Ichikawa (市川市, Ichikawa-shi) is a city in western Chiba Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 August 2021[update], the city had an estimated population of 491,716 in 251,142 households and a population density of 8559 persons per km². The total area of the city is 57.45 square kilometres (22.18 sq mi). The city has a concentration of the wide-area traffic network that connects the center of Tokyo with many areas of Chiba Prefecture. Major rail routes and roads pass through the city.
|• Mayor||Ko Tanaka (since April 2022)|
|• Total||57.45 km2 (22.18 sq mi)|
(August 31, 2021)
|• Density||8,600/km2 (22,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)|
|- Tree||Pinus thunbergii|
|- Bird||Cettia diphone|
|Address||1-1-1 Yawata, Ichikawa-shi, Chiba-ken 272-8501|
Ichikawa is located in the northwestern part of Chiba prefecture, about 20 kilometers from the prefectural capital at Chiba and within 10 to 20 kilometers from the center of Tokyo. The western border of the city is separated from Edogawa Ward of Tokyo by the Edogawa River. The southern part of the city is an alluvial plain about two meters above sea level, and the northern part is part of the gentle Shimosa Plateau rising about 20 meters above sea level. The highest point is 30.1 meters in Satomi Park. Parts of the city are on reclaimed land at sea level.
Ichikawa has a Humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) characterized by warm summers and cool winters with light to no snowfall. The average annual temperature in Ichikawa is 15.4 °C. The average annual rainfall is 1404 mm with September as the wettest month. The temperatures are highest on average in August, at around 27.0 °C, and lowest in January, at around 4.9 °C.
Per Japanese census data, the population of Ichikawa has increased ten-fold over the past century.
The area around present-day Ichikawa has been inhabited since the Japanese Paleolithic period. Archaeologists have found stone tools dating to some 30,000 years ago. Numerous shell middens from the Jōmon period, and hundreds of burial tumuli from the Kofun period have been found in numerous locations around Ichikawa. During the Nara period, Ichikawa was the provincial capital of Shimōsa Province and is mentioned in the Man'yōshū. During the Heian period, this area was the center of the rebellion by Taira Masakado. During the Sengoku period, it was the site of a major battles (Battle of Kōnodai) between the Satomi clan and the Later Hōjō clan.
In more recent history, the area was also the site of some minor battles during the Boshin War of the Meiji Restoration and was promoted as a possible site for the new Diet of Japan by Katsu Kaishu, who envisioned a structure to be built on the Edogawa River similar to the Houses of Parliament in London along the River Thames. Ichikawa Town was organized in 1889 with the creation of the modern municipalities system. On November 3, 1934 Ichikawa merged with the neighboring towns of Yawata, Nakayama and village of Kokubun to form the city of Ichikawa. The city expanded by annexing the village of Okashiwa on November 3, 1949, the town of Gyotoku on March 31, 1955 and town of Minami-Gyotoku on October 1, 1956.
Ichikawa has a mayor-council form of government with a directly elected mayor and a unicameral city council of 42 members. Ichikawa contributes six members to the Chiba Prefectural Assembly. In terms of national politics, the city is divided between the Chiba 5th district and the Chiba 6th district of the lower house of the Diet of Japan.
Ichikawa during the Meiji period was considered a desirable location for politicians, industrialists and many cultural figures, and had the highest assessed land prices in Chiba Prefecture. Many modern writers and poets have either lived in Ichikawa, or had written works set in Ichikawa, including Soseki Natsume, Shiki Masaoka, Akiko Yosano, Yukio Mishima, Nagai Kafu, Hisashi Inoue and Koda Rohan. The area around Ichikawa Station and Motoyawata Station later developed into a commercial area with many high-rise condominiums, commercial facilities, and companies. The area around Motoyawata Station is also an administrative center where many city facilities such as the city hall are located.
The Gyotoku district in the south is an area which once had salt pans in the Edo Period, but was transformed in modern times into new town developments with good access to Tokyo via the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line. The bay area along the Keiyo Line and Japan National Route 357 (Metropolitan Expressway Bayshore Line / Higashi Kanto Expressway) is an industrial area as part of the Tokyo-Chiba industrial zone, and is a distribution base where factories and warehouses of various companies are lined up.
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