Honshū ( [ hoɴɕu ː ], jap本州, main province ', in German also Honshu ) is the largest island of Japan and is also called Japanese " heartland ". In the north it is separated by the Tsugaru Strait from the island of Hokkaido, the south by the Seto Inland Sea from the island of Shikoku. In the southwest of the island of Kyushu is separated from Honshu by the Straits of Shimonoseki.

On Honshu is the Japanese capital Tōkyō.

Geography and climate

Honshu is about 1300 km long and has a width of 50-240 km. The area is 227,974.55 km ², representing approximately 60 % of the total area of Japan. The coastline is 5450 km long. The highest point of the island and Japan's Mount Fuji with 3776 m height. To the region Honshu also include 3193 more islands with a total area of ​​3143 km ².

The area is very fertile, especially in the Kanto plain, because there flow many rivers. The climatic conditions range from the cool northern tip of the island to subtropical zones in the south.

Honshu is mountainous and seismically very active, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes mainly occur frequently. The Great Kanto Earthquake in September 1923 added Tōkyō to severe damage, 1995 by an earthquake in Kobe killed 6,400 people. The Tōhoku earthquake in 2011, in particular the subsequent tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people dead and led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Administration and civil

The island is divided into 34 prefectures, including the urban district of Tōkyō and divided into the following five regions:

  • Chūgoku ( in the west)
  • Kinki ( in the Midwest )
  • Chūbu ( in the center )
  • Kanto (east )
  • Tohoku (north)

The population in 2000 was approximately 100 million inhabitants ( 1975: 89 million) and is particularly concentrated in the lowlands. In the Kanto plain in and around Tōkyō and Yokohama live 25 % of the total population of Honshū. The second major metropolitan area is the further west, Kansai, to the cities of Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe are. The other major cities on the island are Hiroshima, Akita and Nagoya. After Java is the island of Honshu with the second largest population of the earth.

Transport links

Honshu is connected to the other main Japanese islands through tunnels or bridges. Three new bridge systems have been built over the Seto Inland Sea between Honshu and Shikoku, which is the Akashi - Kaikyo bridge to the island of Awaji the suspension bridge with the longest cantilever center of the world. The Seikan Tunnel connects Honshu with Hokkaido.