The Chugoku region, occupying the western end of Honshu, encompasses five prefectures. It is characterized by irregular rolling hills and limited plain areas and is divided into two distinct parts by mountains running east and west through its center. The northern, somewhat narrower, district is known as San'in, or "shady side of the mountain," and the southern district is known as San'y , or "sunny side," because of the marked differences in climate. The whole Inland Sea region, including San'yo, underwent rapid development in the late twentieth century. The city of Hiroshima, rebuilt after being destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945, is an industrial metropolis of more than 1 million people. Overfishing and pollution reduced the productivity of the Inland Sea fishing grounds, and the area concentrated on heavy industry. San'in, however, is less industrialized and relies on agriculture.
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