definition of Wikipedia
||This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2008)|
|• Governor||Hirohiko Izumida|
|• Total||12,582.47 km2 (4,858.12 sq mi)|
|Population (February 1, 2011)|
|• Density||188.48/km2 (488.2/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||JP-15|
|Flower||Tulip (Tulipa gesneriana)|
|Tree||Camellia (Camellia japonica)|
|Bird||Crested Ibis (Nipponia nippon)|
Niigata Prefecture (新潟県 Niigata-ken ) is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Honshū on the coast of the Sea of Japan. The capital is the city of Niigata. The name "Niigata" literally means "new lagoon".
Until after the Meiji Restoration, the area that is now Niigata Prefecture was divided into Echigo Province and Sado Province. During the Sengoku period, the Nagao clan, who were at times vassals to the Uesugi, ruled a fief in the western part of modern Niigata from Kasugayama Castle. The most notable member of the Nagao clan was Nagao Kagetora, was later and better known as Uesugi Kenshin. He unified the leaders of Echigo Province and became its sole ruler. By taking the surname Uesugi, he also became the head of the Uesugi clan and effectively brought their realm under his control.
The city of Niigata is now the largest Japanese city facing the Sea of Japan. It was the first Japanese port on the Sea of Japan to be opened to foreign trade following the opening of Japan by Matthew Perry. It has since played an important role in trade with Russia and Korea. A freighter from North Korea visits Niigata once a month, in one of the few forms of direct contact between Japan and that country.
The Etsuzankai organization, led by the politician Kakuei Tanaka, was highly influential in bringing infrastructure improvements to Niigata Prefecture in the 1960s and 1970s. These included the Jōetsu Shinkansen high-speed rail line and the Kanetsu Expressway to Tokyo.
On January 9, 2006, a heavy winter storm struck the prefecture and its neighbors. At least 71 people died and more than 1,000 were injured. Also in 2006, a massive tsunami and earthquake damaged homes and caused casualties in the maritime areas of Niigata Prefecture, especially near Sado Island.
On July 16, 2007, another earthquake hit the area.
Niigata Prefecture hosts the Fuji Rock Festival, an annual event held at the Naeba ski resort. The three-day event, organized by Smash Japan, features more than 200 Japanese and international musicians. It is one of the largest outdoor music events in Japan, with more than 100,000 people attending in 2005.
The prefecture is generally divided into four geographical areas: Jōetsu in the south, Chūetsu in the center, Kaetsu in the north, and Sado Island. The mouth of the Shinano River, the longest river in Japan, is located in Niigata Prefecture.
There are 20 cities in Niigata Prefecture:
The towns and villages in each district are:
The major industry in Niigata Prefecture is agriculture. Rice is the principal product, and among the prefectures of Japan Niigata is second only to Hokkaidō in rice output. The area around Uonuma is known for producing the Koshihikari variety, widely considered to be the highest-quality rice produced in Japan.
Rice-related industries are also very important to the prefectural economy. Niigata Prefecture is known throughout Japan for its high-quality sake, senbei, mochi, and arare. In sake production, the prefecture comes third after Gunma and Kyoto prefectures.
Niigata Prefecture produces the highest volume of azaleas and cut lilies in Japan, and is increasing production of cut flowers and flower bulbs. Along with Toyama Prefecture, it produces the highest volume of tulips in the country.
Niigata Prefecture may have been the first area in Japan to produce knitted textiles, although the earliest products may have been imported from China.
In the Census of 2003, Niigata ranked as the 14th most populous.
Niigata is known for the following regional specialities:
|This Section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2012)|
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