Japan Country Information

Japan or the Land of the Rising Sun is an archipelago located in a volcanic zone or west of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Its neighboring countries include China, Russia, and the Republic of Korea. More than 50% of the country is mountainous with a vast forest coverage.

Quick Japan Facts

  • Total Area: 145,920 square miles
  • Capital City: Tokyo
  • Largest Cities by Population: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kobe, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Kawasaki, Saitama, Hiroshima, Sendai, Kitakyushu, Chiba
  • Government: Parliament System
  • Language: Japanese (popular dialects include Osaka, Kansai, Kyoto, and Tohoku)
  • Currency: Japanese Yen
  • Main Religions: Shintoism, Buddhism, and Christianity
  • Weather and Climate: Humid Continental to Humid Subtropical. Japan has four distinct seasons. Mountainous areas experience snowfalls during winter.
  • National Anthem: Kimi ga Yo

Society, Language, and Culture

Japan is a captivating country. Despite having a wide range of distinctive dialects encompassing Kobe, Osaka, and Kyoto, the entire country basically speaks the same language, making them a strikingly homogenous society.

While many linguists believe that the Japanese language is a specific language, valuable evidence exists suggesting it originated from the Malayo-Polynesian language family. The linguistic character of Japanese is rich in emotions, abstract ideas, and ethics.

The Japanese people are notable for giving high importance to traditional culture that stresses the values of harmony and social conformity.

Mass Transportation

Japan is widely known for its highly developed transportation system. By 2004, the country had 14,664 miles of railways. The privatized Japan National Railways (JNR) consists of six railway companies feeding 144 private railroads.

The country is also the leading maritime nation. Its chief ports include Nagoya, Yokohama, and Kobe. By 1959, Japan led in shipbuilding until it declined in the early 1980s due to increased competition and global recession.

Economy and Industry

Since the feudal society, manufacturing has been the main source of Japan’s economic rise. The country’s industry is notable for having an intricate system of alliances and networking. Most of the companies that belong to a single business group maintain an exclusive buyer-supplier relationship that keeps the businesses within a few conglomerations. Such relationship suppresses foreign acquisition of Japanese firms.

Japan is still a prominent shipbuilder, with as much as 50% of the built ships exported. The decline in shipbuilding was eagerly compensated by the production of passenger cars, which greatly expounded by the early 1980s.

Tourism and Recreation

Regarded as a major industry, Japanese tourism attracted millions of foreign visitors over the years. Much of the hotel rooms have an occupancy rate of 70%. It has become a sought after tourist destination due to the ease of travel into the country. Only a valid passport with a return ticket is necessary. For tourists who will not stay for more than 90 days, a visa is no longer necessary.

The country’s main tourist destinations include the Ryoan-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Nijo Castle, 13th-century Sanjusangedo, Heian Jingu Shrine, and a number of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.

Japan’s national pastime is baseball. It has two professional leagues composed of six teams. Many are still fascinated by Sumo, with six tournaments held annually.