historical Japanese geographic term

The Nankaidō (南海道, literally, "southern sea road") is a Japanese term for both an ancient division of the country and the main road running through the region.[1]




Nankaidō was one of the main circuits of the Gokishichidō system. It was first established during the Asuka period. Over centuries, the government functions of the Gokishichido became less important. However, the traditional eight regions, including Nankaidō, remained cultural markers.

The Nankaidō road connected the capitals of the provinces in this region.[2]



Nankaidō is the geographic region of Shikoku. Awaji Island was also part of the region.

Nankaidō has parts of six ancient provinces[3] and one island,[2] including:

The yellow line is the "Suruga trough", part of the longer "Nankai trough" in red

Some geological features, such as the undersea Nankai Trough, have been named for the region.[4]

Nankaidō earthquakes


Many historic earthquakes have the name "Nankai" or "Nankaido". Major earthquakes are named with the Japanese era name and the location such as Nankaido.


  • 1498 (Meiō 7, 2nd day of the 7th month): regional disaster called the Meiō Nankaidō earthquake (明応地震, Meiō Nankaidō jishin) at Latitude: 33.500/Longitude: 135.200, 7.5 on the Richter Scale.[5]
  • 1605 (Keichō 10): regional disaster called the Keichō Nankaidō earthquake (慶長大地震, Keichō Nankaidō jishin)
  • 1854 (Ansei 1): regional disaster called the Ansei-Nankai earthquake (安政南海地震, Ansei Nankai jishin)[6]
  • 1944 (Shōwa 19): regional disaster called the Tōnankai earthquake (東南海地震, Tōnankai jishhin)
  • 1946 (Shōwa 21): regional disaster called the Nankaido earthquake (南海地震, Nankaido jishin)


  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). Goki-shichidō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 255.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 65-66 n3.
  3. Sale, George et al. (1759). "Japan," An Universal history, from the earliest account of time, Vol. 30, p. 72.
  4. Steurer, J., Underwood, M, 2003, "Clay mineralogy of mudstone from the Nankai Trough reference sites 1173 and 1177 and frontal accretionary prism site 1174," Ms 190SR-211; excerpt, see Figure F1. "Index map of the Nankai Trough study area". Retrieved 2012-4-6.
  5. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC): NOAA/Japan: Significant Earthquake Database. Retrieved 2012-4-6.
  6. Disaster Prevention System Institute, 安政南海地震 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-4-6.