The UN Seahorse in Japan!
Commemorating the Year of the Ocean
Geography of Japan

 Japan is in East Asia, comprising four large islands, as well as the Ryukyu Islands farther south and more than 1,000 lesser adjacent islands. Japan proper consists of the large islands of Hokkaido, the northernmost; Honshu, the largest, called the mainland; Shikoku; and Kyushu, the southernmost. The total area of Japan is 377,800 (145,869 square miles), about the area of Germany. Due to mountainous regions, only 125,500 is habitable.

The Sea of Okhotsk is to the north of the four main islands of Japan, the Pacific Ocean is to the east and south, the East China Sea is to the southwest, and the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan are on the west. On the Asian continent, Russia is to the north and northwest of Japan, and North Korea, South Korea, and China are to the west. Taiwan lies to the west of Japan's Ryukyu Islands (See the Maps section for detailed maps of Japan and the surrounding areas.

 Japan is a rugged land of high mountains and deep valleys, with many small plains. Because of the alternating sequence of mountain and valley, and the rocky soil, only about 11 percent of the land is arable. The mountains of Japan are the most conspicuous feature of the topography. Mountain ranges extend across the islands from north to south, the main chains sending off smaller ranges that branch out laterally or run parallel to the parent range, and frequently descend to the coast, where they form bays and harbors. Many of these mountains contain dormant and active volcanos, including the famous Mount Fuji, which last erupted in 1707.

Due to the mountainous nature of the terrain, most rivers are short, fast flowing and shallow. So most rivers are not navigable - and a network of ports and harbours, and key highways, serve the purpose of transportation of goods.

Japan has few, if any, natural resources. It depends on much of its raw material needs on imports from other countries.

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