This "donut" coral reef (official name: Rukan Reef) is near Okinawa's Naha Airport. Traffic controllers at the airport use it as a reference point to guide descending aircraft. Okinawa Prefecture, in the southwestern extremity of the country, has a string of more than 160 islands. Here, the sun bathes the coral with strong subtropical rays.
(Photo: Toyotaka Ryuzo)
Around the middle of January, ice floes push their way south from faraway Siberia to the Shiretoko Peninsula at the northeastern tip of Hokkaido. Shiretoko means "Land's End" in the language of the indigenous people, the Ainu. Steep mountains form the spine of the peninsula, and the only way to get to the tip is by air or sea.
(Photo: JTB Photo)