Japan: An Island Country Essay

2367 words - 9 pages

Japan is an island country located in eastern Asia. It is a small country compared to the other countries in the mainland. Despite its size and location, it is a very developed country. Japan is known for its geography, climate, religion, food and mostly for its popular culture that has influenced other parts of the world.
As stated before, Japan is a shimaguni, in other words, an island country. It lies in the Pacific Ocean to the east of continent of Asia. The geographic setting of Japan is an archipelago, island chain, which consists of many islands with four main islands (Japan’s Geography). From north to south, the four main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu which comprises 98% of the total land area of Japan (Module One: Geography). The East China Sea and the Sea of Japan acts as a rift that separates Japan from the inland and to the east is the Pacific Ocean. The total land area equates to 377, 915 square kilometers (The World Factbook). Compared to Germany, Finland, Vietnam, and Malaysia, it is about the same size. It is also 1/25 the size of the United States and even smaller than the large state of California (Geography and Climate, Web Japan).
The coastline of Japan has many variances. Long sandy beaches cover the coastline for as long as 60 kilometers in areas such as Kujurihama in the Chiba Prefecture. In the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture which includes the Goto archipelago and the islands of Tsuhima and Iki, there are many peninsulas and inlets. Changes in the Earth’s crust (shift of plate tectonics) also shape the inlets and steep cliffs of the uneven areas of the coast (Geography and Climate, Web Japan).
Japan is also known as the land of hot springs and for its alluring scenery. If one word could describe Japan, it would be mountainous. Approximately 75% of Japan’s land is covered by mountains. The most mountainous area of Japan, the Chubu Region of central Honshu (The Roof of Japan), is abundant with mountains over 3000 meters high. The highest mountain in Japan is Mt. Fuji located on the border of Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. It is measured about 3,776 meters high. A fun fact about Mt. Fuji is that the winter snow settles at the peak until June due to its altitude. The second highest is Kitadake in Yamanashi prefecture with a height of 3,192 meters and the third is the Hotakadake, at 3,190 meters, which is located on the border between Nagano and Gifu prefecture (Geography and Climate, Web Japan).
Due to its location along the circum-Pacific volcanic belt, there are some volcanic regions that are mostly near the far north and south. About 80 of the total number of volcanoes are active which include Mt. Mihara on Izu Oshima Island, Mt. Asama between Nagano and Gunma prefectures, and Mt. Aso in the Kumamoto prefecture. According to Japan Fact Sheet, the number of active volcanoes is about 1/10 of the world’s active volcanoes even though Japan has 1/400 of the world’s land area. Although the volcanic...

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