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An update from Evaneos

The little known geography of Japan

By deciding to go on holiday to Japan, you will be setting foot in a unique and fascinating country. Many aspects will seem quite unsettling to you; disorientation and cultural shock are guaranteed.


During your trip to Japan you are going to think yourself in a new world that is unique and fascinating. With a surface area of just under 378,000 square kilometres, Japan is made up of 4 main islands and many islets that, taken together, add up to 28,000 kilometres of coastline bordering the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Japan to the west. Just opposite, you can find South Korea, North Korea, the huge expanse that is Russia, and the gigantic country that is China. The main islands that make up Japan are Hokkaido, Honshu—the largest island, where you can find the capital city Tokyo—, Shikoku and Kyushu. Surpassing the height of more than 260 other volcanoes and more than 30 summits above 3,000 metres high, Mount Fuji's perfect cone towers above them all with an altitude of 3,776 metres. It is the highest point of the country.


It is incredibly difficult to describe the climate of Japan. At first sight, it is the same as the European climate with which you are already familiar. In spite of everything, given the distance that the country covers in length, the climate differs hugely from the north to the south, going from Siberian to tropical. Therefore, as it is the meeting point of a glacial wind and a warm wind, the temperatures can vary over the course of the year—from -30° in winter on the island of Hokkaido to 40° in summer on the island of Kyushu. The ideal time for going to Japan thus especially depends on the island which you wish to visit; however, in general, spring and autumn are the most beautiful seasons.

In Japan

Fauna and flora

Fauna in Japan is quite rich and very similar to that of China and Korea. You could see bears, wolves, foxes, badgers, stone martens, wild boars, and stags; birds, such as swans, falcons, eagles, doves, and cranes; and seals and walruses in the water. The Japanese macaque and the giant salamander can only be found here.

Regarding flora, please note that Japan is nearly 70% covered in forest. You can find an incalculable number of conifers with unpronounceable names; the more standard bamboo, firs, pines, and oaks; and irises, camellias, lotuses, chrysanthemums, and plum trees. Finally, seeing the cherry trees in bloom can in itself be a reason to justify a trip here.

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 12 May 2016
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