Guideto JapanCulture History
Aichi Prefecture is situated along the Pacific Coast in the Tōkai Region, approximately in the middle of Japan. Much of the prefecture is taken up by the sprawling Nōbi Plain, the second largest in Japan, which is formed by the Kiso, Ibi, and Nagara Rivers and includes the capital of Nagoya. The Owari Hills extend to the east, and Aichi’s indented coastline follows the Chita Peninsula along Ise Bay in the west to Atsumi Peninsula in the east, with the two headlands forming Mikawa Bay.
Aichi Prefecture at a Glance
- Established in 1872 (formerly Mikawa and Owari provinces)
- Capital: Nagoya
- Population: 7,542,000 (as of Oct. 2020)
- Area: 5,173 km2
Aichi is home to a number of important historic sites, including national treasure Inuyama Castle, one of Japan’s oldest wooden keeps. Near Inuyama is Meiji Mura, an outdoor architecture museum featuring buildings of Japanese and Western design, notably the entryway of the Imperial Hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the former residence of novelists Mori Ōgai and Natsume Sōseki, among other notable buildings. Nagoya has its own reconstructed castle, several famous art and history museums, and is the location of the important Atsuta Shrine, said to store the sacred sword Kusanagi, one of the three Imperial Regalia. Theme parks Legoland Japan, also in Nagoya, and Ghibli Park in Nagakute attract visitors from Japan and abroad.
The auto industry focusing on Toyota Motor Corp., which has its headquarters and several production facilities in the prefecture, is a major contributor to Aichi’s economy. Nagoya and surrounding municipalities make up the Chūkyō Industrial Zone, one of Japan’s three major industrial regions, with manufacturers in fields like transportation equipment, electronics, and steel along with cutting-edge sectors such as aerospace and robotics having bases there. The prefecture is a major grower of staple vegetables like cabbage, tomatoes, and broccoli as well as flowers, in particular chrysanthemums and roses.
- Oda Nobunaga (1534–82), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–98), and Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616): The three warlords who unified Japan during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
- Toyoda Kiichirō (1894–1952): Founder of automaker Toyota Motor.
(Originally published in English. Banner photo: Aichi’s Inuyama Castle. © Pixta.)
For the complete list of the country’s 47 prefectures, see “The Prefectures of Japan.”