Geography of Japan

Brief Overview of Geography of Japan

Kami Kochi Area

73% of the Land of Japan is Mountainious
Japan is an island country consist of almost 7,000 islands, including five main islands, “Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa” and other smaller islands. The total are of Japan is about 378,000 sq kms, which is little larger than Germany and little smaller than Norway. In the country, 73% is mountainous and 67% is forest.
The Japanese archipelago is the peaks of mountain ridges which are in upheaval near the outer edge of Asian continental shelf. As a result, long mountain chains runs in the middle of the main islands of Japan, which divides Japan into two major region, the one is to fronting on the Sea of Japan and the other one is to fronting on the Pacific Ocean. The highest point in the country is Mount Fuji, a volcano dormant since 1707 that rises to 3,776 meters above sea level in Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefecture.

Tokachi Plain

Rich and Fruitful Plains and Mountain Basins of Japan
None of the populated plains or mountain basins are extensive in area. None of the populated plains or mountain basins are extensive in area. The largest plain in Japan is the Kanto Plain, where Tokyo is located, covers only 13,000 sq kms. Other important plains are the Nobi Plain surrounding Nagoya city, the Kinai Plain in the Osaka–Kyoto urban area, the Sendai Plain around the Sendai city in Tohoku region, and the Ishikari Plain in Hokkaido. Many of these plains are along the coast, and their areas have been increased by reclamation in many years.

Yokohama Area of reclaimed landsExtending Landscape by Artificial Islands
The small amount of habitable land has prompted significant human modification of the terrain over many centuries. Land was reclaimed from the sea and from river deltas by building dikes and drainage, and rice paddies were built on terraces carved into mountainsides. The process continued in the modern period with extension of shorelines and building of artificial islands for industrial and port development, such as Port Island and Rokko Island in Kobe, and the new Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay. Hills and even mountains have been razed to provide flat areas for housing.

Shimanto River

Unique Winding Rivers Coming from Mountains
Rivers are generally steep and swift, and few are suitable for navigation except in their lower reaches. Most rivers are less than 300 kms long, but their rapid flow from the mountains provides a valuable, renewable resource: hydroelectric power generation. Japan's hydroelectric power potential has been exploited almost to 100%. Seasonal variations in flow have led to extensive development of flood control measures. The longest river in Japan is the Shinano River, which winds through Nagano Prefecture to Niigata Prefecture and flows into the Sea of Japan, is only 367 kms long. The largest freshwater lake is the Lake Biwa, having 681 sq kms size, in northeast of Kyoto.

Mt. Fuji and Japanese Moss Phlox Sakura
Japan Northern Alps
Japan Northern Alps
Japan Central Alps
Japan Central Alps
Japan Southern Alps
Japan Southern Alps
Rebun island
Rebun Island in Hokkaido
Senjojiki Curl
Senjojiki Cirque in Nagano
Kanto Plain
Kanto Plain and Mt.Fuji
Karasawa Curl
Karasawa Cirque in Nagano
Rishiri-Zan in Hokkaido
Aso Mountains
Aso Caldera Range in Kumamoto
Central Alps
Kiso-Komagadake in Nagano
Tateyama Mountains
Tateyama Mountains in Toyama

Extreme Points of Japan

Most Snowing Cold Land to Sub-tropical Warm Land
The extreme points of Japan include the coordinates that are farthest north, south, east and west in Japan, and the ones that are at the highest and the lowest elevations in the country. Japan's northernmost point is disputed, as both Japan and Russia have claimed Iturup, the island on which Japan claims the point is located. Therefore, Bentenjima and Cape Soya is now said to be the effective northernmost point of Japan. The southernmost point is Okinotorishima; the westernmost is Cape Irizaki in Okinawa Prefecture, and the easternmost is Minami Torishima. The highest point in Japan is the summit of Mount Fuji at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft). At 150 m (492 ft) below sea level, the bottom of Hachinohe mine is the country's lowest point. The surface of Hachirōgata is Japan's lowest natural point at 4 m (13 ft) below sea level. With the exception of Cape Irizaki, the western-most location of Japan, all other extreme locations are uninhabited.

Extreme Points of Japan
Map of Extreme Points of Japan
BentenjimaNorthernmost Point: Bentenjima (弁天島)
Bentenjima is a small deserted island west by northwest of Cape Soya, Wakkanai, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the northernmost piece of land under Japanese control. The island is 1 km north of Sannai settlement. Bentenjima is 0.005 square kilometres in area, its perimeter is roughly 0.5 kilometres, and its highest point is 20 metres above sea level. It is named after Benzaiten, once enshrined on the island. The wildlife includes many seabirds, steller sea lions, kombu kelp, and sea urchins.
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Cape Soya Northernmost Point(Accessible): Cape Soya (宗谷岬)
Cape Soya is the northernmost point of the island of Hokkaido, Japan. The Monument of the Northernmost Point of Japan is at the cape. Since the cape is just 43 km away across La Perouse Strait from Cape Crillon, Sakhalin Island, Russia, it is possible to catch a glimpse of the island of Sakhalin on a clear day. Cape Soya settlement, east of the cape, has many facilities known to be "the northernmost in Japan", such as the northernmost lighthouse, the northernmost filling station, the northernmost elementary school, and so on.
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Minami TorishimaEasternmost point: Minami Torishima(南鳥島)
Minami-Torishima, also known as Marcus Island, is an isolated Japanese coral atoll in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, located some 1,848 kilometres southeast of Tokyo and 1,267 kilometres east of the closest Japanese island, South Iwo Jima Island. The closest island to Minami-Torishima is East Island in the Mariana Islands, which is 1,015 kilometres to the west-southwest. The meaning of its Japanese name is "Southern Bird Island". It is the easternmost territory belonging to Japan, and the only Japanese territory on the Pacific Plate, past the Japan Trench. It is also the easternmost territory of Tokyo, being administratively part of Ogasawara village.
OkinotorishimaSouthernmost Point: Okinotorishima (沖ノ鳥島)
The Okinotori Islands "Distant Bird Island" are an 8 square kilometres total area atoll. It is located on the Palau-Kyushu Ridge in the Philippine Sea at 20°25′N 136°05′ECoordinates: 20°25′N 136°05′E, 534 km (332 mi) SE of Oki Daito and 567 km (352 mi) WSW of Minami Iwo Jima of the Ogasawara Islands or 1,740 km (1,080 mi) south of Tokyo, Japan. They are the southernmost islands of Japan, and the only Japanese territory in the tropics.
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Cape IrizakiWesternmost Point: Cape Irizaki (西崎岬)
Cape Irizaki is the western tip of Yonaguni Island and the westernmost point in Japan. There is a lighthouse, an observation platform, and a monument titled "Monument of the Westernmost Point of Japan" on the cape. Being the westernmost point in the country, tourists gather at the cape daily to see the final sunset in Japan. The cape reaches a height of 50 metres (160 ft), and is surrounded by sea cliffs. Taiwan, which is about 110 kilometres (68 mi) to the west, is visible on a clear day.
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Mount FujiHighest Point: Mount Fuji (富士山)
Mount Fuji, located on Honshu Island, is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776.24 m. An active stratovolcano that last erupted in 1707–08, Mount Fuji lies about 100 kilometres south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji's exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped several months a year, is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers.
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HachirougataLowest Point: Hachirougata (八郎潟)
Hachirogata is a lake in the Akita Prefecture in northern Japan. Its formal name is Lake Hachiro. At 4 meters below sea level, Hachirogata is now the lowest point in Japan. Hachirogata was the second-largest lake in Japan after Lake Biwa. Extensive reclamation began in 1957 for crop production, and Ogata village was established on the reclaimed land on October 1, 1964. The remaining lake has an area of 48.3 km2 (18th largest in Japan).
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See Also
Encyclopedia of Japan