Japan is the largest island country in East Asia and the fourth largest on the planet. It is home to a collection of over 6,000 amazing islands of different shapes and sizes, of which only around 400 are permanently inhabited.
Of these several hundred, five large islands are the main attraction of the country, home to famous Japanese cities and adventurous tourist attractions. Here is an overview of the largest islands in Japan by area.
1. Honshu (225,800 km2)
Honshu wins the largest of Japan’s five main islands award. It is also the most populous. Bathed by the waters of the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean, the island is still considered part of the Japanese mainland.
Stretching over 800 miles, Honshu Island occupies more than half of the country and is the seventh largest island in the world.
Some of Japan’s most famous cities are in Honshu; among them, Tokyo (the capital of the country), as well as Osaka and Hiroshima. However, the main claim of the island of Honshu is Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan and the second highest island volcano in Asia.
2. Kyushu (36,782 km2)
Kyushu Island is the southernmost and third largest of Japan’s five main islands and offers a much quieter alternative to the bustling mainland of Japan.
Kyushu, which means “nine provinces”, takes its name from the nine former provinces of Saikaid? who divided it.
Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the east and the East China Sea to the west, it is separated from the mainland by the Shimonoseki Strait. Kyushu is home to Mount Aso, Japan’s most active volcano, and a plethora of glorious and rejuvenating hot springs known as onsen.
3. Hokkaido (83,423 km2)
Formerly known as Ezo, the island of Hokkaido is huge. In fact, it is the 21st largest island on the planet. It is the northernmost island and the second main island in Japan, as well as one of its most popular getaways.
With a glorious island climate and a number of beautiful natural hot springs, the volcanic island of Hokkaido offers relief from the scorching heat of the Japanese summer.
With no less than six national parks, there is also an interesting fauna, such as the brown bear, the Ezo red fox and the Hokkaido sika deer.
4. Shikoku (18,297 km2)
Boasting stunning scenery, Shikoku Island – meaning “four provinces” – takes its name from the four ancient regions that divide the island. Located between the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, it is connected to the mainland by a bridge.
Shikoku is huge: it is the 50th largest island on Earth. Surrounded by the Inland Sea to the north, the Kii Strait to the east, and the Bungo Strait to the west, the island winds along nearly 140 miles of coastline.
Shikoku is one of the five main islands in Japan and about four million people live there. It is best known for its 88 temple pilgrimage created by a former Buddhist priest who lived on the island.
5. Awaji Island (592 km2)
Located in Hyogo Prefecture, Awaji Island lies in the Seo Inland Sea to the east. It is connected to the latter by the longest suspension bridge in the world.
In addition to excellent sandy beaches and charming Japanese architecture, the island is famous for the nearby Naruto Hot Tubs, which swirl in the strait between Awaji and Shikoku Island.
6. Shimoshima Island (574 km2)
The largest of the group of more than 120 Amakusa Islands, the shores of Shimoshima Island are washed by no less than four seas: the Ariake Sea, the Amakusa-nada Sea, the East China Sea and the Yatsushiro Sea. centered in the town of Amakusa, with the exception of a smaller section on the northwest coast which is home to the quieter town of Reihoku.
Shimoshima emphasizes the great outdoors, with many beautiful beaches, parks, and hiking trails. History is not lacking either; the island is famous for its collection of historic museums and quaint, centuries-old churches.
7. Sado Island (854 km2)
Located off the Niigata Prefecture, Sado Island was used at the time as a makeshift political prison. Emperor Togetherku and Buddhist monk Nichiren were exiled here.
After the discovery of gold in the 17th century, the island became a popular gold mining point, and gold panning remains a popular activity today.
The annual Earth Celebration, an international festival of art and culture held in August, has also put this remote island on the map, as has its reputation for rare birds.
8. Amami Oshima (712 km2)
Amami? Shima is the largest island in the Amami Archipelago and is part of the Satsunan Islands of Kagoshima Prefecture of Japan.
This volcanic island, on which more than 70,000 people live, is surrounded by the waters of the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Amami Gunto National Park protects most of the island, with its beautiful beaches, mild climate and spectacular coral reefs. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular water sports destinations in Japan. Diving, in particular, is very popular here.
9. Tsushima Island (708 km2)
Tsushima Island is part of the great Japanese archipelago. Located halfway between the Japanese mainland and the Korean peninsula, the island is divided into two – Shimono-shima in the south and Kamino-shima in the north – by the Ofunakoshiseto and Manzekiseto canals.
Stretching over 40 miles, the island incorporates another 100 smaller satellite islands as a whole, making it the largest group of satellite islands in Nagasaki Prefecture. Its vast expanse is largely protected by the quasi-national Iki-Tsushima Park, which boasts some of the region’s most captivating landscapes.
10. Okinawa Island (1,206 km2)
Despite being the largest of the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Ryukyu (Nansei), Okinawa Island remains the smallest and least populated of Japan’s five main islands.
The island, which stretches for over 65 miles in the turquoise blue Pacific Ocean, has an interesting history, as it was the scene of the Battle of Okinawa, the last major battle fought in WWII. global.
Since then, the island has served as a center for the United States armed forces and has more than 30 military bases and nearly 50 training sites.