The province is bordered by China (Jilin) on the north, North Hamgyong on the east, South Hamgyong on the south, and Chagang on the west.
Ryanggang was formed in 1954, when it was separated from South Hamgyŏng.
The provincial capital is Hyesan.
Along the northern border with China runs the Yalu River and the Tumen River.
In between the rivers, and the source of both, is Paektu Mountain, revered by both the Koreans and Manchurians as the mythic origin of each people.