Fukushima Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese福島県
 • RōmajiFukushima-ken
Flag of Fukushima Prefecture
Official logo of Fukushima Prefecture
Anthem: Fukushima-ken kenmin no uta
Location of Fukushima Prefecture
Country Japan
Largest cityIwaki
SubdivisionsDistricts: 13, Municipalities: 59
 • GovernorMasao Uchibori
 • Total13,783.90 km2 (5,321.99 sq mi)
 • Rank3rd
 (July 1, 2023)
 • Total1,771,100
 • Rank20th
 • Density128/km2 (330/sq mi)
 • TotalJP¥ 7,987 billion
US$ 73.3 billion (2019)
ISO 3166 codeJP-07
Symbols of Japan
BirdNarcissus flycatcher (Ficedula narcissina)
FlowerNemotoshakunage (Rhododendron brachycarpum)
TreeJapanese zelkova (Zelkova serrata)

Fukushima Prefecture (/ˌfkˈʃmə/; Japanese: 福島県, romanizedFukushima-ken, pronounced [ɸɯ̥kɯɕimaꜜkeɴ]) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Tōhoku region of Honshu.[2] Fukushima Prefecture has a population of 1,771,100 (as of 1 July 2023) and has a geographic area of 13,783.90 square kilometres (5,321.99 sq mi). Fukushima Prefecture borders Miyagi Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture to the north, Niigata Prefecture to the west, Gunma Prefecture to the southwest, and Tochigi Prefecture and Ibaraki Prefecture to the south.

Fukushima is the capital and Iwaki is the largest city of Fukushima Prefecture, with other major cities including Kōriyama, Aizuwakamatsu, and Sukagawa.[3] Fukushima Prefecture is located on Japan's eastern Pacific coast at the southernmost part of the Tōhoku region, and is home to Lake Inawashiro, the fourth-largest lake in Japan. Fukushima Prefecture is the third-largest prefecture of Japan (after Hokkaido and Iwate Prefecture) and divided by mountain ranges into the three regions of Aizu, Nakadōri, and Hamadōri.


See also: Historic Sites of Fukushima Prefecture


The Ōyasuba Kofun in the Tohoku region

The keyhole-shaped Ōyasuba Kofun is the largest kofun in the Tohoku region. The site was designated a National Historic Site of Japan in 2000.[4]

Classical and feudal period

Buddhist chapel Shiramizu Amidadō

Until the Meiji Restoration, the area of Fukushima prefecture was part of what was known as Mutsu Province.[5]

The Shirakawa Barrier and the Nakoso Barrier were built around the 5th century to protect 'the heathens ' from the 'barbarians' to the north. Fukushima became a Province of Mutsu after the Taika Reforms were established in 646.[6]

In 718, the provinces of Iwase and Iwaki were created, but these areas reverted to Mutsu some time between 722 and 724.[7]

The Shiramizu Amidadō is a chapel within the Buddhist temple Ganjō-ji in Iwaki. It was built in 1160 and it is a National Treasure. The temple, including the paradise garden is an Historic Site.[8]

Contemporary period

This region of Japan is also known as Michinoku and Ōshū.

The Fukushima Incident, a political tumult, took place in the prefecture after Mishima Michitsune was appointed governor in 1882.

2011 earthquake and subsequent disasters

On Friday, March 11, 2011, 14:46 JST, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. Shindo measurements throughout the prefecture reached as high as 6-upper in isolated regions of Hama-dōri on the eastern coast and as low as a 2 in portions of the Aizu region in the western part of the prefecture. Fukushima City, located in Naka-dōri and the capital of Fukushima Prefecture, measured 6-lower.[9]

Following the earthquake there were isolated reports of major damage to structures, including the failure of Fujinuma Dam[10] as well as damage from landslides.[11] The earthquake also triggered a massive tsunami that hit the eastern coast of the prefecture and caused widespread destruction and loss of life. In the two years following the earthquake, 1,817 residents of Fukushima Prefecture had either been confirmed dead or were missing as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.[12]

Three of the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi overheated, causing meltdowns that led to explosions, which released large amounts of radioactive material into the air.[13]

In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that followed, the outer housings of two of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma exploded followed by a partial meltdown and fires at three of the other units. Many residents were evacuated to nearby localities due to the development of a large evacuation zone around the plant. Radiation levels near the plant peaked at 400 mSv/h (millisieverts per hour) after the earthquake and tsunami, due to damage sustained. This resulted in increased recorded radiation levels across Japan.[14] On April 11, 2011, officials upgraded the disaster to a level 7 out of a possible 7, a rare occurrence not seen since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.[15] Several months later, officials announced that although the area nearest the melt down were still off limits, areas near the twenty kilometer radial safe zone could start seeing a return of the close to 47,000 residents that had been evacuated.[16]


Topographic map of Fukushima Prefecture
Map of Fukushima Prefecture
     City      Town      Village
Topographic map of Fukushima Basin. The lower left is Mount Azuma-kofuji, and Mount Shinobu can be seen as the isolated elevated land mass in the southeast of the basin.

Fukushima is both the southernmost prefecture of Tōhoku region and the prefecture of Tōhoku region that is closest to Tokyo. With an area size of 13,784 km2 (5,322 sq mi) it is the third-largest prefecture of Japan, behind Hokkaido and Iwate Prefecture. It is divided by mountain ranges into three regions called (from west to east) Aizu, Nakadōri, and Hamadōri.

Fukushima city is located in the Fukushima Basin's southwest area and nearby mountains. Located on the central eastern seaboard a part of the Pacifim rim. A region with high tectonic activity given its location where the Pacific and Eurasian continental plates collide - a part the Ring of Fire. " Aizuwakamatsu is located in the western part of Fukushima Prefecture, in the southeast part of Aizu basin. Mount Bandai is the highest mountain in the prefecture with an elevation of 1,819 m (5,968 ft).[17] Mount Azuma-kofuji is an active stratovolcano that is 1,705 m (5,594 ft) tall with many onsen nearby. Lake Inawashiro is the 4th largest lake of Japan (103.3 km2 (39.9 sq mi)) in the center of the prefecture.[18]

The coastal Hamadōri region lies on the Pacific Ocean and is the flattest and most temperate region, while the Nakadōri region is the agricultural heart of the prefecture and contains the capital, Fukushima City. The mountainous Aizu region has scenic lakes, lush forests, and snowy winters.

As of April 1, 2012, 13% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely Bandai-Asahi, Nikkō, and Oze National Parks; Echigo Sanzan-Tadami Quasi-National Park; and eleven Prefectural Natural Parks.[19]


See also: List of cities in Fukushima Prefecture by population

Thirteen cities are located in Fukushima Prefecture:

Flag Name Area (km2) Population Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Aizuwakamatsu 会津若松市 382.97 117,376
Date 伊達市 265.12 58,240
Fukushima (capital) 福島市 767.72 282,693
Iwaki いわき市 1,232.02 332,931
Kitakata 喜多方市 554.63 44,760
Kōriyama 郡山市 757.2 327,692
Minamisōma 南相馬市 398.58 59,005
Motomiya 本宮市 88.02 30,236
Nihonmatsu 二本松市 344.42 53,557
Shirakawa 白河市 305.32 59,491
Sōma 相馬市 197.79 34,865
Sukagawa 須賀川市 279.43 74,992
Tamura 田村市 458.3 35,169


Towns and villages

These are the towns and villages in each district:

Flag Name Area (km2) Population District Type Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Aizubange 会津坂下町 91.59 15,068 Kawanuma District Town
Aizumisato 会津美里町 276.33 19,014 Ōnuma District Town
Asakawa 浅川町 37.43 6,036 Ishikawa District Town
Bandai 磐梯町 59.77 3,322 Yama District Town
Furudono 古殿町 163.29 4,825 Ishikawa District Town
Futaba 双葉町 51.42 0
6,093 (recorded)
Futaba District Town
Hanawa 塙町 211.41 8,302 Higashishirakawa District Town
Hinoemata 檜枝岐村 390.46 504 Minamiaizu District Village
Hirata 平田村 93.42 5,826 Ishikawa District Village
Hirono 広野町 58.69 5,412 Futaba District Town
Iitate 飯舘村 230.13 1,318
5,946 (recorded)
Sōma District Village
Inawashiro 猪苗代町 394.85 13,552 Yama District Town
Ishikawa 石川町 115.71 14,644 Ishikawa District Town
Izumizaki 泉崎村 35.43 6,213 Nishishirakawa District Village
Kagamiishi 鏡石町 31.3 12,318 Iwase District Town
Kaneyama 金山町 293.92 1,862 Ōnuma District Town
Katsurao 葛尾村 84.37 420

1,387 (recorded)

Futaba District Village
Kawamata 川俣町 127.7 12,170 Date District Town
Kawauchi 川内村 197.35 2,044 Futaba District Village
Kitashiobara 北塩原村 234.08 2,556 Yama District Village
Koori 桑折町 42.97 11,459 Date District Town
Kunimi 国見町 37.95 8,639 Date District Town
Miharu 三春町 72.76 17,018 Tamura District Town
Minamiaizu 南会津町 886.47 14,451 Minamiaizu District Town
Mishima 三島町 90.81 1,452 Ōnuma District Town
Nakajima 中島村 18.92 4,885 Nishishirakawa District Village
Namie 浪江町 223.14 1,923
17,114 (recorded)
Futaba District Town
Naraha 楢葉町 103.64 3,710 Futaba District Town
Nishiaizu 西会津町 298.18 5,770 Yama District Town
Nishigō 西郷村 192.06 20,808 Nishishirakawa District Village
Ōkuma 大熊町 78.71 847
11,505 (recorded)
Futaba District Town
Ono 小野町 125.11 9,471 Tamura District Town
Ōtama 大玉村 79.44 8,900 Adachi District Village
Samegawa 鮫川村 131.34 3,049 Higashishirakawa District Village
Shimogō 下郷町 317.04 5,264 Minamiaizu District Town
Shinchi 新地町 46.7 7,905 Sōma District Town
Shōwa 昭和村 209.46 1,246 Ōnuma District Village
Tadami 只見町 747.56 4,044 Minamiaizu District Town
Tamakawa 玉川村 46.67 6,392 Ishikawa District Village
Tanagura 棚倉町 159.93 13,343 Higashishirakawa District Town
Ten-ei 天栄村 225.52 5,194 Iwase District Village
Tomioka 富岡町 68.39 2,128 Futaba District Town
Yabuki 矢吹町 60.4 17,287 Nishishirakawa District Town
Yamatsuri 矢祭町 118.27 5,392 Higashishirakawa District Town
Yanaizu 柳津町 175.82 3,081 Kawanuma District Town
Yugawa 湯川村 16.37 3,081 Kawanuma District Village


Main article: List of mergers in Fukushima Prefecture

List of governors of Fukushima Prefecture (from 1947)


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Fukushima prefecture population pyramid in 2020

A total of 1,833,152 people live in the Fukushima Prefecture.


Buckwheat field in Yamato, Kitakata

The coastal region traditionally specializes in fishing and seafood industries, and is notable for its electric and particularly nuclear power-generating industry, while the upland regions are more focused on agriculture. Thanks to Fukushima's climate, various fruits are grown throughout the year. These include pears, peaches, cherries, grapes, and apples.[21] As of March 2011, the prefecture produced 20.6% of Japan's peaches and 8.7% of cucumbers.[22][23]

Fukushima also produces rice, that combined with pure water from mountain run-offs, is used to make sake.[24] Some sakes from the region are considered so tasteful that they are served to visiting royalty and world leaders by hosts.[citation needed]

Lacquerware is another popular product from Fukushima. Dating back over four hundred years, the process of making lacquerware involves carving an object out of wood, then putting a lacquer on it and decorating it. Objects made are usually dishes, vases and writing materials.[25][26]



Legend has it that an ogress, Adachigahara, once roamed the plain after whom it was named. The Adachigahara plain lies close to the city of Fukushima.

Other stories, such as that of a large, strong, red cow that carried wood, influenced toys and superstitions. The Akabeko cow is a small, red papier-mâché cow on a bamboo or wooden frame, and is believed to ease child birth, bring good health, and help children grow up as strong as the cow.[27]

Another superstitious talisman of the region is the Okiagari-koboshi, or self-righting dharma doll. These dolls are seen as bringers of good luck and prosperity because they stand right back up when knocked down.[28]

Miharu-goma are small, wooden, black or white toy horses painted with colorful designs. Depending upon their design, they may be believed to bring things like long life to the owner.[29]

Kokeshi dolls, while less symbolic, are also a popular traditional craft. They are carved wooden dolls, with large round heads and hand painted bodies. Kokeshi dolls are popular throughout many regions of Japan, but Fukushima is credited as their birthplace.[21]

Notable festivals and events

Sōma Nomaoi in July
Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival in October
Uneme Festival of Koriyama in August

The Nomaoi Festival horse riders dressed in complete samurai attire can be seen racing, chasing wild horses, or having contests that imitate a battle. The history behind the festival and events is over one thousand years old.[31]

During the Waraji Festival, a large (12-meter, 38-ft) straw sandal built by locals is dedicated to a shrine. There is also a traditional Taiwanese dragon dance, or Ryumai, performed by Taiwanese visitors.[33]

The Aizu festival is a celebration of the time of the samurai. It begins with a display of sword dancing and fighting, and is followed by a procession of around five hundred people. The people in the procession carry flags and tools representing well-known feudal lords of long ago, and some are actually dressed like the lords themselves.[35]

A reflection of a long ago time of war, the Taimatsu Akashi Festival consists of men and women carrying large symbolic torches lit with a sacred fire to the top of Mt. Gorozan. Accompanied by drummers, the torchbearers reach the top and light a wooden frame representing an old local castle and the samurai that lived there. In more recent years the festival has been opened up so that anyone wanting to participate may carry a small symbolic torch along with the procession.[36]




Aizuwakamatsu Castle
Miharu Takizakura is an ancient cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima.

Tsuruga castle, a samurai castle originally built in the late 14th century, was occupied by the region's governor in the mid-19th century, during a time of war and governmental instability. Because of this, Aizuwakamatsu was the site of an important battle in the Boshin War, during which 19 teenage members of the Byakkotai committed ritual seppuku suicide. Their graves on Mt. Iimori are a popular tourist attraction.[24]

Kitakata is well known for its distinctive Kitakata ramen noodles and well-preserved traditional storehouse buildings, while Ōuchi-juku in the town of Shimogo retains numerous thatched buildings from the Edo period.

Mount Bandai, in the Bandai-Asahi National Park, erupted in 1888, creating a large crater and numerous lakes, including the picturesque 'Five Coloured Lakes' (Goshiki-numa). Bird watching crowds are not uncommon during migration season here. The area is popular with hikers and skiers. Guided snowshoe tours are also offered in the winter.[42]

The Inawashiro Lake area of Bandai-Asahi National Park is Inawashiro-ko, where the parental home of Hideyo Noguchi (1876–1928) can still be found. It was preserved along with some of Noguchi's belongings and letters as part of a memorial. Noguchi is famous not only for his research on yellow fever, but also for having his face on the 1,000 yen note.[43]

The Miharu Takizakura is an ancient weeping higan cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima. It is over 1,000 years old.


A sample set of Aizu sake

Fruits. Fukushima is known as a "Fruit Kingdom"[44] because of its many seasonal fruits, and the fact that there is fruit being harvested every month of the year.[44] While peaches are the most famous, the prefecture also produces large quantities of cherries, nashi (Japanese pears), grapes, persimmons, and apples.

Fukushima-Gyu is the prefecture's signature beef. The Japanese Black type cattle used to make Fukushima-Gyu are fed, raised, and processed within the prefecture. Only beef with a grade of 2 or 3 can be labeled as "Fukushima-Gyu" (福島牛)[45]

Ikaninjin is shredded carrot and dried squid seasoned with soy sauce, cooking sake, mirin, etc. It is a local cuisine from the northern parts of Fukushima Prefecture. It is primarily made from the late autumn to winter in the household.[46]

Kitakata Ramen is one of the Top 3 Ramen of Japan, along with Sapporo and Hakata.[47] The base is a soy-sauce soup, as historically soy sauce was readily available from the many storehouses around the town. Niboshi (sardines), tonkotsu (pig bones) and sometimes chicken and vegetables are boiled to make the stock. This is then topped with chashu (thinly sliced barbeque pork), spring onions, fermented bamboo shoots, and sometimes narutomaki, a pink and white swirl of cured fish cake.[47]

Mamador is the prefecture's most famous confection.[48] The baked good has a milky red bean flavor center wrapped in a buttery dough. The name means “People who drink mothers’ milk" in Spanish.[49] It is produced by the Sanmangoku Company.

Creambox is prefecture's second famous confection. It is a sweet bread with a thick milk bread and white milk-flavored cream. It is sold in Koriyama City at many bakery and school purchases . The selling price is usually around 100 yen, and in some rare cases, the dough is round. Since it looks simple and does not change much from normal bread when viewed from above, some processing may be performed on the cream, there are things that put almonds or draw the character's face with chocolate [50]

Sake. The Fukushima Prefecture Sake Brewers Cooperative is made up of nearly 60 sake breweries.[51] Additionally, the Annual Japan Sake Awards has awarded the prefecture the most gold prizes of all of Japan for four years running as of 2016.[52]



JR Tadami Line



National highways



Notable people

Hideyo Noguchi on the Series E 1K Yen banknote

See also


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  2. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Fukushima-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 218, p. 218, at Google Books; "Tōhoku" in p. 970, p. 970, at Google Books
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Fukushima" in p. 218, p. 218, at Google Books
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  5. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books
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  7. ^ Meyners d'Estrey, Guillaume Henry Jean (1884). Annales de l'Extrême Orient et de l'Afrique, Vol. 6, p. 172, p. 172, at Google Books; Nussbaum, "Iwaki" in p. 408, p. 408, at Google Books
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  54. ^ [Immigration records show he arrived at the port of Honolulu T.H. on October 9, 1906 aboard the Steamer "China" of the Pacific Mail S.S. Co. "Hawaii, Honolulu Index to passengers, Not Including Filipinos, 1900–1952". FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed June 25, 2011). entry for Akaraki Seisiro, age 16; citing Passenger Records, Aada, Matsusuke – Arisuye, Tomoyashe, Image 2150; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., United States.]


37°24′N 140°28′E / 37.400°N 140.467°E / 37.400; 140.467