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A satellite image of Hokkaido taken in May 2001.

Hokkaido (北海道 Hokkaidō, literally "Northern Sea Circuit"), formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is the second largest island of Japan, and the largest and northernmost prefecture. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu. The two islands are connected by the undersea railway Seikan Tunnel. The largest city on Hokkaido is its capital, Sapporo, which is also its only ordinance-designated city. About 43 km north of Hokkaido lies the Karafuto Prefecture on Sakhalin, whereas to its east and north-east are the Kuril Islands.

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