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Subprefectures of Japan: Map

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Certain prefectures of Japan are now, or once were, divided into subprefectures. The subprefecture is the jurisdiction surrounding a of the prefectural government. Normally, the area of a subprefecture consists of a few to a dozen cities, towns, and/or villages. Subprefectures are formed to provide services of the prefectural government in geographically remote areas. They are usually not used in postal addresses.

Existing subprefectures

  • Hokkaidōmarker, the largest prefecture by area in Japan, is divided into fourteen subprefectures. These were formed in 1897. The subprefectures did not include major cities, such as Sapporo and Hakodate, until 1922. See: Subprefectures in Hokkaidō
  • Kagoshimamarker has two subprefectures, Ōshimamarker and Kumagemarker, located in Amami and Nishinoomote respectively. They cover the islands between Kagoshima and Okinawa.
  • Miyazakimarker contains a single subprefecture, Nishiusuki, a remote mountain district in the northwest corner of the prefecture.
  • Nagasakimarker contains three subprefectures that provide services to the outlying islands of Tsushimamarker, Ikimarker and Gotō.
  • Tokyomarker contains four subprefectures that provide administrative services to residents of certain outlying islands under the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The four branch offices are located at Hachijōmarker, Miyakemarker, Ogasawaramarker and Ōshimamarker.
  • Okinawamarker has two subprefectures, Miyakomarker and Yaeyamamarker, located on the islands of Miyakojimamarker and Ishigaki respectively. These offices provide prefectural government services to the isolated archipelagos surrounding both islands.
  • Shimanemarker contains one subprefecture governing the Oki Islandsmarker. This is the closest Japanese government office to Liancourt Rocksmarker, a small island group held by South Koreamarker but claimed by Japanmarker.
  • Yamagata is divided into four subprefectures, each of which is located in one of the four main urban areas of the prefecture (Yamagata, Shinjo, Yonezawa and Shonaimarker).


Historical subprefectures

  • Hyōgomarker, another geographically large prefecture, was divided into ten subprefectures, but these are now known as .
  • Chibamarker was divided into five subprefectures until 2003, when the branch offices were renamed .


In addition, in 1907 Japan formed Karafuto Prefecture to govern the island of Sakhalinmarker. Karafuto was divided into four subprefectures: Toyohara (in present-day Yuzhno-Sakhalinskmarker), Maoka (in present-day Kholmskmarker), Esutoru (in present-day Uglegorsk) and Shikuka (in present-day Makarov).

A number of islands gained by Japan in the Treaty of Versailles were placed under the direction of a from 1922 to 1945. This was divided into six subprefectures, on the islands of Saipanmarker, Yapmarker, Palaumarker, Trukmarker, Pohnpeimarker and Jaluitmarker. In November 1943, the six subprefectures were merged into "eastern," "western" and "northern" subprefectures, which remained in place until Japan's surrender.

See also




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