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Urawa (浦和区 Urawa-ku?) is a ward (pop. 137,500) of Saitama City, Japan. It is surrounded by Midori-ku (to the east), Minami-ku (south), Chūō-ku (west), Ōmiya-ku (north), and Minuma-ku (northeast) of Saitama city. It is a part of the Greater Tokyo Area and located about 20 kilometers north of central Tokyo.
Urawa-ku houses most of the city's administrative offices including the city hall of Saitama City, as well as the offices of Saitama Prefectural government. Also, there are several newspaper branch offices and three broadcasting stations. It is the governmental center of Saitama City.
At the same time, this area has developed itself to the second busiest commercial district in Saitama City after Ōmiya-ku. Especially the west side area of Urawa Station has many department stores and shops.
Former Urawa city (1934-2001) and current Urawa-ku
Until May 1, 2001 it was a central area of former Urawa City, the capital city of Saitama Prefecture, Japan. It then merged with Ōmiya City and Yono City to form the new capital City, Saitama. In April 2003 Saitama became a city designated by government ordinance, and now the area of former Urawa City comprises Sakura-ku, Urawa-ku, Minami-ku, and Midori-ku of Saitama City.
The Urawa Red Diamonds football (soccer) club in the J. League, arguably the biggest club in Japan and in Asia called the city home after strong support from its citizens. Although its official hometown recognised by the league is whole Saitama city and it is now the club is headquartered in Saitama Stadium in Midori-ku, the hometown support are strong in the area of former Urawa city. When the team has a match at Urawa Komaba Stadium in Urawa-ku or Saitama Stadium, the town becomes more and more crowded with the supporters.
In the Edo period, Urawa-ku flourished as a posting station of national high way Nakasendō, which connected Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to Kyoto. But it was not so big a town as Iwatsuki, which was the only castle town in the area of modern-day Saitama City. In 1869 (Meiji period in Japan), the Prefectural Government of Urawa Prefecture was set up, and the Government's Office was located in Urawa Town. In 1871, Iwatsuki, Urawa, and Oshi Prefectures merged to form Saitama Prefecture, and Urawa Town became the capital of this new Prefecture. After the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923, Tokyo and many other cities near Tokyo were heavily damaged. Urawa Town is not so far from Tokyo, and yet was not so entirely damaged compared to Tokyo, Yokohama, and other cities in southern Kanto area, so many intellectuals, especially painters, moved to Urawa, and so this old posting station started to change into a modern city. After that several neighboring villages were merged to Urawa, and in 1934, Urawa Town became a city. The city existed up until the 2001 merger with Ōmiya and Yono to form Saitama.
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