Steeped in centuries of Asian culture and history, Japan, an archipelago of 4 major and over 4,000 smaller islands, is a mostly mountainous country with only 15% of its land cultivable.
As a result of that shortage of land, its largest cities ring the coastline. The mammoth metropolis of Tokyo, and the other huge cities along the Pacific Ocean are home to most of its people.
After the atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and its obvious eventual defeat in World War II, Emperor Hirohito surrendered in 1945.
Japan recovered within two decades; becoming a staunch ally of the US, and completely revised their postwar consitution. They went so far as to limit the power of their emperor making it, as it is today, a ceremonial position.
Japan, within the blink-of-an-eye, (it seems) became one of the world’s major economic forces; its high-quality automobiles and electronics cover the planet.
Visitors enjoy the fast-paced culture and excitement of Tokyo and Osaka, the rural coastal villages and wilderness areas, the winter wonderland of Sapporo, and most of all…the courteous and respectful Japanese people.
Facts and Figures
(long form) none
Capital City Tokyo (8.3 mil ) metro (31.8 mil)
Currency Yen (JPY)
National Day December 23
Religions Buddist and Shinto (85%), others
Latitude/Longitude (Capital City)
35� 45′ N, 139� 30′ E
Relative Location Japan is in both the northern and eastern hemispheres. Positioned off the eastern coast of Asia, east of the Korean Peninsula, this island country is bordered by the Philippine Sea, East China Sea, Sea of Japan (East Sea), Sea of Okhotsk and the North Pacific Ocean.
Coastline 18,486 miles (29,751 km)
(land) 144,689 sq miles (374,744 sq km)
(water) 1,194 sq miles (3,091 sq km)
(TOTAL) 145,883 sq miles (377,835 sq km)
Land Area (all countries) here
Landforms A long ridge of rugged mountains runs through the heart of Japan, punctuated by steep tree-lined slopes, and deep valleys on the Pacific Ocean side, and lower hills and mountains along the Sea of Japan side.
The main interior mountain ranges include the Akaishi, Hido and Kiso, where elevations exceed 9,800 ft. (3,000 m). The country’s highest point, Mt Fuji, southwest of Tokyo, is a dormant volcano.
The islands of Japan are located on the Ring of Fire, and as a result suffer from frequent, violent earthquakes and some serious volcanic activity.
A small series of plains are situated along the coastal areas. A notable number of (very short) rivers flow briskly down the mountains into the coastal areas. The largest river in Japan is the Shinano.
Highest Point Mt Fuji – 12,388 ft. (3,776m)
Lowest Point Lake Hachirogata – (-13 ft.) (-4 m) below sea level
Land Divisions 47 prefectures; including: Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gifu, Gumma, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Iwate, Kagawa, Kagoshima, Kanagawa, Kochi, Kumamoto, Kyoto, Mie, Miyagi, Miyazaki, Nagano, Nagasaki, Nara, Niigata, Oita, Okayama, Okinawa, Osaka, Saga, Saitama, Shiga, Shimane, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Tokushima, Tokyo, Tottori, Toyama, Wakayama, Yamagata, Yamaguchi and Yamanashi.