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Former Provinces of Japan

Former Provinces of Japan
The below map shows the pre-Meiji provinces of Japan.  Utagawa Hiroshige III (1842–1894) in his 1877 series Dai Nippon Bussan Zue (Products of Japan) used these pre-Meiji names to identify the provinces whose industrial activities he depicts.  Though the majority of Japan's former provinces were converted into prefectures by the Meiji government between 1870 and 1876, it was not unusual for these "ancient" names to continue to be used.

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The Old/Ancient Provinces in the time of Ieyasu, c. 1600
These provinces were largely in tact until 1871 when they were superseded by prefectures.
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Summary Descriptions of the Former Provinces Appearing in the Series
Dai Nippon Bussan Zue (Products of Japan)

Source: Wikipedia entries for each Former Province.

18. Aki Province (安芸国 Aki no kuni) or Geishū (芸州) was a province in the Chūgoku Region of western Honshū, comprising the western part of what is today Hiroshima Prefecture.

59. Awa Province (安房国 Awa no kuni) was a province of Japan in the area of modern Chiba Prefecture. It lies on the tip of the Boso Peninsula (房総半島), whose name takes its first kanji from the name of Awa Province and its second from Kazusa and Shimōsa Provinces. Its abbreviated form name was Bōshū (房州) or Anshū (安州). Awa Province in Shikoku phonetically has the same name, but is written with different kanji (阿波国). Awa is classified as one of the provinces of the Tōkaidō. Under the Engishiki classification system, Awa was ranked as a "middle country" (中国) and a "far country" (遠国).

14. Awa Province (阿波国 Awa no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today a part of Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku. Awa was bordered by Tosa, Sanuki, and Iyo Provinces. It was sometimes called Ashū (阿州).

26. Awaji Province (淡路国 Awaji no kuni, formerly 淡道) was an old province of Japan covering Awaji Island, between Honshū and Shikoku. Today it is part of Hyōgo Prefecture. It is sometimes called Tanshu (淡州).

20. Bingo Province (備後国 Bingo no kuni) was a province of Japan on the Inland Sea side of western Honshū, comprising what is today the eastern part of Hiroshima Prefecture. It was sometimes called Bishū (備州), with Bizen and Bitchu Provinces. Bingo bordered Bitchū, Hōki, Izumo, Iwami, and Aki Provinces.

23. Bizen Province (備前国, Bizen no kuni) was a province of Japan on the Inland Sea side of Honshū, in what is today the southeastern part of Okayama Prefecture.  Bizen borders Mimasaka, Harima, and Bitchū Provinces.  Bizen's original center was in the modern city of Okayama. From an early time Bizen was one of Japan's main centers for sword smithing.

6. Chikuzen Province (筑前国 Chikuzen no kuni) was an old province of Japanin the area that is today part of Fukuoka Prefecture in Kyūshū. It was sometimes called Chikushū (筑州) or Chikuyō (筑陽), with Chikugo Province. Chikuzen bordered Buzen, Bungo, Chikugo, and Hizen Provinces.

Chishima Province (千島国 Chishima no kuni) was a province of Japan created during the Meiji Era. It originally contained the Kuril Islands from Kunashiri northwards, and later incorporated Shikotan as well. Its original territory is currently occupied by Russia, and its later territory was renounced in the San Francisco Treaty (see Kuril Island conflict) except the southernmost four islands. After 1869, the northern Japanese island was known as Hokkaido; and regional administrative subdivisions were identified, including Chishima Province. The Hokkaido provinces were dissolved in 1882, and replaced with Hakodate Prefecture, Sapporo Prefecture and Nemuro Prefecture. In 1886, the three prefectures were replaced with Hokkaidō-chō (北海道庁).

65. Echigo Province (越後国 Echigo no kuni) was an old province in north-central Japan, on the Sea of Japan side, northernmost part of the Hokurikudō (北陸) Circuit. It bordered on Uzen, Iwashiro, Kōzuke, Shinano, and Etchū Provinces. Today the area is part of Niigata Prefecture, which also includes the island which was the old Sado Province.

46. Echizen Province (越前国 Echizen no kuni) was an old provinceof Japan, which is today the northern part of Fukui Prefecture. It was sometimes called Esshū (越州), with Etchū and Echigo Provinces.

49. Etchū Province (越中国 Etchū no kuni) was an old province in central Honshū, on the Sea of Japan side. It was sometimes called Esshū (越州), with Echizen and Echigo Provinces. It bordered Echigo, Shinano, Hida, Kaga, and Noto provinces. The area is now called Toyama Prefecture. The ancient provincial capital was Takaoka, but by the Sengoku Period the area was usually held by lords from neighboring provinces like Echigo and Kaga.

27. Harima Province (播磨国 Harima no kuni) or Banshū (播州) was a province of Japan in the part of Honshū that is the southwestern part of present-day Hyōgo Prefecture. Harima bordered on Tajima, Tamba, Settsu, Bizen, and Mimasaka Provinces. Its capital was Himeji.

50. Hida Province (飛騨国 Hida no kuni) is an old province located in the northern part of Gifu Prefecture. It was sometimes called Hishū (飛州). The province was in the Tōsandō area of central Honshu.

9. Higo Province (肥後国 Higo no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyūshū.[1] It was sometimes called Hishū (肥州), with Hizen Province. Higo bordered on Chikugo, Bungo, Hyūga, Ōsumi, andSatsuma Provinces.

62. Hitachi Province (常陸国, Hitachi no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area of Ibaraki Prefecture.  Hitachi Province bordered on Iwashiro, Iwaki, Shimousa, and Shimotsuke Provinces.

8. Hizen Province (肥前国 Hizen no kuni) was an old province ofJapan in the area of Saga and Nagasaki prefectures. It was sometimes called Hishū (肥州), with Higo Province. Hizen bordered on the provinces of Chikuzen and Chikugo. The province was included in Saikaidō. It did not include the regions of Tsushima and Iki that are now part of modern Nagasaki Prefecture.

3. Hyūga Province (日向国 Hyūga no kuni) was an old province of Japan on the east coast of Kyūshū, corresponding to the modern Miyazaki Prefecture. Hyūga bordered on Bungo, Higo, Ōsumi, and Satsuma Provinces. The ancient capital was near Saito.

41. Iga Province was a province in the area that is today Mie Prefecture. Iga bordered on Ise, Ōmi, Yamato and Yamashiro Provinces.

10. Iki Province (壱岐国 Iki no kuni) was a province of Japan which consisted of the Iki Islands, now a part of modern Nagasaki Prefecture. Its abbreviated name was Isshū (壱州). Iki is classified as one of the provinces of the Saikaidō. Under the Engishiki classification system, Iki was ranked as a “inferior country” (下国) and a "far country" (遠国).

42. Ise Province (伊勢国 Ise no kuni) was a province of Japan in the area of Japan that is today includes most of modern Mie Prefecture. Ise bordered on Iga, Kii, Mino, Ōmi, Owari, Shima, and Yamato Provinces. Its abbreviated form name was Seishū (勢州).

68-d. Iwaki Province (磐城国 Iwaki no kuni) was an old province in the area that is today Fukushima Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture. It was sometimes called Banshū (磐州).

68-e. Iwashiro Province (岩代国 Iwashiro no kuni) is an old province in the area of Fukushima Prefecture. It was sometimes called Ganshū (岩州). The province occupies the western half of the central part of Fukushima Prefecture; the eastern half is Iwaki Province. More precisely, Date and Adachi Districts in the north belong to Iwashiro and Higashishirakawa and Nishishirakawa Districts in the south belong to Iwaki. The border between the two provinces is the Abukuma River.

12. Iyo Province (伊予国, Iyo no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today Ehime Prefecture on Shikoku. Iyo bordered on Awa, Sanuki, and Tosa Provinces.

54. Izu Province (伊豆国 Izu no kuni) was a province of Japan in the area of Shizuoka Prefecture. Izu bordered on Sagami and Suruga Provinces. Its abbreviated form name was Zushū (豆州).  The mainland portion of Izu Province, comprising the Izu Peninsula is today the eastern portion of Shizuoka Prefecture and the Izu Islands are now part of Tokyo.

34. Izumi Province (和泉国 Izumi no kuni) was a province of Japan. It is also referred to as Senshū (泉州). It lay in Kinai, and its area today composes the south-western part of Osaka Prefecture (south of the Yamato River; not including the city of Osaka itself). Izumi was classified as a lower province in the Engishiki.

47. Kaga Province (加賀国 Kaga no kuni) was an old province in the area that is today the southern part of Ishikawa Prefecture. Ruled by the Maeda clan, the capital of Kaga was Kanazawa. Kaga bordered on Echizen, Etchū, Hida, and Noto Provinces. It was part of Hokurikudō Circuit.

56. Kai Province (甲斐国 Kai no kuni) was a province of Japan in the area of Japan that is today Yamanashi Prefecture. Kai bordered on Sagami, Suruga, Shinano and Musashi Provinces. Its abbreviated form name was Kōshū (甲州). The origin of its name is uncertain. It lies in central Honshū, west of Tokyo, in a landlocked mountainous region that includes Mount Fuji along its border with modern Shizuoka Prefecture.

35. Kawachi Province (河内国 Kawachi no kuni) was a province of Japan in the eastern part of modern Osaka Prefecture. It originally held the southwestern area that was split off into Izumi Province. It was also known as Kashū (河州).

60. Kazusa Province (上総国 Kazusa no kuni) was a province of Japan in the area of modern Chiba Prefecture. The province was located in the middle of the Bōsō Peninsula, whose name takes its first kanji from the name of Awa Province and its second from Kazusa and Shimōsa provinces. Its abbreviated form name was Sōshū (総州) or Nansō (南総). The borders of Kazusa Province were defined by Shimōsa Province to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the east, Awa Province to the south, and Tokyo Bay to the west. Kazusa was classified as one of the provinces of the Tōkaidō.  Under the Engishiki classification system, Kazusa was ranked as a "great country" (大国) and a "far country" in relation to its distance from the capital (遠国).

36. Kii Province (紀伊国 Kii no kuni), or Kishū (紀州), was a province of Japan in the part of Honshū that is today Wakayama Prefecture, as well as the southern part of Mie Prefecture.

51. Mikawa Province (三河国 Mikawa no kuni) was an old province in the area that today forms the eastern half of Aichi Prefecture. Its abbreviated form name was Sanshū (三州 or 参州). Mikawa bordered on Owari, Mino, Shinano, and Tōtōmi Provinces.   Mikawa is classified as one of the provinces of the Tōkaidō. Under the Engishiki classification system, Mikawa was ranked as a “superior country” (上国) and a “near country” (近国) in terms of its distance from the capital.

45. Mino Province (美濃国 Mino no kuni), one of the old provinces of Japan, encompassed the southern part of modern-day Gifu Prefecture. It was sometimes called Nōshū (濃州). Mino Province bordered Echizen, Hida, Ise, Mikawa, Ōmi, Owari, and Shinano Provinces.

58. Musashi Province (武蔵の国 Musashi no kuni) was a province of Japan, which today comprises Tokyo Metropolis, most of Saitama Prefecture and part of Kanagawa Prefecture. It was sometimes called Bushū (武州). The province encompassed Kawasaki and Yokohama. Musashi bordered on Kai, Kōzuke, Sagami,Shimōsa, and Shimotsuke Provinces. Musashi was the largest province in the Kantō region.

68. Mutsu Province (陸奥国 Mutsu no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area of Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate and Aomori Prefectures and the municipalities of Kazuno and Kosakain Akita Prefecture. Mutsu Province is also known as Ōshū (奥州) or Michinoku (陸奥 or 道奥). The term Ōu (奥羽) is often used to refer to the combined area of Mutsu and the neighboring province Dewawhich make up the Tōhoku region.

48. Noto Province (能登国 Noto no kuni) was an old province in the area that is today the northern part of Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan, including the Noto Peninsula (Noto hantō) which is surrounded by the Sea of Japan. It was sometimes called Nōshū (能州). Noto bordered on Etchū and Kaga provinces.

40. Ōmi Province (近江国 Ōmi no kuni) is an old province of Japan, which today comprises Shiga Prefecture. It was one of the provinces that made up the Tōsandō circuit. Its nickname is Gōshū (江州). Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake, is located at the center of the province.  The ancient capital was near Ōtsu, which was also a major castle town.

1. Ōsumi Province (大隅国 Ōsumi no uni) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today the eastern part of Kagoshima Prefecture. It was sometimes called Gūshū (隅州). Ōsumi bordered on Hyūga and Satsuma Provinces. Osumi's ancient capital was near modern Kokubu.

44. Owari Province (尾張国 Owari no kuni) was a province of Japan in the area that today forms the western half of Aichi Prefecture, including the modern city of Nagoya. The province was created in 646. Owari bordered on Mikawa, Mino, and Ise Provinces. Owari and Mino provinces were separated by the Sakai River, which means "border river." Its abbreviated form name was Bishū (尾州). Owari is classified as one of the provinces of the Tōkaidō. Under the Engishiki classification system, Owari was ranked as a “superior country” (上国) and a “near country” (近国), in relation to its distance from the capital.

68-b. Rikuchū Province (陸中国 Rikuchū no kuni) was an old province in the area of Iwate and Akita Prefectures. It was sometimes called Rikushū (陸州), with Rikuzen and Mutsu Provinces. Rikuchu covered most of modern-day Iwate Prefecture: with the exceptions of Ninohe District, Ninohe City, the northern portion of Hachimantai City, and the northern portion of Kuzumaki Town; Kesen District,Rikuzentakata City, Ōfunato City, and the southern portion of Kamaishi City; but also including Kazuno City and Kosaka Town in Akita Prefecture. Rikuchū was created shortly after the Meiji Restoration out of part of Mutsu Province.

69-c. Rikuzen Province (陸前国 Rikuzen-no kuni) is an old province of Japan in the area of Miyagi Prefecture (excluding Igu, Katta District and Watari Districts) and parts of Iwate Prefecture (specifically Kesen District). It was sometimes called Rikushū (陸州), with Rikuchū and Mutsu Provinces.

66. Sado Province (佐渡国 Sado no kuni) was a province of Japan until 1871; since then, it has been a part of Niigata Prefecture. It was sometimes called Sashū (佐州) or Toshū (渡州). It lies on the eponymous Sado Island, off the coast of Niigata Prefecture (or in the past, Echigo Province). Sado was famous for the silver and gold mined on the island. Since 2004 Sado city has comprised the entire island.

15. Sanuki Province (讃岐国 Sanuki no kuni) was an old province of Japan on the island of Shikoku, with the same boundaries as modern Kagawa Prefecture. It faced the Inland Sea and bordered on Awa and Iyo Provinces. Across Naruto strait it bordered Awaji Province too.

33. Settsu Province (摂津国 Settsu no kuni) was a province of Japan, which today comprises the southeastern part of Hyōgo Prefecture and the northern part of Osaka Prefecture. It was also referred to as Tsu Province (津国 Tsu no kuni) or Sesshū (摂州). Osaka and Osaka Castle were the main center of the province. Most of Settsu's area comprises the modern day cities of Osaka and Kōbe.

43. Shima Province (志摩国 Shima no kuni) was a province of Japan which consisted of a peninsula in the southeastern part of modern Mie Prefecture. Its abbreviated name was Shishū (志州). Shima bordered on Ise Province to the west, and on Ise Bay on the north, east and south. Shima is classified as one of the provinces of the Tōkaidō, and was the smallest of all provinces. Under the Engishiki classification system, Shima was ranked as an “inferior country” (下国) and a “near country” (近国), in terms of its distance from the capital.

61. Shimōsa Province (下総国 Shimōsa no kuni) was a province of Japan located in and around the northern part of modern Chiba Prefecture, eastern Saitama Prefecture, eastern Tokyo (east coast side of Sumida River), and southwestern Ibaraki Prefecture. It was also called Sōshū.

63. Shimotsuke Province (下野国 Shimotsuke no kuni) was a province of Japan in the area of Japan that is today Tochigi Prefecture. Shimotsuke was bordered by Kōzuke, Hitachi, Mutsuand Shimōsa Provinces. Its abbreviated form name was Yashū (野州). Under the Engishiki classification system, Shimotsuke was ranked as one of the 13 "great countries" (大国) in terms of importance, and one of the 30 "far countries" (遠国) in terms of distance from the capital. The provincial capital is located in what is now the city of Tochigi.

57. Shinano Province (信濃国 Shinano no kuni) or Shinshū (信州) is an old province of Japan that is now present-day Nagano Prefecture. Shinano bordered on Echigo, Etchū, Hida, Kai, Kōzuke, Mikawa, Mino, Musashi, Suruga, and Tōtōmi Provinces. The ancient capital was located near modern-day Matsumoto, which became an important city of the province.

16. Suō Province (周防国 Suō no kuni) was a province of Japan in the area that is today the eastern part of Yamaguchi Prefecture. It was sometimes called Bōshū (防州). Suō bordered on Aki, Iwami, and Nagato Provinces.

53. Suruga Province (駿河国 Suruga no kuni) was an old province in the area that is today the central part of Shizuoka prefecture. Suruga bordered on Izu, Kai, Sagami, Shinano, and Tōtōmi provinces; and had access to the Pacific Ocean through Suruga Bay.

28. Tajima Province (但馬国 Tajima no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today northern Hyōgo Prefecture. It was sometimes called Tanshū (但州). Tajima bordered on Harima, Inaba, Tamba, and Tango provinces. Tajima is the birthplace of Kobe beef, known locally as Tajima beef. Also well-known are its many onsens, beaches, and small ski resorts. Its main industries are forestry, fishing, farming, and tourism.

32. Tanba Province (丹波国 Tanba no kuni) was an old province of Japan. The ambit of its borders encompassed both the central part of modern Kyoto Prefecture and the east-central part of Hyōgo Prefecture. It and the neighboring Tango Province were collectively known as Tanshū (丹州). Besides Tango, Tanba bordered on Harima, Ōmi, Settsu, Tajima, Wakasa, and Yamashiro Provinces.

31. Tango Province (丹後国 Tango no kuni) was an old province in the area that is today northern Kyoto Prefecture facing the Sea of Japan. Together with Tamba Province, Tango was sometimes called Tanshū (丹州). Tango bordered on Tajima, Tamba, and Wakasa provinces.

13. Tosa Province (土佐国 Tosa no kuni) is a former province of Japan in the area that is today Kōchi Prefecture on Shikoku. Tosa was bordered by Iyo and Awa Provinces. It was sometimes called Doshū (土州).

11. Tsushima Province (対馬国 Tsushima no kuni) was an old province of Japan on Tsushima Island which occupied the area corresponding to modern-day Tsushima, Nagasaki. It was sometimes called Taishū (対州).

67-a. Ugo Province (羽後国 Ugo no kuni) is an old province of Japan in the area of Akita Prefecture and some parts of Yamagata Prefecture (specifically Akumi District). It was sometimes called Ushū (羽州), with Uzen Province.

39. Wakasa Province (若狭国 Wakasa no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today southern Fukui Prefecture. It is also known as Jakushū (若州) or Reinan (嶺南). Wakasa bordered on Echizen, Ōmi, Tamba, Tango, and Yamashiro Provinces.

38. Yamashiro Province (山城国 Yamashiro no kuni) was a province of Japan, located in Kinai. It overlaps the southern part of modern Kyoto Prefecture on Honshū. Aliases include Jōshū (城州), the rare Sanshū (山州), and Yōshū (雍州). It is classified as an upper province in the Engishiki. Yamashiro Province included Kyoto itself, as in 794 AD Yamashiro became the seat of the imperial court, and, during the Muromachi Period, was the seat of the Ashikaga Shogunate as well. The capital remained in Yamashiro until its de facto move to Tokyo in the 1870s.

37. Yamato Province (大和国 Yamato no kuni) was a province of Japan, located in Kinai, corresponding to resent-day Nara Prefecture in Honshū. It was also called Washū (和州).