The Island Country
Japan is an island country off Asia's east coast. It comprises a long chain of islands that extends 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometres) across the western North Pacific Ocean in a northeast-southwest arc. The country's four main islands, from north to south, take up nearly all the land area: Hokkaido (Hokkaido), Honshu (Honsh), Shikoku, and Kyushu (Kyushu). Honshu is the largest of the four, with Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku following closely behind. There are also numerous smaller islands, the largest of which are the Ryukyu (Nansei) Islands to the south and West of Kyushu (including Okinawa) and the Izu, Bonin (Ogasawara) and Volcano (Kazan) islands to the south and east of central Honshu.