The GDP in this area (Osaka and Kobe) is $341 billion, making it one of the world's most productive regions, a match even for Paris and London. And MasterCard Worldwide reported Osaka is 19th ranking city of the world's leading global cities and the instrumental role in driving the global economy.
The name Keihanshin is constructed by extracting a representative kanji from Kyoto (京都), Osaka (大阪), and Kobe (神戸), but using the On-yomi (Chinese reading) instead of the corresponding Kun-yomi (Japanese reading) for each of the characters taken from Osaka and Kobe.
The Urban Employment Area is a metropolitan area definition developed at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Tokyo. This definition is analogous to the Metropolitan Statistical Area concept used to delineate metropolitan areas in the United States. The basic building blocks are municipalities.
The core area is the set of municipalities that contain a densely inhabited district (DID) with a population of 10,000 or more. The Urban Employment Area is called Metropolitan Employment Area, when its core area has 50,000 DID population or more. Otherwise, the area is called Micropolitan Employment Area. A DID is a group of census enumeration districts inhabited at densities of 4,000 or more persons per km². Outlying areas are those municipalities where 10% or more of the employed population work in the core area or in another outlying area. Overlaps are not allowed and an outlying area is assigned to the core area where it has the highest commuter ratio.
This definition assigns a Metropolitan Employment Area to the following cities of the Keihanshin region: Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Himeji, and Wakayama. The lists below indicate which cities belong to which metropolitan area. Towns and villages are not listed.
The Japan Statistics Bureau defines the Major Metropolitan Area or MMA (大都市圏) as the set of municipalities where at least 1.5% of the resident population aged 15 and above commute to school or work in a designated city (defined as the core area). If multiple designated cities are close enough to have overlapping outlying areas, they are combined into a single multi-core area. In the 2000 census, the designated cities used to define the Keihanshin MMA were Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto.
This region consists of the combination of the metropolitan areas of Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, and Himeji, and additionally includes several periurban areas (particularly in southern Shiga Prefecture) that are not part of the four metropolitan areas. The additional cities are (towns/villages are not listed):
As of 2000, the entire Keihanshin region had a population of 18,643,915 over an area of 11,169 km².