State of the Prefecture Series, No. 22: Yamahama Prefecture

Scott Gardner


Welcome to sunny Yamahama Prefecture, Japan’s Riviera, Hog Butcher, Winter Wonderland, and Bible Belt, all sushi-rolled into one! We have everything you could possibly need: a four-track shinkansen stop, a three-story mall consisting entirely of convenience stores, Japan’s only chain of “self” hair salons, and miles and miles of carefully sculpted concrete.

Our prefecture has a rich history. It was the site of the infamous Gobo Rebellion of 1880, a battle all the more tragic because neither the villagers, the samurai, nor the army were informed that it was taking place. Imperial forces belatedly racing up the coast to quell the revolt arrived at Yamahama Port in the spring only to find that all the bleachers had been taken down and the only remaining signs of war were the empty aluminum paraffin holders swept into the gutters. They steamed back to Tokyo without even asking who won.

Yamahama was the first prefecture in Japan to officially secede from the Tohoku region and align itself politically with the island of Shikoku. This alliance was short-lived, however, for soon thereafter the governors of the four Shikoku prefectures unanimously voted Yamahama “off the island.” (This history of geographical musical chairs may be why school kids today still have a hard time locating our fine prefecture on the map!)

Yamahama City was short-listed to host the 1982 International High School Mathalympics, but narrowly lost out to the village of Yahamaha, on the Fijian island of Vanuabalavu. In spite of the setback, we’ve made sure that the training facilities built in preparation have not gone to waste, and we still maintain Japan’s largest “arithmodrome”, which holds 15,000 people and boasts 48 Olympic-sized blackboards.

Not only do we have a world-class international airport—Yamahama Aerodrama, sliced into what was once the beautiful, 2,000-meter Mt. Minikui (1,500m)—but we also have one of the finest fuselage-scrubbing and wing-clipping facilities in all of east Asia. International air carriers such as Luftgestank, In-Continent, and Vertigo all get their planes washed here. What better place for you to hop off your international flight and stretch your legs for a week or two?

For your convenience, all of our onsen resorts are located within a two-block radius of Yamahama Station. That means no more overpriced tourist taxi rides, but it also means that those of you who really want to relax in the hills can do so without being bothered by gaggles of noisy wooden-clog-wearing holidaymakers wandering the streets in tacky hotel bathrobes.

And don’t forget our spectacular beaches! Come spend a romantic, frigid weekend on the coast, doing all the things you love: surfing, sunning, shivering, you name it! Most of our seaside inns provide authentic whale-blubber jacket rentals to make watching the sunset on the beach warm and greasy.

Yamahama is the mythical home of Bromotaro, or Brine Boy, as he is lovingly called. Born mysteriously out of the swim bladder of an enormous red porgy, Bromotaro became a legend fighting against vicious tissue-ad distributors that were plaguing his village. At our yearly Bromofest, townsfolk dressed as crossing guards dance around in giant vats of seaweed until they are overcome by fumes. Hours of fun for the family!

And last but not least (not by a long shot!), Yamahama is the world’s premier artichoke wine manufacturer. (You may have seen our internationally famous “Drink Choke” commercial series.) Although artichokes are not native to our part of the country, we’ve invested substantial amounts of money in genetic modification, greenhousing, and chemical preservation to give our artichoke wine its unique flavor and incomparable aftertaste. Come visit the museum at our main factory and try a few free samples, with bean dip!

Come to Yamahama—please!—and find out why we call it “Perfection in Prefection.”