Cruisers’ Guide to Japan

Cruiser’s Guide to Japan

Japanese Geography

An Overview

Japan is an island chain in Eastern Asia, located between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, and east of the Korean Peninsula.

Its area spans 364,485 sq km making it slightly smaller than the U.S. state of California. The coastline, which measures 29,751 km, has generated an extremely large number of ports—about 100. Approximately 42% of the entire population of Japan lives near a harbor.

While relatively small in terms of land area, Japan’s population of nearly 127 million (July 2015 est.) makes it the 11th most populous country in the world.

The country is also densely populated and largely urbanized. Japan’s top five urban areas are host to one or more port cities: metropolitan Tokyo (ports of Tokyo and Yokohama); Osaka-Kobe (port of Osaka and Kobe); Nagoya (port of Nagoya); Kitakyushu-Fukuoka (port of Hakata) and Shizuoka-Hamamatsu (port of Shimizu).

The interior terrain is mostly mountainous, and approximately 70 percent of the land is covered with forests.

The climate ranges from cool in the north to tropical in the south. Located in the “Ring of Fire,” Japan is home to many dormant and some active volcanoes. Several of the most active volcanoes can be found near port cities—most notably Mt. Sakurajima in Kagoshima. Japan is also susceptible to many earthquakes that may trigger tsunamis and powerful typhoons—some of which have caused cruise ships to change their itineraries to ensure safety.

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