What Are the Physical Features of Japan?

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The main physical features of Japan are mountain chains, volcanoes and heavy forests. The country boasts few plains, which occur mostly around the coast, a small number of lakes and several short rivers.

About 80 percent of Japan is mountainous with both inactive and active volcanoes. The Japanese Alps, which are located on the island of Honshu, are enormous mountains that range between 8,000 and 10,500 feet tall. Japan’s highest mountain is located near Tokyo. This volcanic cone, called Fujiyama, reaches 12,389 feet tall. Volcanoes are an important feature of Japan. There are 192 volcanoes on the islands that make up Japan, only 50 of which are considered active.

Another prominent physical feature is the Kanto Plain. Although only 20 percent of Japan is flat, the Kanto Plain is large. This is where Tokyo is located. The few plains are important, because this is where the majority of the population lives and where farming and manufacturing take place.

Although there are few lakes, the largest is Biwa Lake. It lies on Honshu and is 265 square miles. Another important body of water is the Inland Sea, which is located between three of the islands of Japan: Shikoku, Kyushu and Honshu. There are many rivers in Japan, but none can be navigated by boat. However, these rivers are important sources of irrigation and hydroelectric power. The longest river is Shinano, and it travels 230 miles.