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Japan consists of four major islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku) which are home to more than 90% of its 123 million residents. Iwakuni is located on the southeastern tip of Honshu - the most populated island in Japan.
Abrupt shorelines and numerous small mountains characterize the landscape of Iwakuni. Since flat land is scarce, rice and grain fields can be seen terraced up the hills and mountains. Hillsides are heavily wooded with many varieties of pine, bamboo and hardwood trees. Narrow highways hug the coastline, winding around the numerous small bays that penetrate Honshu's rugged coast.
Many sections of Japan are accessible to the Iwakuni traveler. Modern, convenient trains make it possible to visit many towns and resort sites.
Although there are several large cities near Iwakuni, Hiroshima is the most notable one. Hiroshima is located approximately 25 miles northeast of Iwakuni. It is a great place for shopping, cultural tours and entertainment. It is famous for the Peace Park and Museum which preserves pictures and relics from the atomic bomb explosion.
Japan's climate is similar to that of coastal North Carolina. Winters are mild with some snow and the summer months are warm and humid. In January, the coldest month, temperatures may drop to 34 degrees Fahrenheit. August temperatures can reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Typhoons occasionally pass near Iwakuni but rarely strike the area directly.
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, is situated approximately 600 miles southwest of Tokyo. It is located in the Nishiki River delta at Iwakuni City, where it lies at the eastern end of Yamaguchi Prefecture, the southern end of the main island of Japan. The city is backed by the mountains and fronted by the Seto Inland Sea, and its northern part adjoins Otake City in Hiroshima Prefecture. Running from east to west, the Nishiki River is vital to the over 150,000 residents and the large number of factories in the city.
MCAS Iwakuni is home to approximately half of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing that is headquartered on Okinawa, elements of the 3rd Marine Logistics Group, Fleet Air Wing 31 of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, and other units of JMSDF. At present the station has about 15,000 personnel, including Japanese national employees.