STS068-214-067 Coastal Plains, Hokkaido Island, Japan October 1994 The coastal plains of east, southeast Hokkaido are visible in this generally west-looking view. The lighter colored, gridded (dark, intersecting lines) landscape, has been produced by a methodical land clearing operation, where terrain was once forested, now the land is being used for agricultural purposes. Notice that several drainage patterns can be traced across the light-colored fields. The drainage pattern shows up as dark meandering features because trees (vegetation) still outline the stream channels. A series of coastal wetlands including several estuaries and bordering swamplands (darker coastal regions) are visible. There is a large sand spit that extends eastward into the Nemuro Strait (bottom center). The darker landscapes inland are forested low-lying drainage basins or forested mountain slopes that are partially obscured by clouds (along the right edge).