Geography of Japan

Geography of Japan

The plains account for approximately 20% of Japan’s area. The largest of them is Kanto (17 thousand km2) in the central part of the island of Honshu. The plains of Sendai (1500 km2), Nobi (1800 km2), Kinai (1200 km2) and Echigo (2000 km2) are located on the same island. Extensive plains are also located on the island of Hokkaido: Tokachi (3600 km2) and Ishikari (4000 km2). On the island of Kyushu, the largest is the Tsukushi Plain (1200 km2).

Mineral reserves in the country are extremely limited, of poor quality and difficult to access. Explored reserves (million tons): oil – 7.6, natural gas (including associated, billion tons) – 20, coal – 8479, brown coal – 175, iron ore – 200, uranium (in terms of metal) – 0.008, chrome ore – 200, manganese ore – 5, tungsten – 0.01, barite – 3. Japan imports 99.7% oil, 91.4% coal, 100% bauxite, 99.8% iron ore, 98.4% copper, 90.0% lead free, 100% raw cotton, wool and rubber.

The soil structure of the territory consists of three zones. On the island of Hokkaido, in the northern and western parts of the island of Honshu, weakly podzolic and peaty soils predominate (zone one). The eastern half of the island of Honshu is an area of brown forest soils (the second zone). The southwestern “corner” of the island of Honshu and the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku are occupied by red soils (the third zone).

According to, the climate of Japan is typical for a country located in the temperate zone (four seasons are clearly separated from each other, and in spring and autumn there are periods of heavy rainfall). Nevertheless, the climate of certain parts of the country is different. Hokkaido has a temperate oceanic climate with cold summers, the north of Honshu has a temperate oceanic climate with warm summers, the rest of Honshu and the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku have a humid subtropical climate, and the Ryukyu Islands have a tropical climate.

The vast majority of Japanese rivers are short and turbulent. 24 are included among the largest, and only two of them are longer than 300 km. These are Shinano (367 km) and Tone (322 km), flowing in the center of the island of Honshu, Yoshino (194 km) on the island of Shikoku, Chikugo and Kuma in the western and Gokase, Mimi and Oedo – in the eastern half of the island of Kyushu (the length of each of they are no more than 150 km).

A series of mountain lakes running obliquely from northeast to southwest of Honshu include Towada (area 60 km2), Tazawa (26 km2), Inawashiro (104 km2), Chuzenji (11 km2), Suwa (12 km2) and Biwa (672 km2). Ikeda (14 km2) in the southeast of Kyushu and Shikotsu (77 km2), Toya (69.4 km2), Kuttara (5 km2) and Masyu (19.6 km2) on the island of Hokkaido, belong to the same type of lakes. in the craters of extinct volcanoes. Lagoon-type lakes are located mainly on the Pacific coast of the island of Honshu. These are Kasumigaura (168 km2), Kitaura (36 km2), Imbanuma (21.3 km2) and others. The largest lakes of this type on the island of Hokkaido are Abashiri (34 km2) and Saroma (152 km2).

Due to the fact that Japan is located both in the cold and in the temperate and subtropical zones and is distinguished by abundant water resources, its flora is rich and diverse (more than 700 species of trees and shrubs and 3,000 species of herbaceous plants). 67% of the country’s area is occupied by forests, the composition of which changes as you move from one zone to another. The Hokkaido forests in the north of the island consist mainly of spruces and firs with bamboo undergrowth. In the south of Hokkaido and the north of Honshu, they are replaced by forests, in which deciduous broad-leaved trees (maple, oak, beech), as well as pines, cypresses, and cryptomerias begin to dominate. The south of Honshu and the north of Kyushu and Shikoku are characterized by almost evergreen broad-leaved forests dominated by sawtooth oak, magnolia, pine, and dwarf chestnuts. The south of Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands is the land of evergreen oaks, camphor trees, camellias, wax and lacquer trees, bamboo, sago palms. In the extreme south, you can also find mangroves.

The fauna of Japan is rich and varied. Island isolation has imposed certain features on it (in particular, the presence of many varieties and relict individuals not found in the surrounding regions). In total, the Japanese fauna includes 270 species of mammals, 800 species of birds and 110 species of reptiles. Mammals are mainly represented by local, smaller than continental forms (wolf, bear, deer, antelope, wild boar, fox, badger, marten, ferret, squirrel). The Ryukyu Islands stand out for their tropical fauna (macaques, gibbons, bats). Many migratory birds winter on the islands of the Japanese archipelago (cranes, herons, geese, storks). Gulls, ducks, auks are endemic. More than 600 species of fish (tuna, sardine, chum salmon, pink salmon, perch, saury, and eel are the most common) and 1,200 species of mollusks (octopuses, pearls, oysters, etc.). Carp, carps, trout live in freshwater reservoirs.

Geography of Japan

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