Hokuriku region

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The Hokuriku region is located in the northwestern part of Honshu, the main island of Japan.

It lay along the Sea of Japan within the Chubu region, which it is currently a part of. It is almost equivalent to Koshi Province and Hokurikudo area in pre-modern Japan. Due to its elongated shape, and the Noto Peninsula jutting out, the region is known as a ‘rising dragon’ . Since the Heian Era until the Edo Period the region was a core recipient of population, the population grew to be much larger proportionately than it is today, despite the rural character. With the growth of urban centers in the 20th century, particularly Tokyo and Chukyo, the Hokuriku has steadily declined in importance to become relative backwaters. The region is also known for traditional culture that originated from elsewhere that has been long lost along the Taiheiyo Belt.

The Hokuriku region includes the four prefectures of Ishikawa, Fukui, Niigata and Toyama, although Niigata is sometimes included in one of the following regions: Shin’etsu : includes Niigata and Nagano prefectures Koshin’etsu : includes Niigata, Nagano and Yamanashi prefectures Hokushin’etsu : includes both the Hokuriku and Shin’etsu regions

Major cities : The major population centers of Hokuriku are: Niigata (designated city) Kanazawa, Toyama (core cities) Fukui, Joetsu, Nagaoka (special cities) Of these, Niigata is the largest with a population of over 800,000.

Climate : The Hokuriku region has the highest volume of snowfall of any inhabited and arable region in the world. This is because dry Siberian air masses, which develop high humidity over the Sea of Japan, are forced upwards when they encounter the mountains of Honshu, causing the humidity to condense as snow. The long winters and deep snow of this region are depicted in Hokuetsu Seppu, an encyclopedic work of the late Edo period which describes life in the Uonuma district of Niigata Prefecture. The Hokuriku region is also the setting for Yasunari Kawabata’s novel Snow Country.

Tourism : Hokuriku is listed as #4 in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 –

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