Chubu Region

The Central Highlands are sandwiched by Tokai to the south and Hokuriku to the north. This is a mountainous area where Japan’s three biggest mountain ranges run side by side from north to south. Collectively they are called the “Roofs of Japan” or the “Japan Alps,” mainly because many of the peaks are really high, exceeding 2,500m, and several of them exceed 3,000m.

the Northern Alps mountains as seen from Kamikochi, Japan
Mountains of the “Northern Alps” as seen from Kamikochi

A couple of narrow plains, which are not so large in area, are surrounded by mountains (these types of plains are called bonchi or basins), and these are the places where the population of the Central Highlands is concentrated. These basins have a typical “inland” climate: humidity is low, there is not much precipitation throughout the year, and the temperature differences between days and nights are large. Under these climatic conditions, unique industries and farm production have developed here.

geography of  the Chubu Region
Geography of the Chubu Region

Tokai Area

In the southern part of Gifu Prefecture flows three big rivers: the Kiso, Nagara, and Ibi. They eventually flow into Isa Bay, forming a vast flat land in their lower reaches called the Nobi Plain. This is where Nagoya, the biggest city in the Chubu Region, is located. The population of Nagoya and its surrounding area began to increase after the Second World War, and now the expansion has crossed the prefectural borders, forming a large metropolis called the Chukyo Metropolitan Area, the third largest metropolis in Japan after the Greater Tokyo Area and the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area.

Photographs: properties of Unfamiliar Japan