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“Chiba” is located within the Tokyo metropolitan area
and blessed with nature’s bounty.
Chiba Prefecture surrounded by the sea and rivers on all four sides is blessed with the nature full of water and green.
Located in the east of the Tokyo metropolitan area, the peninsula projects into the Pacific Ocean.
While the southeastern part faces the Pacific Ocean, the western part faces Tokyo Bay. The northwestern part borders on Tokyo and Saitama, and the northern part borders on Ibaraki.
With an area of 5,156.64 km2, Chiba is composed of Boso Hill with a series of 200-300 m high mountains, comparatively flat Shimosa Plateau, and a vast plain reaching the Tone River basin and the coast of Kujukuri.
The coastline is as long as 530.5 km, showing varied scenery.
Chiba Prefecture surrounded by the sea on its three sides has a mild climate, warm in winter and cool in summer.
Under the influence of the warm current (Black Current) that flows offshore, the land is hardly frosted even in winter. The precipitation is heavy in summer and light in winter.
The population of Chiba is 6,056,159 (as of October 1, 2005), the 6th largest in Japan, and the average age of the residents is 40.3 years, the 6th youngest in Japan.
Chiba Prefecture was originally composed of three provinces – Awa, Kazusa, and Shimosa.
According to “Kogo Shui (a document in the Heian period),” Ameno-mikoto led Awano Inbe and went to the eastern part of Japan, having people grow hemp plants.
The area where good-quality hemp plants grew was called the province of Fusa (an old term of hemp), and the area where Awano Inbe lived was named the province of Awa.
The part of the province of Awa closer to the capital was called Kazusa, and the part far away from the capital was called Simosa.
Combining the term “Awa (pronounced “Bou” as well)” of the province of Awa and “Fusa (pronounced “So” as well)” of the provinces of Kazusa and Shimosa, the peninsula was called “Boso.”
When the shogunate was opened in Kamakura, Chiba Clan wielded it’s power in Boso. In the province of Awa during the civil war period, Satomi Clan had big power. When Tokugawa Ieyasu opened the shogunate in Edo, Boso was valued as the home territory, and the area was under direct control of the shogunate or became the domains of the close retainers.
The feudal domains in those days were all small, and the domain of Sakura was the largest.
In 1871 when the domain system was abolished, 24 prefectures were created in Boso, including Tateyama Prefecture and Sakura Prefectrue. Thereafter, the areas of Kazusa and Awa were united into Kisarazu Prefecture, and the Shimosa district was changed into Inba Prefecture.
On June 15, 1873, Kisarazu and Inba Prefectures were merged into Chiba Prefecture.
The population of Chiba Prefecture exceeded 5 million in 1983, and in commemoration of that, June 15 became the “Prefectural Residents’ Day” a year later.
The shipment value of articles of manufacture in 2004 in Chiba Prefecture was 11,257.6 billion yen, the 7th largest amount in Japan. The number of business establishments is 6,505, and the number of employees is 217,332.
Major items of the industry are chemical, petroleum/coal, and steel, which accounts for 19.1%, 17.2%, and 11.7%, respectively, and these three categories account for 48.0% of the total shipment value of articles of manufacture.
The major industries in Chiba until the first half of 1945 were soy sauce, liquor, sweet sake, and other brewing industries. However, after the construction of Chiba Works of Kawasaki.
Steel Corporation was to be started in November 1950 on the reclaimed land along the coast of the City of Chiba, heavy and chemical industries decided to move into Chiba one after another.
Since then, a reclaimed land of approx. 12,000 ha has been completed along the 76 km-long coastal line between the City of Urayasu and the City of Futtsu.
Meanwhile, Chiba Prefecture promoted improvement of the industrial complexes in the inland area by taking the advantage their features, while aggressively promoting introduction of high-tech industries and growing industries.
There are 87 industrial complexes, and approx. 2,350 ha of the total of approx. 2,759 ha industrial sites has been sold in lots. Processing and assembly companies, as well as many other types of companies, have been located in Chiba.
The shipment value of articles of manufacture is distributed in a well-balanced manner, 56% in the coastal area and 44% in the inland area.
The commerce in Chiba is supporting the rich life of 6 million inhabitants, playing a prominent role as an industry that shoulders the local economy.
The number of retailers in Chiba Prefecture as of June 1, 2004 is 42,857, and the number of employees is 332,204.
The annual sales are 5,453 billion yen.
Looking at the share by area, the five cities – Chiba, Funabashi, Matsudo, Ichikawa, and Kashiwa – account for 41.0% of all the retailers and 56.9% of the total annual sales.
Blessed with a warm climate and productive land, Chiba Prefecture is one of the greatest agricultural prefectures in Japan, and the amount of farm output is 422.4 billion yen in 2004, the second largest in Japan, next to Hokkaido.
There are many top-class farm products in Japan, such as Welsh onions, radishes, and pears, while rice, flowers, and stock farming are also ranked high in Japan.
Brassica Rapa, spinach, and other vegetables are grown in the Chiba and Higashi Katsushika districts that are close to Tokyo, a main market, while in the northeastern area, cabbages, carrots, water melons, and other vegetables are grown.
Paddy rice cultivation and animal farming are also popular. In the central area, paddy rice, melons, and tomatoes are grown in greenhouses. In the southern area, bamboo shoots are grown by taking advantage of the characteristics of the intermediate and mountainous area.
Carnation, stock, and other flowers, as well as strawberries and loquats, are also grown by taking advantage of the warm climate.
Chiba prefecture with an inner bay and oceanic area along its circumference is blessed with a variety of finishing areas, and various kinds of fish and shellfish are landed, because Black Current and Oyashio Current cross each other off the coast of Boso Peninsula.
Chiba is one of the largest fishery prefectures in Japan with total fishery output of 243,105 tons in 2004, the 5th largest in Japan, and with the production volume of the processed marine products of 285,186 tons, the 3rd largest in Japan.