Glossary: place - city

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Ashiya-shi (芦屋市)

A city founded in Hyougo Prefecture in 1871, Ashiya was designated as an urban planning area in the early 1900s, which led to the development of large single-family homes along the hills overlooking Osaka Bay.

Azumino-shi (安曇野市)

A city located in Nagano Prefecture.

Chikuma-shi (千曲市)

A city in Nagano Prefecture which was found from the former towns of Koushoku, Kamiyamada, and Tokura on September 1, 2003.

Enzan-shi (塩山市)

A city located in the north-east area of Yamanashi Prefecture with a population of around 26,500 people

Fukui-shi (福井市)

Fukui City is the capital of Fukui Prefecture, located in the north-central part of Honshuu on the coast of the Sea of Japan. The city was heavily bombed and devastated during World War II.

Gotou-shi (五島市)

A city located in Nagasaki which comprises the south-west half of the Gotou-Retto Islands in the South China Sea.

Hachiouji-shi (八王子市)

Hachiouji City is the eighth-largest city in Tokyo, a little west of Tokyo's center, and today serves mostly as a residential city for people working in Tokyo. It contains many schools and universities, and attractions include Takao-san, a popular hiking location, the Hachiouji Castle Ruins on Jinba-san around an hour outside the city, and the Tama Goryou.

Hakone-machi (箱根町)

Hakone is a town located in the western part of Kanagawa Prefecture. It is a popular tourist location, hosting many hot springs, Hakone Shrine on the shore of the caldera lake, Lake Ashi, the volcanically-active Great Boiling Valley, and beautiful views of Mt. Fuji.

Hamamatsu-shi (浜松市)

A city located in the western part of Shizuoka Prefecture which is the largest city in the prefecture. In the Sengoku Era Tokugawa Ieyasu held Hamamatsu Castle from 1570 - 1586.

Hirado-shi (平戸市)

A city in Nagasaki which was a major center of trade in the Sengoku and early Edo periods.

Hiroshima-shi (広島市)

The City of Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture and the largest city in the Chuugoku region of western Honshuu. Its name means "Broad Island," and was established on the delta coastline of the Seto Inland Sea in 1589 by the powerful daimyo Mouri Terumoto, who made it his capital. He built Hiroshima Castle there and moved in five years later, in 1593.

Hiroshima became a major urban center during the imperial period, and later a major port city. The city was a key shipping center during World War II, and became known as the first city in history to be targeted by a nuclear weapon when the US Air Force dropped an atomic bomb there on August 6, 1945.

Ibaraki-machi (茨城町)

A town in Ibaraki Prefecture with many surrounding golf courses.

Isahaya-shi (諫早市)

A city located in Nagasaki Prefecture.

Iwakubo (岩窪町)

A town in Koufu City, Yamanashi Prefecture which contains Takeda Shingen's tomb, known as the Maenduka.

Kagoshima-shi (鹿児島市)

The capital city of Kagoshima Prefecture, it is the city in which Francis Xavier, the first Christian to arrive in Japan, landed in 1549.

Kanazawa-shi (金沢市)

Kanazawa is the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture and sits on the Sea of Japan. It was formerly a castle town known as Ishiura Village, which was built around Kanazawa Castle, a center of power for the Ikkou-ikki.

Karuizawa-machi (軽井沢町)

Lit.: Light Well Marsh; a town in Nagano Prefecture located at the foot of Mount Asama which is a popular mountain resort for Tokyo residents, offering outdoor activies and a historic shopping street.

Kawagoe-shi (川越市)

A city located in Saitama Prefecture which was the seat of the former Kawagoe-han.

Koufu-shi (甲府市)

The capital city of Yamanashi Prefecture.

Koushoku-shi (更埴市)

A town near Nagano City in Nagano Prefecture which was merged with two other towns to form the city of Chikuma on Sept. 1, 2003.

Kyoto-shi (京都市)

The imperial capital of Japan from 794 to 1868, located in Kyoto Prefecture.

Matsumoto City (松本市)

The largest city in Nagano Prefecture, Matsumoto is surrounded by mountains and is acclaimed for its beautiful views.

Mito-shi (水戸市)

The capital of Ibaraki Prefecture which was won by Tokugawa Ieyasu in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1603. The Tokugawa Clan directly controlled Mito until the overthrow of the shogunate in the mid-1800's.

Nagano-shi (長野市)

The capital city of Nagano Prefecture, which grew from a small town around a 17th-century Buddhist temple.

Nagasaki-shi (長崎市)

The largest city in and capital of Nagasaki Prefecture, Nagasaki began as a small harbor town which quickly grew into a large port city following the accidental landing of Francis Xavier in nearby Kagoshima Prefecture and the establishment of trade with Portuguese merchants.

Nagasaki also became the point of entry of Christianity into Japan, and its daimyo, Oomura Sumitada, and many of its inhabitants converted to Christianity. However, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, wary of Christian influence in the region, ordered the expulsion of all missionaries 1587, an order that largely went unenforced. Although 26 Japanese and foreign Christians were executed in Nagasaki in 1597, Christianity was grudgingly tolerated until 1614, when Christianity was officially banned and all missionaries ordered to leave. Following the ban, the Tokugawa shogunate killed and tortured Christians across Japan to force them to renounce their faith.

The rebellion at Shimabara near Nagasaki in 1636-1638 convinced the government that Christianity and disloyalty were linked. 30,000 Japanese Christians were massacred and a policy of national isolation descended in 1639, closing foreign trader with all but the Dutch.

Isolationism only ended with the arrival of Commodore Perry's 'Black Ships' in 1853, and Nagasaki would become an important economic city once more after the Meiji Restoration. Its main industry was ship-building, a fact which made it a target for the second atomic bomb to be dropped on Japan during World War II.

Nagashima-chou (長島町)

A town located in Mie Prefecture (formerly Ise Province). It was a base for the Ikkou Sect during the Sengoku Era, but was destroyed by Oda Nobunaga.

Nara-shi (奈良市)

The capital of Nara Prefecture, it was also the capital of Japan during the Nara Period from 710 to 784 and was modelled after Xi'an, the capital of the Chinese Tang Dynasty.

Niigata-shi (新潟市)

The capital city of Niigata Prefecture.

Nikkou-shi (日光市)

Nikkou City, located in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, is a popular tourist destination known for the Nikkou Toushou Shrine, where Tokugawa Ieyasu's remains are enshrined, as well as Futarasan Shrine, built in 767.

Odawara-shi (小田原市)

The City of Odawara, located in present-day Kanagawa Prefecture, flourished as the castle-town of the Houjou Clan, whose strategic fortress of Odawara Castle served as an impregnable stronghold for several generations of the clan during the Sengoku. During the Edo Period, it became the castle-town of Odawara-han and controlled the East Sea Road between Edo and Tokugawa stations west of Hakone.

Oomachi-shi (大町市)

A city located at the foot of the Northern Japanese Alps in Nagano Prefecture near Matsumoto. It was founded in 1954.

Oomura-shi (大村市)

A city located in Nagasaki Prefecture which was ruled by the Oomura Clan. In the second half of the Sixteenth Century, Oomura Sumitada became the first daimyo to convert to Christianity.

Osaka-shi (大阪市)

The City of Osaka is the capital of Osaka Prefecture and the commercial and gourmet food center of Japan.

Saga-shi (佐賀市)

Saga City is the capital city of Saga Prefecture, located on Kyushu, the most southwesterly of Japan's four main islands.

Sakamoto Castle (坂本城)

A castle built by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1571 after he received Shiga-gun in Oumi from Oda Nobunaga. It fell to the army of Toyotomi Hideyoshi after the defeat of Mitsuhide in the Battle of Yamazaki. It was rebuilt by Niwa Nagahide, but was demolished 1586 to fortify Ootsu Castle.

Sapporo-shi (札幌市)

Sapporo is the capital and largest city of Hokkaido, the northernmost of the major Japanese islands. Its name comes from the indigenous Ainu language and means "dry, great river".

Sendai-shi (仙台市)

The capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, it is also the largest city in the northeast region of Japan. It is home to one million people, and is aptly nicknamed Mori no Miyako, the Capital of Trees.

Shinonoi-machi (篠ノ井町)

Lit.: Bamboo-grass Well; a town in Nagano Prefecture.

Takamatsu-shi (高松市)

Takamatsu City is a port city located on the Seto Inland Sea in central Kagawa Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. It was the capital of the Matsudaira clan during the Edo Period and flourished as a castle town and the port closest to Honshuu on Shikoku. The city was heavily bombed by Allied Forces during World War II because it was thought to contain industry vital to the war effort.

Tenri-shi (天理市)

A city located in Nara Prefecture, founded on April 1, 1954. The Tenrikyo religion, for which the city is named, originated there.

Tokorozawa-shi (所沢市)

A city in Saitama Prefecture, established in 1950 and located about 30 km west of downtown Tokyo.

Tottori-shi (鳥取市)

Tottori is the capital city of Tottori Prefecture in the Chuugoku region of Japan. It is best known for its sand dunes, which are a popular tourist attraction.

Toyama-shi (富山市)

Toyama City is the capital of Toyama Prefecture, located on the coast of the Sea of Japan with a population of ~420,000 (2005). It was also the capital of the ancient province of Ecchuu.

During World War II, 99.5% of the urban center of the city was destroyed on August 1 and 2, 1945, when the American 73rd Bomber Wing dropped incendiary bombs on the city, at the time an aluminum ball-bearing and special steel production center.

Tsuwano-machi (津和野町)

A town surrounded by hills located in a remote location of Shimane Prefecture.

Ueda-shi (上田市)

A city located in Nagano Prefecture founded on May 1, 1919. It merged with the towns of Maruko and Sanada and the village of Takeshi to become the new city of Ueda on March 6, 2006.

Ueno-mura (上野村)

A village located in Gunma Prefecture, founded on April 1, 1889 at the start of Japan's municipal system.

Uozu-shi (魚津市)

A coastal city located in Toyama Prefecture, founded in 1952. Its population was around 46,000 in 2005. In the Sengoku Era, the area was controlled by the Uesugi Clan with Uozu Castle as their stronghold.

Uozu is known for three mysterious phenomena: 1) the mirage, which occurs from April to June, during which faraway objects such as ships or the opposite shoreline seem to grow vertically or hang upside-down above them, 2) the firefly squid, which rise to the surface to spawn from the end of March to June and glow with a bluish white light, and 3) the buried forest, a conifer forest buried 2000 years ago such that only their trunks were preserved.

Utsunomiya-shi (宇都宮市)

The capital of Tochigi Prefecture.

Yamagata-shi (山形市)

Lit.: "Mountain-shaped", the City of Yamagata is the capital of Yamagata Prefecture, founded in 1889.

Yamato-Kooriyama-shi (大和郡山市)

A city located in Nara Prefecture, founded in 1954, with a population of around 95,000.