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Yamaguchi Prefecture

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Title: Yamaguchi Prefecture  
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Yamaguchi Prefecture

Yamaguchi Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese 山口県
 • Rōmaji Yamaguchi-ken
Official logo of Yamaguchi Prefecture
Symbol of Yamaguchi Prefecture
Location of Yamaguchi Prefecture
Country Japan
Region Chūgoku (San'yō)
Island Honshū
Capital Yamaguchi
 • Governor Tsugumasa Muraoka
 • Total 6,110.94 km2 (2,359.45 sq mi)
Area rank 22nd
Population (May 1, 2011)
 • Total 1,445,702
 • Rank 25th
 • Density 236.58/km2 (612.7/sq mi)
ISO 3166 code JP-35
Districts 4
Municipalities 19
Flower Bitter summer mandarin blossom (Citrus natsudaidai)
Tree Red pine tree (Pinus densiflora)
Bird Hooded crane (Grus monacha)
Fish Tetraodontidae (Takifugu rubripes)
Website .html/index/english/

Yamaguchi Prefecture (山口県 Yamaguchi-ken) is a prefecture of Japan in the Chūgoku region on Honshū island.[1] The capital is the city of Yamaguchi, in the center of the prefecture.[2] The largest city, however, is Shimonoseki.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Cities 2.1
    • Towns and districts 2.2
    • Mergers 2.3
  • Economic development 3
  • Tourism 4
  • Famous festivals and events 5
  • Education 6
    • Universities 6.1
      • Private Universities 6.1.1
  • Transportation 7
    • Ferries from Shimonoseki Port International Terminal 7.1
    • Other Ferry Route 7.2
    • Air 7.3
    • Railway 7.4
    • Roads 7.5
      • Expressways 7.5.1
      • Toll Road 7.5.2
      • National Highway 7.5.3
  • Prefectural symbols 8
  • Media 9
    • Newspaper 9.1
    • TV 9.2
    • Radio 9.3
  • Famous people from Yamaguchi 10
  • Sister districts 11
  • Politics 12
    • Delegation to the National Diet 12.1
    • Governor 12.2
    • Assembly 12.3
  • Notes 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15


Yamaguchi Prefecture was created by the merger of the provinces of Suō and Nagato.[3] During the rise of the samurai class during the Heian and Kamakura Periods (794–1333), the Ouchi family of Suō Province and the Koto family of Nagato Province gained influence as powerful warrior clans. In the Muromachi Period (1336—1573), Ouchi Hiroyo, the 24th ruler of the Ouchi family conquered both areas of Yamaguchi Prefecture. The Ouchi clan imitated the city planning of Kyoto. They gained great wealth through cultural imports from the continent and trade with Korea and Ming Dynasty China. As a result, Yamaguchi came to be known as the "Kyoto of the West," and Ouchi culture flourished. Sue Harutaka defeated the 31st ruler of the Ouchi clan. The Sue clan was then defeated by Mōri Motonari, and the Mōri family gained control of the Chugoku region. Yamaguchi was ruled as part of the Mōri clan domain during the Sengoku period. Mōri Terumoto was then defeated by Tokugawa Ieyasu in the battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He was forced to give up all his land except for the Suō and Nagato areas (current-day Yamaguchi Prefecture), where he built his castle in Hagi. Mōri sought to strengthen the economic base of the region and increase local production with his Three Whites campaign (salt, rice, and paper).

After Commodore Matthew Perry's opening of Japan, clans from Nagato (also called Chōshū) played a key role in the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate and the establishment of the new imperial government. Four years after the Edo Shogunate was overthrown and the Meiji government formed in 1868, the present Yamaguchi Prefecture was established. The Meiji government brought in many new systems and modern policies, and promoted the introduction of modern industry, though the prefecture was still centered around agriculture during this period. In the Taisho period, from 1912 to 1926, shipbuilding, chemical, machinery, and metal working plants were built in Yamaguchi's harbors in the Seto Inland Sea area. During the post-World War II Shōwa Period, Yamaguchi developed into one of the most industrialized prefectures in the country due to the establishment of petrochemical complexes.[4]


Map of Yamaguchi Prefecture.

As of April 1, 2012, 7% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Setonaikai National Park; Akiyoshidai, Kita-Nagato Kaigan, and Nishi-Chugoku Sanchi Quasi-National Parks; and Chōmonkyō, Iwakiyama, Rakanzan, and Toyota Prefectural Natural Parks.[5]


Shimonoseki and Kanmon Strait

Thirteen cities are located in Yamaguchi Prefecture:

Towns and districts

These are the towns in each district:


Economic development

For the purposes of development analysis, Yamaguchi is construed to be part of Northern Kyūshū. Although Yamaguchi not part of the island of Kyūshū, it has become a functional satellite of the Kanmon Straits metropolitan area.[6]


The most popular place for tourism is Shimonoseki. One of the major attractions is the famous Kintai Bridge in the town of Iwakuni. This five arched wooden structure is considered a symbol of Western Honshū. The area on the banks of the Nishiki river close to the bridge is considered among the best places in Japan for Hanami, when groups of family and friends gather in early April to view cherry blossoms. Akiyoshidai Quasi-National Park, which includes Japan’s longest cave, the Akiyoshido (秋芳洞), is another popular destination.

Famous festivals and events

  • Kintaikyo Festival in Iwakuni - held in April 29
  • Nishiki River Water Festival in Iwakuni - held in August
  • Iwakuni Festival in August
  • Yokomichi Festival, Kintai Bridge November 19
  • Yanai Goldfish Lantern Festival in August
  • Yamaguchi Gion Festival in July 20 to 27
  • Yamaguchi Tanabata Lantern Festival in August 6 to 7
  • Hagi Era Festival in April
  • Hagi Festival in August 2 to 3
  • Shimonoseki Strait Festival in May 2 to 4
  • Shimonoseki Firework Festival in August



Private Universities

Ube Frontier University University of East Asia
Baiko Gakuin University Tokyo University of Science, Yamaguchi
Yamaguchi Gakugei College Yamaguchi University of Human Welfare and Culture


Ferries from Shimonoseki Port International Terminal

Two ferry services provide regular sea transport from the Shimonoseki Port International Terminal: Kanpu Ferry provides round-trip service to Busan, South Korea; the Orient Ferry provides round-trip service to Qingdao and Shanghai, respectively.

Other Ferry Route


Yamaguchi Ube Airport is a domestic airport with service to Haneda Airport (Tokyo).




Toll Road

  • Hagi Misumi Road
  • Kanmon Bridge
  • Yamaguchi Ube Onoda Road
  • Ogori Hagi Road
  • Kanmon Road Tunnel

National Highway

  • Route 2
  • Route 9
  • Route 187 (Iwakuni-Tsuwano-Masuda)
  • Route 188
  • Route 189 (Iwakuni-Yanai-Hikari-Kudamatsu)
  • Route 262
  • Route 315 (Shunan-Hagi)
  • Route 316
  • Route 376 (Yamaguchi-Shunan-Iwakuni)
  • Route 435
  • Route 437
  • Route 489
  • Route 490
  • Route 491

Prefectural symbols





Famous people from Yamaguchi

Sister districts

Yamaguchi Prefecture has alliance with the following three districts.[8]


Since the Meiji Restoration in which lower-rank nobility from Chōshū played a major role, many politicians from Yamaguchi have held important positions in national politics. In the post-war era, the most prominent political family from Yamaguchi is the Kishi-Abe/Satō prime ministerial dynasty, and Yamaguchi is leaning solidly towards the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Delegation to the National Diet

Since the electoral reform of the 1990s, Yamaguchi elects four members directly to the House of Representatives. Three of the new single-member districts have been held exclusively by Liberal Democrats as of 2013, the easternmost district bordering Hiroshima was initially won by Shinji Satō (Eisaku Satō's son) in 1996, but went to Democrat Hideo Hiraoka in several later elections. Currently, following the 2012 general election, Yamaguchi's directly elected delegation to the lower house consists of LDP president Shinzō Abe (4th district, 7th term), LDP vice president Masahiko Kōmura (1st district, 11th term), the head of the LDP election campaign division, Takeo Kawamura (3rd district, 8th term), and the current president of the LDP prefectural federation in Yamaguchi,[9] Abe's brother Nobuo Kishi (2nd district, 1st term, former two-term member of the House of Councillors). For the proportional representation segment of the House of Representatives, Yamaguchi forms part of the Chūgoku block.

In the House of Councillors, Yamaguchi is represented by two members, making it one of the currently 31 winner-take-all single-member districts. As of 2013, the two members are Yoshimasa Hayashi (LDP, 4th term, up in 2019), agriculture minister in the 2nd Abe Cabinet, and following the April 2013 by-election to replace Nobuo Kishi, Kiyoshi Ejima (LDP, 1st term, up in 2016), former mayor of Shimonoseki city.


The current governor of Yamaguchi is former MIC bureaucrat Tsugumasa Muraoka. He won the gubernatorial election in February 2014 with more than 60% of the vote against other two candidates, and succeeded Shigetarō Yamamoto who had been hospitalized since October 2013 and resigned in January 2014.

Elected governors of Yamaguchi have been:

  1. Tatsuo Tanaka, 1947–1953 (2 terms, resigned mid-term to enter national politics), the son of pre-war prime minister Baron Giichi Tanaka
  2. Tarō Ozawa, 1953–1960 (2 terms, resigned mid-term to enter national politics), Tanaka's son-in-law
  3. Masayuki Hashimoto, 1960–1976 (4 terms), previously member of the House of Representatives from Yamaguchi for the LDP
  4. Tōru Hirai, 1976–1996 (5 terms), previously Home Affairs Ministry bureaucrat and vice-governor of Yamaguchi under Hashimoto
  5. Sekinari Nii, 1996–2012 (4 terms), previously Home Affairs Ministry bureaucrat and treasurer of Yamaguchi under Hirai
  6. Shigetarō Yamamoto, 2012–2014 (1 term, resigned for health reasons), former LDP candidate for the House of Representatives in Yamaguchi's 2nd district


The prefectural assembly of Yamaguchi has 49 members, elected in unified local elections in 15 electoral districts: 5 single-member districts, four two-member districts and six districts that elect each between four and ten members.[10] In the 2011 election, the LDP won a majority with 27 seats. Liberal Democrats form two parliamentary groups together with independents. As of February 25, 2014, the assembly is composed as follows: LDP 25 members, LDP Shinseikai 8, DPJ 5, Kōmeitō 5, JCP 2, SDP 1, and the independent "groups" shinsei club, tokoton and kusa no ne have one member each.[11]


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Yamaguchi-ken" in , pp. 1039-1040Japan Encyclopedia, p. 1039, at Google Books; "Chūgoku" at p. 127, p. 127, at Google Books.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, "Yamaguchi" at p. 1039, p. 1039, at Google Books.
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books.
  4. ^ The History of Yamaguchi Prefecture
  5. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF).  
  6. ^ Sakamoto, Hiroshi. (2011). "CGE Analysis of Regional Policy in the Northern Kyushu Area." Kitakyushu: The International Centre for the Study of East Asian Development (ICSEAD), Working Paper Series Vol. 2011-03
  7. ^ Kantei bio notes
  8. ^ "Yamaguchi Prefecture's International Exchange". Yamaguchi Prefecture official website (in Japanese). Japan: Yamaguchi Prefecture. 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  9. ^ LDP Yamaguchi: officials (Japanese)
  10. ^ Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly: Electoral districts and district magnitudes (Japanese)
  11. ^ Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly: Composition by group (Japanese)


  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128

External links

  • Official Yamaguchi Prefecture homepage

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