Environment

The Largest Japanese Islands

Honshu, Japan's largest island, is also the seventh largest in the world, and home to the metropolis of Tokyo.

Japan is home to one of the most advanced and developed societies in the world. Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world and is home to one of the largest and most important cities worldwide, the metropolis of Tokyo. It is also one of the most homogeneous countries on the planet. Japan has five major islands that this article will discuss. They are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa.

Japan's Biggest Islands

5. Okinawa (466 square miles)

Okinawa is located between the East China Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, it is the largest and most populated on the 72 islands in the chain that make up the Ryukyu Archipelago. Okinawa is a subtropical island that has a average yearly temperature of around 68° Fahrenheit (20° Celsius). Among the prefectures of Japan, Okinawa actually has the youngest and fastest growing population, despite the fact that Okinawa's population is know as one of the oldest in the world. There are 34 centenarians (people over 100) per 100,000 people on the island. Okinawa has the lowest employment rate and average income compared to other prefectures and its economy is mainly driven by tourism and the United States military presence on the island, which is unpopular with Okinawa residents. Two of the major tourist attractions are the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and Hiji Falls National Park. Okinawa's capital city, Naha, is the biggest city on the island, accounting for almost 25% of Okinawa's population.

4. Shikoku (7,300 square miles)

Shikoku has a subtropical climate with short mild winters and long hot summers. It also has high mountains and steep slopes, which limit habitability. Shikoku is the smallest of the four main island in the Japanese Archipelago. The island has few natural resources or large scale industry, but it does produce extensive food, beverage, livestock and tobacco industries. It also produces many pulp, paper and chemical products. Shikoku is famous for its 88 temple pilgrimage associated with the priest Kūkai and the Obon festival. The largest city on the island is the capital of the Ehime Prefecture, Matsuyama.

3. Kyushu (13,760 square miles)

Kyushu is a mountainous island, with many signs of tectonic activity, including numerous areas with hot springs and volcanoes. The island houses Japan's most active volcano, Mt. Aso. Major agriculture products the island produces are rice, tea and soy. The island also widely produces silk and is noted for various types of porcelain. Heavy industry is located in the northern part of the island, which includes chemical and metal processing. The largest city on the island is Fukuoka, which is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture. Kyushu is also home to the city of Nagasaki, which was only the second and to date the last city on Earth to experience a nuclear attack .

2. Hokkaido (32,222 square miles)

Hokkaido is the northernmost and largest prefecture in Japan. The island is know for its cool summers and cold winters. The center of the island has a large number of volcanic and mountains, while there are coastal plains in all directions outwards from this center. The island also has a number of National and Semi-national Parks. The island has some light industry, like beer brewing and paper milling, but most of the island's people work in the service sector. Hokkaido also has a major role in agriculture, ranking first in Japan in production on a number of products like corn, beef, and wheat. The tourism industry also plays an important role in the economy. The largest city on the island is the capital of the prefecture, Sapporo which is also the fourth largest city in Japan.

1. Honshu (88,017 square miles)

Honshu is the largest and most populous island in the Japanese archipelago and the seventh largest island in the world. The island is mountainous and volcanic, with the Japanese Alps run through the length of the island. Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain peak in Japan, an active volcano and one of the most well known mountains in the world. Honshu features many rivers, including the longest one in Japan the Shinano River. The island's climate is divided between humid subtropical in the south and humid continental in the north. Fruits, vegetables, rice, cotton, and the bulk of Japan's tea and silk all come from the island. The island has many diverse heavy industry jobs including, electronics, metallurgical, chemical and textile. Many of Japan's largest and most important cities are located on Honshu. There are populous major port and historical cities like Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya and Yokohama. Hiroshima, the first city to experience the horrors of a nuclear bomb, is on Honshu, The former capital of Japan, Kyoto, and the current capital of Tokyo, one of the most populous and well know cities in the world, are also on the island.

Japan and Its Varied Islands

Now you know all about the various elements and differences between the biggest islands of Japan. It is very interesting to see the differences between each island's climate, geography, climate, and major cities. Each of Japan's islands clearly has a important role for the country, while having its own uniqueness as well. I hope that you are now more informed on Japan should you ever visit the magical "Land of the Rising Sun".

The Biggest Islands Of Japan

RankIslandArea
1Honshu 88,017 square miles
2Hokkaido 32,222 square miles
3Kyushu 13,760 square miles
4Shikoku 7,300 square miles
5Okinawa466 square miles

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