Japan - Japan consists of several thousands of islands, of which Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku are the four largest. Japan's closest neighbours are Korea, Russia and China. The Sea of Japan separates the Asian continent from the Japanese archipelago. Japan's area is larger than, for example, Germany's and comparable to the one of Italy or California. Japan's northernmost islands are located approximately on same geographical latitude as Milan or Portland while her southernmost islands are about on the same latitude as the Bahamas.
In other words, Japan's North South extension equals about the distance from Oslo to Naples. More than 50% of the area of Japan is mountainous and covered by forests. Japan is politically structured in 8 regions and 47 prefectures.
Due to the large North South extension of the country, the climate varies strongly in different regions. The climate in most of the major cities, including Tokyo, is temperate to subtropic and consists of four seasons. The winter is mild and the summer is hot and humid. There is a rainy season in early summer, and typhoons hit parts of the country every year during late summer. The climate of the northern island of Hokkaido is colder, and snow storms occur frequently during winter. In Okinawa, on the other hand, the mean temperature of January is a warm 16 degrees Celsius.