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Japan: modernity, tradition, islands and volcanoes

Japan is a country of North-East Asia consists of more than 3,000 islands that extend in a north-south direction between the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin in the north and the island of Formosa (Taiwan) to the south. The Japanese archipelago consists of numerous islands of volcanic origin, many are still active volcanoes and frequent are the earthquakes, more than 70% of the country consists of mountains.

The main island of Japan is Honshu Island (227,962 sq km, seventh largest island in the world), on it are some of the largest cities in the country, starting from the capital Tokyo, one of the most populous metropolis in the world, other important cities of the island are Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, Yokohama and Hiroshima, famous for the launch of the first atomic bomb.

Honshu Island is full of mountains and volcanic peaks, the backbone of the island is formed by the Japanese Alps, which runs from north to south, they are formed by chains of mountains Hida, Kiso and Akaishi, with peaks exceeding 3,000 meters as the mountains Hotaka (3,190 meters) and Mount Kita (3,193 meters). In south-central Honshu is also the highest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji (3,776 meters), a still active volcanic peak of nearly perfect conical shape.

Besides Honshū other three are the main islands of the archipelago of Japan, at the extreme north of the archipelago is the island of Hokkaido (83,453 sq km), here the most important city is Sapporo. The geography of the island is characterized by volcanic highlands rich of still active volcanic peaks, including, in the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group, Mount Asahi (2,290 meters) the highest mountain in Hokkaido.

To the south of Honshū are the other two major islands of the country: Kyushu (35,640 sq km) and Shikoku (18,800 sq km). The island of Kyushu is the third largest Japanese island, it hosts the most active Japanese volcano, Mount Aso (1,591 meters), while the highest peak is Mount Kuju-san (1,788 meters). The most important city of the island is Fukuoka, another important center of the island, notorious for the atomic bomb, is Nagasaki.

South of Kyushu extends for over 1,000 km, until reach Formosa (Taiwan), the Ryukyu archipelago, formed by hundreds of volcanic islands, the largest of which is the island of Okinawa (1,015 sq km). The fourth largest island of Japan is the island of Shikoku, which is located south of Honshū and east of Kyushu, the highest mountain on the island of Shikoku is Mount Ishizuchi (1,982 meters).

The economy of Japan, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) nominal in 2011, was the second of the Asian continent, preceded by China, and followed by India.

  • Area: 377,873 sqkm. (Arable 12%, Pastures 2%, Forests and Woodlands 66%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 20%)
  • Population: 127,500,000 (2007 data)
  • State Capital: Tokyo.
  • Languages: The official language is Japanese.
  • Religion: Shintoist, Buddhist, Christian 2%.
  • Currency: Yen (JPY)
  • Time: UTC +9 hours.

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