Nara Prefecture (Japan)

2017-04-11 09:43:51 , Source : The Government Website of Shaanxi Province

Nara Prefecture is a prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. The capital is the city of Nara. Nara Prefecture has the distinction of having more UNESCO World Heritage Listings than any other prefecture.

History

Nara Prefecture region is considered one of the oldest regions in Japan spanning thousands of years. The present-day Nara Prefecture as it exists now officially was created in 1887, making it independent of Osaka Prefecture.

Historically, Nara Prefecture was also known as Yamato-no-kuni or Yamato Province.

Geography

Nara Prefecture is part of the Kansai, or Kinki, region of Japan, and is located in the middle of the Kii Peninsula on the western half of Honshu. Nara Prefecture is landlocked. It is bordered to the west by Wakayama Prefecture and Osaka Prefecture; on the north by Kyoto Prefecture and on the east by Mie Prefecture.

Nara Prefecture is 78.5 km from East to West and 103.6 km from North to South.

Most of the prefecture is covered by mountains and forests, leaving an inhabitable area of only 851 km². The ratio of inhabitable area to total area is 23%, ranked 43rd among the 47 prefectures in Japan.

Climate

In the Nara Basin the climate has inland characteristics, as represented in the bigger temperature variance within the same day, and the difference of summer and winter temperatures. Winter temperatures average about 3 to 5°C, and 25 – 28°C in the summer with highest reaching close to 35°C. There is not a single year over the last decade (since 1990, up to 2007) with more than 10 days of snowfall recorded by Nara Local Meteorological Observatory.

The climate in the rest of the prefecture are mountainous, and especially in the south, with below −5°C being the extreme minimum in winter. Heavy rainfall is observed in summer. The annual accumulated rainfall ranges as much as 3000 to 5000 mm, which is among the heaviest in Japan.

Spring and fall are both temperate and beautiful. The mountainous region of Yoshino has been popular both historically and presently for its beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring. In the fall, the southern mountains are equally beautiful with the changing of the oak trees.

Economy

The 2004 total gross prefecture product (GPP) for Nara was ¥3.8 trillion, an 0.1% growth over previous year. The per capita income was ¥2.6 million, which is a 1.3% decrease from previous year. The 2004 total gross prefecture product (GPP) for Nara was ¥3.8 trillion, an 0.1% growth over previous year. Manufacturing has the biggest share in the GPP of Nara with 20.2% of share, followed by services (19.1%) and real estates (16.3%). The share of agriculture including forestry and fishery was a mere 1.0%, only above mining, which is quasi-inexistent in Nara.

Food culture

Foods particular to Nara Prefecture include:

• Narazuke, a method of pickling vegetables
• Miwa sōmen, a type of wheat noodle
• Chagayu, a rice porridge made with green tea
• Kakinoha zushi, sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves
• Meharizushi, rice balls wrapped in pickled takana leaves

Traditional arts

The following are recognized by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry as being traditional arts of Nara:

• Takayama Tea Whisk (Bamboo item category, recognized in 1975)
• Nara Calligraphy Brush (Stationery category, recognized in 1977)

Tourism

Many Jinja (Shinto shrines) and Buddhist temples, and kofun exist in Nara Prefecture, and it is a centre for tourism. Moreover, many world heritage sites, such as the temple Tōdai-ji and Kasuga Shrine, exist in the capital city of Nara.