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As an island nation, Japan comprises of over 1000 small islands and four larger ones, namely Honshu (slightly larger than Britain), Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Among the smaller islands, Okinawa is the largest and most significant.

Japan stretches along an archipelago that extends from the western tip of Honshu all the way to Taiwan. Its unique location of being apart from the Asian mainland help form and define its culture into what it is today.


Japan's total land area is 377,435 sq. km, with more than 80 percent of it being mountainous. A chain of islands stretches across a 3000 km-long arc of mountains along the eastern rim of the Asian continent.


Japan's mountainous topography is rather interesting. Most mountains are volcanic with more than 40 of it presently active. Numerous hot springs and breathtaking scenery are the results of volcanic mountains although there is always the constant danger of frequent eruptions and intense seismic activity. Rough earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami (tidal waves), and monsoon climates make up part of the lifestyle in Japan.


The weather in Japan is rather complex due to its mountainous territory. For example, Hokkaido in the north has short summers and long winters with heavy snowfalls while Ryukyu Islands in the south enjoy a subtropical climate. There is also a high degree of seasonal variation.

Winter (December - February)

The meeting of cold, dry air from Siberia and warmer, moister air from the Pacific produces huge snowfalls in the western area of Japan. On the eastern side, however, it does not snow as much but it can still get very cold.

Summer (June - August)

High temperatures and humidity cover most of Japan during the summer due to warm, moist air currents from the Pacific. Nonetheless, rains occur in the early summer and again towards the end of summer.

Spring (March - May) /Autumn (September - November)

Clear days, mild weather and low rainfall help make up for the harsh winter and summer. This would be the best time to visit Japan, with beautiful clear skies that contribute even more to the spectacular scenery of this country.

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