With a population of around 7.3 million, the Chugoku region occupies the western tip of Honshu. Two of its five prefectures, Okayama and Hiroshima, face the Seto Inland Sea that separates Honshu from the island of Shikoku, while another two, Tottori and Shimane, are on the Sea of Japan side. Yamaguchi, at the very tip of Honshu, faces both seas.
The Seto Inland Sea is the largest body of water separating the main islands. Dotted with many islands, it is noted for its scenic beauty. But belts of industry, including petrochemicals and steelmaking, have developed along its coast. In 1945 Hiroshima was destroyed when it became the first city in the world to suffer an atomic bombing, but now the city has rebuilt itself and has become the center of economic activity in the Chugoku region.
The region is divided along its length by the Chugoku mountains, which support agriculture, forestry, and cattle-rearing. But there is not enough work for young people in these areas, which suffer from serious depopulation. Along the Sea of Japan side, there are plains with thriving rice and fruit cultivation. Some areas of its coast are characterized by dunes.