The Kansai region (関西) of Japan, also known as the Kinki region (近畿地方; Kinki-chihō), lies in the middle of Japan's main island, Honshu.
The Ki (畿) in Kinki is Japanese for miyako meaning city or metropolis. It stems from the fact that up until the Edo era Japan's capital was located in this region.
The Kansai region includes the prefectures of Nara, Wakayama, Mie, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Shiga. The Kansai region is often compared (yet more often contrasted) with the Kanto region, which lies to the east and is comprised primarily of Tokyo and the surrounding area.
Whereas the Kanto region is symbolic of standardization throughout Japan (from the government to economics to the language), the Kansai region displays many more idiosyncracies through the culture in Kyoto, the merchantilism of Osaka, the history of Nara, the internationality of Kobe, and the distinct dialect (Kansai-ben) heard through the seven prefectures.
The region's main airport is Kansai International Airport.
Universities in the Kansai Area
See also: Geography of Japan, List of regions in Japan