Guideto JapanCulture History
Kanagawa Prefecture is located south of Tokyo in the southern part of the Kantō Region. It has an extensive coastline, stretching 435 kilometers along Tokyo Bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the south. It is the second largest prefecture by population and is home to Yokohama, the country’s most populous city.
Kanagawa Prefecture at a Glance
- Established in 1868 (formerly Musashi and Sagami provinces)
- Capital: Yokohama
- Population: 9,237,000 (as of Oct. 2020)
- Area: 2,416 km2
The northeastern section of the prefecture is part of the greater Tokyo area and includes the capital Yokohama and Kawasaki, known as an industrial center. The Miura Peninsula in the southeast boasts a rugged coastline and scenic beaches, and to the west stretches the arced coast of Sagami Bay. Inland is a mixture of heavily urbanized areas and farmland, with the western half of the prefecture punctuated by the tourist destination of Hakone and the foothills of Mount Fuji.
Kanagawa has a robust industrial sector, centering on the Keihin Industrial Zone along Tokyo Bay, and is also an R&D hub for fields like IT and medicine. Global companies based in the prefecture include Fujitsu, Nissan, Sony, and Takeda Pharmaceutical. Agricultural output in the prefecture is modest, while Kanagawa’s long coastline supports a robust fishing industry that includes the port of Misaki on the Miura Peninsula, a major center of tuna fishing.
Kanagawa’s long coastline attracts beachgoers and others looking to enjoy the prefecture’s abundant sunshine and sea air. The Shōnan area, a popular getaway for Tokyo residents, includes the island Enoshima, the feudal capital of Kamakura, and the surfing hub Chigasaki. In the west are the castle town of Odawara and the mountains, lakes, and hot springs of Hakone.
- Koizumi Jun’ichirō (1942–): Politician and prime minister of Japan, 2001–6.
- Antonio Inoki (1943–2022): Legendary professional wrestler and promoter, famed for taking on world champion boxer Muhammad Ali in 1976.
- Yamada Waka (1879–1957): Pioneering feminist and social reformer.
(Originally published in English. Banner photo: Yokohama’s bayside area. © Pixta.)
For the complete list of the country’s 47 prefectures, see “The Prefectures of Japan.”