Cities of Japan

Shi (Japanese市) is a local administrative unit in Japan. It is the official name for a large area or large urban settlement.

Paragraph 8 of the Japanese Law on Local Self-Government stipulates that a Shi basically has more than 50,000 residents, more than 60 percent of households are in the center area and generate more than 60 percent of households incomes in trade and industry and in urban commercial. Other conditions may be set by the prefectures by regulation. A decrease in the population under 50,000 does not necessarily lead to loss of Shi status. For example, has Utashinai due to a very strong population decline today under 5,000 inhabitants.

Shi with more than 200,000 inhabitants can cities with special status (特例 市, tokureishi ), from 300,000 to 500,000 inhabitants and an area of at least 100 km ² to core cities (中 核 市, chūkakushi ) and from 500,000 inhabitants to cities by Government Regulation (政令 指定 都市, Seirei shitei toshi ) are appointed.

On 8 March 2010, the number of Shi was in Japan with 784 for the first time higher than the number of Machi ( 783 ). At the beginning of the Heisei - territorial reform ( Heisei Daigappei ) there was still 670 Shi and 1994 Machi in April 1999. The number of villages / rural communities ( Mura) fell in the same period of 568 to 187

Unlike a Machi or Mura is a Shi not belong to a Gun and thus correspond to an independent city or a county. Particularly large Shi are divided usually into districts ( Ku ). In the English- Shi is translated as City.


From her character Shi means the basic meaning "market". The Kun - reading of the character ( ichi ) is the Japanese word for market. However, the Kun - reading has no relevance in this municipal unit ( unlike a Machi or Mura).