My Journeys through Japan since 2004
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Facts & Figures
Japan has a total area of 377975 square kilometers and almost four-fifths of it is covered with mountains. Japan consists of 6852 islands and stretches over a length of 2400 kilometers. The five main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa. The country has a population of approx. 127 million and is the world's third-largest economy. Tokyo is the capital of Japan. More than 37,4 million people living in the greater metropolitan area of Tokyo, which makes it the biggest metropolitan area in the world. Other large cities are Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kobe and Kyoto. Shintoism and Buddhism are the two major religions in Japan.
Find best Ryokans in Japan >
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions. My tip: If you are planning your first trip to Japan you should put the following destinations on your must-see list: Tokyo, Kyoto, Nikko and the Hakone area with views of Mt. Fuji.
My tips for local activities
How about exploring the highlights and hidden gems of fascinating places like Tokyo, Kyoto and Nikko with a local guide. Check out the offers/links for Japan from our partners getyourguide.com and klook.com for more details.
Regions of Japan
- Overview of the 9 Regions of Japan and their Prefectures:
- 1. Hokkiado
- 2. Tohoku
Prefectures: Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi, Fukushima
- 3. Kanto
Prefectures: Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa
- 4. Chubu
Prefectures: Niigata, Nagano, Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui
- 5. Kansai
Prefectures: Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Wakayama, Hyogo
- 6. Chugoku
Prefectures: Okayama, Hiroshima, Tottori, Shimane, Yamaguchi
- 7. Shikoku
Prefectures: Kagawa, Tokushima, Kochi, Ehime
- 8. Kyushu
Prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima
- 9. Okinawa
Great destinations in Japan (sorted by region and their prefectures)
Hokkaido is with 83423,84 square km Japan’s second largest island and home to the northernmost prefecture/region. The capital of the prefecture is Sapporo. What makes Hokkaido so unique and special for every season is the amazing landscape with unspoiled wilderness, its 6 national parks (covering 10% of the total land area), the best powder snow in the world, friendly people, a fascinating indigenous culture and a delicious local cuisine.
Tohoku Region covers an area of 66952 square km and consists of 6 prefectures (Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi, Fukushima) in the northeastern part of the main island Honshu. If you are interested in rural landscapes, beautiful nature, wilderness, old villages, ancient temples and shrines then this is the place to be. Tohoku is the total opposite of the overpopulated greater Tokyo area and I have visited this region many times during my one year stay in Japan.
Kanto Region is the political and economic heart of Japan. More than 40 million people living in this region on the main island Honshu. Kanto covers an area of 32423,90 square km and consists of 7 prefectures (Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa). The capital and mega-city Tokyo, Yokahama and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Nikko are one of the must-see highlights during your trip.
Chubu Region (Central Region) covers an area of 72572,34 square km and consists of 9 prefectures (Niigata, Nagano, Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui) located in the center of the main island Honshu. Must-see highlights of this area are the Japanese Alps, Mount Fuji, Matsumoto Castle, Kiso Valley, Nagoya, Niigata and the Hokuriku Region along the Sea of Japan.
Kansai Region covers an area of 33124.82 square km and consists of 7 prefectures (Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Wakayama, Hyogo) in the southern-central area of the main island Honshu. You will find there the second most-populated metropolitan area in Japan including the cities Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. I was fortunate enough to explore many highlights there like my favourite city in world Kyoto, Himeji Castle, Mt. Koya, Nara, Ise Shrine and so much more.
Chugoku Region covers an area of 31922.26 square km and consists of 5 prefectures (Okayama, Hiroshima, Tottori, Shimane, Yamaguchi) located in the westernmost area of the main island Honshu. This region has so many things to offer like the city Hiroshima, beautiful Seto Inland Sea, Miyajima Island with Itsukushima Shrine (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Korakuen Garden in Okayama and much more.
7. Shikoku Region (Kagawa, Tokushima, Kochi, Ehime)
Shikoku is with an area of 18801.73 square km the smallest of the four main islands (Hokkaido, Kyushu, Honshu, Shikoku). The region/island consists of 4 prefectures (Kagawa, Tokushima, Kochi, Ehime). Shikoku is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. You will find there an outdoor paradise with unspoiled nature, mountains and rivers like the Shimanto River. The river is called the last clear stream in Japan. Or explore Iya valley known as one of the three most remote places in the country.
Kyushu is with an area of 36782.37 square km the third-largest of the four main islands (Hokkaido, Kyushu, Honshu, Shikoku). Kyushu is located southwest of the main island Honshu. The region/island consists of 7 prefectures (Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima). The island is famous for its active volcanos (Mount Aso, Sakurajima etc.), bustling cities (Fukuoka, Kagoshima etc.), beautiful beaches, high mountain ranges, hot spring areas like Beppu, beautiful temples and shrines. My personal highlight was the visit of Yakushima Island.
Okinawa Prefecture consists of many islands and covers an area of 2281 square km. It is the southernmost and westernmost prefecture of Japan. The capital and largest city of the prefecture is Naha. Okinawa is the only region of the country located completely in the subtropical zone. It is an outdoor paradise with beautiful beaches and coral reefs. You can explore many different small islands like Ishigaki and also take your time to learn more about the history of the former Kingdom of Ryukyu.
Japan is located in the northwest Pacific Ocean in East Asia.
How to get to Japan?
- People from foreign countries arrive usually at the Narai Airport near Tokyo or the Kansai Airport in Osaka.