National Parks (国立公園 Kokuritsu Kōen ) and Quasi-National Parks (国定公園 Kokutei Kōen ) in Japan are places of scenic beauty designated for protection and sustainable usage by the Minister of the Environment under the Natural Parks Law (1957). National Parks are designated and in principle managed by the Ministry of the Environment. Quasi-National Parks, of a slightly lesser beauty, size, diversity, or state of preservation, are recommended for ministerial designation and managed by the Prefectures under the supervision of the Ministry.
Japan established its first kōen (公園) or public park in 1873 (Ueno Park). In 1911 local citizens petitioned that the shrines and forests of Nikkō be placed under public protection and in 1929 the National Parks Association was formed. In 1931 the first National Parks Law was passed and, after much study and survey, in March 1934 the first parks were established - Setonaikai, Unzen and Kirishima - with five more in December and a further three two years later. Ise-Shima was the first to be created after the war, and a further seven had been added by 1955. In 1957 the Natural Parks Law replaced the earlier National Parks Law, allowing for three categories of park, the National, Quasi-National, and Prefectural Natural Parks. With minor amendments this established the framework that operates today.
As of 16 March 2012, there were 30 National Parks and 56 Quasi-National Parks. The National Parks cover 20,869 km² (5.5% of the land area) while the Quasi-National Parks cover 13,614 km² (3.6% of land area). In addition, the 309 Prefectural Parks cover 19,608 km² (5.2% of the land area).
The area of each National and Quasi-National Park is divided into ordinary, special and marine park zones. Special zones are further subdivided into special protection and class I, II, and III special zones, restricting access and use for preservation purposes. The state owns only approximately half of the land in the parks.
List of National Parks 
List of Quasi-National Parks 
Chūgoku and Shikoku 
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