Kitakinki (北近畿)

Japan >Kinki Region > Kitakinki

Kitakinki refers to Japan sea coastal areas.


It is narrowly defined as an area that covers the northern Kyoto Prefecture (former Tango Province and most parts of former Tanba Province) and northern Hyogo Prefecture (former Tajima Province and a part of Tanba Province). These regions correspond to the Tanba Province, Tango Province, and Tajima Province from an ancient administrative division. However, Kameoka City, Nantan City and Kyotanba-cho, Funai-gun in Kyoto Prefecture are not included in Kitakinki but instead called Nantan or Kuchitan even though they are within the Tanba Province, because the regions have a close tie with Kyoto City and Osaka.

These regions have scenic places such as Sanin-Kaigan National Park, Kinosaki Hot Spring, and Amonohashidate--one of the Three Great Views of Japan, which attract many tourists who enjoy seaside resorts in summer and crab dishes in winter. Municipalities in northern Kyoto Prefecture and Northern Hyogo Prefecture have formed the Kitakinki Wide Area Tourist Federation to promote sightseeing businesses in the regions..

Kitakinki, in a boarder sense, includes the southern Fukui Prefecture (Reinan) or the entire area of Fukui Prefecture. Reinan, which almost corresponds to Wakasa Province of an ancient administrative division, has had close connections with Maizuru City, Maibara City, and Kyoto City since ancient times. Municipalities in Reinan of Fukui Prefecture are also involved in the Kitakinki Development and Promotion Committee, which plays a role in promoting development projects within Kitakinki.

The Eighth Regional Coast Guard Headquarters, located at Maizuru Port, has jurisdiction over the sea off northern Hyogo Prefecture, northern Kyoto Prefecture, and entire Fukui Prefecture, encompassing the entire area off the coast of Wakasa Bay.


Kitakinki, which faces the Japan Sea, shows a Japan-Sea side climate pattern but has less snow than Hokoriku and instead has many rainy days.
A local proverb says: 'Do not forget your umbrella even if you forget your lunch box.'


Seaside: Wakasa Bay, Amanohashidate

Hot Spring: Kinosaki Hot Spring

River: Onyu-gawa River, Yura-gawa River

Lake: Mikatagoko Lake

Mountain: Mt. Arachi, Mt. Aoba (Kyoto and Fukui Prefectures), Mt. Gorogadake, Oe-yama mountain range, Mt. Hyono

Basin:Fukuchiyama Basin, Toyooka Basin

Highland: Tanba Highland

Peninsula: Tango Peninsula


Ancient Kitakinki was divided into districts each of which was governed by local kingdoms such as Ninokuni and Wakasa Kokuzo regional administrator. These local kingdoms, along with counterparts of Hokuriku region (Koshi Province), Sanin region (Inaba Province and Izumo Province), Northern Kyushu (Tsukushi Province and Matsura Kingdom), had great influence throughout the Japan Sea side of Japan. In particular Ninokuni is thought to have secured power through trade with the Chinese continent; one theory (Tango Kingdom theory) says that the kingdom was as independent as Yamato Dynasty, which was established later. Moto-ise had been enshrined near Oe-yama mountain range before it was relocated to present-day Ise City.

Age of Kinai (territories in the vicinity of the capital and under direct imperial rule) administration

When the Yamato Dynasty expanded its power in the Nara Basin, local kingdoms in Kitakinki showed allegiance to the Yamato Dynasty, making Kitakinki the north entrance of Yamato Dynasty. Ninokuni was divided into three provinces--Tanba Province, Tango Province, and Tajima Province. The ancient provincial offices of Tanba were located in Kameoka City far from Moto-ise but quite close to Yamashiro Province.

In particular Wakasa Province played an important role as a fortress near Kinai and part of 'Miketsukuni'--which transported food to Kinai and supplied the royal family--as it transported seafood such as mackerel to Kinai area.

From the Sengoku period (period of warring states) through the Edo period

During the Sengoku period (Japan), local samurai lords, once high ranking officials of Hosokawa clan who was a shugo (military governor) in the area, controlled their own territories within Tanba Province after Hosokawa clan had weakened. In the Wakasa and Tanba regions, conflicts between the Takeda clan and Isshiki clan who was a former shugo continued but both clans weakened due to their internal disputes. When Nobunaga ODA emerged and seized political power in Kinai, the clans were expelled and instead Nagahide NIWA, Mitsuhide AKECHI and Yusai HOSOKAWA under Nobunaga ODA became the ruler of Kitakinki. After the Honnoji Incident where Nobunaga was killed, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI brought down Mitsuhide, and Nagahide, and Fujitaka rendered homage and service to Hideyoshi; Kitakinki was divided again under the Toyotomi administration. In the Battle of Sekigahara after the death of Hideyoshi, Kitakinki became site of many fierce battles, including the Battle of Tanabe-jo Castle.

In the Edo period, Kitakinki was divided and controlled by small clans such as the Miyazu clan, Obama clan, Tango Tanabe clan, Fukuchiyama clan, Ayabe clan, Sasayama clan, Toyooka clan, and Izushi clan. Some local industries in this region began during this period; for example bags produced within Toyooka City, which started with the product Salix koriyanagi, and the spinning industry in Ayabe City.

Meiji period

The Meiji Government, which came into being after the Edo bakufu was (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) abolished, removed clans and established prefectures; former Ninokuni became Toyooka Prefecture and the area east of Mt. Aoba (Kyoto and Fukui Prefectures) became Tsuruga Prefecture. However, on August 21, 1876, Toyooka Prefecture and Tsuruga Prefecture were abolished and joined prefectures covering areas along the Sanyodo Road or the Nakasendo Road.

Under the plan for promoting national prosperity and defense in the Meiji period, Maizuru Chinju-fu (Maizuru navy base) was established in a once-isolated village of Higashi-Maizuru (eastern Maizuru City) and became one of the biggest military base along the coast of the Japan Sea, which contributed to its rapid development as a military city and the creation of one of the leading urban areas of Japan-Sea side of Japan. With this development, a railroad was built from Osaka City, Kyoto city, and Tsuruga City to Maizuru; thus the railway was laid out in Kitakinki.

After World War Two

Depopulation has been found in some areas of Kitakinki, because it does not belong to the Pacific Belt, a center of rapid economic growth zone. Now, however, the Maizuru Wakasa Expressway and Kyoto Prefecture-led industry parks are being built.

Industrial district

Kyoto Prefecture
Northern Kyoto Industrial Park
Ayabe Industrial Park
Kita Industrial Park
Kuratani Industrial Park (Kyoto Prefecture)
Taira Industrial Park
Osadano Industrial Park

Hyogo Prefecture
Toyooka Industrial Park

Nuclear power plant
There are five nuclear power plants, all of which are located in Reinan.

(See "Nuclear Power Plants in Reinan" for the list)

Local specialty

Matsutake Mushroom
Tanba chestnut
Snow crab

Tanba beef

Current status of transport

The transportation system in this region was developed earlier than other regions, due to the establishment of Maizuru Chinju-fu in Maizuru City. Railroads that run as trunk lines are the Sanin Main Line and the Fukuchiyama Line built by Kyoto Railway and Hankaku Railway, as well as the Maizuru Line and the Obama Line built by former Japanese National Railways.

Although expressway construction was slow, the Maizuru Wakasa Expressway was completed to connect Tsuruga City and Hanshin regions; the Sanin Expressway and the Kyoto Longitudinal Expressway are being built to directly connect Kyoto City and Tottori City (the section between the Miyazu Amanohashidate Interchange and the Maizuru Oe Interchange is now open). In addition, the Kitakinki Toyooka Expressway branches off at the Maizuru Wakasa Expressway Kasuga Interchange (Hyogo Prefecture) and is open for service until Hikami Interchange. It extended to the Wadayama Interchange in 2006 and connected with the Bantan renraku Road.


West Japan Railway Company (JR West)
Sanin Main Line
Maizuru Line
Obama Line
Fukuchiyama Line
Bantan Line

Kitakinki Tango Railway
Kitakinki Tango Railway Miyazu Line
Kitakinki Tango Railway Miyafuku Line



Maizuru Wakasa Expressway
Sanin Expressway

Bantan renraku Road
Kyoto Longitudinal Expressway
Kitakinki Toyooka Expressway

[Original Japanese]