Outline of the Kanto Region
Centered around Tokyo, the Kanto Region has six other prefectures (Tokyo is a prefecture itself): Saitama, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Chiba, and Kanagawa. Perhaps this region can be called the “Tokyo Region,” because here almost everything revolves around Tokyo, which is an international megalopolis where many important government facilities and large corporation’s headquarters are concentrated, and its big commercial districts are always attracting people.
And the influence of Tokyo is so big and strong that the other prefectures are affected very strongly by it in every respect. In fact, the inevitable expansion of the Tokyo City area has been so vigorous that now it has crossed the border of the original Tokyo Prefecture, forming an unprecedentedly populated area straddling neighboring prefectures―people call it the “Greater Tokyo Area” (or the “Tokyo Metropolitan Area”).
For example, highly-populated Yokohama City is the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture, but, considering it from a different angle, it is a major commercial hub of the Greater Tokyo Area. The land area of the Kanto Region is the smallest of Japan’s seven regions, occupying only 8% of the entire land of the nation, but almost one-third of the whole population is living in this region.
Geography and climate of the Kanto Region
Geographically, the Kanto Plain, the largest plain in Japan, occupies about two-thirds of the Kanto Region. To the plain’s south and east lies the Pacific Ocean; mountains surround it to the north and west. Some of these mountains are active volcanoes, and because of this, the large portion of the Kanto Region is covered with a volcanic ash soil called “Kanto loam.” Quite a few rivers flow through the region, and some of them form a border between prefectures. Among them, the Tone River is the most significant. It has the largest basin area in Japan, and because it has flooded many times in the past, it has provided nutrients to its surrounding areas.
The climate in the northern Kanto Region is different than it is in its southern part. The winter in the northern area is sometimes harsh, with occasional snowfalls, while the southern area enjoys relatively warmer winters. What is lesser-known is that the isolated islands to the south, such as Izu and Ogasawara archipelagoes, are administratively part of Tokyo Prefecture, and in terms of the climate, the latter belongs to the sub-tropical zone.
Photographs: properties of Unfamiliar Japan Tours.com