Japan Regional Guide: Chubu (Central Honshu)
Japan's Regions: Chubu 中部
Central Honshu or Chubu is the middle region of the main island of Honshu and is basically the area stretching between Kyoto in the west and Tokyo in the east. The prefectures that make up Chubu are Aichi, Gifu, Fukui, Shizuoka, Toyama, Ishikawa, Niigata, Nagano and Yamanashi.
The Chubu area includes both the Japan Sea and Pacific Ocean coastal areas and the nine prefectures of Aichi, Gifu and Shizuoka in the south (Tokai), Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama on the Japan Sea (Hokuriku) and Yamanashi, Nagano and Niigata (Koshinetsu) to the east.
The Chubu area has very different climates and landscapes. The weather on the Japan Sea coast is cooler than the baking southern Pacific coast around Nagoya in summer with heavy snow along the north coast in winter, Winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are possible in Nagano, Niigata and Gifu, three prefectures whose mountains make up the majestic Japan Alps. The Winter Olympics were successfully held in Nagano in 1998 and the prefecture is a favorite with skiers and snow-boarders, who flock to resorts such as Hakuba.
The area's history was shaped by its strategic position between the great cities of Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo) and the area is crossed by the ancient highways of the Tokaido along the coast and the Nakasendo through the mountains to the north.
There are also excellent onsen and opportunities for hiking in the area as well as swimming and snorkelling on the Echizen coast in Fukui.
Chubu's main towns and places of interest are:
Nagoya, the prefectural capital of Aichi Prefecture and arrival point for many international flights to the region at the recent, offshore Chubu International Airport. Nagoya is Japan's fourth largest city and a major industrial zone which includes many factories servicing the giant car-maker, Toyota Corp.
Toyohashi, an historic, pleasant city on the Tokaido Highway.
Inuyama, Japan's oldest fortress and site of the Meiji Mura open air museum.
Gujo Hachiman, historic castle town known for its summer Obon dancing.
Gero Onsen, popular hot spa resort north of Nagoya.
Takayama - beautifully preserved town in a rich mountain setting.
Hida Furukawa - a compact version of Takayama just 15km away.
Magome and Tsumago, a pair of small villages with good hiking and restored wooden houses in the Kiso Valley.
Niigata, largest port on the Japan Sea coast and gateway to Sado Island.
Kamikochi, in Nagano offers excellent hiking in the summer season.
There are airports at Chubu International just south of Nagoya, which has many international connections to destinations around the world including Beijing and Seoul in East Asia and direct flights to many cities throughout Japan.There are other regional airports in Toyama, Komatsu (Ishikawa), Matsumoto and Niigata, which also has international connections to Seoul and other East Asian destinations.
Nagoya is the main rail hub connecting Osaka and Tokyo via the Tokaido shinkansen. Trains on the JR Chuo and Takayama Lines run north from Nagoya heading to Gifu, Takayama, Matsumoto, Toyama and Nagano.
Nagoya is the main hub for buses in Chubu with services to most nearby towns and overnight highway buses to most major cities including Osaka, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Tokyo.
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