<p>Hyōgo Prefecture (兵庫県, Hyōgo-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kansai region of Honshu. Hyōgo Prefecture has a population of 5,469,762 (as of 1 June 2019) and has a geographic area of 8,400 square kilometres (3,200 sq mi). Hyōgo Prefecture borders Kyoto Prefecture to the east, Osaka Prefecture to the southeast, and Okayama Prefecture and Tottori Prefecture to the west.
</p><p style="text-align: left;">Kōbe is the capital and largest city of Hyōgo Prefecture, and the sixth-largest city in Japan, with other major cities including Himeji, Nishinomiya, and Amagasaki. Hyōgo Prefecture's mainland stretches from the Sea of Japan to the Seto Inland Sea, where Awaji Island and a small archipelago of islands belonging to the prefecture are located. Hyōgo Prefecture is a major economic center, transportation hub, and tourist destination in western Japan, with 20% of the prefecture's land area designated as Natural Parks. Hyōgo Prefecture forms part of the Keihanshin metropolitan area, the second-most-populated urban region in Japan after the Greater Tokyo area and one of the world's most productive regions by GDP. </p>
Present-day Hyōgo Prefecture includes the former provinces of Harima, Tajima, Awaji, and parts of Tanba and Settsu.
In 1180, near the end of the Heian period, Emperor Antoku, Taira no Kiyomori, and the Imperial court moved briefly to Fukuhara, in what is now the city of Kobe. There the capital remained for five months.
Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is in the city of Himeji.
Southern Hyōgo Prefecture was severely devastated by the 6.9 Mw Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995, which destroyed major parts of Kobe and Awaji, as well as Takarazuka and neighboring Osaka Prefecture, killing nearly 6,500 people. In 2020 Hyōgo became one of the worst affected prefectures for the COVID-19 virus in Western Japan.
Hyōgo has coastlines on two seas: to the north, the Sea of Japan, to the south, the Seto Inland Sea. On Awaji Island, Hyōgo borders the Pacific Ocean coastline in the Kii Channel. The northern portion is sparsely populated, except for the city of Toyooka, and the central highlands are only populated by tiny villages. Most of Hyōgo's population lives on the southern coast, which is part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area. Awaji is an island that separates the Inland Sea and Osaka Bay, lying between Honshu and Shikoku.
Summertime weather throughout Hyōgo is hot and humid. As for winter conditions in Hyōgo, the north of Hyōgo tends to receive abundant snow, whilst the south receives only the occasional flurry.
Hyōgo borders on Osaka Prefecture, Kyoto Prefecture, Tottori Prefecture and Okayama Prefecture.
As of 31 March 2008, 20% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Sanin Kaigan and Setonaikai National Parks; Hyōnosen-Ushiroyama-Nagisan Quasi-National Park; and Asago Gunzan, Harima Chūbu Kyūryō, Inagawa Keikoku, Izushi-Itoi, Kasagatayama-Sengamine, Kiyomizu-Tōjōko-Tachikui, Onzui-Chikusa, Seiban Kyūryō, Seppiko-Mineyama, Tajima Sangaku, and Taki Renzan Prefectural Natural Parks.
Visitors to Japan must obtain a visa from one of the Japanese diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries. The Government of Japan currently allows citizens of 68 countries/territories to travel to Japan for tourism or business without having to obtain a visa.
Japan plans to introduce an electronic system for tourist visa applications in April 2020.
|Currency used||Japanese Yen (JPY)|
|Area (km2)||8,400.94 km2|