The prefectures of Japan are the country's 47 sub-national jurisdictions: one "metropolis" (é½; To), Tokyo; one "circuit" (é; DÅ), HokkaidÅ; two urban prefectures (åº; Fu), Osaka and Kyoto; and 43 other prefectures (ç; Ken).
Although there were initially over 300 prefectures, many of them being former han territories, this number was reduced to 72 in the latter part of 1871, and 47 in 1888.
Today, since the special wards have almost the same degree of independence as Japanese cities, the difference in administration between Tokyo and other prefectures is fairly minor (see 23 special wards for details).
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