Japan Birding Tours
The island country of Japan is located just off mainland east Asia, in the northwest Pacific Ocean, with nearest neighbors including Taiwan, China, North Korea, South Korea, and Russia. Made up of five main islands, Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa, the country is an archipelago of 6,852 islands covering an area of 145,937 square miles (377,975 square kilometers) along the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’. Tokyo is Japan’s capital and largest city (though also offers great birding along the edge of Tokyo Bay). The country is one of the most populous in the world (number 11), and one of the most densely populated.
Around 75% of Japan is mountainous, with the majority of that area uninhabitable and containing 111 active volcanoes. The region is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis with destructive geological events happening several times each century. The 1923 Tokyo earthquake, for example, killed a staggering 140,000 people. Japan has a fascinating cultural history and is unlike anywhere else in the world and is definitely worth spending some time researching before your visit.
The climate of Japan is varied from north to south (it stretches for 1,900 miles/3,000 kilometers) but is principally temperate. Winters in northern and eastern Hokkaido are long and cold but summers are warm. Honshu often has heavy winter snowfall and hot summers, while southern regions have warm winters and hot summers with heavy precipitation during the rainy season. Typhoons can often bring heavy rain in late summer and fall (autumn). The landscapes and climates outlined above influence the habitats present in the country and nine forest ecoregions are recognized. A network of national parks and quasi-national parks have been put in place to protect key habitats.