Natural Regions, Chubu
parallel mountain ranges, central Honshu, climbing season, Japanese Alps, narrow valleys
Chubu, meaning ďcentral region,Ē encompasses central Honshu west of Kanto. This region contains some of Japanís longest rivers, its highest mountains, and numerous volcanoes. The Japanese Alps run through the center of Chubu, dividing the region into three districts. The central district, known as Tosan, contains the three parallel mountain ranges that make up the alps: the Hida Mountains (Northern Alps), the Kiso Mountains (Central Alps), and the Akaishi Mountains (Southern Alps). At least ten peaks in the Alps exceed 3,000 m (10,000 ft). The highest peak is Kita Dake, which stands at 3,192 m (10,474 ft) in the northern Akaishi range. Most inhabitants of the district live in elevated basins and narrow valleys scattered among the mountains. Silk traditionally has been produced in Tosanís valleys, although that industry has declined in recent decades.
West of the alps lies the Hokuriku district on the Sea of Japan. It receives heavy winter snowfalls, and its rapidly flowing rivers provide bountiful hydroelectric power. Extensive rice fields cover Hokurikuís plains, while its main cities are important manufacturing centers.
Tokai, the district east of the alps on the Pacific coast, is sunnier and warmer. Most of Japanís tea is produced there. Chubuís biggest city, Nagoya, is located on the Nobi Plain, a densely populated agricultural and industrial region. Also located in Tokai is Japanís highest mountain, Fuji, a remarkably symmetrical volcanic cone that rises to 3,776 m (12,387 ft). Referred to in Japan as Fuji-san, the mountain is beloved by many Japanese and appears often in art and as a symbol of the country. Fuji last erupted in 1707. During the July and August climbing season, thousands of climbers ascend the mountain each day. Many spend the night in order to see the sun rise the next morning from the horizon on the Pacific Ocean.
Chubu encompasses the prefectures of Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Yamanashi, Nagano, Gifu, Shizuoka, and Aichi.
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