[Top 5] Long Rivers in Japan, as Basic knowledge about Japan

This page consists of ….

  • Top 5 Long Rivers in Japan
  • Location of 5 rivers
  • Information about basins of 5 rivers
  • A piece of advise by webmaster

This page is to help the people :

  • Who is interested in Japan
  • Who want to get geographical information of Japan
  • Who want to know Japanese Rivers


Now, I study geography of Japan


That’s nice !


I couldn’t find any data of rivers in Japan…


No problem, I would like to introduce 5 longer rivers in Japan.

With reading of this page, you will get above listed knowledges as well as Japanese have. I will be very glad if you could read this article to the end.

Thank you !


SHINTA+ / Japanese blog writer, born and raised in Japan, visited more than 20 countries, introducing Japanese culture to the world, with both domestic & international experiences.

Basic information of Rivers in Japan

It’s said that there are more than 35,000 of rivers in Japan. As land of Japan consist of small islands, length of rivers are basically short, compare with the one of the continents.

The rivers bring water from mountains to downstream areas where many people live. A lot of cities are along with the rivers.

Shinano gawa / 367km

 © OpenStreetMap contributors

Shinano gawa (Shinano river, gawa means ‘river’) is the longest river in Japan, whose length is 367 km. Origin is in Nagano prefecture. Upper side is called Chikuma gawa and flow to Niigata prefecture.

In a basin of Shinano gawa, there are many cities, Ueda, Nagano, Nagaoka, Niigata, etc. In this area is thriving with agriculture. There are many rice fields, which is so beautiful in harvest season.


Japanese food is gift of the Shinano River !

Tone gawa / 332km

      © OpenStreetMap contributors

Tone gawa is 2nd longest river in Japan, whose length is 322 km. Origin of the river is in Gunma prefecture. Tone gawa flow in Gunma, Tochigi, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Ibaraki, and finally to Pacific Ocean.

In basin of Tone gawa, more than 12,000,000 of people live, which is approximately 10% of Japanese population. Tone gawa was originally flow to Tokyo bay. To avoid flood in Tokyo, route was changed to east in 17th century in Edo era.


The life is Tokyo Metropolitan area is supported by Tone River !

Ishikari gawa / 268km

© OpenStreetMap contributors

Ishikari river is 3rd longest river in Japan, whose length is 268km. This river flow in mid west part of Hokkaido island. In basin, there are major cities of Hokkaido, Sapporo as largest, Asahikawa as 2nd.

Ishikari gawa was originally with meandering route with length more than 320km. With many works for flood prevention, route becomes more straight. As a result, the river was shortened more than 60km.


There was often flood in Ishikari River.

Teshio gawa / 256km

© OpenStreetMap contributors

Teshio gawa is 4th longest river in Japan, and 2nd in Hokkaido island, whose length is 256km. The river flows very northern part of Hokkaido island, very cold area.

In this area, only 120,000 of people live, which is 1/100 of Tone gawa basin. 158km to the river mouth, there’s no weirs and water gates. So there are very beautiful natures in this area.


Frankly speaking, Teshio River is not so famous in Japan …

Kitakami gawa / 249km

© OpenStreetMap contributors

Kitakami gawa is 5th longest river in Japan, and 1st in Tohoku area, whose length is 249km. The river flows in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures and finally to Pacific Ocean.

In this basin, there are very rich cultural backgrounds. In 12-13th century, as golden period of local government in this area, ‘Chusonji-temple Golden hall’ was built, which is registered as world heritage.


Lot of cultural heritages are in Kitakami River area !


In the end, I would like to summarize the points of this article.

5 long rivers in Japan

  • Shinano gawa / 367km
  • Tone gawa / 332km
  • Ishikari gawa / 268km
  • Teshio gawa / 256km
  • Kitakami gawa / 249km


Now, you got knowledge of Japanese rivers !


How was the content today ?

Rivers in Japan are not so long, compare with the one in the continent. Even small, rivers brings a lot of benefits to people living along the basin. If you have a chance, please try to see the rivers in Japan.

In the end, thank you very much for your reading and see you again !