Osaka Prefecture (Japan)

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Osaka Prefecture is located in central Japan, on the main island of Honshu. To the west are Osaka Bay and the Inland Sea. On the other three sides are mountains encircling a broad plain. It is a commercial, financial, and industrial center, and home of the large Hanshin (Osaka-Kobe) Industrial Zone. That complex includes textile, chemical, steel, and other heavy industries. The total area is 1,858 sq. km. (717 sq. mi.), making it the smallest prefecture in Japan, but the population is 8,473,000 (1980) 8,815,757 (2000) and in that it ranks second.

The prefectural capital is Osaka City. In population (2,648,000) it ranks third among Japanese cities, next to Tokyo and Yokohama. It is known as the "city of merchants"—wholesaling is big business. Its location has always made it a strategic hub for land and marine transportation. Many goods go in and out of the port. But in the same way, much art, science, and philosophy have also flowed into the country (especially from China) and have had a tremendous influence on the development of Japanese culture.

Old tombs and archeological finds suggest the area was settled early. Some of the feudal warlords established their strongholds there, and the magnificent Osaka Castle (built 1586), a major attraction, attests to the city's importance historically. Osaka is also proud of its canals and cultural traditions such as bunraku puppets and kabuki drama. Nearby are the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto (794-1868).

As for climate, the average low temperature in January is about 2 degrees C. (36 degrees F); the average high temperature in August is about 32 degrees C. (90 degrees F). Annual precipitation is approximately 1400 mm. (55 in.). There is some farming in rural districts.

The World Exposition was held at Osaka in 1970. In 1987 a huge artificial island was being constructed in the bay as the site of the New Kansai International Airport. A high speed train connects Osaka and Tokyo in three hours.

The Mennonite Brethren mission began working in Osaka in 1950. In 1986 ca. 15 congregations were concentrated there, forming the core of the Nihon Menonaito Burezaren Kyodan (Japan Mennonite Brethren Conference).


"Osaka Prefecture." Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan, vol. 6. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1983: 122.

Author(s) Yosuke Sonoyama
Date Published 1987

Cite This Article

MLA style

Sonoyama, Yosuke. "Osaka Prefecture (Japan)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 15 Aug 2022.

APA style

Sonoyama, Yosuke. (1987). Osaka Prefecture (Japan). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 August 2022, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 665. All rights reserved.

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