Japan: Ube

Ube (宇部市 Ube-shi) is a city located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan on the Seto Inland Sea. The city was founded on November 1, 1921.

As of October 2016, the city has an estimated population of 168,398 and a population density of 590 persons per km2. The total area is 287.69 square kilometres (111.08 square miles).

On November 1, 2004, the town of Kusunoki (from Asa District) was merged into Ube.

Its industrial base is in chemicals, concrete, and steel. The presence of Ube Industries in the city's economy is significant.

Previously a coal mining town, the city has developed an effective policy to improve its environment. In particular it has combated the problem of air pollution and its success in doing so saw it being recognised by the United Nations Environment Programme as among UNEP's Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1997.

Former prime minister of Japan Naoto Kan was born in Ube.

The most popular place for tourism is Shimonoseki, for example Karato Fish Market. There is a large fireworks festival in summer.

Another attraction is the Kintai Bridge in the town of Iwakuni. This five-arched wooden structure is considered a symbol of Western Honshū. The area on the banks of the Nishiki river close to the bridge is considered among the best places in Japan for Hanami, when groups of family and friends gather in early April to view cherry blossoms.

Hagi City is in the north of Yamaguchi. It is a very traditional city. The usual color of Japanese post boxes is red, but in Hagi they are painted green or brown. The Hagi Museum is modeled after a traditional samurai residence. The exhibits are detailed and realistic, and are changed every year. The permanent collection is data about Hagi's history and collections about Takasugi Shinsaku. Hagi also contains a reverberatory furnace which has been designated a World Heritage Site.

Kawara soba (hot tile noodles) is a popular food in Yamaguchi. It was developed during the Seinan Rebellion that broke out in 1877. Soldiers cooked wild grass and meat on hot tiles. Now it is a local dish of Yamaguchi people. They fry green tea noodles on a hot tile, and arrange thin fried egg, stewed beef, green onions and grilled liver on top.

The Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海 Seto Naikai), also known as Setouchi or often shortened to Inland Sea, is the body of water separating Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū, three of the four main islands of Japan. The region that includes the Seto Inland Sea and the coastal areas of Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū is known as the Setouchi Region. It serves as a waterway, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan. It connects to Osaka Bay and provides a sea transport link to industrial centers in the Kansai region, including Osaka and Kobe. Before the construction of the San'yō Main Line, it was the main transportation link between Kansai and Kyūshū.

Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Hyōgo, Osaka, Wakayama, Kagawa, Ehime, Tokushima, Fukuoka, and Ōita prefectures all have coastlines on the Seto Inland Sea; the cities of Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Takamatsu, and Matsuyama are also located on it.

The Setouchi region is known for its moderate climate, with a stable year-round temperature and relatively low rainfall levels. The sea is also famous for its periodic red tides (赤潮 akashio) caused by dense groupings of certain phytoplankton that result in the death of large numbers of fish.

Since the 1980s, the sea's northern and southern shores have been connected by the three routes of the Honshū–Shikoku Bridge Project, including the Great Seto Bridge, which serves both railroad and automobile traffic.

The Naruto Strait connects the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea to the Kii Channel, which in turn connects to the Pacific Ocean. The western part of the Seto Inland Sea connects to the Sea of Japan through the Kanmon Straits and to the Pacific through the Bungo Channel.

Each part of the Seto Inland Sea has a separate name in Japanese. For example, Iyo-nada (伊予灘) refers to the strait between Ehime, Yamaguchi, and Ōita prefectures in the western portion of the sea; Aki-nada (安芸灘) is the open expanse west of the Geiyo Islands, near Hiroshima prefecture; and Suō-nada (周防灘) refers to the expanse between Yamaguchi prefecture and Suō-Ōshima. There are also many straits located between the major islands, as well as a number of smaller ones that pass between islands or connect the Seto Inland Sea to other seas or the Pacific.

Almost 3,000 islands are located in the Seto Inland Sea, including the larger islands Awaji-shima and Shōdo-shima. Many of the smaller islands are uninhabited.

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