Why is Japan so beautiful?
Japan is called "Nihon" or "Nippon" in Japanese, which means 'the origin of the sun'. The Japanese archipelago lies east of the Asian continent and consists of four large islands (from north to south): Hokkaido (78,500 km²), Honshu (230,000 km²), Shikoku (18,800 km²) and Kyushu (42,000 km², about as large like the Netherlands). There are innumerable large and small islands surrounding the large islands. Honshu is the main island with cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Hiroshima. The total surface of the land is 377.835 km² and the arch of the island is more than 3000 km. The width of the land mass is only 270 km. The total coastline is over 16,000 miles and nowhere in the country is the coast more than a few hours away. The Japanese coast is extremely irregular with countless bays and peninsulas, which makes for many beautiful landscape shots.
Geologically speaking, the Japanese islands are the peaks of a huge mountain rising over 9,000 m from the sea floor on the edge of the continental shelf. Mountains and hills cover approximately 70% of the country. Most of the high mountains are on the island of Honshu. There is a very famous mountain range called the 'Japanese Alps'. Many of these mountains are 3000m high. There are also 265 volcanoes, many of which are still active. The holy mountain Fuji is the highest peak in Japan at 3776 m. Japan lies at the intersection of three geological plates and is considered to be the most seismically active region in the world. Every year there are 7,000 to 8,000 earthquakes in Japan. Most of them are barely noticeable. However, strong earthquakes can cause significant damage, as the 2011 earthquake with the subsequent tsunami showed. For this reason, the foundations of most buildings are built in such a way that they sway and not collapse during a quake. The geothermal activity manifests itself in thousands of natural hot springs. More than 1100 sources appear to have medicinal properties, primarily for the gut and nervous system. Some of these sources are used as spas or onsen ’. Sometimes the water is so hot that you can boil an egg in them.
Fauna and Flora:
The diversity of Japan is also reflected in the diversity of plants in the country. You can find no less than 2500 different types of plants there. There are also many forests with more than 150 tree species, including oak, cedar, palm, camphor, pine trees, but also birch, poplar, maple, magnolias and the famous, blooming plum and cherry trees. Some plants and trees have an important meaning in Japanese culture. The pine tree (Matsu) is a symbol of longevity. The bamboo (take), strong and flexible, represents the ability to overcome difficulties and stay strong. Cherry blossoms (sakura) fall after just a few days and symbolize the rapid change in the world in a poetic way.
The onset of spring (Haru) begins in Japan with the flowering of the plum and cherry trees. The weather forecast reports in which part the first flowers are expected. Watching the cherry blossom is a very popular activity and parties are held to welcome spring. This custom is called 'Hanami' (flower viewing).
More than 400 species of birds live in this beautiful country, from the colorful Bengal buttera to the red-crowned crane. Mammals live in Japan that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The largest are the bears that make their home in the mountains. In the vicinity of the farms and villages one can find foxes and raccoons, which are often part of Japanese folk tales. Very rarely do you see the ‘Shikahert’, the Japanese dormouse. The waters around the Japanese islands are teeming with dolphins and whales.
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