Japan is separated from the Asian mainland by 160km
( 100 miles ) of sea. About 70% of the country are covered by hills
and mountains. The island nation is still subjected to natural disasters
such as earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic eruptions. As a result,
Japan, geologically speaking, always seems a bit capricious, an
unstable land mass and difficult to deal with.
Lowlands and plains are small and scattered, mostly lying along
the coast, which is very long in relation to the land area, and
has very varied features. The deeply indented bays with good natural
harbors tend to be adjacent to mountainous terrain.
Though lying completely in a temperate zone, Japan
stretches nearly 2500 km from North to South. Consequently, the
climate, with four seasons, ranges from very cold winter, in Hokkaido,
to subtropical Okinawa region. Typically, though, winters are fairly
mild, and summers are very hot, except for the North and South extremes
of the nation. Rain falls throughout the year, and is intermittent
with sunshine, but June and early July is the main rainy season.