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city, Chiba ken (prefecture), Honshu, Japan. It lies along the Edo River east of Tokyo. The city is composed of the three towns of Ichikawa, Yawata, and Nakayama, which were salt-producing post towns on the Chiba Highway (Chiba-kaido) during the Tokugawa period (1603-1867). Since the opening of two railway lines in 1894, the city has served as a commercial, industrial, and residential suburb of Tokyo. Ichikawa houses educational institutions. The cultivation of vegetables and fruit on the plateaus to the north is important. Pop. (2005) 466,608.