Japanese Archipelago
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Japanese Archipelago
A topographic map of Japan
A satellite image of Japan

The Japanese archipelago (?, Nihon Rett?) is a group of 6,852 islands that form the country of Japan. It extends over 3,000 km (1,900 mi)[1] from the Sea of Okhotsk northeast to the Philippine Sea south along the northeastern coast of the Eurasia continent. It consists of islands from the Sakhalin Island Arc, the Northeastern Japan Arc to the Ryukyu Islands and the Nanp? Islands. Japan is the largest island country in East Asia and the 4th largest island country in the world with 377,973.89 km2 (145,936.53 sq mi).[2][3] It has the 8th largest exclusive economic zone of 4,470,000 km2 (1,730,000 sq mi).[4]


The term mainland Japan is used to refer to the mainland from the remote islands. It is also used when referring to the main islands Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa.[5] It included Karafuto Prefecture (Sakhalin) until the end of World War II.

The term Home Islands was used at the end of World War II to define the area of Japan to which its sovereignty and the constitutional rule of the Emperor would be restricted.[] The term is also commonly used today to distinguish the archipelago from Japan's colonies and other territories in the first half of the 20th century.[6]



The archipelago consists of 6,852 islands[7] (here defined as land more than 100 m in circumference), of which 430 are inhabited.[8] The five main islands, from north to south, are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa.[9] Honshu is the largest and referred to as the Japanese mainland.[10]

The current Japanese archipelago topography is:

Japanese archipelago with outlined islands
The Nanp? Islands administered by Tokyo Metropolis.
This is a relief map of the land and the seabed of Japan. It shows the surface and underwater terrain of the Japanese archipelago. It includes all the Japanese islands such as Minami-Tori-Shima, Benten-jima, Okinotorishima and Yonaguni.

Islands and prefectures

See also


  1. ^ "Water Supply in Japan". Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Archived from the original (website) on January 26, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ "Island Countries Of The World". WorldAtlas.com. Archived from the original on 2017-12-07. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "29" (in Japanese). (Geospatial Information Authority of Japan). Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "". ?. Archived from the original on August 12, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ Japanese popflock.com resource page about the Japanese archipelago and Mainland Japan
  6. ^ Milton W. Meyer, Japan: A Concise History, 4th ed. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012, ISBN 9780742541184, p. 2.
  7. ^ "?()". Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Archived from the original (website) on November 13, 2007. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ "Islands in Abundance", Look Japan Volume 43, Issues 493-504, p. 37.
  9. ^ "?() (what is a remote island?)". MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) (in Japanese). Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. 22 August 2015. Archived from the original (website) on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2019. MILT classification 6,852 islands(main islands: 5 islands, remote islands: 6,847 islands)
  10. ^ "Japanese Archipelago", TheFreeDictionary.com, retrieved 24 June 2013.
  11. ^ "The Chautauquan", Volume 42, p. 6.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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