Japan is situated in northeastern Asia between the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. The area of Japan is 377,944 square kilometers, nearly equivalent to Germany and Switzerland combined or slightly smaller than California. Japan consists of 6,852 islands, including four of the large main islands.

Shown below are the four major islands, their locations and sizes.

Hokkaido (northern island) 83,457 square kilometers
Honshu (main island) 231,121 square kilometers
Shikoku (smallest island) 18,793 square kilometers
Kyushu (southern island) 42,194 square kilometers

Japan has many islands, but also has many forests as well. The forests of Japan cover about 25.12 million hectares, which adds up to roughly 66% of the entire national land area. This means that Japan has one of the largest forest coverage rates in the world. Other areas used consist of 5.04 million hectares of agricultural land, 3.06 million hectares of other land, 1.74 million hectares of residential land, 1.33 million hectares of water surfaces, rivers, and channels, 1.23 million hectares of roads, and 260 thousand hectares of wilderness areas.

*These figures are from October 1, 2013 (Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications)

Japan's topographical features include coastlines with varied scenery, towering mountains, which are very often volcanic and twisted valleys that invite visitors into the mysterious world of nature. The National Area of Japan The islands of Japan in the Pacific Ocean may cover more territory than you thought. The northernmost, southernmost, easternmost, and westernmost edges are as shown below.

  Island name Longitude Latitude
Easternmost edge Minamitorishima 153°59’11”E 24°16’59”N
Westernmost edge Yonagunijima 122°56’01”E 24°26’59”N
Southernmost edge Okinotorishima 136°04’11”E 20°25’31”N
Northernmost edge Iturup 148°45’14”E 45°33’18”N

It is about 3,146 kilometers from the easternmost island of Minamitorishima to the westernmost island of Yonagunijima, and 2,787 kilometers from the southernmost island of Okinotorishima to the northernmost island of Iturup.

Tourism in Japan attracted 8.3 million foreign visitors in 2008, slightly more than Singapore and Ireland. Japan has 16 World Heritage Sites, including Himeji Castle and Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Kyoto receives over 30 million tourists annually.Foreigners also visit Tokyo and Nara, Mount Fuji, ski resorts such as Niseko in Hokkaido, Okinawa, ride the shinkansen and take advantage of Japan's hotel and hotspring network. Explore our Japan Tour Package!

Domestic tourism remains a vital part of the Japanese economy and Japanese culture. Children in many middle schools see the highlight of their years as a visit to Tokyo Disneyland or perhaps Tokyo Tower, and many high school students often visit Okinawa or Hokkaido. The extensive rail network together with domestic flights sometimes in planes with modifications to favor the relatively short distances involved in intra-Japan travel allows efficient and speedy transport.

Neighbouring South Korea is Japan's most important source of foreign tourists. In 2010, the 2.4 million arrivals made up 27% of the tourists visiting Japan.

Chinese travelers are the highest spenders in Japan by country, spending an estimated 196.4 billion yen (US$2.4 billion) in 2011, or almost a quarter of total expenditure by foreign visitors, according to data from the Japan Tourism Agency.


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