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The Hokuriku region (北陸地方 Hokuriku chihō, Lit. "Northlands region") was located in the northwestern part of Honshu, the main island of Japan. It lay along the Sea of Japan within the Chūbu region, which it is currently a part of. It is almost equivalent to Koshi Province and Hokurikudō area in pre-modern Japan. Due to its elongated shape, and the Noto Peninsula jutting out, the region is known as a 'rising dragon' 昇龍道 (しょうりゅうどう Shōryudō). Since the Heian period until the Edo period the region was a core recipient of population, the population grew to be much larger proportionately than it is today, despite the rural character. With the growth of urban centers in the 20th century, particularly Tokyo and Chūkyō, the Hokuriku has steadily declined in importance to become relative backwaters. The region is also known for traditional culture that originated from elsewhere that has been long lost along the Taiheiyō Belt.
- Shin'etsu (信越): includes Niigata and Nagano prefectures
- Kōshin'etsu (甲信越): includes Niigata, Nagano and Yamanashi prefectures
- Hokushin'etsu (北信越): includes both the Hokuriku and Shin'etsu regions
The major population centers of Hokuriku are:
Of these, Niigata is the largest with a population of over 800,000.
The main industries in the Hokuriku area include chemicals, medicine, tourism, textiles and textile machinery, heavy machinery, farming, and fishing. Koshihikari, a popular variety of rice is a special product of Hokuriku region.
The Hokuriku region has the highest volume of snowfall of any inhabited and arable region in the world. This is because dry Siberian air masses, which develop high humidity over the Sea of Japan, are forced upwards when they encounter the mountains of Honshū, causing the humidity to condense as snow.
Hokuriku is listed as No. 4 in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2014 – Top 10 Regions. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-tips-and-articles/lonely-planets-best-in-travel-2014-top-10-regions
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth (2005). Japan Encyclopedia. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. OCLC 58053128. ISBN 0-674-01753-6, ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5.
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