How many islands does Japan have?


LAST UPDATED: July 24, 2020 by Ryan M

How many island does Japan have?

Japan is made up of 6,852 islands, 430 of which are inhabited. The uninhabited islands are mainly used as nature reserves and some are privately owned.

Although 430 of the islands are inhabited, most of the population lives in the 4 biggest islands. Here is a breakdown of the population distribution:

Honshu – 81%
Kyushu – 10%
Hokkaido – 4.2%
Shikoku – 3%
● Others – 1.8%

Here’s a summary of the major islands of Japan:

Honshu is the largest and most popular island in Japan, and is home to its capital city, Tokyo. Most of Japan’s economic power is located on the Southern coast of the island. In contrast, the northern economy is largely based on fishing and agriculture. Honshu is the second most populated island in the world, with the first being Indonesia. It’s also the seventh-largest island in the world.

Hokkaido is the second-largest island in Japan. Sapporo is the largest city and the capital of the island. It is well known for its fishing and agricultural industries. Moreover, the island is also known for its massive support for dairy products. The dairy products have a high-quality reputation to the citizens of Japan and it seems to be a lot how Americans think of Wisconsin’s and its cheese and dairy products.

Kyushu is the third-largest island in Japan. It’s mountainous and most known for having an active volcano on in the south. Kyushu has semi-tropical coastlines, hot springs, waterfalls, and lots of interesting places to visit. While not as many tourists visit Kyushu, the ones that go there are attracted to the ancient culture and architecture located on the island.
Shikoku is the fourth largest island and is located south of Honshu and northeast of Kyushu. The island has many of Japan’s most beautiful cities with a population of approximately 4.2 million people. Shikoku is known for its festivals which attract visitors from all over the world. The 88 Temple Pilgrimage, located on Shikoku is Japan’s most famous pilgrimage route, a 750-mile loop around the island. The island has more rural areas than the other main islands but it still attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Thanks to Trevor over at ‘Best Japan Items‘ for assistance with writing this post!


  1. In Japanese, the name “Japan” is Nippon or Nihon, which means “Land of the Rising Sun.”
  2. The Japanese film, The Hidden Fortress, was the basis for George Lucas’ uber-famous Star Wars movies. Star Wars famous film Star Wars.
  3. Japanese people eat more fish than any other country in the world.
  4. Japan has nearly six million vending machines with nearly one being at every street  Some of the more unusual vending machines include comic books, light bulbs, fresh eggs, toilet paper,  umbrellas, and fish bait.
  5. The world’s shortest escalator, at only five steps, is located in the basement of More’s department store in Kawasaki, Japan.



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