Harima (播磨), also known as Banshu (播州), comprises the south western portion of Hyogo prefecture, on the main Japanese island Honshu. It borders greater Kobe in the east, Tamba in the northeast, Tajima in the north, and Okayama Prefecture in the west. It is home to the world renowned Himeji Castle.
Harima was formerly an independent province in feudal Japan, and while it is now a part of Hyogo prefecture, it and other parts of the prefecture retain their own unique personalities.
Harima is centered on the Harima Plain, a large alluvial plain spanning from Akashi in the east to Tastuno in the west. Further west the terrain gets a little more mountainous, but this is nothing compared to the mountains that make up it's northern border with the region of Tajima. While these mountains can be a hassle for getting around (there is only one direct train line between Harima and Tajima) they also protect Harima from the harsh winter weather that blankets its northern neighbors in snow. As a result residents of Harima can enjoy the ski slopes of their northern neighbors while enjoying relatively mild winters back home.
To the south Harima faces the Harima Sea, a section of the larger Seto Inland Sea. In ancient times Inland Sea was the economic lifeblood of Japan, linking the capitols of Kyoto and Nara to trade with the Korean peninsula and China, while supplying a seemingly endless supply of fish. While the capitol is on the other side of the country now and the fishing grounds aren't as pristine as they used to be, the Inland Sea still ensures the livelihood of millions of Japanese. It's no surprise then that most of Harima's population (and tourist sites) can be found near the coast, in cities like Ako, Akashi, Kakogawa, and Himeji.
Harima is known for a variety of locally-made knick-knacks, which include cutlery and fabric.
- 1 Himeji - Home to Japan's most beautiful castle
- 2 Ako - A city famous for salt and the legendary 47 Loyal Samurai
- 3 Akashi - A port city known for its fresh seafood and Akashi-yaki (a variant of Takoyaki)
- Kakogawa - A large city with a movie theater
- Nishiwaki - Japan's Belly-Button (geographic center)
The dialect in Harima (播州弁 Banshu-ben) is a mixture of the Kansai and Chugoku dialects, and has the dubious reputation of being the harshest in Japan. Listen for rolled Rs.