▪ mountains, Japan
      (Japanese: Kitakami Range), mountain range, in northeastern Honshu, Japan, paralleling the Pacific coast and extending for about 155 mi (250 km) from southern Aomori Prefecture, through Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, to terminate in the Ojika Peninsula. The range has a maximum breadth of 50 mi and is nearly wedge shaped. The highest peak, Hayachine-san, rises to an elevation of 6,280 ft (1,914 m) in the centre of the range.

      The mountains of the Kitakami-sammyaku are generally regarded as dissected erosion surfaces in step formation, the highest step level being 2,950 ft. Hayachine-san and other protruding peaks support some alpine vegetation.

      The western margin of the range descends to the valley of the Kitakami-gawa (Kitakami River), which flows longitudinally between the Kitakami-sammyaku and the Ōu-sammyaku. The eastern side of the Kitakami-sammyaku presents two main configurations: in the north the mountains are fringed by 980-ft-high marine terraces, while in the south the mountains have been drowned to form a greatly embayed coast. The southern coast is liable to severe damage by tsunamis (tidal waves).

      The Kitakami-sammyaku region is often referred to as the “Tibet of Japan” and is regarded as one of the pioneer fringes of Honshu. Until the mid-20th century, relics of old agricultural practices survived, including the serf system known as Nago. Rice has now replaced millet as the major crop, and the valleys are used for breeding dairy cattle. The southern part of the range is crossed by two railways running from the Pacific coast to the rail line in the Kitakami-gawa valley.

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Universalium. 2010.

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