Japan Geography and Climate

Japan is a beautiful and amazing country, full of its special oriental charm, which is clearly felt by any European who has ever visited these hospitable islands. Long periods of isolation of the Land of the Rising Sun from the rest of the world instilled in the Japanese people an amazing identity, a unique sense of beauty and great respect for their own history. Therefore, visiting Japan will be interesting for every European, regardless of gender, age and religion. A sufficiently large territory of the country will allow each tourist to visit exactly the corner that is closest to his mentality.

If in the north – in Hokkaido and in the Japanese Alps, the infrastructure for winter sports is developed, then in the southeast of Honshu, in Kyushu and in Okinawa, there are famous Japanese seaside resorts. So much will depend on the time of your visit to the Land of the Rising Sun, but in any case, you are unlikely to lose. After all, all of Japan will be at your disposal, and with the well-known careful attitude of the islanders to their own history, the number of possible excursions is close to infinity. Thus, all of Japan is one big historical monument, which you can visit all year round and discover something new every time.

Despite the relative high cost of traveling here and the not always confident command of English, a trip here is usually remembered for a long time, as well as the habit of inserting melodic Japanese words into everyday speech.

The best time to visit Japan for tourism purposes is the end of March-May and October-November. In autumn, most of the country’s territory is not as hot as in the summer months, and in spring you can watch the cherry blossoms – the symbol of Japan.

For a ski holiday, it is recommended to come here from December to March.

The official language is Japanese.

Geography in Japan

According to top-engineering-schools, Japan is an island nation located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of East Asia. The territory of Japan includes about 4 thousand islands stretching from the northeast to the southwest. almost 3.5 thousand km. The largest islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Large engineering structures (underwater tunnels, bridges) facilitate communications between the main islands of the country. Japan is washed in the east and south by the Pacific Ocean, in the west by the East China and Japan seas, in the north by the Sea of Okhotsk. The area is 372.2 thousand km2. Population 114 million (1977 estimate). The capital is Tokyo.

Over 70% of the territory is occupied by hills and mountains (mainly low and medium-high); lowlands are located in separate areas along the coasts. On the island of Hokkaido, the main ranges are a continuation of the chains of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, stretching from north to south and from northeast to southwest. The highest peaks located in the area of their intersection exceed 2000 m – a typical example is Mount Asahi, 2290 m high.

In the northern part of the island of Honshu there are three longitudinal chains of medium-altitude mountains, separated by valleys and basins; the axial position is occupied by the Ou ridge, to the west of which are the Deva and Echigo ridges, to the east – the Kitakami and Abukuma ridges; the central and western ranges are topped by volcanoes. In the middle part of the island is crossed by a fault zone – Fossa Magna (about 250 km long), over which rises a number of volcanoes, including the highest in Japan – Fujiyama (height 3776 m), which is a symbol of the country. In the central part of Honshu is located in the Hida, Kiso, Akaishi ranges (height 2900-3192 m), the peaks of which have an alpine relief and are covered with snow for most of the year. In total, there are 16 peaks in Japan, the height of which exceeds the three thousandth mark.

Rivers in Japan is predominantly mountainous and full-flowing, there are also numerous lakes, the largest of which, Lake Biwa, has an area of ​​716 km2.

Climate in Japan

Since the Japanese archipelago is strongly elongated from north to south, the climate on the various islands differs markedly from each other. If Hokkaido has a classic climate of temperate latitudes with hot summers and snowy winters, then in the southern Ryukyu Islands the temperature rarely drops below +13: +15 degrees.


The climate of the northernmost of the islands – Hokkaido – is the most severe in Japan. Local winters are very, very cold – in January, the thermometer drops to -10: -15 at night, and in some areas there have been cases when the thermometer dropped to -40 oC. Snow cover is established here everywhere, which is facilitated by a sufficiently high amount of precipitation for the monsoon climate in winter – more than 300 mm per season, and in January it snows almost every day. Spring frosts are relevant here even in May, which is facilitated by the free penetration of cold air masses from the still ice-covered Sea of ​​Okhotsk. In the spring, due to frequent fogs, the air warms up in the eastern parts of the island slowly – only at the end of April frosts stop here, due to which cereals are sown here a month later than in the west of the island. In summer it is quite warm here – in July-August, on average, there are several days when the temperature rises above +30 degrees, with average daily temperatures of +25: +26 degrees,

Honshu, Shikoku, northern Kyushu

On the territory of these islands, the climate is noticeably milder than in Hokkaido. Subtropical latitudes favor the reduction of the duration of the winter season, which, however, does not negate the likelihood of snowfalls, which in the west of the island of Honshu acquire sometimes surprising proportions for the subtropics. Winter, however, is warm – at night the thermometer on the largest of the Japanese islands fluctuates around zero, and during the day it heats up to +5: +7 degrees. Spring comes quite quickly, and already at the end of March – at the beginning of April, the symbol of Japan, sakura, blooms everywhere. This time is one of the most recommended for visiting the country. At this time, the thermometer during the day almost everywhere exceeds the 15-degree mark.

At the beginning of summer in the Japanese subtropics, the so-called “plum rain” period begins – when the monsoon brings heavy and prolonged rains to the islands, which occur at high air temperatures and light winds. During the day, the air temperature reaches +25 degrees, and the air humidity is 100%.

At the end of the “plum rains”, the hottest time of the year begins here, when daytime temperatures go off scale for +30, and nighttime temperatures do not fall below +20 o C. However, on the coast, the heat is smoothed out by the sea breeze, which is why the resorts of the Boso and Miura peninsulas owe their popularity. By the end of September, the activity of the monsoon weakens, the summer rains stop, and the oppressive heat subsides. At this time, the second peak of tourist activity in Japan falls.

Ryukyu Islands, Okinawa

The Ryukyu Islands, which are remote from the mainland, also have a monsoonal type of climate. But due to the remoteness from the continent, the winter monsoon does not bring cold weather here, as a result of which snow and frost are unknown here. In January and February – the coldest months – the air temperature ranges from +13 o C at night to +19 degrees during the day. In summer, hot and humid weather reigns here, which only a fresh sea breeze helps to endure. During the day, the air warms up to +30 degrees and above, and at night it can be no colder than +25.

Probability of hurricanes

But the main scourge of the Japanese islands in the summer are typhoons. Tropical low-pressure zones (tropical cyclones) form in the tropical Pacific Ocean, above an overheated water surface. In Japanese, they are called “taifu”, from this name the word “typhoon” was formed. Of the approximately thirty typhoons that occur each year, an average of four move north and hit the Japanese archipelago. Typhoons are especially numerous in tropical low pressure zones and can sometimes be quite ferocious. Inside the “eye” in the center of the typhoon, the pressure can drop below 900 millibars, and the wind speed inside the vortex sometimes reaches a speed of 60 m / s, bringing destruction to populated areas and presenting a real danger to people’s lives.

Best time to visit:
The best time to visit Japan for tourism purposes is the end of March-May and October-November. In autumn, most of the country’s territory is not as hot as in the summer months, and in spring you can watch the cherry blossoms – the symbol of Japan.

For a ski holiday, it is recommended to come here from December to March.

Japan Geography