ken (prefecture), southern Honshu, Japan. The prefecture occupies the central part of the Kii Peninsula. Its southern and northeastern portions are mountainous, while the northwest is composed of the lowland of the Nara Basin. The basin is separated from Osaka (west) by mountains and contains most of the prefecture's population, main cities, and transport facilities. Agriculture, including rice, wheat, flowers, and fruit, is centred in the Nara Basin. Traditional crafts are also a profitable industry in some parts. The basin contains many historic sites, chief among them the ancient city of Nara and its many associated Buddhist temples. Although it is one of the most historic areas of Japan, the Nara Basin is being increasingly drawn into the commercial and industrial orbit of Osaka. Area 1,425 square miles (3,692 square km). Pop. (1991 est.) 1,389,000.
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