 13% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely Bandai-Asahi, Nikkō, and Oze National Parks; Echigo Sanzan-Tadami Quasi-National Park; and eleven Prefectural Natural Parks.[13]


Thirteen cities are located in Fukushima Prefecture:

Towns and villages[edit]

These are the towns and villages in each district:



The coastal region traditionally specializes in fishing and seafood industries, and is notable for its electric and particularly nuclear power-generating industry, while the upland regions are more focused on agriculture. As of March 2011, the prefecture produced 20.6% of Japan's peaches and 8.7% of cucumbers.[14][15]

The capital region has a strong industry in software and electronics.


Legend has it that an ogress, Adachigahara, once roamed the plain after whom it was named. The Adachigahara plain lies close to the city of Fukushima.

Notable festivals and events[edit]

  • Sōma's Nomaoi Festival (相馬野馬追 Sōma Nomaoi?) - held from July 23 to 25[16]
  • Fukushima's Waraji Festival (わらじまつり Waraji Matsuri?) - held on the first weekend of August[17]
  • Aizuwakamatsu's Aizu Festival (会津まつり Aizu Matsuri?) - held in late September[18]
  • Iizaka's Fighting Festival (けんか祭り Kenka Matsuri?) - held in October[19]
  • Nihonmatsu's Lantern Festival (提灯祭り Chōchin Matsuri?) - held from October 4 to 6[20]
  • Nihonmatsu's Chrysanthemum doll exhibition (二本松の菊人形 Nihonmatsu no Kiku Ningyō?) - held from October 1 to November 23[21]




Aizuwakamatsu was the site of an important battle in the Boshin War, during which 19 teenage members of the Byakkotai committed ritual seppuku suicide. Their graves on Mt. Iimori are a popular tourist attraction.

Kitakata is well known for its distinctive Kitakata ramen noodles and well-preserved traditional storehouse buildings, while Ouchijuku in the town of Shimogo retains numerous thatched buildings from the Edo Period.

Mount Bandai, in the Bandai-Asahi National Park, erupted in 1888, creating a large crater and numerous lakes, including the picturesque 'Five Coloured Lakes' (Goshiki-numa). The area is popular with hikers and skiers.





National highways[edit]

  • Route 4
  • Route 6
  • Route 13 (Fukushima-Yamagata-Shinjo-Yokote-Akita)
  • Route 49
  • Route 113 (Niigata-Murakami-Nagai-Nanyo-Shiroishi-Soma)
  • Route 114
  • Route 115 (Soma-Fukushima-Inawashiro)
  • Route 118
  • Route 121
  • Route 252
  • Route 288
  • Route 289 (Niigata-Tsubame-Uonuma-Tadami-Shirakawa-Iwaki)
  • Route 294
  • Route 349 (Mito-Hitachiota-Iwaki-Tamura-Nihonmatsu-Date-Shibata)
  • Route 352
  • Route 399
  • Route 400
  • Route 401 (Niigata-Agano-Kitakata-Fukushima-Namie)
  • Route 459


  • Onahama Port - International and domestic goods, container hub port in Iwaki


Notable people[edit]

Mazie K. Hirono, current US Senator and former Lieutenant Governor for Hawaii, was born in Fukushima Prefecture in 1947, and moved to Hawaii in 1955.

Hideyo Noguchi, the doctor who contributed to knowledge in the fight against syphilis and yellow fever. The Japanese government created the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize in his honor. This was first awarded in May 2008.[22]

Seishiro Okazaki (January 28, 1890 – July 12, 1951) was a Japanese American healer, martial artist, and founder of Danzan Ryu jujitsu. Born in Kakeda, Date County in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, he immigrated to Hawaii in 1906.


  1. ^ National Census 2010 Preliminary Results
  2. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Fukushima-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 218, p. 218, at Google Books; "Tōhoku" in p. 970, p. 970, at Google Books
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Fukushima" in p. 218, p. 218, at Google Books
  4. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books
  5. ^ Takeda, Toru et al. (2001). Fukushima - Today & Tomorrow, p. 10.
  6. ^ Meyners d'Estrey, Guillaume Henry Jean (1884). Annales de l'Extrême Orient et de l'Afrique, Vol. 6, p. 172, p. 172, at Google Books; Nussbaum, "Iwaki" in p. 408, p. 408, at Google Books
  7. ^ "Felt earthquakes". Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "東北・関東7県で貯水池、農業用ダムの損傷86カ所 補修予算わずか1億、不安募る梅雨". msn産経ニュース. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "新たに女性遺体を発見 白河の土砂崩れ". 47NEWS. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "Damage Situation and Police Countermeasures... March 11, 2013" National Police Agency of Japan. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Japan quake: Radiation rises at Fukushima nuclear plant". BBC News. 15 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Fukushima crisis raised to level 7, still no Chernobyl". NewScientist. 12 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture". Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Schreiber, Mark, "Japan's food crisis goes beyond recent panic buying", Japan Times, 17 April 2011, p. 9.
  15. ^ Hongo, Jun, "Fukushima not just about nuke crisis", Japan Times, 20 March 2012, p. 3.
  16. ^ "THE SOMA NOMAOI. An English guidebook.". Soma Nomaoi Executive Committee. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  17. ^ "わらじまつり" (in Japanese). 福島わらじまつり実行委員会事務局. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  18. ^ "会津まつり 先人感謝祭・会津藩公行列" (in Japanese). 会津若松観光物産協会. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "けんか祭りの飯坂八幡神社" (in Japanese). Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  20. ^ "二本松のちょうちん祭り" (in Japanese). Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  21. ^ "二本松の菊人形" (in Japanese). 二本松菊栄会. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize". Retrieved August 4, 2011. 

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°24′N 140°28′E / 37.400°N 140.467°E / 37.400; 140.467