Crustal movements accompanied by volcanic activity, earthquakes, and other awesome natural forces have molded Japan's topography, giving it plenty of variety. It is easy to imagine the rumbling of stresses and strains underground.
The volcanic island Sakurajima rises out of Kagoshima Bay in southern Kyushu. Even today it sometimes spews out volcanic ash, a concern for the more than 500,000 residents of Kagoshima City just a few kilometers across the strait (foreground). The people love "their" volcano, and generally forgive its irritable nature.
(Photo: Toyotaka Ryuzo)
This green volcano sits almost right between a golf course and a resort for seasonal residents in Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture. Elevation, 581 meters. Every year in February, the dry grass covering the cone is all burned. Snowy Mount Fuji is on the horizon.
(Photo: Watanabe Manabu)