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 is a prefecture located in the Chūbumarker region of central Japanmarker. 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."


History

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 Honshūmarker, it has been the site of many decisive battles throughout Japan's history, the oldest major one being the Jinshin War in 672, which led to the establishment of Emperor Temmu as 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 Nobunaga during his campaign to unify all of Japan in 1567. The first character used comes from Qishan (山), a legendary mountain from which most of China was unified, whereas the second character comes from Qufumarker (曲), the birthplace of Confucius. 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).

On October 28, 1891, the present-day city of Motosumarker was the epicenter for the Mino-Owari Earthquakemarker, the largest earthquake to ever hit Japan. The earthquake, estimated at 8.0 earthquake, left a huge cleft in the ground that can still be seen today.

Geography

Map of Gifu Prefecture
One of the few landlocked prefectures in Japan, Gifu shares borders with seven other prefectures: Aichimarker, Fukuimarker, Ishikawamarker, Miemarker, Naganomarker, Shigamarker and Toyamamarker. Japan's postal codes all start with a three-digit number, ranging from 001 to 999. Part of Gifu has the 500 prefix, reflecting its location in the center of Japan.

Regions

Gifu has five unofficial regions, which allows local municipalities to work together to promote the surrounding area. The five regions are Seinō, Gifu, Chūnō, Tōnō and Hida. The borders of the regions are loosely defined, but they are usually delineated among major cities.

Topography

The northern Hida region is dominated by tall mountains, including parts of the Japanese Alpsmarker. The southern Mino region is mostly parts of the fertile Nōbi Plain, a vast plains area with arable soil. Most of the prefecture's population lives 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 Mountainsmarker, which are known as the "Central Alps" in Japan. The Ryōhaku Mountainsmarker are also located in the Hida region. Other major ranges include the Ibuki Mountains and the Yōrō Mountains.

Much of the Mino region is made up of the alluvial plain of the Kiso Three Rivers, which are the Ibi Rivermarker, Kiso Rivermarker and Nagara Rivermarker. The source for all three rivers is located in Nagano Prefecture and they eventually run through Aichi and Mie prefectures before emptying into Ise Baymarker. Other major rivers in the prefecture include the Jinzūmarker, Takaharamarker, Shōmarker, Shōnaimarker, Yahagimarker and Itoshiromarker rivers.

Weather

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, often records the hottest temperature in Japan each year. On August 16, 2007, it set the record for the hottest day recorded in Japan's history—40.9 degrees Celsius. Summers are hotter, as the landlocked area becomes a heat island, and the temperature rises even further when hot, dry foehn winds blow over the Ibuki Mountains from the Kansai regionmarker. The Hida region, with its higher elevation, is generally cooler than the Mino region, although there are sometimes extremely hot days there, too. 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 inhabited place on Honshū.

Economy

Traditional industries such as paper-making and agriculture are found in Gifu, but its economy is dominated by manufacturing including aerospace and automotive, with industrial complexes extending from the Nagoya area. A wealth of small component manufacturing is also found, such as precision machine, die and mold making, and plastic forming.

Traditional industries

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. Other paper-based products include Gifu lanterns and Gifu umbrellas, made in the prefectural capital of Gifu. Other traditional goods include mino-yaki pottery in Tajimi, Tokimarker, and Mizunamimarker, cutlery in Seki, and lacquerware in Takayama.

Because Gifu has vast, arable plains, agriculture is also a major industry. The forests in the north provide materials for woodworking and for the viewing boats used in cormorant fishing. Sake is often brewed with clear water from the rivers.

Modern industries

Kakamigahara has a large role in the prefecture's modern industries. It boasts large aerospace facilities of both Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, as well as many metalworking and manufacturing companies.

Information technology (IT) is gaining a foothold in the prefecture with both Softopia Japan in 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.

Tourism

Traditional Housing in Shirakawa-gō
has many popular tourist attractions, bringing visitors to all parts of the prefecture. The most popular places are Gifu, Geromarker, Shirakawa and Takayama. Gifu is famous for cormorant fishing, which has a history of over 1,300 years, as for being a long-term residence of both Oda Nobunaga and Saitō Dōsan. Gero is known for its relaxing hot springs, which attract visitors throughout the year. Shirakawa's historic villagesmarker are a UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site. Takayama is famous for retaining its original appearance and is often referred to as Little Kyoto.

In addition to international tourists, Gifu also plays host to many international events. The World Event and Convention Complex Gifu is available for many types of events. Other areas of Gifu, too, bring international events, such as in 2005 when the World Rowing Championships were held in the city of Kaizumarker.

Science

The Kamioka area of the city of Hidamarker is home to the Super-Kamiokandemarker and KamLAND experiments, neutrino and antineutrino observatories, respectively. Located 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 tall and in diameter holding 50,000 tons of ultra-pure water. Some of the 11,146 photomultiplier tubes are on display at the Miraikan in Tokyo. The same facility also hosts CLIO, a prototype detector for gravitational waves.

Demographics

The prefecture's population was 2,101,969, as of September 1, 2007, with approximately 1.8 million people in the cities and the rest in towns and villages. 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 population is 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.

Education





Gifu University Faculty of Engineering


Prefectural symbols

Prefectural Logo
's symbol comes from the first character gi (岐) of its Japanese name, written in a stylized script, surrounded by a circle, which represents the peace and harmony of the prefectural citizen. It was chosen by contest in 1932.

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.

Municipalities

All of the cities, towns, villages and districts of Gifu Prefecture are listed below

Cities

Twenty-one cities are located in Gifu Prefecture:


Towns and villages

Towns and villages in each district:

Anpachimarker
Gōdomarker
Wanouchimarker
Sekigaharamarker
Taruimarker


Ginanmarker
Kasamatsumarker
Ibigawamarker
Ikedamarker
Ōnomarker


Hichisōmarker
Higashishirakawamarker
Kawabemarker
Sakahogimarker
Shirakawamarker
Tomikamarker
Yaotsumarker


Mitakemarker
Kitagatamarker
Shirakawa
Yōrōmarker


Mergers

References

External links




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