The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and often are referred to as home islands.The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one.or Nihon-koku, meaning "State of Japan") is a sovereign island nation in East Asia.Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian mainland and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and China in the southwest.
At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country.
Around 300 BC, the Yayoi people began to enter the Japanese islands, intermingling with the Jōmon.
According to the Records of the Three Kingdoms, the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago during the third century was called Yamataikoku.
The Nara period is characterized by the appearance of a nascent literature as well as the development of Buddhist-inspired art and architecture.
In 784, Emperor Kanmu moved the capital from Nara to Nagaoka-kyō, then to Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto) in 794.
After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma—and the Empire of Japan was established.