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神奈川

Kanagawa is a prefecture in Japan. In numbers:

Area: 2,414 sq. km.
Population: 8.2 million (#3 after Tokyo and Osaka)
Population density: 3,404 per sq. km. (#3 after Tokyo and Osaka)
Industrial output: ¥24 billion per year (#2 after Aichi)
Average annual income: ¥3.4 million per year (tied with Osaka for #2 after Tokyo)

The cities in Kanagawa-ken are:

  1. Yokohama 3,301,000
  2. Kawasaki 1,186,000
  3. Sagamihara 576,000
  4. Yokosuka 434,000
  5. Fujisawa 367,000
  6. Chigasaki 216,000
  7. Yamato 205,000
  8. Atsugi 204,000
  9. Odawara 199,000
  10. Kamakura 170,000
  11. Hadano 159,000
  12. Zama 119,000
  13. Ebina 114,000
  14. Isehara 96,000
  15. Ayase 79,000
  16. Zushi 58,000
  17. Miura 54,000
  18. Minami Ashigara 44,000
Eastern Kanagawa, including Yokohama, Kawasaki, and Yokosuka, is really a part of the Tokyo megalopolis arcing around the west side of Tokyo Bay. The western half of the prefecture is largely uninhabited, filled up by the Itamizawa Mountains that lead up to Mount Fuji in neighboring Shizuoka and Yamanashi. Hakone, located on Lake Ashino (a caldera of Fuji-san), is where many of the Kanto's wealthy go to escape Tokyo's urban sprawl.

Historically, Kanagawa was part of the fiefs of Sagami and Musashi, and the name Kanagawa referred to a station on the Tokaido road just north of present-day Yokohama. Kamakura, on the Sagami Bay coast, was the capital of Japan for several centuries, housing the bakufu of the Ashikaga shoguns, and Odawara was a major trading point on the Tokaido.

Kanagawa also has a curious history vis a vis gaijin. Will Adams, the British pilot who became a samurai in the early 1600's, lived on an estate in Miura. Commodore Matthew Perry landed in Uraga, just north of Miura, in 1853 and 1854, where he negotiated the opening of Japan with the Tokugawa bakufu of Edo. Yokohama, Japan's best deep water port, was one of a handful of Japanese cities open to foreign traders in the first years of Japan's Westernization, and an 1862 incident where a samurai killed a group of Englishmen on the Tokaido road just north of Yokohama set off the war between Britain and Satsuma. Today, Yokosuka, on the same peninsula as Uraga and Miura, is where the United States Navy's Seventh Fleet, led by the USS Kitty Hawk, is based: it houses 27,000 American military personnel. Basically, if you're white and you go to Japan, you will end up in Kanagawa somehow.

To get there, take the JR Shinkansen or Tokaido Line south from Tokyo Station, and explore!

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