Japan’s landscape is primarily rough and steep, with a forest covering 2/3 of the land area. The population is concentrated in coastal cities, plains, and valleys. Japan is situated on numerous tectonic plates in the Northwest Ring of Fire.
Three oceanic trenches are east of the Japanese Islands. As the ocean Pacific Plate subducts beneath the continental plate, the Japan Trench is formed. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes are all caused by the ongoing process.
It is the world’s fourth-biggest island nation and the largest island nation in East Asia. The nation possesses the world’s sixth-longest coastline at 18,486 miles.
Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Okinawa are the five main islands. There are 6,847 smaller and more remote islands that make up the country.
Japan is completely surrounded on all sides by bodies of water. It is detached from the Russian Far East to the north by the Sea of Okhotsk, from the Korean Peninsula to the west by the Sea of Japan, from China and Taiwan to the southwest by the East China Sea, and from the Pacific Ocean to the east by the Pacific Ocean.
The Japanese islands extend about 1,900 miles from the Sea of Okhotsk to the Philippine Sea in the Pacific Ocean. Japan is narrow in width, with no point in Japan exceeding a distance of 93 miles from the ocean. There are a total of 6,852 islands.
Although the regions are not formal administrative entities, they have long been utilized as Japan’s regional division in a variety of settings. Maps and geography textbooks, for example, split Japan into eight regions, weather broadcasts generally offer weather by region.
A mountain range runs across each of Japan’s main islands, making up around 3/4 of the country. Mount Fuji, at an elevation of 12,388 feet, is Japan’s highest peak. Because the mountains are densely wooded, Japan’s forestation rate is also 3/4.
The Japanese land formations are filled with mountainous islands and create a crescent off Asia’s eastern coast. The Sea of Japan separates them from the continent and acts as a protective barrier. Because of active plate tectonics in the Ring of Fire, Japan currently has 108 active volcanoes.
Mount Fuji, a dormant volcano in Shizuoka Prefecture that reaches approximately 12,388 feet above sea level, is the country’s highest peak. Plateaus and low mountain areas with heights of 1500 to 4,500 feet may be found on the Sea of Japan side.
In central Honshu, there are three main plains. The Kanto Plain, which encompasses 6,600 square miles in the Kanto area, is the largest. Tokyo is the capital and home to the world’s most populous metropolitan area.
The Nobi Plain, which covers 690 square miles and is home to Honshu’s third most populated city, Nagoya, is the second biggest plain in the country. The Osaka Plain, which encompasses 620 square miles in the Kinki area, is Honshu’s third-biggest plain.
It is home to Osaka’s second-largest metropolitan area (Osaka and Nagoya both stretch inland from their shores until they reach mountains). Kyoto and Nara are connected by the Osaka Plain. Kyoto lies in the Yamashiro Basin, which covers 319.7 square miles, while Nara is in the Nara Basin, which covers 120 square miles.
Rivers are steep and rapid on average, and just a handful are navigable only in their lower sections. Although most rivers are less than 190 miles long, hydroelectric power is generated by their fast flow from the mountains.
Japan is truly an outdoor paradise from fishing to hiking and all outdoor interest imaginable. Many of its forests, rivers, and streams are remote from its major population centers, and exploring them will feel as though you’ve traveled thousands of miles from a major metropolitan area.
NatGeo Japans Geography For Kids