Kyushu (kyōˈshō) [key], island (1990 pop. 13,064,955), c.13,760 sq mi (35,640 sq km), S Japan. It is the third largest, southernmost, and most densely populated of the major islands of Japan. It is separated from Shikoku by the Bungo Strait and from Honshu by the Shimonoseki Strait; a railroad tunnel under the strait and a bridge link Kyushu with Honshu. Mainly of volcanic origin, the island has a mountainous interior rising to 5,886 ft (1,794 m) in Kuju-san; Aso-san, Japan's largest active volcano, is on Kyushu, and there are many hot springs. The Chikugo (88 mi/142 km long), the island's longest river, waters an extensive rice-growing area in the northwest. Kyushu has a subtropical climate and receives much precipitation. Rice, tea, tobacco, sweet potatoes, fruits, wheat, and soybeans are major crops. Coal, zinc, and copper are mined in Kyushu, and raw silk is extensively produced. The island is noted for its porcelain (Satsuma and Hizen ware). The famous Imari ware was manufactured at the ancient town of Arita. Heavy industry is concentrated in N Kyushu, near Japan's oldest coal field; Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, and Omuta are major industrial centers. Nagasaki, the chief port of Kyushu, was the first Japanese port to receive Western trade. There are four national parks on the island, and one of Japan's two space centers is located there.
More on Kyushu from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Japanese Political Geography