- Gifu Prefecture
Infobox Prefecture Japan
Name = Gifu
JapaneseName = 岐阜県
Rōmaji = Gifu-ken
Symbol = PrefSymbol-Gifu.png
Capital = Gifu
Region = Chūbu
TotalArea = 10,621.17
AreaRank = 7th
PCWater = 0.2
February 1, 2008
Population = 2,101,683
PopRank = 18th
Density = 198
Districts = 9
Municipalities = 42
ISOCode = JP-21
Flower = Chinese milk vetch ("
Japanese yew("Taxus cuspidata")
Bird = Rock
Website = [http://www.pref.gifu.lg.jp/pref/index_e.htm Gifu Prefectural Website]
Hajime Furutanihongo|Gifu Prefecture|岐阜県|Gifu-ken is a prefecture located in the Chūbu region of central Japan. Its capital is the city of Gifu. Located in the center of Japan, it has long played an important part as the crossroads of Japan, connecting the east to the west through such routes as the Nakasendō. During the Sengoku period, many people referred to Gifu by saying, "control Gifu and you control Japan.""Instant Gifu". Gifu International Center, 1995.]
The land area that makes up modern-day Gifu became part of the Yamato Court around the middle of the fourth century. Because it is in the middle of the island of
Honshū, it has been the site of many decisive battles throughout Japan's history, the oldest major one being the Jinshin Warin 672, which led to the establishment of Emperor Temmuas the 40th emperor of Japan.
The land area of Gifu Prefecture consists of the old provinces of Hida and Mino, as well as smaller parts of Echizen and Shinano. The name of the prefecture derives from its capital city, Gifu, which was named by
Oda Nobunagaduring his campaign to unify all of Japan in 1567.Stone ledger in front of Kashimori Shrine. Erected by Kashimori Shrine.] The first character used comes from Qishan (岐山), a legendary mountain from which most of China was unified, whereas the second character comes from Qufu(曲阜), the birthplace of Confucius. [http://www.kankou-gifu.jp/en/outline/index.html Gifu tour guide - Outline of Gifu Prefecture] . Gifu Prefecture Tourist Federation. Accessed September 9, 2007.] Nobunaga chose those characters because he wanted to unify all of Japan and he wanted to be viewed as a great mind.
Historically, the prefecture served as the center of swordmaking in all of Japan, with Seki being known for making the best swords in Japan. More recently, its strengths have been in fashion (primarily in the city of Gifu) and aerospace engineering (Kakamigahara).
October 28, 1891, the present-day city of Motosu was the epicenterfor the Mino-Owari Earthquake, the largest earthquake to ever hit Japan. [http://research.kahaku.go.jp/rikou/namazu/04nobi/noubi.html Mino Earthquake] . ja icon Tokyo Science Museum. Accessed July 5, 2007.] The earthquake, estimated at 8.0 earthquake, left a huge cleft in the ground that can still be seen today.
One of the few landlocked prefectures in Japan, Gifu Prefecture shares borders with seven other prefectures: Aichi, Fukui, Ishikawa, Mie, Nagano, Shiga and Toyama Prefectures. Japan's postal codes all start with a three-digit number, ranging from 001 to 999. Part of Gifu has the 500 prefix, giving further proof of its location in the center of Japan.
Gifu Prefecture has five unofficial regions, which allows local municipalities to work together to promote the surrounding area. The five regions are
Seinō, [http://www.ginet.or.jp/nisimino/index.shtml Nishi Mino Portal Site] . ja icon Ginet. Accessed June 24, 2008.] Gifu, [http://www.pref.gifu.lg.jp/pref/s20501/index.htm Gifu Regional Promotion Office] . ja icon Gifu Prefecture. Accessed June 24, 2008.] Chūnō, [http://www.pref.gifu.lg.jp/pref/s20504/ Chūnō Promotion Office] . ja icon Gifu Prefecture. Accessed June 24, 2008.] Tōnō[http://www.pref.gifu.lg.jp/pref/s20507/ Tōnō Promotional Office] . ja icon Gifu Prefecture. Accessed June 24, 2008.] and Hida. [http://www.pref.gifu.lg.jp/pref/s20509/ Hida Promotional Office] . ja icon Gifu Prefecture. Accessed June 24, 2008.] The borders of the regions are loosely defined, but they are usually delineated among major cities.
The northern Hida region is dominated by tall mountains, including parts of the
Japanese Alps. The southern Mino region is mostly made up of parts of the fertile Nōbi Plain, a vast plains area with arable soil. Most of the prefecture's population resides in the southern part of the prefecture, near the designated city of Nagoya.
The mountainous Hida region contains both the
Hida Mountains,which are referred to as the "Northern Alps," and the Kiso Mountains, which are known as the "Central Alps" in Japan. The Ryōhaku Mountainsare also located in the Hida region. Other major ranges include the Ibuki Mountainsand the Yōrō Mountains.
Much of the Mino region is made up of the
alluvial plainof the Kiso Three Rivers, which are the Ibi River, Kiso Riverand Nagara River. The source for all three rivers is located in Nagano Prefecture and they eventually run through Aichi and Mie prefectures before emptying into Ise Bay. Other major rivers in the prefecture include the Jinzū, Takahara, Shō, Shōnai, Yahagi and Itoshiro rivers.
Because the Mino region is surrounded by low mountains, the temperature fluctuates through the year, from hot summers to cold winters. The eastern city of Tajimi, for example, generally records the hottest temperature throughout all of Japan each year and, on
August 16, 2007, it set the record for hottest recorded day in Japan's history—40.9 degrees Celsius. [ [http://www.japannewsreview.com/society/national/20070816page_id=1553 Gifu Prefecture sees highest temperature ever recorded in Japan - 40.9] - [http://www.japannewsreview.com Japan News Review] ] The summers are made hotter because the landlocked area becomes a heat island, which is further worsened when hot, dry foehn windsblow over the Ibuki Mountains out of the Kansai region. The Hida region, with its higher elevation, is generally cooler than the Mino region, though there are sometimes extremely hot days there, as well. Shōkawa-chō, part of the city of Takayama, is located up in the mountains and its location has led it to be called the coldest inhabitted place on Honshū.
Gifu's economy includes many traditional industries such as paper-making and agriculture, but it is dominated by manufacturing industries extending from the Nagoya area, such as aerospace and automotive industry. A major characteristic of Gifu's industry is a wealth of small component manufacturers, such as precision machining, die and mold making, and plastic forming.
The Mino region has long been known for its high-quality paper called "
Mino washi", which is stronger and thinner than most other papers in Japan and was used by the Japanese military during World War II. [http://www.faqs.org/docs/air/avfusen.html The Fire Balloons] . Greg Goebel. Accessed November 23, 2007.] Other paper-based industries include Gifu Lanternsand Gifu Umbrellas, which are made in the capital city. Other traditional goods include "Mino-yaki" pottery (in Tajimi, Toki and Mizunami), cutlery(in Seki) and lacquerware(in Takayama).
Because Gifu has vast, arable plains, agriculture is also a large industry. The forests to the north also provide plenty of source material for wood-working (which includes the viewing boats used in cormorant fishing). The clear-flowing rivers are also often used to brew
Kakamigahara has a large role in the prefecture's modern industries. It boasts large aerospace facilities of both
Kawasaki Heavy Industriesand Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, as well as many metalworkingand manufacturingcompanies. Information technology(IT) is gaining a foothold in the prefecture with both Softopia Japanin Ōgaki and VR Techno Japan (part of Techno Plaza) in Kakamigahara. The capital city of Gifu, located between Ōgaki and Kakamigahara, is also working to strengthen its IT fields, too.
In addition to international tourists, Gifu also plays host to many international events. The
World Event and Convention Complex Gifuis available for many types of events. Other areas of Gifu, too, bring international events, such as in 2005 when the World Rowing Championshipswere held in the city of Kaizu.
The Kamioka area of the city of Hida is home to the
Super-Kamiokandeand KamLANDexperiments, neutrino and antineutrino observatories, respectively. Located Convert|1000|m|ft|0|abbr=on underground in Kamioka Mining and Smelting Co.'s Mozumi Mine, the detector searches for neutrinos (and antineutrinos) from the high atmosphere, the sun and supernovae, and for KamLAND, from regional nuclear reactors. The Super-Kamiokande consists of a cylindrical stainless steel tank that is Convert|41.4|m|ft|1|abbr=on tall and Convert|39.3|m|ft|1|abbr=on in diameter holding 50,000 tons of ultra-pure water. Some of the 11,146 photomultiplier tubes are on display at the [http://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/index_e.html Miraikan] in Tokyo.
September 1, 2007, the prefecture's population is 2,101,969, with approximately 1.8 million people living in the cities and the rest living in towns and villages. [http://www.pref.gifu.lg.jp/pref/s11111/data/data.htm Statistics Division of Gifu Prefecture] . ja icon Gifu Prefecture. Accessed November 2, 2007.] The percentage of male and female residents is 48.4% and 51.6%, respectively. 14.4% of the population is no more than 14 years old, with 22.1% of the population being at least 65 years old.
According to Japan's census, the country's
center of populationis located in Gifu Prefecture. In 2000, it was located in the former town of Mugi, which has since merged with Seki. In the most reason census in 2005, the center of population has moved slightly more to the east, but is still located within Gifu.
Chubu Gakuin University
Chukyo Gakuin University
Gifu City Women's College
Gifu College of Nursing
Gifu Keizai University
Gifu Pharmaceutical University
Gifu Shotoku Gakuen University
Gifu University of Medical Science
Gifu Women's University
Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences
Tokai Gakuin University
The prefectural logo ("see right") expands from the red dot into the center to the outer two lines and, finally, the yellow plain. This symbol was chosen in 1991 for the development and expansion of the prefecture.
The prefecture also has two plants (the milk vetch and the Japanese yew) and two animals (the snow grouse and the
ayu) as symbols. The milk vetch was chosen in 1954, because the prefecture is well known for its abundance of blooming milk vetch each spring. The yew was chosen in 1966, because it is the tree used to make ornamental sceptors for the emperor, many of which came from the Hida district. The snow grouse was chosen in 1961, as the birds live up in the Japanese alps and is a nationally-protected species. Ayu were chosen in 1989, because the fish is found in many prefectural rivers and is prized for its sweet taste.
All of the cities, towns, villages and districts of Gifu Prefecture are listed below
Twenty-one cities are located in Gifu Prefecture:
Towns and villages
Towns and villages in each district:
* [http://www.pref.gifu.lg.jp/pref/index_e.htm Official Gifu Prefecture homepage]
* [http://jpimg.digital.archives.go.jp/jpg_prg/jgmWeb?%TmpFileDisp%env=jpeg2k_images/ezu/fukenchizu/017_gifu_e.env Map of Gifu Prefecture in 1891] . National Archives of Japan.
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