The prefecture has some archaeological sites going back to the Jōmon period (around 400 BCE). About 3,000 years ago, Mount Hakone produced a volcanic explosion which resulted in Lake Ashi on the western area of the prefecture.
It is believed that the Yamato dynasty ruled this area from the 5th century onwards. In the ancient era, its plains were very sparsely inhabited.
In medieval Japan, Kanagawa was part of the provinces of Sagami and Musashi. Kamakura in central Sagami was the capital of Japan during the Kamakura period (1185–1333).
During the Edo period, the western part of Sagami Province was governed by the daimyō of Odawara Castle, while the eastern part was directly governed by the Tokugawa shogunate in Edo (Tokyo).
Commodore Matthew Perry landed in Kanagawa in 1853 and 1854 and signed the Convention of Kanagawa to force open Japanese ports to the United States. Yokohama, the largest deep-water port in Tokyo Bay, was opened to foreign traders in 1859 after several more years of foreign pressure, and eventually developed into the largest trading port in Japan. Nearby Yokosuka, closer to the mouth of Tokyo Bay, developed as a naval port and now serves as headquarters for the U.S. 7th Fleet and the fleet operations of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. After the Meiji period, many foreigners lived in Yokohama City, and visited Hakone. The Meiji Government developed the first railways in Japan, from Shinbashi (in Tokyo) to Yokohama in 1872.
The epicenter of the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923 was deep beneath Izu Ōshima Island in Sagami Bay. It devastated Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama, surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, and caused widespread damage throughout the Kantō region. The sea receded as much as 400 metres from the shore at Manazuru Point, and then rushed back towards the shore in a great wall of water which swamped Mitsuishi-shima. At Kamakura, the total death toll from earthquake, tsunami, and fire exceeded 2,000 victims. At Odawara, ninety percent of the buildings collapsed immediately, and subsequent fires burned the rubble along with anything else left standing.
Yokohama, Kawasaki and other major cities were heavily damaged by the U.S. bombing in 1945. Casualties amounted to more than several thousand. After the war, General Douglas MacArthur, the chief commander of Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers for the Occupation of Japan, landed in Kanagawa, before moving to other areas. U.S. military bases still remain in Kanagawa, including Camp Zama (Army), Yokosuka Naval Base, Naval Air Station Atsugi (Navy).
In 1945, Kanagawa was the 15th most populous prefecture in Japan, with the population of about 1.9 million. In the years after the war, the prefecture underwent rapid urbanization as a part of the Greater Tokyo Area. The population as of September 1, 2014, is estimated to be 9.1 million. Kanagawa became the second most populous prefecture in 2006.
Kanagawa is a relatively small prefecture located at the southeastern corner of the Kantō Plain wedged between Tokyo on the north, the foothills of Mount Fuji on the northwest, and the Sagami Bay and Tokyo Bay on the south and east. The eastern side of the prefecture is relatively flat and heavily urbanized, including the large port cities of Yokohama and Kawasaki.
The southeastern area nearby the Miura Peninsula is less urbanized, with the ancient city of Kamakura drawing tourists to temples and shrines. The western part, bordered by Yamanashi Prefecture and Shizuoka Prefecture on the west, is more mountainous and includes resort areas like Odawara and Hakone. The area, stretching 80 kilometres (50 mi) from west to east and 60 kilometres (37 mi) from north to south, contains 2,400 square kilometres (930 sq mi) of land, accounting for 0.64% of the total land area of Japan.
As of 1 April 2012, 23% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park; Tanzawa-Ōyama Quasi-National Park; and Jinba Sagamiko, Manazuru Hantō, Okuyugawara, and Tanzawa-Ōyama Prefectural Natural Parks.
Topographically, the prefecture consists of three distinct areas. The mountainous western region features the Tanzawa Mountain Range and Hakone Volcano. The hilly eastern region is characterized by the Tama Hills and Miura Peninsula. The central region, which surrounds the Tama Hills and Miura Peninsula, consists of flat stream terraces and low lands around major rivers including the Sagami River, Sakai River, Tsurumi River, and Tama River.
The Tama River forms much of the boundary between Kanagawa and Tokyo. The Sagami River flows through the middle of the prefecture. In the western region, the Sakawa (river) runs through a small lowland, the Sakawa Lowland, between Hakone Volcano to the west and the Ōiso Hills to the east and flows into Sagami Bay.
The Tanzawa Mountain Range, part of the Kantō Mountain Range, contains Mount Hiru (1,673 m or 5,489 ft), the highest peak in the prefecture. Other mountains measure similar mid-range heights: Mount Hinokiboramaru (1,601 m or 5,253 ft), Mount Tanzawa, (1,567 m or 5,141 ft), Mount Ōmuro (1,588 m or 5,210 ft), Mount Himetsugi (1,433 m or 4,701 ft), and Mount Usu (1,460 m or 4,790 ft). The mountain range is lower in height southward leading to Hadano Basin to the Ōiso Hills. At the eastern foothills of the mountain range lies the Isehara Plateau and across the Sagami River the Sagami Plateau.
Nineteen cities are located in Kanagawa Prefecture:
These are the towns and villages in each district:Tama River Firework event
Yokohama Port Anniversary Festival (June)
Kamakura Festival (April)
Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival (July)
Odawara Hōjō Godai Festival (May)
Yugawara Kifune Festival (July)
Kanagawa's transport network is heavily intertwined with that of Tokyo (see: Transportation in Greater Tokyo). Shin-Yokohama and Odawara stations on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen are located in the prefecture, providing high-speed rail service to Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and other major cities.East Japan Railway Company
Tōkaidō Main Line
Chūō Main Line
Central Japan Railway Company
Enoshima Electric Railway
Yokohama Municipal Subway
Kanazawa Seaside Line
Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line
Route 129 (Hiratsuka-Atsugi-Sagamihara)
Route 135 (Shimoda–Atami-Odawara)
Route 246 (Chiyoda, Tokyo-Kawasaki-Machida-Atsugi-Isehara-Gotenba–Numazu)
Route 357 (Chiba–Funabashi–Daiba of Tokyo-Yokohama-Yokosuka)
Route 413 (Fujiyoshida–Lake Yamanaka-Sagamihara)
Route 466 (Setagaya, Tokyo-Kawasaki-Yokohama)
Yokohama Port – International container hub port
Misaki Port – Ferry Route to Kisarazu
The Kanagawa Prefectural Board of Education manages and oversees individual municipal school districts. The board of education also directly operates most of the public high schools in the prefecture.Kawasaki
Keio University – Shin Kawasaki Campus
Meiji University – Ikuta Campus
Senshu University – Ikuta Campus
Japan Women's University
Showa University of Music
Den-en Chofu University – Aso Ward
Nippon Medical School
St. Marianna University, School of Medicine – Miyamae
Japan Cinema School
Tokyo City University – Aso Ward
Tokyo Institute of Technology – Suzukakedai
Tokyo University of the Arts – Naka Ward
Yokohama National University – Hodogaya
Yokohama City University – Kanazawa Ward
Kanagawa University – Kanagawa Ward
Kanto Gakuin University – Kanazawa Ward
Toin University of Yokohama – Aoba Ward
Tsurumi University – Tsurumi Ward
Yokohama College of Commerce – Tsurumi Ward
Yokohama College of Pharmacy – Totsuka Ward
Keio University – Hiyoshi Campus
Tokyo City University – Tsuzuki Ward
Meiji Gakuin University – Totsuka Ward
Nippon Sport Science University – Aoba Ward
Toyo Eiwa University – Midori Ward
Kokugakuin University – Tama Plaza
Senzoku Gakuen College of Music
Aoyama Gakuin University
Sagami Women's University
Joshi University of Art and Design
Kanagawa Dental College
Kanagawa University of Human Services
Tokai University – Hiratsuka Campus
Shoin University – Hiratsuka Campus
Tokai University – Isehara Campus
Kanto Gakuin University – Odawara Campus
International University of Health and Welfare
Bunkyo University – Chigasaki Campus
Tokyo University of Agriculture – Atsugi Campus
Kanagawa Institute of Technology
Tokyo Polytechnic University – Atsugi Campus
Nissan Stadium (International Stadium Yokohama)—in Yokohama, the final venue of 2002 FIFA World Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in 2005–2007
Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium (Mitsuzawa Stadium)—in Yokohama, only for football
Todoroki Athletics Stadium—in Kawasaki, the final venue of 2007 IFAF World Cup (American football).
Hiratsuka Athletics Stadium
Yokohama Stadium—for baseball (Yokohama DeNA BayStars) and hosted Australian rules football
Kawasaki Stadium—former homeground of Taiyo Whales (now Yokohama BayStars) and Lotte Orions (now Chiba Lotte Marines).
Yokosuka Stadium—home field of Shonan Searex, minor league team of Yokohama BayStars
Yokohama Arena—also for music concert
Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium—a volleyball venue of 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
Todoroki Arena—in Kawasaki and multi-purpose venue (including basketball)
Odawara Arena—2020 Kanagawa Pre-Games training facilities
Enoshima Yacht Course—used for 1964 Summer Olympics.
Hakone Ekiden Course—from Tokyo to Hakone, 108.0 km, mostly on Japan National Route 1 and Route 15. Runners run on the divided route for ten parts on January 2 (to Hakone) and January 3 (to Tokyo) every year.
Lake Sagami—hosted canoeing and rowing for the 1964 Summer Olympics.
Kawasaki Frontale (Kawasaki)—Todoroki Athletics
Yokohama F. Marinos (Yokohama, Yokosuka)—Nissan Stadium
Yokohama F.C. (Yokohama)—Mitsuzawa Ballpark
Shonan Bellmare (Hiratsuka, Odawara and some cities and towns in central and western area of Kanagawa)—Hiratsuka Athletic Stadium (football) and Odawara Arena (futsal)
Yokohama BayStars (Yokohama)—Yokohama Stadium, and Yokosuka Stadium (for its farm team, "Shonan Searex").
Toshiba Brave Thunders Kanagawa (Kawasaki)—Todoroki Arena
NEC Red Rockets (Kawasaki)—Todoroki Arena
Yokohama Municipal Children's Botanical Garden
Yokohama War Cemetery
Kanagawa Prefecture has sister relationships with these places: Maryland, United States (1981)
Liaoning Province, China (1983)
Odessa Oblast, Ukraine (1986)
Baden-Württemberg, Germany (1989)
Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea (1990)
City of Gold Coast, Australia (1990)
Penang, Malaysia (1991)
Västra Götaland County, Sweden (1998)
Stephen Sondheim's stage musical Pacific Overtures, about the "opening" of Japan to Western influence by Commodore Perry, contains the song "Welcome to Kanagawa".
The main team in the Japanese manga and anime series Slam Dunk, Shohoku, is from Kanagawa.
The Hinata Inn and surrounding town from the manga and anime series Love Hina are located in Kanagawa.
The Japanese manga series Elfen Lied takes place in Kanagawa, mainly in Kamakura and Enoshima (Fujisawa).
The Japanese anime series S-CRY-ED takes place in Kanagawa Prefecture, after a seismic event raises it from the ground.
The Japanese manga and anime series Kenkō Zenrakei Suieibu Umishō takes place in the fictional Kanagawa city of Umineko.
The Japanese anime series Gundam Wing's early episodes feature Kanagawa prominently, mainly Yokohama and Yokosuka.
The Japanese anime and manga series Area no Kishi takes place in Kanagawa, mostly Kamakura.
The Japanese anime and manga series Hamatora takes place in Kanagawa, mainly in Yokohama.
The Japanese anime and manga series His and Her Circumstances takes place in Kanagawa Prefecture, mainly in Kawasaki city and Yokohama.
The Japanese anime and manga series Neon Genesis Evangelion takes place in Tokyo-3, which is located in the village of Hakone, in the Ashigarashimo District
A team from the Japanese anime and manga series Kuroko's Basketball, Kaijo, is from Kanagawa.
The manga Shonan Junai Gumi, along with its prequel bad company, and the Great Teacher Onizuka's (sequel to Shonan Junai Gumi) spin off "shonan 14 days", are set in Shonan, in Kanagawa
The Japanese anime and manga series Yowamushi Pedal, Hakone Academy is from Hakone, Kanagawa.
The Japanese anime and manga series Initial D Fifth Stage is set in Kanagawa, and Final Stage is set in Hakone.