Geography of Japan
Japan, a country of islands, extends along the Eastern and Pacific coast of Asia. The main islands, running from north to south, are
Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Naha in the Ryukyu archipelago is over 600 kilometers (375 mi) to the southwest of Kyushu.
Japan is the 19th most densely populated country in the world. About 70% to 80% of the country is forested, mountainous, and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial, or residential use, due to the generally steep elevations, climate, and risk of landslides caused by earthquakes, soft ground, and heavy rain. This has resulted in an extremely high population density in the habitable zones that are mainly located in coastal areas.
Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the juncture of three tectonic plates, gives Japan frequent low-intensity earth tremors and occasional volcanic activity. Destructive earthquake often resulting in tsunamis, occur several times each century. The most recent major quakes include the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake and the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. Hot springs are numerous, and have been developed as resorts.
Japan is home to nine forest eco regions which reflect the climate and geography of the islands. They range from subtropical moist broadleaf forests in the Ryukyu and Bonin islands, to temperate broadleaf and mixed forests in the mild climate regions of the main islands, to temperate coniferous forests in the cold, winter portions of the northern islands.
Statistics: Location: Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula.
Geographic coordinates: 36 00 N, 138 00 E
Area: Total: 377,835 km² Land: 374,744 km² Water: 3,091 km²
Area comparative: slightly smaller than Montana, USA
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 29,751 km
Climate: varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous
Natural resources: negligible mineral resources, fish
Irrigated land: 27,820 km² (1993 est.)