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Geography >> Asia >> Japan History and Timeline


Capital: Tokyo

Population: 126,860,301

The Geography of Japan

Borders: Japan is an island nation in East Asia surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on the other side. Japan shares maritime (water) borders with China, North Korea, South Korea, Philippines, Northern Mariana Islands, and Russia.

Country of Japan Map
Total Size: 377,835 square km

Size Comparison: slightly smaller than California

Geographical Coordinates: 36 00 N, 138 00 E

World Region or Continent: Asia

General Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous

Geographical Low Point: Hachiro-gata -4 m

Geographical High Point: Mount Fuji 3,776 m

Climate: varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

Major Cities: TOKYO (capital) 36.507 million; Osaka-Kobe 11.325 million; Nagoya 3.257 million; Fukuoka-Kitakyushu 2.809 million; Sapporo 2.673 million (2009)

Major Landforms: The islands Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, Ryukyu Islands, Hida Mountains, Kiso Mountains, Akaishi Mountains, Japanese Alps, Mount Fuji, Kanto Plain, Nobi Plain

Major Bodies of Water: Shinano River, Kiso River, Lake Biwa, Kasumigaura Lake, Lake Inawashiro, Tokyo Bay, Ise Bay, Osaka Bay, Seto Inland Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, Sea of Japan (East Sea), Pacific Ocean

Famous Places: Tokyo Tower, Imperial Palace, Mount Fuji, Monkey Park, Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple, Himeji Castle, Golden Pavilion, Todaiji Temple, Great Buddha of Kamakura, Tokyo Skytree

Mount Fuji

Economy of Japan

Major Industries: among world's largest and technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, processed foods

Agricultural Products: rice, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit; pork, poultry, dairy products, eggs; fish

Natural Resources: negligible mineral resources, fish

Major Exports: transport equipment, motor vehicles, semiconductors, electrical machinery, chemicals

Major Imports: machinery and equipment, fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, raw materials (2001)

Currency: yen (JPY)

National GDP: $4,444,000,000,000

Regions of Japan
(click for larger view)

Government of Japan

Type of Government: constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government

Independence: 660 B.C. (traditional founding by Emperor JIMMU)

Divisions: Japan is officially divided up into 47 prefectures. The names and location of each are shown in the map to the right. It is also sometimes (unofficially) divided into eight regions shown by the different colors on the map. The largest of the prefectures by population are Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Osaka. The largest by area are Hokkaido, Iwate, and Fukushima.

National Anthem or Song: Kimigayo (The Emperors Reign)

National Symbols:
Country of Japan Flag
Description of flag: The flag of Japan was first adopted in 1870 (the current design became the national flag in 1999). It has a white background with a red disk in the center. The red disk represents the sun. The flag is sometimes called the sun-disk flag. In Japan it is called Nisshoki or Hinomaru. Hinomaru means "circle of the sun."

National Holiday: Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)

Other Holidays: New Years' Day (January 1), Foundation Day (February 11), Showa Day (April 29), Constitution Memorial Day (May 3), Greenery Day, Marine Day (July 21), Respect-for-the-aged Day, Culture Day (November 3), Thanksgiving, The Emperor's Birthday (December 23)

The People of Japan

Languages Spoken: Japanese

Nationality: Japanese (singular and plural)

Religions: observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)

Origin of the name Japan: The name "Japan" is an English word that comes from the Chinese pronunciation of the word for Japan. The Japanese name for the country is Nippon or Nihon. The words "nippon" and "nihon" both mean "from the Sun" and are sometimes translated as "Land of the Rising Sun."

Famous People:

Geography >> Asia >> Japan History and Timeline

** Source for population (2019 est.) is United Nations. GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.

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