Shinano River

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Shinano Gawa
Country Japan
Main source Mount Kobushi
2,475 m (8,120 ft)
River mouth Sea of Japan
Basin size 11,900 km2 (4,600 sq mi)
Physical characteristics
Length 367 km (228 mi)
  • Average rate:
    514 m3/s (16.2 km3/a; 18,200 cu ft/s)
View from the air

The Shinano River (信濃川 Shinano-gawa?) is the longest and largest[1] river in Japan. It flows from Nagano Prefecture to Niigata Prefecture. It is called the Chikuma River (千曲川 Chikuma-gawa) in Nagano Prefecture.

The river rises from Mount Kobushi on the border of Saitama, Yamanashi and Nagano, and flows northwest to meet the Sai River from Matsumoto. Kawanakajima (川中島), the junction of the Chikuma and the Sai, is the historic site of the Battles of Kawanakajima. It turns to the northeast and empties into the Sea of Japan at Niigata City.

In 1922, the Ōkōzu Canal (大河津分水路 Ōkōzu Bunsuiro) was built to defend Niigata from floods. It enabled the Niigata Plains to be filled with rich rice fields.

The name Chikuma was given to two Imperial Japanese Navy cruisers.


  1. ^ Nilsson, Christer; Reidy,Catherine A.; Dynesius, Mats and Revenga, Carmen; Fragmentation and Flow Regulation of the World’s Large River Systems; Science; vol. 308; pp.405-408

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Coordinates: 37°23′17″N 138°48′39″E / 37.38806°N 138.81083°E / 37.38806; 138.81083