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Geography of Japan


Japan is an island nation in East Asia comprising a stratovolcanic archipelago extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. Measured from the geographic coordinate system, Japan is 36° north of the equator and 138° east of the Prime Meridian. The country is southeast of the Russian Far East, separated by the Sea of Okhotsk; slightly east of Korea, separated by the Sea of Japan; and east-northeast of China and Taiwan, separated by the East China Sea. The closest neighboring country to Japan is the Russian Federation.


The major islands, sometimes called the "Home Islands", are (from north to south) Hokkaidō, Honshū (the "mainland"), Shikoku and Kyūshū. There are also 2,456 islands, including Okinawa, and islets, some inhabited and others uninhabited. In total, as of 2006, Japan's territory is 377,923.1 km[sup]2[/sup] (145,916.9 sq mi), of which 374,834 km[sup]2[/sup] (144,724 sq mi) is land and 3,091 km2 (1,193 sq mi) water. This makes Japan's total area slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Montana, slightly bigger than Germany.