Prefectures of Japan Japan is divided into 47 prefectures , forming the first level of jurisdiction and administrative division. They consist of 43 prefectures proper, two urban prefectures , one "circuit" or "territory" and one "metropolis" . In 1868, the Meiji Fuhanken sanchisei administration created the first prefectures to replace the urban and rural administrators in the parts of the country previously controlled directly by the shogunate and a few territories of rebels/shogunate loyalists who had not submitted to the new government such as Aizu/Wakamatsu. In 1871, all remaining feudal domains (han) were also transformed into prefectures, so that prefectures subdivided the whole country. In several waves of territorial consolidation, today's 47 prefectures were formed by the turn of the century. In many instances, these are contiguous with the ancient ritsuryō provinces of Japan. Circuit (administrative division) A circuit was a historical political division of China and is a historical and modern administrative unit in Japan. The primary level of administrative division of Korea under the Joseon and in modern North and South Korea employs the same Chinese character as the Chinese and Japanese divisions but, because of its relatively greater importance, is usually translated as province instead. Zhou (country subdivision) Zhou were historical political divisions of China. Formally established during the Han dynasty, zhou exist continuously until the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912—a period of over 2000 years. Zhou were also previously used in Korea, Vietnam, and Japan . Shinchiku Prefecture Shinchiku Prefecture was one of the administrative divisions of Taiwan during the Japanese era. The prefecture consisted of modern-day Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Taoyuan City, and Miaoli County.