Honshu, JapanJapanese: 本州; Hepburn: Honshū or Honshuu) is the largest island of Japan, called the Mainland; it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and north-east of Kyushu across the Shimonoseki Strait. Its rank in area is either seventh or eighth, depending on whether you count Australia.
The island is roughly 1300 km long and ranges from 50 to 230 km wide, and its total area is 230,500 km², around 60% of the total area of Japan. It has 5450 km of coastline. It is mountainous and volcanicic, with frequent earthquakes (the Great Kanto earthquake heavily damaged Tokyo in September 1923); the highest peak is Mount Fuji at 3,776 m. There are many rivers, including the Shinano, Japan's longest. The climate is highly variable from the cool north to the subtropical south.
The population is 98,352,000 (as of 1990, 89,101,702 (1975)), concentrated in the available lowlands, notably in the Kanto plain where 25% of the total population reside in and around Tokyo and Yokohama. Other cities include Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Akita, and Nagoya. The island is nominally divided into five regions and contains 34 prefectures, including metropolitan Tokyo.
The regions are Chubu (central), Chugoku (southern), Kanto (eastern), Kinki (southern, above Chugoku), and Tohoku (northern).
The prefectures are:
- Chubu - Aichi-ken, Fukui-ken, Gifu-ken, Ishikawa-ken, Nagano-ken, Niigata-ken, Toyama-ken, Shizuoka-ken, Yamanashi-ken.
- Chugoku - Hiroshima-ken, Okayama-ken, Shimane-ken, Tottori-ken, Yamaguchi-ken.
- Kanto - Chiba-ken, Gunma-ken, Ibaraki-ken, Kanagawa-ken, Saitama-ken, Tochigi-ken, Tokyo-to.
- Kinki - Hyogo-ken, Kyoto-fu, Mie-ken, Nara-ken, Osaka-fu, Shiga-ken, Wakayama-ken.
- Tohoku - Akita-ken, Aomori-ken, Fukushima-ken, Iwate-ken, Miyagi-ken, Yamagata-ken.
See also: Geography of Japan, List of regions in Japan