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Tochigi is a prefecture in Japan, in the northeast section of Kanto. It touches Ibaraki, Gunma, Saitama, and Fukushima, and is separated from the Pacific by the Yamizo Mountains.

In the Yamato period, Tochigi was divided into Shomotsukenu-no-kuni and Naso-no-kuni. They were unified into Shimotsuke in the 7th century, which created the modern borders. At the time, it was a political center. The Kokobun, Kokobun-ni, and Shimotsuke-Yakushi temples were centers of noble culture. Around 1200, the Kamakura shogunate was founded, and Japan's oldest university, the Ashikaga School was reestablished in the Muromachi period. In 1616, Nikko Toshogu Shrine was built as the mausoleum of Ieyasu Tokugawa. After the Meiji Restoration, the prefectural system was established, and Tochigi became a prefecture on June 15, 1873. The capital was originally in Tochigi, but moved to Utsunomiya in 1884.

In the center of Tochigi is a large open plain. To the north are the mountains Shirane (2,578 m), Nantain (2,484 m), and Nasudake (1,917 m). Also, the rivers Kinu, Naka, and Watarase flow through the plain on their way to the Pacific.

Tochigi is within 60 km of the Tokyo Area, and is bisected north-south by the Sapporo and Sendai bullet train, and the Tohoku Expressway. Improvements are planned on the Expressway to make an east-west route, to Tsukaba and Hitachinaka.

Agriculture and Forestry
Rice, vegetables, and livestock are the primary agricultural products. Tochigi's output is 280 billlion yen per year. Also, Tochigi produces the most strawberries and Shitake mushrooms in Japan. 55 percent of Tochigi is forested. The forestry's output is 14.6 billion yen per year, with pine, sugi and hinoki as the main trees harvested.

Tochigi's factories create electrical machinery and vehicles prmiarily, as well as local fabric and clothing, furniture, and ceramics.

Tochigi features a legislature made up of 55 members, each serving four-year terms. The executive branch is made up of 69 divisions with committees at the head, all run by the governor, also elected to a four year term. The governor carries out what the various committees decide should be done.

Almost every city, temple, and shrine has some traditional festival type event. The largest of these are Nikko Toshogu's 1000 Samurai Procession and Horseback Archery Festival, Kanuma City's Autumn Festival, Tochigi City's Autumn Festival, and Karusuyama's Yamaage Festival.

Capital: Utsunomiya
Tree: Tochi-no-ki
Flower: Yashiotsutsuji
Bird: Oruri
Animal: Kamoshika
Climate: Humid temperate
Population: 2,006,926
Area: 6,400 sq. km


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