Japanese Studies Resources: Maps and Place Names [Back to Table of Contents]
There are many different types of dictionaries for place names. The choice of dictionary is determined by period and the kind of place name being investigated. (For example, looking up the names of mountains, stations, or historic sites would lead you to look in different dictionaries.) For more detailed information, please contact your Japanese librarian.
How to read place names
Japan Post Office
This site provides address information and readings for prefectures, wards, towns and districts in Japan. Search by place name or zip code.
Gendai Nihon Chimei Yomikata Daijiten
Nichigai Asoshietsu : Hatsubaimoto Kinokuniya Shoten, 1985. 7 vols.
Call# DS805 G39 1985, East Asia Library Reference; also available in SML Stacks.
This seven-volume reference of Japanese place names can be searched by stroke count in each volume, or by the index of kana readings (vol. 7). Entries provide readings of the place name in question as well as the kanji and kana readings of its larger unit of origin (e.g., Kōbe-shi/Hyōgo-ken).
Nichigai Asoshietsu: Hatsubaimoto Kinokuniya Shoten , 1989. 1 vol.
Call# DS805 C467 1989, East Asia Library Reference
A Japanese place name reference. Search by stroke count or kana reading. Each entry includes the kanji and kana reading, place designation (e.g., district, town, city), and its larger unit of origin. Also gives locations of mountains, rivers, train stations, railway lines, highways, parks, and hot springs.
Dictionaries for place names
Kadokawa Nihon Chimei Daijiten
Kadokawa Shoten, 1978-1990. 47 vols.
Call# DS805 K27SML, East Asia Library Reference; also available in SML Stacks
A comprehensive reference work for place names. Each prefecture is covered in one volume with lists of cities and towns. It also provides histories, chronologies and general information on locations in each prefecture.
Web Japan: Gateway for all Japanese Information
Information on regions, prefectures, cities, and districts and their official homepages.
Provides visual presentations on local characteristics to those interested in nature, local traditions, and current social trends in Japan.
Nihon Bunken Chizu Chimei Sōran
Jinbunsha, 1998 2 vol.
Call# G 228, East Asia Library Reference
Saishoku Chikei Etsuran 彩色地形閲覧
Japanese Historical Maps - University of California, Berkeley
"More than 200 images from about 100 early maps of Japan, including examples of especially rare woodblock print maps of the city of Edo (now Tokyo), from the library's Japanese Historical Map Collection are in the online collection."