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Geography of Japan


(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)

"The geography of Japan is similar to the U.S. in that it hits pretty much the same latitudes on the Earth that the United States hits, only the size of the country is much smaller even than California. But from the north, you have your island of Hokkaido, where it's mountainous and beautiful in the spring, and [in] summer's a great place to hike, but it's known for its wintertime festivals, particularly the snow festival.

"And then you come across the little strait there, and you're onto Honshu, the main island. At the northern part, we have a base up there, Misawa, but that's all very rural. So the upper half of Honshu is farms and countrysides and what you might consider old-school Japan. But then you come right down into central Honshu and that's where [you have] Fukushima and the rest, where there was the earthquake on March 11th, that's all in the central area where there's lots of agriculture and seaports. And then you come right into central, which is the Kanto plain, where Tokyo is, and there's several prefectures, which are like our states. The airport is at the northern side in Narita, and it comes back around to just a giant plain; it's all metropolitan. And then if you come to the coast on those areas, you get to Kyoto and Osaka and those are right in the same area. Kyoto is traditional, the first capital of Japan prior to Tokyo. Okinawa is like our Hawai'i. It’s got mostly sun and beaches and snorkeling and outdoor activities."

A retired service member discusses the geography of Japan.