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Japan is a country of islands on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean. Known as the "Land of the Rising Sun", Japan lies to the east of the Asian continent and is composed of over 3,000 islands. The largest and main islands are, from north to south, Hokkaidō, Honshū (the largest island), Shikoku, and Kyūshū. The Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, are southwest of the main islands.

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Mount Fuji (3776 m/12,385 ft) is the highest peak in Japan. It is a well-known symbol of Japan and is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers.

Japan is the 18th most densely populated country in the world. However, about 73% of the country is mountainous and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial, or residential use due to the generally steep elevations, climate, and risk of landslides caused by earthquakes and heavy rain. This has resulted in an extremely high population density in the habitable zones that are mainly located in coastal areas.

Japan is situated in a volcanic zone on the Pacific Ring of Fire at the juncture of the Philippine Plate, Pacific Plate, Eurasian Plate, and North American Plate. Frequent low intensity earth tremors and occasional volcanic activity are felt throughout the islands. Destructive earthquakes, often resulting in tsunamis, occur several times each century. The most recent major quakes include the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake and the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. Hot springs are numerous and have been developed as resorts.