Japan Data

Akita Dogs Skew Japanese Prefecture Search Survey


Akita was near the top of the overseas Internet search ranking for Japanese prefectures—apparently thanks to the Akita-inu dog breed and Alina Zagitova.

A Japanese company’s survey on the country’s most popular prefectures by Internet search found that Tokyo ranked first, with 359,700 searches, but was closely followed by Akita at 350,310. The study looked at the prefecture names that showed up on English-language Google searches in 13 countries and regions. Third-placed Hiroshima was far behind the top two, with over 100,000 fewer searches.

Search Ranking for Japanese Prefectures

Prefecture Number of searches
1 Tokyo 359,700
2 Akita 350,310
3 Hiroshima 214,120
4 Osaka 205,400
5 Okinawa 188,400
6 Saga 185,200
7 Kyoto 139,100
8 Hokkaidō 132,500
9 Kōchi 128,560
10 Saitama 109,990

Compiled by Nippon.com based on a year-long survey conducted from April 2017 by Info Cubic Japan.

According to data released by the Japan Tourism Agency, the 10 most highly searched prefectures largely corresponded to the ranking of the prefectures most frequently visited by foreign tourists. But interference from searches unrelated to tourism led to such anomalies as Akita Prefecture in second place and Kōchi Prefecture in ninth, despite being only the fortieth and forty-fifth most highly visited prefectures, respectively.

The reason Akita Prefecture ranked so highly was apparently the result of overseas interest in the Akita-inu dog breed, particularly after one such dog was presented to Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova, who won the gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Meanwhile, Kōchi Prefecture’s high ranking was likely influenced by searches for Kochi, a major city in India’s Kerala State.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Akita-inu © Jiji.)

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