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Honshu, the main island of Japan
Stephen Redmond swimming in the Tsugaru Channel off of Honshu on his quest for the Oceans Seven, captured in the film Defeating Oceans Seven by Red Bull Media House
Honshu (本州 in Japanese) is the largest island of Japan. Japan's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Channel, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait. It is the seventh largest island in the world, and the second most populous after Java in Indonesia.

It has a population of 103 million in 2005, (98,352,000 as of 1990; in 1975 it was 89,101,702), mostly concentrated in the available lowlands, notably in the Kantō plain where 25% of the total population reside in the Greater Tokyo Area, which includes Tokyo and Yokohama, Kawasaki, Saitama and Chiba cities. Most of the nation's industry is located along the belt running from Tokyo along Honshu's southern coastal cities, including Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe, and Hiroshima, part of the Taiheiyo Belt.

The economy along the northwestern coast by the Sea of Japan is largely fishing and agriculture.

Eminent historical centers include Kyoto, Nara, and Kamakura.

Oceans Seven

Honshu is the traditional starting point of the channel swims across the Tsugaru Channel and the least known of the Oceans Seven challenges. The Oceans Seven is open water swimming's equivalent of mountaineering's Seven Summits which are the highest mountains in each of the seven continents. It includes the:

1. North Channel between Ireland and Scotland
2. Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand
3. Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii, U.S.A.
4. English Channel between England and France
5. Catalina Channel in Southern California, U.S.A.
6. Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in northern Japan
7. Strait of Gibraltar between Europe (Spain) and Africa (Morocco)

Achieving the Oceans Seven requires an ability to swim in both very cold and very warm seas and a tremendous amount of planning, time, financial resources and multi-national support teams of knowledgeable local experts.

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