Tour of Japan: 10 Kanto Regional Facts
A lot of people know the city of Tokyo, but what else about it do most people know? Do they know Kanto? Do they know that Tokyo is in Kanto? What is Kanto?
Japan is split into various regions. There are a total of 8 regions in Japan: Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, Kinki, Chuugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu. Out of all of them, Kanto is the most popular one of them all. Why? Because Tokyo’s in it, of course!
But that’s not all. The Kanto region is actually way more interesting than one thinks, and it’s a shame the region in its entirety is quite underrated. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This article highlights the top 10 regional facts of the Kanto region to get your basics covered. Keep on scrolling to read!
1. The capital city can be found in this region
Of course, we mentioned in our introduction that Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is in the Kanto region. Lying at the heart of this region is the sprawling Tokyo Metropolis. With a total of 23 prefectural city wards, the city spreads from Tokyo Bay to the mountains that surround it, which also kind of makes up the regional border.
Tokyo makes the Kanto region a bustling one, if I do say so myself. Here, there are dozens of landmarks and traditional sights to the bustling city life of shopping district Shibuya and anime heaven Akihabara. But even in Tokyo, the abundance of nature is abundant – parks and gardens are everywhere! It’s the perfect blend of city and nature, old and new.
2. The region is part of the biggest island of Japan
If you don’t know, Japan is made up of hundreds of islands. That’s a basic cultural fact of Japan. This is why the country is called an island nation. But anyway, the biggest island in Japan is Honshu as it spreads from the centre of the mainland to the south of it.
And guests what? The Kanto region, a geographical area, takes up only a part of Honshu island!
3. It’s the most populated region in the country
The Kanto region includes a few of the most populated cities in the country. This includes the Greater Tokyo Area with a total of seven prefectures: Tokyo, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Santana, Chiba and Kanagawa. These are a few of the popular cities to live in in Japan. In a total area of 32,423.90 square kilometres, there are about 42 million people!
However, even though the population of the region has continued to grow, the population growth rate has slowed down since the early 1990s.
4. There’s a good balance between city and nature
As mentioned before, in fact number 1, one of the cultural facts is that the Kanto region has both cities and nature. Because the region consists of more developed cities, city centres have been done up to include modern areas like office buildings and shopping streets.
However, that doesn’t mean that all nature is gone. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A lot of the Kanto region is still mostly nature. The only difference is that most of these places are also being well preserved and maintained for tourists and locals alike.
So when in Kanto, you can have the best of both worlds – hiking in the mountains by day and shopping in the city by night!
5. The Kanto Plain
Speaking of nature, this region of Japan has the Kanto Plain, which is the largest plain in all of Japan. Located in the center of Honshu Island, the plain takes up a total area of 17,000 square metres. That’s more than 45 percent of the whole area!
The Kanto Plain was a result of the Kanto basin-forming movement. This was when sedimentation happened at the center of the Kanto Plain back in the Neogene period. Due to that, surrounding mountains deposited sediment quite quickly and thus formed hills and plateaus.
6. The name “Kanto” means “east of the border”
The word “Kanto” (関東) actually means “East of the Barrier” quite literally. Nowadays, though, this is more associated with being the east region, due to the associated kanji 東. This is also the opposite of “Kansai” (関西), which literally translates to “West of the Barrier”.
7. The Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands are part of Kanto
Many know the southernmost part of Japan, Okinawa, as the summer heaven. Little did they know that there are island heavens in the Kanto region itself! This is one cultural regional fact that not many know about! The Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands are just south of Tokyo. In fact, they’re also considered to be in the Tokyo Metropolis too!
These tiny islands are pretty far from the mainland of Honshu. On top of that, the population of these islands aren’t that many, either. Some find them the perfect getaway from the bustling cities of the mainland – which doesn’t sound too bad at all.
8. The tallest Japanese mountain, Mt. Fuji, is in the Kanto Region
You can find the tallest mountain in all of Japan in this region! Mt. Fuji, also known as Fuji-san (富士山), stands at 3,776 metres. Not only is it the tallest mountain in Japan, it’s also the second-highest volcano in all of Asia and the seventh highest peak of an island in the world!
Climbing Mt. Fuji is on a lot of people’s bucket lists when visiting Japan. If you do plan on it during your trip here, be sure to take notes of the climbing season. Out of the whole year, snow covers the cone for five months of the year. That also means that it’s unsuitable for climbing. The official climbing season for Mt. Fuji is from early July to early September.
9. Kanto is one of the most accessible and well connected Japanese region
Japan has one of the best public transport systems in the world. I would say that the Kanto region, which has the major cities like Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba, are pretty accessible. It’s so easy to cross into another prefecture using local train lines at affordable prices. In fact, that’s why a lot of people who work in Tokyo live outside of Tokyo – because it’s so easy to commute into the capital city every day!
10. There are the most number of universities and cultural institutions in Kanto
The region of Kanto not only houses the seat of government of Japan, but it is also where the country’s largest group of university and cultural institutions are. Because of that, many from other parts of the country would come to this region for their education. This also adds onto the population of the region. It all comes in full circle!
What Kanto regional fact is the most surprising?
The Kanto region is one you have to visit when visiting Japan. It’s one of the most lively, culturally rich and breathtaking regions in the country. Which Kanto regional fact surprised you most? Let us know!
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