About Japan Geography, Japan is located in the North Pacific off the coast of Russia and the Korean peninsula. The area of Japan is 377,873km², which makes it slightly smaller in land mass than California. Japan consists of four main larger islands and more than 4000 smaller islands. The main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Honshu is the largest with an area of 231,000km². A modern railroad system connects the major islands with Japan's high-speed Shinkansen connecting major urban areas.
Japan is over 70% mountainous terrain with approximately 18% of the land mass suitable for settlement. Japanese cities are typically sprawling and densely populated. Tokyo, a megalopolis and capital of Japan, is located on Honshu island. Central Tokyo has a population of 12 million people, with the population of the Greater Tokyo Area estimated at over 35 million people.
The islands of Japan are located in an area known as The Ring of Fire in the Pacific. This is an area with many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Japan is very seismically active with over 1,500 earthquakes per year. In 1923 the Great Kanto Earthquake killed more than 143,000 people in the Tokyo area. Tsunamis and volcanic eruptions are other natural destructive forces in Japan. In 1896 in Sanriku, Japan, 27,000 people were killed by a Tsunami caused by an earthquake.
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