In the 12th century, during the latter years of the Heian Period, the city of Fukuhara – what is now known as Kobe – was used as the capital of Japan and Imperial Court by Emperor Antoku for five months.
Later, during the Tokugawa Shognuate, the Himeji Castle was built and still stands today as a world heritage site in Himeji. During that same era, the area that is now Hyogo Prefecture was made up of the provinces of Harima, Tajima, Awaji, Tamba, and Settsu. They were reintegrated in part or whole in the 1870s by the Meiji Restoration.
In 1995, the Great Hanshin Earthquake, measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale destroyed large parts of Kobe and Awaji, killing almost 5500 people.
The prefecture of Hyogo has two coastlines on the Sea of Japan and the Inland sea on the North and South. With the exception of the city of Toyooka, the northern half of the prefecture is rather sparsely populated. The vast majority of its people live on the South coast near or in Kobe and the Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe metropolitan region.
The major cities of Hyogo Prefecture include:
Districts and their corresponding towns and villages in Hyogo Prefecture include:
The current primary industries of Hyogo Prefecture include mainly heavy industries such as metal and medicine, with Kobe being one of Japan’s largest ports. Additionally, multiple research institutes including those of Riken are located in the Kobe, Harima area.
Kobe is the primary tourist destination in Hyogo Prefecture and a number of western stylized homes and buildings overlook the inland sea with Kobe port being one of the most active and famous in the nation. Himeji Castle was named a UNESCO World Treasure and has become a major tourist destination for both Japanese and foreign visitors.