The country of Japan consists of a series of islands. The country is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sea of Japan on the other. Honshu is the largest island and contains most of the major cities in the country. It consists of five major regions.
- Chubu – Located in the middle of the island and dominated by the Japanese Alps. On either side of the mountains are two regions: Hokuriku, on the Sea of Japan side, and Tokai, on the Pacific Ocean side. Key cities are Niigata and Kanazawa on the Hokuriku side and Nagoya and Shizuoka on the Tokai side.
- Chugoku – This region includes the cities of Hiroshima and Okayama.
- Kanto – On the Pacific side of Honshu. This large area includes Tokyo, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Yokosuka, and coastal plain areas.
- Kansai, also known as Kinki, region – This region is the historical center of Japan and closer the Sea of Japan side of the island. Key cities include Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka.
- Tohoku – This region is located on the north-east part of the island. Key cities include Sendai and Fukushima.
Only Honshu is divided into regions. Hundreds of other islands are included in the country of Japan, though most are very small. Larger, more populous islands include:
- Hokkaido – Hokkaido is located just above Honshu. Key cities include Sapporo and Hakodate.
- Kyushu – Kyushu is the most southern of the main islands. Key cities include include Fukuoka and Nagasaki.
- Okinawa – Okinawa extends toward Taiwan and is part of the Kyushu region. In addition to United States military facilities, the key city is Naha.
- Shikoku – This small island includes the cities of Matsuyama and Takamatsu. Shikoku is a frequent destination for Buddhist pilgrims.