This is how a VIN is broken down (taken from the National Insurance Crime Bureau's Passenger Vehicle Identification Manual (2001) )
Beginning in 1971, manufacturers selling in the U.S. had to produce the 17 character vehicle identification number (VIN).
The first three characters of the VIN are designated the World Manufacturers Identification (WMI). This uniquely identifies the Nation of Origin, Manufacturer, Make and type of vehicle.
The second section has five characters and is designated as teh Vehicle Description Section (VDS). It uniquely identifies the attributes of the vehicle such as model, body style, engine, etc.
The third section is located after the check digit (not sure what it checks). That section is eight characters long and called the Vehicle Identification Section (VIS). The first character represents the model year (exlained more in detail later); the second character represents the plant of manufacture; and the last six charachers represent the sequential production number.
As for the year character (10th character), it could be a number or letter. 2001 model vehicles start with a #1 and go up to 9 (2009). In 2010 they will begin with the letter 'A'. Not all letters of the alphabet are used (I,O,Q,U and Z) are not used.
book shows the world manufacturer identifier for Honda as:
1HG (U.S.A. - Honda of America - Passenger Car)
2HG (Canada - Honda of Canada - Passenger Car)
2HK (Canada - Honda of Canada - Passenger Van)
Probably a little more information than you wanted, but that's the basic breakdown.
You can purchase a 2005 Passenger Vehicle Identification Manual for $10 (or if you know someone in law enforcement, free).
Hope that helps some (I know it don't tell you the date of manufacture).