Kawasaki is a city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, between Tokyo and Yokohama. It is the 9th most populated city in Japan and one of the main cities forming the Greater Tokyo Area and Keihin Industrial Area. Kawasaki occupies a belt of land stretching about 30 kilometres (19 mi) along the south bank of the Tama River, which divides it from Tokyo. The eastern end of the belt, centered around JR Kawasaki Station, is flat and largely consists of industrial zones and densely built working-class housing, the Western end mountainous and more suburban. The coastline of Tokyo Bay is occupied by vast heavy industrial complexes built on reclaimed land.
The western area of Kawasaki, also known as the Tama Hills, largely consists of newly developed residential areas which are connected to Tokyo by the Odakyū Odawara Line and Tokyu Denentoshi Line. The area also houses several university campuses, suburban commercial developments and light industrial complexes.
The region was originally part of Musashi Province alongside Edo (now Tokyo), unlike Yokohama which was part of Sagami Province. During the Heian period Kawasaki was under the control of the Inage clan, and during the Kamakura period it was under the control of the late Hojo clan.
Kawasaki gained increased political importance during the Edo period as a stop for travelers on the Tōkaidō between Edo and points west. In the early Meiji era Japan’s first railroad, the Tokaido Main Line, was built along the Tokaido route through eastern Kawasaki, spurring the area’s growth as an industrial center.
Under Japan’s first local government law enacted in 1899, eastern Kawasaki was designated as a town while the remainder of the present-day city was incorporated as twelve villages, two of them within the jurisdiction of Tokyo Prefecture. Kawasaki City was founded on July 1, 1924 by the merger of two towns and one village surrounding Kawasaki Station, and was expanded to its current size in 1939 (except for certain offshore areas which were reclaimed later).
Much of Kawasaki’s industrial infrastructure was destroyed by American bombings in 1945, but the city rebounded following the war, especially in its western residential areas. Kawasaki became a designated city on April 1, 1972 and was divided into five wards, two of which were further subdivided in 1982 for a total of seven wards.