Rivers of Japan are characterized by their relatively short lengths and considerably steep gradients due to the narrow and mountainous topography of the country. An often-cited quote is 'this is not a river, but a waterfall' by the Dutch engineer (o-yatoi gaikokujin) Johannis de Rijke who had visited the Jōganji River, Toyama Prefecture. The Mogami, the Fuji and the Kuma are regarded as the three most rapid rivers of Japan.
Typical rivers of Japan rise from mountainous forests and cut out deep V-shaped valleys in their upper reaches, and form alluvial plains in their lower reaches which enable the Japanese to cultivate rice fields and to set up cities. Most rivers are dammed to supply both water and electricity.
The longest river of Japan is the Shinano, which flows from Nagano to Niigata. The Tone has the largest watershed and serves water to more than 30 million inhabitants of Tokyo metropolitan area.
The list below is in geographical order (from north to south). See also Category:Rivers of Japan for an alphabetical list.
There are 326 rivers in Hokkaido including 13 class A river systems (1級水系 Ikkyū suikei) designated by the central government. See also Category:Rivers of Hokkaido.
There are 13 class A river systems as follows. Their tributaries are also listed. The class A rivers are administrated by Hokkaidō Regional Development Bureau (北海道開発局, Hokkaidō kaihatsukyoku).
The rivers that are classified as class B rivers.
The following table is a list of rivers of Hokkaidō by length.
|Ishikari (石狩川, Ishikari-gawa)||268 km (167 mi)|
|Teshio (天塩川, Teshio-gawa)||256 km (159 mi)|
|Tokachi (十勝川, Tokachi-gawa)||156 km (97 mi)|
|Kushiro (釧路川, Kushiro-gawa)||154 km (96 mi)|
|Yūbari (夕張川, Yūbari-gawa)||136 km (85 mi)|
|Mu (鵡川, Mu-kawa)||135 km (84 mi)|
|Shiribetsu (尻別川, Shiribetsu-gawa)||126 km (78 mi)|
|Tokoro (常呂川, Tokoro-gawa)||120 km (75 mi)|
|Abashiri (網走川, Abashiri-gawa)||115 km (71 mi)|
|Chitose (千歳川, Chitose-gawa)||108 km (67 mi)|
|Saru (沙流川, Saru-gawa)||104 km (65 mi)|
|Akan (阿寒川, Akan-gawa)||98 km (61 mi)|
|Yūbetsu (湧別川, Yūbetsu-gawa)||87 km (54 mi)|
|Shokotsu (渚滑川, Shokotsu-gawa)||84 km (52 mi)|
|Niikappu (新冠川, Niikappu-gawa)||80 km (50 mi)|
|Shiribeshi-Toshibetsu (後志利別川, Shiribeshi-Toshibetsu-gawa)||80 km (50 mi)|
|Shibetsu (標津川, Shibetsu-gawa)||78 km (48 mi)|
|Toyohira (豊平川, Toyohira-gawa)||72.5 km (45.0 mi)|
|Shizunai (静内川, Shizunai-gawa)||69.9 km (43.4 mi)|
|Rumoi (留萌川, Rumoi-gawa)||44 km (27 mi)|
|Koetoi (声問川, Koetoi-gawa)||41.9 km (26.0 mi)|
|Mitsuishi (三石川, Mitsuishi-gawa)||31.6 km (19.6 mi)|
|Makomanai (真駒内川, Makomanai-gawa)||21 km (13 mi)|
|Anano (穴の川, Ana-no-kawa)||9.4 km (5.8 mi)|
First class rivers under the control of Tohoku Regional Bureau (東北地方整備局)
Second class river
First class rivers under the control of Kanto Regional Bureau (関東地方整備局)
First-class rivers under the control of Hokuriku Regional Bureau (北陸地方整備局)
Rivers that flow into the Sea of Japan:
Rivers that flow into the Pacific Ocean:
First class rivers under control of Chubu Regional Bureau (中部地方整備局)
The first class rivers under the control of Kinki Regional Bureau (近畿地方整備局)
The second class river
There are 13 Class A river systems in Chūgoku Region, which are under control of Chugoku Regional Bureau (中国地方整備局). See also Category:Rivers of Tottori Prefecture, Category:Rivers of Shimane Prefecture, Category:Rivers of Hiroshima Prefecture, Category:Rivers of Okayama Prefecture and Category:Rivers of Yamaguchi Prefecture.
First class rivers under control of Shikoku Regional Bureau (四国地方整備局)
First class rivers under control of Kyushu Regional Bureau (九州地方整備局)