Japan Physical Map

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Physical Map: Defined
In addition to country borders, major cities and significant bodies of water, Physical Maps indicate the location of landforms like deserts, mountains and plains. This type of map also displays major cities and regions. Physical Maps are commonly used to see elevation and land contours as well as major rivers and lakes.

page last updated on September 26, 2011

Introduction :: Japan
In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and an ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians hold actual decision-making power. Following three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan's economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains a major economic power. In March 2011, Japan's strongest-ever earthquake, and an accompanying tsunami, devastated the northeast part of Honshu island, killing thousands and damaging several nuclear power plants. The catastrophe hobbled the country's economy and its energy infrastructure, and severely strained its capacity to deal with the humanitarian disaster.
Geography :: Japan
Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula
Geographic coordinates:
36 00 N, 138 00 E
Map references:
total: 377,915 sq km
country comparison to the world: 62
land: 364,485 sq km
water: 13,430 sq km
note: includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-gunto), Daito-shoto, Minami-jima, Okino-tori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), and Volcano Islands (Kazan-retto)
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than California
Land boundaries:
0 km
29,751 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the international straits - La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and Eastern and Western Channels of the Korea or Tsushima Strait
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
mostly rugged and mountainous
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m
highest point: Fujiyama 3,776 m
Natural resources:
negligible mineral resources, fish
note: with virtually no energy natural resources, Japan is the world's largest importer of coal and liquefied natural gas, as well as the second largest importer of oil
Land use:
arable land: 11.64%
permanent crops: 0.9%
other: 87.46% (2005)
Irrigated land:
25,160 sq km (2008)
Total renewable water resources:
430 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 88.43 cu km/yr (20%/18%/62%)
per capita: 690 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors but occasional severe earthquakes) every year; tsunamis; typhoons
volcanism: both Unzen (elev. 1,500 m) and Sakura-jima (elev. 1,117 m), which lies near the densely populated city of Kagoshima, have been deemed "Decade Volcanoes" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Asama, Honshu Island's most active volcano, Aso, Bandai, Fuji, Iwo-Jima, Kikai, Kirishima, Komaga-take, Oshima, Suwanosejima, Tokachi, Yake-dake, and Usu
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from power plant emissions results in acid rain; acidification of lakes and reservoirs degrading water quality and threatening aquatic life; Japan is one of the largest consumers of fish and tropical timber, contributing to the depletion of these resources in Asia and elsewhere
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategic location in northeast Asia
People :: Japan
126,475,664 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.1% (male 8,521,571/female 8,076,173)
15-64 years: 64% (male 40,815,840/female 40,128,235)
65 years and over: 22.9% (male 12,275,829/female 16,658,016) (2011 est.)
Median age:
total: 44.8 years
male: 43.2 years
female: 46.7 years (2011 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.278% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 214
Birth rate:
7.31 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 220
Death rate:
10.09 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
urban population: 67% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major cities - population:
TOKYO (capital) 36.507 million; Osaka-Kobe 11.325 million; Nagoya 3.257 million; Fukuoka-Kitakyushu 2.809 million; Sapporo 2.673 million (2009)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.056 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 2.78 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 218
male: 2.98 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 82.25 years
country comparison to the world: 5
male: 78.96 years
female: 85.72 years (2011 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.21 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 218
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
8,100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
Drinking water source:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2008)
Sanitation facility access:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2008)
noun: Japanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Japanese
Ethnic groups:
Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%
note: up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil (2004)
Shintoism 83.9%, Buddhism 71.4%, Christianity 2%, other 7.8%
note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people belong to both Shintoism and Buddhism (2005)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2002)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2008)
Education expenditures:
3.5% of GDP (2007)
country comparison to the world: 117

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