Japan

Japan Geography

Looking to learn about Japan in under 1 minute? Check out our Where is Japan page.

The archipelago of Japan contains over 4,000 islands stretching along the Pacific coast of East Asia, with four major islands (sometimes referred to as the "Home Islands"): Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku.

Honshu is the main island of Japan, and largest at 810 miles (1,300 km) in length. Dominated by mountains and volcanoes, the massive earthquake of March 2011 moved Honshu 7.9 ft (2.4 m).

The second largest, Hokkaido, is also the northernmost of Japan's islands; while on the other end, Kyushu is the most southwesterly. Shikoku is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands.

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 typically exceed 9,800 ft. (3,000 m). The country's highest point, Mt. Fuji, southwest of Tokyo, is a dormant volcano that rises 12,388 ft. (3,776 m).

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. There are a total of 108 active volcanoes within Japan's archipelago, most of which provoke devastating earthquakes and tsunamis several times every century.

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.

Share this page:

Japan prefectures & their capitals

Region Capital
Aichi Nagoya
Akita Akita
Aomori Aomori
Chiba Chiba
Ehime Matsuyama
Fukui Fukui
Fukuoka Fukuoka
Fukushima Fukushima
Gifu Gifu
Gunma Maebashi
Hiroshima Hiroshima
Hokkaido Sapporo
Hyogo Kobe
Ibaraki Mito
Ishikawa Kanazawa
Iwate Morioka
Kagawa Takamatsu
Kagoshima Kagoshima
Kanagawa Yokohama
Kochi Kochi
Kumamoto Kumamoto
Kyoto Kyoto
Mie Tsu
Miyagi Sendai
Miyazaki Miyazaki
Nagano Nagano
Nagasaki Nagasaki
Nara Nara
Niigata Niigata
Oita Oita
Okayama Okayama
Okinawa Naha
Osaka Osaka
Saga Saga
Saitama Saitama
Shiga Otsu
Shimane Matsue
Shizuoka Shizuoka
Tochigi Utsunomiya
Tokushima Tokushima
Tokyo Tokyo
Tottori Tottori
Toyama Toyama
Wakayama Wakayama
Yamagata Yamagata
Yamaguchi Yamaguchi
Yamanashi Kofu

Most popular Cities in Japan

Abiko, Ageoshimo, Akashi, Akita, Akita Shi, Amagasaki, Anjo, Aomori Shi, Asahikawa, Asaka, Ashikaga, Atsugi, Beppu, Chiba, Chigasaki, Chikushino-shi, Chofugaoka, Daitocho, Ebetsu, Fuji, Fujieda, Fujinomiya, Fujisawa, Fukayacho, Fukui-shi, Fukuoka-shi, Fukushima-shi, Fukuyama, Funabashi, Gifu-shi, Hachinohe, Hachioji, Hadano, Hakodate, Hamamatsu, Handa, Higashimurayama-shi, Himeji, Hino, Hirakata, Hiratsuka, Hirosaki, Hiroshima-shi, Hitachi, Hitachi-Naka, Hofu, Ibaraki, Ichihara, Ichinomiya, Iida, Ikoma, Inazawa, Isehara, Isesaki, Ishinomaki, Itami, Iwaki, Iwakuni, Iwatsuki, Izumi, Joetsu, Kadoma, Kagoshima-shi, Kakamigahara, Kakogawacho-honmachi, Kamakura, Kamirenjaku, Kanazawa-shi, Kariya, Kashihara-shi, Kashiwa, Kasugai, Kasukabe, Katsuta, Kawagoe, Kawaguchi, Kawanishi, Kawasaki, Kiryu, Kisarazu, Kishiwada, Kitakyushu, Kitami, Kobe, Kochi-shi, Kofu-shi, Kokubunji, Komaki, Komatsu, Konan, Koriyama, Koshigaya, Kumagaya, Kumamoto, Kurashiki, Kure, Kurume, Kushiro, Kyoto, Machida, Maebashi-shi, Matsubara, Matsudo, Matsue-shi, Matsumoto, Matsuyama, Minami-rinkan, Minato, Mino, Mishima, Mitaka-shi, Mito-shi, Miyakonojo, Miyazaki-shi, Moriguchi, Morioka-shi, Musashino, Nagano-shi, Nagaoka, Nagareyama, Nagasaki-shi, Nagoya-shi, Naha-shi, Nara-shi, Narita, Neyagawa, Niigata-shi, Niihama, Nishi-Tokyo-shi, Nishinomiya-hama, Nishio, Nobeoka, Noda, Numazu, Obihiro, Odawara, Ogaki, Oita, Okayama-shi, Okazaki, Okinawa, Ome, Omuta, Osaka-shi, Ota, Otaru, Oyama, Saitama, Sakai, Sakata, Sakura, Sandacho, Sapporo, Sasebo, Sayama, Sendai, Sendai-shi, Seto, Shimonoseki, Shimotoda, Shizuoka-shi, Soka, Suita, Suzuka, Tajimi, Takamatsu-shi, Takaoka, Takarazuka, Takasaki, Takatsuki, Tokorozawa, Tokushima-shi, Tokuyama, Tokyo, Tomakomai, Tondabayashicho, Tottori, Toyama-shi, Toyohashi, Toyokawa, Toyonaka, Toyota, Tsu-shi, Tsukuba, Ube, Ueda, Uji, Urayasu, Utsunomiya-shi, Wakayama-shi, Yaizu, Yamagata-shi, Yamaguchi-shi, Yao, Yatsushiro, Yokkaichi, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Yonago, Yono, Zama