The heart of Japan
Imagine Japan and you're probably picturing the central island of Honshu.
Japan’s main island, it’s also the country’s largest and most populous. More than 100 million people are squeezed into pockets of flat land among the many volcanoes which form a long, mountainous arc from the northeast tip to the southwestern end. The perfect 3,776 meter peak of Mount Fuji, easily spotted from Tokyo on a clear day, reigns over them all.
Most guidebooks will divide the island into central, western and north-eastern Honshu. Traditionally, Honshu is further broken up into five smaller regions: Tohoku in the north, Kanto to the east, Chubu in the center, Kansai in the south and Chugoku to the west.
Tohoku is the more remote, known for skiing and onsen (hot spring baths), while Kanto is dominated by the megalopolis of Tokyo and Yokohama. Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes are in the Chubu region, as well as tourist-favorite Takayama. Visitors will usually head to Kansai for the famous temples of Kyoto and the buzzing alternative scene of Osaka, day tripping to nearby Kobe to get their fill of wagyu beef, before taking the train down south into Chugoku to see Hiroshima and the floating red gate at Miyajima.