ken (prefecture), northeastern Kyushu, Japan, facing the Suo Sea and Bungo Strait of the Pacific Ocean. Its interior is dominated by a complex mountain system, and most human activity centres on small coastal plains. The long, irregular coastline is marked by deep-cut Beppu Bay and the rounded Cape Kuni. Oita city, the prefectural capital, is located on the southern coast of Beppu Bay. It reached its greatest fame in the 16th century but declined during the Tokugawa period (1603-1867). Most of the population of the ken are farmers who raise subsistence and some cash crops (tobacco, reeds, citrus fruit) and cattle. Forestry flourishes in the mountains, and some industry (textiles, metals, cement, chemicals) is found in the main coastal cities. Beppu, on Beppu Bay, is one of Japan's best-known hot-spring resorts. Oita city, now a port for the Inland Sea trade, is a major centre of heavy industry on Kyushu. Oil refineries and petrochemical plants operate on reclaimed land. Area 2,447 square miles (6,338 square km). Pop. (1990) 1,236,924.
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