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Map of Japan


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Japan is an island archipelago nation located in eastern Asia.  It is bordered by the Sea of Japan and South Korea to the west, by Russia to the north, by the North Pacific Ocean to the east, and by the Philippine Sea to the south.  Japan's total area is 145,883 square miles, and its total coastline in 18,486 miles.  Its largest islands include Hokkaido in the north, Honshu in the center, and Shikoku and Kyushu in the south.  Thousands of small islands, the Ryukyu island chain among them, make up the rest of the country.  Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is located on the principal island of Honshu.

Japan Map, Showing Major Cities and Islands

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Geography of Japan

Japan's topography has been made very interesting by complex folding and faulting patterns.  Because of this, you can find small basins and coastal lowlands alternating with mountains and treed hills.  The landform patterns have also been affected by volcanic cones and calderas.  Today, Japan has about 150 volcanoes, 60 of which are still active.  Fuji-san, the highest mountain in Japan, is a dormant volcano that hasn't erupted since 1707.  Most people in Japan live on the coastal plains, and the mountainous regions are sparsely populated.

In addition to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and small tsunamis are common because Japan sits atop continental plates that are constantly shifting and moving.  The complex land patterns also affect Japan's wind and weather patterns, which can be turbulent and unpredictable.

Japan's Climate

Japan's latitude stretches from 25 degrees North to 45 degrees North, so the climate varies widely in Japan.  The north has cold, snowy winters, with temperatures sometimes falling close to zero degrees Fahrenheit.  Summers are warm, with temperatures commonly reaching almost 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  While rain falls in all seasons, Tokyo has more rainfall and higher temperatures than the southern islands.

Leading Japanese Cities

The energetic city of Tokyo bustles with a fast-paced consumer culture, contrasted by traditional quiet and calm themes.  Osaka, a down-to-earth industrial city situated on the southwest coast of Honshu island, features an active and important port, hearty cuisine, and a variety of tourist attractions.  Kyoto, located in southwestern Honshu, was the imperial capital for over 1,000 years, and it is the cultural center of Japan.

Japan Travel Information

Tokyo is the world's largest city, with a 2005 estimated population of 35,327,000.  The Tokyo National Museum displays Japanese art, and on Hokkaido island, visitors enjoy the rugged Daisetsuzan National Park.  Japan is home to the sobering historical sites of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where atomic bombs exploded during World War II.  At 12,388 feet high, Japan's tallest elevation is the volcanic Mount Fuji, which many Japanese people view as a sacred place.  For more extensive information about Japan, visit Web Japan.

Japanese Tourism

  • Japan National Tourist Organization - Japanese government site providing information for online budget hotel reservations, regional guides, convention locations, museums and important starting information.

Japan Resources

  • CIA - The World Factbook - Japan - US Government almanac offers maps, geography, and statistics about Japan.
  • Wikipedia - Japan - includes information about Japanese history and the regions and geography of Japan.
  • Japan News - News headlines and news article links about current events in the nation of Japan.

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