Official name: Japan
Form of government: Constitutional monarchy
Geographical details: Japan consists of an island chain on the east coast of the Asian continent.
The island chain consists of the main islands Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and 6,848 other islands.
Population: approx. 128.0 million
area approx. 377,835 km²
Languages: Japanese (official language), English (in tourism)
Religion: approx. 84% Shintoism and Buddhism, approx. 15% other religions, thereof
approx. 0.7% Christianity
Time zone: CET +8
Main cities: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Sapporo, Kobe, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Nagoya
International airports: Narita Airport in Tokyo, Kansai Airport in Osaka, Chubu Centrair Airport in Nagoya
Climate: Regionally very different climate; cold temperate climate in the north with cold winters, subtropical climate in the south with warm winters and hot summers
Travel season: April-May and October-November
The geography of Japan
Japan is the fourth largest island nation in the world and is located in the Pacific. The island chain stretches off the coasts of Russia and Korea. Japan consists of 4 main islands and 6,848 smaller islands. The largest main island is Honshu in the central region of Japan. This island is also known as the heartland of Japan. The capital Tokyo is located on the fertile Kanto plain, which is probably one of the most famous cities. Visit shoe-wiki for Japan Country Facts.
The main island of Hokkaido is in the north, the main islands Shikoku and Kyushu in the south. A mountain range runs from north to south over the entire island chain and occupies more than two thirds of the total land area. Only 20 percent of the land area can be used for settlement, industry and agriculture.
The highest elevation in Japan is the 3,776 m high Fujisan volcano on the main island of Honshu. The land area of Japan borders the Japanese Sea in the northwest, the Pacific in the east, the East China Sea in the west and the Philippine Sea in the south.
The Japanese Islands are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and are located on the geological fracture zone of the North American plate in the north, the Eurasian plate in the west, the Philippine plate in the south and the Pacific plate in the east. Due to the constant movement of the individual continental plates, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions are a constant danger in Japan.
There are several small earthquakes in Japan every day, but some of them are hardly noticeable. Major earthquakes follow at larger intervals, such as the 1995 Kobe earthquake or the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. There are approximately 240 volcanoes on the Pacific Ring of Fire. 40 of these volcanoes are active.
The flora and fauna of Japan
The mountain range on the Japanese archipelago is densely forested. Some of their peaks extend beyond the tree line. Almost 66 percent of Japan’s land area is covered with forests. The Japanese red pine is the most common conifer. The traditional Japanese houses were built from the wood of the sickle fir, which can be seen and gave the houses that certain something.
In addition to the forests, a large part of the available land is used as a cultivation area for crops. The most important crop is rice, which was imported from Korea centuries ago and is considered an important staple food. Other important crops are tea, millet, various types of beans and vegetables and citrus plants.
Despite the narrow habitat, a large number of animal species have developed on the Japanese islands. Brown bears, black bears, deer, monkeys and antelopes can be observed in the local forests. However, the heavy population of the coastal areas led to the extinction of some species of mammals. These include some species of otter, the Japanese sea lion or the Honshu wolf, which is a shame.
Over 500 bird species have been counted on the Japanese islands. Japan is also an important stopover for migratory birds that breed in Siberia and find their winter quarters here. The colored pheasant is the national bird of Japan. Crows, sparrows, pigeons and swallows are particularly common in the cities.
The coastal waters offer an ideal habitat for many different types of fish. The coastal areas on the northern part of the main island of Honshu are considered to be the richest in species in the world and therefore already have a very great fascination for a wide variety of people and, of course, especially nature lovers.