"China is located to the west of Japan."
All this time giving me headaches because I use Kanji and now it's not accepting the full hiragana answer??? Jesus christ. Japanese duolingo will make me kill myself one day. I question the value of the time I spend here. I did learn a lot but the more advanced it gets the more frustratingly stupid it becomes.
Remember Japanese lessons are still in Beta so you should be patient. Please report everytime you give a right answer that get marked wrong. That helps the website contributors to improve the lessons.
The の ties two words together directly, similar to "of" in English, as in "west of Japan". Just like in English you can't say "Japan west of", it must always be 日本の西, not the other way around. The order of the words in this construction is reversed compared to English.
の is a possessive particle , so 日本の西＝”west of Japan" 西の日本＝”Japan of the west (or something like that)"
See の as English "'s"; you can't switch the words around. Here you're definitely referring to "Japan's west" and not to "west's Japan."
It is also possibly a little easier to use the word "of" in place of の. This way it sounds like a smoother translation (in English). Then Reading it backward yeilds west of Japan. It also works nicely for situation where no possession is implied such as color. オランジーナ色のズボン