When I study tea, I tend to jump right into tea specific information.
For example, I am currently participating in the Japanese Tea Marathon to learn more about Japanese tea.
On the first day, I learned about Kagoshima.
During 4-hour sessions in which I spent 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon, I learned about Kagoshima, tea in Kagoshima, tea company in Kagoshima, a tea farmer from Kagoshima.
I even brewed & tasted tea from Kagoshima, instructed by the tea marker Nobuo Orita-san (CEO, Ochaen) from Kagoshima.
Yet, all the information was floating around my head without getting absorbed.
My floating information started to stick to my brain when I spent time understanding regions in Japan.
When you learn about tea regions in Japan, you will often hear the term “prefecture”.
I am familiar with the term such as city, suburb, district, province, state. I didn’t even know what prefecture meant.
What is the meaning of prefecture in Japan?
Prefectures of Japan (都道府県, todōfuken) are one of the basic local entities of Japan.
Prefectures of Japan
Japan is divided into 9 regions, which are split into 47 smaller prefectures. Those regions are not formally specified; they do not have elected officials nor are they corporate bodies. However, the practice of ordering prefectures based on their geographic region is traditional.
The prefectures are also often grouped into eight regions (Chihō). Those regions are not formally specified, they do not have elected officials, nor are they corporate bodies. But the practice of ordering prefectures based on their geographic region is traditional. This ordering is mirrored in Japan’s International Organization for Standardization (ISO) coding. From north to south (numbering in ISO 3166-2:JP order), the prefectures of Japan and their commonly associated regions are:
|1. Hokkaidō||2. Aomori|
- Largest prefecture – Hokkaido
- Smallest prefecture – Kagawa
- Largest tea growing region – Shizuoka
- Second largest tea growing region – Kagoshima
- Prefecture with the highest population density – Tokyo
- Prefecture with the most islands – Nagasaki
- Prefecture with the most dogs – Aichi
- Prefecture with the smallest population – Tottori
Once I understood the overall geographical structure in Japan, it became much easier to understand tea regions in Japan.