(本州; Honshū) is the largest island
, called the Mainland
; it is south of Hokkaido
across the Tsugaru Strait
, north of Shikoku
across the Inland Sea, and north-east of Kyushu
across the Shimonoseki Strait.
The island is roughly 1300 km long and ranges from 50 to 240 km wide, and its total area is 230,500 km², around 60% of the total area of Japan. It has 5450 km of coastline. It is mountainous and volcanicic, with frequent earthquakes (the Great Kanto earthquake heavily damaged Tokyo in September 1923); the highest peak is Mount Fuji at 3,776 m. There are many rivers, including the Shinano, Japan's longest. The climate is highly variable from the cool north to the subtropical south.
The population is 98,352,000 (as of 1990, 89,101,702 (1975)), concentrated in the available lowlands, notably in the Kanto plain where 25% of the total population reside in and around Tokyo and Yokohama. Other cities include Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Akita, and Nagoya. The island is nominally divided into five regions and contains 34 prefectures, including metropolitan Tokyo.
The regions are Chubu (central), Chugoku (southern), Kanto (eastern), Kinki (southern, above Chugoku), and Tohoku (northern).
The prefectures are:
- Chubu - Aichi-ken, Fukui-ken, Gifu-ken, Ishikawa-ken, Nagano-ken, Niigata-ken, Toyama-ken, Shizuoka-ken, Yamanashi-ken.
- Chugoku - Hiroshima-ken, Okayama-ken, Shimane-ken, Tottori-ken, Yamaguchi-ken.
- Kanto - Chiba-ken, Gunma-ken, Ibaraki-ken, Kanagawa-ken, Saitama-ken, Tochigi-ken, Tokyo-to.
- Kinki - Hyogo-ken, Kyoto-fu, Mie-ken, Nara-ken, Osaka-fu, Shiga-ken, Wakayama-ken.
- Tohoku - Akita-ken, Aomori-ken, Fukushima-ken, Iwate-ken, Miyagi-ken, Yamagata-ken.
Honshu is connected to the other islands by tunnels
. Three new bridge systems have been built across the islands of the Inland Sea between Honshu and Shikoku
and the Ohnaruto Bridge; Shin-Onomichi Bridge, Innoshima Bridge, Ikuchi Bridge, Tatara Bridge, Ohmishima Bridge, Hakata-Ohshima Bridges, and the First
and Third Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge
; Shimotsui-Seto Bridge, Hitsuishijima Bridge, Iwakurojima Bridge, Yoshima Bridge, Kita Bisan-Seto Bridge, and the Minami Bisan-Seto Bridge
), and the Seikan Tunnel
connects Honshu with Hokkaido
See also: Geography of Japan
, List of regions in Japan