Fukushima is the capital city of Fukushima Prefecture in the Thoku Region of Japan. As of May 2011 the city has an estimated population of 290,064 and an area of 746.43 Square kilometers. It lies about 250 kilometers north of Tokyo and 80 km south of Sendai. Fukushima was once called "Shinobu-no-sato," the village of Shinobu. In the 12th century Suginome Taro built Suginome Castle and the village began to develop as a castle town surrounding Fukushima Castle. During the Edo period, Fukushima began to grow prosperous from the production of silk and its name became well-known even in Kyoto.