|The Japanese archipelago stretches over 3,000 km (1,900 miles) from the temperate island of Hokkaido to the subtropical islands of Okinawa in the south.
In all there are more than 6,800 islands, but the four largest islands: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku together make up 97% of Japan's land area.
About 70% to 80% of the country is forested, mountainous and unsuitable for agriculture, industrial or residential use. With a total population of around 128 million people, this has resulted in an extremely high population density in the habitable zones, that are mainly located in coastal areas.
The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the city of Tokyo itself and surrounding cities and villages, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.
Tokyo is the most popular travel destination in Japan . The Imperial Palace, the Sensoji Temple, Keji Shrine and many other temples and monasteries offer a splendid architectural view to the tourists. The more modern attractions include museums on science and technology, the Tokyo National Museum, skyscrapers and more than a dozen amusement parks. FromTokyo there are many nearby excursions to be made.
Narita, location of Narita Tokyo Airport, is an attractive old town with a large and impressive pilgrimage temple, Narita-san. Two hours north of Tokyo in Nikko, the extraordinary Toshogu Shrine complex is situated with the mausoleum of the founder of Japan's Tokugawa Shogunate. The surrounding Nikko National Park offers mountain hot spring resorts and opportunities for hiking, fishing and boating. The coastal town of Kamakura, one hour south of Tokyo , was the seat of Japan's medieval feudal government and abounds in historic sites.
Northern Honshu, known as Tohoku, offers wonderful natural scenery spread over three national parks. The city Kobe has an international flavor and is famous for its old foreign-style houses and buildings dating from the Meiji era. The Japanese Alps run through the center of Honshu Island and are known as the "Roof of Japan". There are many major ski resorts in this area as well as hot spring resorts.
Shikoku is the smallest of Japan's four main islands, and is linked to Honshu by two major bridges and numerous ferries. The mountainous interior of the island remains wild and unspoiled. Shikoku is famous for its pilgrimage circuit of 88 temples dedicated to Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. Kyushu is the southernmost of Japan's four main islands, and is best known for its mild climate, volcanic landscape and excellent hot springs. Summer whale- and dolphin-watching tours depart from the town of Kasasa.
Okinawa is made up of 161 islands and lie to the far south of Japan. The subtropical climate, clear turquoise seas and many beaches make the islands a perfect holiday destination. Numerous coral reefs offer excellent diving opportunities, with many resorts catering to enthusiasts.
Most international flights arrive at either Narita Airport (NRT) near Tokyo or Kansai Airport (KIX) near Osaka, both on Honshu Island. Tokyo's Narita Airport handles a few domestic flights, but most domestic flights leave from Haneda to the south of the city. Similarly, while there are some domestic flights from Kansai Airport, more use Itami to the north of Osaka.