Hokkaido is the second largest island of Japan . In the living on the island Ainu called the island Aynu Mosir. Along with several surrounding small islands, it forms the northernmost prefecture of the country. Coincident with the prefecture called Hokkaido , a region in Japan . The prefecture was one of the end of 2005 about 5.7 million inhabitants , including about 25,000 of the indigenous minority of the Ainu . The largest city, also the seat of the prefectural government is Sapporo .
Hokkaido is the home of the Ainu people, whose language of many geographical names on the island, as also the name of the capital, Sapporo, result. Japanese first settlements were built in the 15th Century in the south of the island as a trading post. Since the usual forms of agriculture in Japan, but useless on the island because of the cool climate, were the largest part of the island until the second half of the 19th Century by the Japanese colonized. At the time allowed Western innovations in agriculture here, was also increasingly a need for defenses against Russia. The island received only this time its present name. The capital of Sapporo was built in the 1860s, in the 1870s, the population of the island quadrupled from 58,000 to 240,000.
Shortly after the Boshin war in 1868 claimed a group of Tokugawa loyalists led by Enomoto Takeaki , as the island of Ezo Republic . This rebellion was crushed in May 1869..On 8 July 1869, the Agency for International Development and set up on 15 August in Hokkaido On 8 February 1882 was the dissolution of the Development Authority and the division into the three prefectures, Hakodate, Nemuro, and Sapporo. The prefectures were on 1 January 1886 resolved in favor of the newly established Hokkaido Agency based in Sapporo and field offices in Hakodate and Nemuro. On 2 November 1897 have been set up today’s 14 branch offices and branch Shana. In December 1903 shall be awarded to Nemuro Shana. On 3 Was dissolved in May 1947, the Hokkaido Prefecture of Hokkaido and the authority set up. On 28 Parliament decided in June 2008, the prefecture of the replacement of the 14 branches in nine Sogo Shinko-kyoku and five subordinate kyoku-Shinko , which as of 1 April 2010 was then.
The prefecture was next to the main island of many islands in the adjacent seas, the Sea of Japan , the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk . The north-east directly adjacent Kuril Islands have been the war of Russia managed, however, as Japan faces the islands of Hokkaido and demanded the return in vain to this day. The highest elevation is the Asahi with 2291 meters above sea level. In the south, Hokkaido bordering the Tsugaru Strait to the island from the Japanese main island of Honshu separates. Hokkaido is located in a temperate monsoon zone , but with very cold winters. On the island there are active volcanoes .
From Hakodate and Tomakomai is a ferry to Honshu. In addition, both islands are connected by the second-longest tunnel in the world, the 54-kilometer Seikan rail tunnel under the sea. Ports on the north side, Wakkanai and Abashiri .