Islands of Japan

Islands of Japan
Islands of Japan

Japan has a large number of small islands and five main islands. Here, let's take a look what's in the islands. See also Maps of Japan.


Hokkaido is most known of it's city Sapporo and it's product, Sapporo Beer. Other major cities in Hokkaido are Hakodate and Asahikawa in the center of the island.

In Tokyoists minds, Hokkaido is a cool place to live. Indeed, it's summers are cool, the average August temperature being around 22C.

Hokkaido is also a famous tourist attraction during the winter as one can view the passage of ice bergs on Sea of Okhotsk. Other attractions are numerous ski resorts and smaller cities like Otaru.

The last remains of Ainu, the Japanese aboriginals live in Hokkaido.


Honshu is the largest island of Japan, often called "the Mainland". Honshu is mountaineous and volcanic so it has frequent earthquakes, as the Great Kanto Earthquake. On Honshu you can also see Japanese Alps.

Unlike often thought, Honshu does have agricultural regions, perhaps the most known is Niigata. Niigata is the city described in Yasunari Kawabata's Yukiguni and nowadays is notorious of it's natural disasters and heavy snowfalls.

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Honshu consists five regions:

Naturally, the Kanto area has the largest population in cities such as Tokyo, and Yokohama. Other large areas are Chubu (Nagoya), and Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe).

Honshu also has many rivers but surprisingly few lakes. Honshu is connected to the islands of Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku by tunnels and bridges.


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Shikoku is connected to the main island by the great Seto Bridge. Shikoku has many mountains, running east and west. Highest mountain in Shikoku is Mount Ishizuchi in Ehime prefecture. Takamatsu is the northern city which way most of the traffic to the island goes.

Fruits and rice are planted in the eastern part of Shikoku, including persimmon. Two crops of rice can be cultivated annually in the southern area. Also there are lot of abundant forests and hydroelectric power.

Shikoku appears to be somehow mysterious island for the Japanese, and is surprisingly unknown even for the Japanese living in other islands. Haruki Murakami's book Kafka on the Shore describes a small private library in Shikoku and the atmosphere of the island. Also Kenzaburo Oe is born in Ehime and his book M/T could be inspired by forests of Shikoku.


Kyushu is the third largest island of Japan. It is often discussed as a birthplace of Japanese civilization, which then spreaded to other islands. One of the most famous city of Kyushu is Fukuoka, which used to be the old port of Japan before Meiji era, through which people, goods and culture was imported to to Japan from Korea and China.

Kyushu has subtropical climate, especially the Miyazaki and Kagoshima regions. Major agricultural products are rice, tea, tobacco and sweet potatoes.

Kyushu is split into following prefectures:


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Okinawa is the island, far south from the main islands. It is very different experience to other islands of Japan and it has it's own different kind of culture. It is an island with subtropical climate with white beaches and traditional infrastructure. The kanji characters for Okinawa mean "offshore rope ". Okinawa is combination of small islands (ordered by size):

Okinawa used to be an independent kindong, the Kingdom of the Ryukyus. Okinawans speak the Ryukyu dialect which has long history. Sadly the original dialect is near extinction due to television, and radio. Kimonos, traditional festivals and dances are very different in Okinawa. There is a famous Okinawan singer group called Nenes.

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Okinawa has largest complex of US army bases in Japan and the citizens suffer from noise caused by the helicopters and jets.


can u teach me the best , quicker way to learn Japanese alphabet and vowels?
#1 - vico - 02/13/2009 - 02:14
I luv japan
Hi All
Im really interested in Japan, because I was named in Japanese. My name is Hakoni which is japanese for animal lover.
I love japan and animals.
#2 - Hakoni - 08/09/2010 - 04:32
Ill show u
Japan has 3 main writing systems, called hiragana, kanji and katakana but hiragana is the easiest. Go online an dcheck them out! Give them cool names to remember like for "KAH" the symbol looks like bread and a knife so remember it as kah for cut!

Get it?
#3 - answer to question - 08/09/2010 - 04:35
for KA it is karate, for KI it looks like a key, KU is a kuku bird, and KO is a coin
#4 - criticizer - 01/17/2011 - 19:47
this is soooooo gaaay, i hate japan. they arre all chinese flat faces!
piss off go to your own county, you breed like australian rabbits!!
#5 - jeramy - 05/15/2011 - 21:38
thia didnt answer my question which of japans island has no large towns?
#6 - bob - 01/22/2012 - 11:09
E-mail (Will not appear online)
;-) :-) :-D :-( :-o >-( B-) :oops: :-[] :-P

Japanese Geography | See also: Rivers of Japan, Mt.Fuji, Lake Biwa, Maps of Japan, Islands of Japan, Japan Fact Sheet

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