Honshu (本州) is the largest island of Japan, called the Mainland; it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait. Honshu is the seventh largest island, and the second most populous island in the world after Java.
Honshu is roughly 1300 km long and ranges from 50 to 230 km wide, and
its total area is 230,500 km², around 60% of the total area of Japan. It is
larger than the island of Great Britain, and ranks between the states of
Minnesota and Michigan in area. Honshu has 5450 km of coastline.
Mountainous and volcanic, Honshu has frequent earthquakes (the Great Kanto Earthquake heavily damaged Tokyo in September 1923); the highest peak is the active volcano Mount Fuji at 3,776 m. There are many rivers, including the Shinano River, 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, in 1975 it was 89,101,702), 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, Sendai, and Nagoya. The island is nominally divided into five regions and contains 34 prefectures, including metropolitan Tokyo.
Author: Craig Fryer