Taiwan (Traditional Chinese: 台灣 or 臺灣, Táiwān ) is an island nation off the coast of southeastern mainland China. The island is officially known as and governed by the Republic of China (中華民國 Zhōnghuá Mínguó ) or ROC. Shaped roughly like a sweet potato, the nation is home to more than 23 million people and is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Besides its crowded cities, Taiwan is also known for steep mountains and lush forests. Although most of the population is ethnically Chinese, the legacy of Japanese colonial rule still pervades much of Taiwanese life, and there is also indigenous Austronesian culture to explore for the truly intrepid traveler.