Flowers in Japan

Japanese Geography

Japan map

Japan map

The islands of Japan are bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the east and the Japan sea on the west. They are connected with the Asian mainland by the relatively shallow-lying continental shelf. On the Pacific side of the islands are the two regions of extreme depth known as the Japan Deep and the Izu-Ogasawara Deep.

Several volcanic ranges running through the country have given Japan a great deal of variety in its topographical features. Its rivers are short and fast-flowing and form deep gorges in the mountainous areas. All the major islands have highly irregular coast lines. Wherever the traveler goes in Japan, he will be impressed by the many places of scenic beauty. The countryside is dotted with hot springs, many of which have become popular resorts.

Lying on the Circum-Pacific earthquake zone, the Japanese Archipelago not only is the site of considerable volcanic activity but also is one of the world’s most seismologically active areas. Severe earthquake that have hit Japan since the beginning of the twentieth century include the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 (magnitude of 7.9), which caused extensive damage over a wide area including Tokyo, the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 (7.2), which devastated much of the Hanshin area, including Kobe and Awani Island, and the Mid Niigata Prefecture Earthquake of 2004 (magnitude 6.8), which ravaged the central region of Niigata Prefecture.

Great Kanto Earthquake (1933)

Great Kanto Earthquake (1933)

Great Hanshin Earthquake (1995)

Great Hanshin Earthquake (1995)

Niigata Earthquake (2004)

Niigata Earthquake (2004)



Nearly 70% of Japan’s land area is mountainous. Since most of this is forested, far over half of the country’s total area (66%) is covered with forest. Argricultural land accounts for 14% and resident land for 3%. A mere 0.4% is devoted to industrial purposes.


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