NIPPONIA No. 37 June 15, 2006


Special Featuresp_star.gif

Japan from the Air

From space, the Japanese archipelago appears like the beads of a wondrous necklace dropped in the sea off the eastern coast of the Eurasian continent. The islands' convoluted topography comes from five tectonic plates pushing against each other. The archipelago, long and thin north to south, is bathed by both warm and cold ocean currents which, together with westerly winds blowing at high altitudes, create a varied climate. The lay of the land and the moist winds ensure high levels of precipitation and a rich forest cover. And we cannot forget Japan's culture and industry, both influenced by developments on continents near and far.

The following pages give you a different perspective on the archipelago, from space and the air, showing a Japan rarely seen by anyone.


"Upside down" Landsat satellite image of the Japanese archipelago. You can quickly identify Japan's most distinguishing features—a long and thin cluster of islands, and a topography dominated by mountains.

(c) 2006 TRIC NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, GDAAC MODIS Data Support Team