May 14, 2013 - Central Japan

Central Japan

On May 9, 2013 clouds surrounding central Japan parted, allowing the Moderate Resolution Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying aboard NASA’s Terra satellite to capture a true-color, clear-sky image of the region.

Japan is a nation made up of over 2,400 islands, the largest of which is Honshu. As can be seen in this image, the topography of Honshu in central Japan is mountainous. Several rugged peaks in the snow-covered “Japanese Alps” – the three mountain ranges that bisect the island - rise to over 3,000 m (9,842 ft). The highest mountain in Japan is Mount Fuji, an active volcano with a 3,776 m (12,388 ft) peak which remains snow-covered many months of the year. It can be seen as a bright white circle southwest of Tokyo.

The most notable feature of central Japan is the mark of mankind – the smudgy grayish regions that indicate cities and large areas of human habitation. Three-fourths of Japan’s major cities are located on Honshu. One of the most notable city complexes surrounds Tokyo Bay on the east-central coast. The Bay lies at the heart of the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area, with Tokyo, Kawasaki and Yokohama on the northwestern and western side, Yokosuka to the southwest, and Chiba to the northeast.

According to the 2010 Japanese census, the greater Tokyo metropolitan area has a population of 35,623,328 people, which means that 1 in 4 Japanese citizens call this area home.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 5/4/2013
Resolutions: 1km (118.5 KB), 500m (436.2 KB), 250m (1.1 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC