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Japan



日本国 (Japanese)


Japan (Japanese: 日本, Nippon or Nihon,[nb 1] and formally 日本国, Nihonkoku[nb 2]) is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north toward the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, and Taiwan in the south. Japan is a part of the Ring of Fire, and spans an archipelago of 6852 islands covering 377,975 square kilometers (145,937 sq mi); the five main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu (the "mainland"), Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa. Tokyo is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kobe, and Kyoto.




Japan is the eleventh most populous country in the world, as well as one of the most densely populated and urbanized. About three-fourths of the country's terrain is mountainous, concentrating its population of 125.5 million on narrow coastal plains. Japan is divided into 47 administrative prefectures and eight traditional regions. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with more than 37.4 million residents.


Japan has been inhabited since the Upper Paleolithic period (30,000 BC), though the first written mention of the archipelago appears in a Chinese chronicle (the Book of Han) finished in the 2nd century AD. Between the 4th and 9th centuries, the kingdoms of Japan became unified under an emperor and the imperial court based in Heian-kyō. Beginning in the 12th century, political power was held by a series of military dictators (shōgun) and feudal lords (daimyō) and enforced by a class of warrior nobility (samurai). After a century-long period of civil war, the country was reunified in 1603 under the Tokugawa shogunate, which enacted an isolationist foreign policy. In 1854, a United States fleet forced Japan to open trade to the West, which led to the end of the shogunate and the restoration of imperial power in 1868.


In the Meiji period, the Empire of Japan adopted a Western-modeled constitution and pursued a program of industrialization and modernization. Amidst a rise in militarism and overseas colonization, Japan invaded China in 1937 and entered World War II as an Axis power in 1941. After suffering defeat in the Pacific War and two atomic bombings, Japan surrendered in 1945 and came under a seven-year Allied occupation, during which it adopted a


new constitution and began a military alliance with the United States. Under the 1947 constitution, Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a bicameral legislature, the National Diet.



Japan is a highly developed country, and a great power in global politics. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by PPP. Although Japan has renounced its right to declare war, the country maintains Self-Defense Forces that rank as one of the world's strongest militaries. After World War II, Japan experienced record growth in an economic miracle, becoming the second-largest economy in the world by 1972 but has stagnated since 1995 in what is referred to as the Lost Decades. Japan has the world's highest life expectancy, though it is experiencing a decline in population. 





What Japan is famous for?


Japan is known for everything from onsen hot springs and kabuki baths (dating to the 6th and 16th centuries, respectively) to all-night neon-lit dance parties, anime, and sushi boat restaurants, all of which are decidedly more modern.





What is Japan's real name?

Nippon-koku

In English, the modern official title of the country is simply "Japan", one of the few countries to have no "long form" name. The official Japanese-language name is Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku (日本国), literally "State of Japan"





What was the old name of Japan?

Historians say the Japanese called their country Yamato in its early history, and they began using Nippon around the seventh century. Nippon and Nihon are used interchangeably as the country's name




Is it hard to go to Japan?

Yes! Traveling to Japan can be difficult and confusing, especially as a first-timer, but it's doable. It's going to be much more convenient and easy with a guide by your side, but it's not impossible without one either



How old is Japan?

Japan: 15 Million Years Old


Japan came into existence in 660 B.C. Buddhism impacted Japanese culture to a large extent, if we go by historical records





Tōjimbō Point

The mountainous character of the country is the outcome of orogenic (mountain-building) forces largely during Quaternary time (roughly, the past 2.6 million years), as evidenced by the frequent occurrence of violent earthquakes, volcanic activity, and signs of change in sea levels along the coast. There are no sizable structural plains and peneplains (large land areas leveled by erosion), features that usually occur in more stable regions of the Earth. The mountains are for the most part in a youthful stage of dissection in which steep slopes are incised by dense river-valley networks. Rivers are mostly torrential, and their valleys are accompanied by series of river terraces that are the result of movements in the Earth’s crust, as well as climatic and sea-level changes in Holocene times (i.e., the past 11,700 years). Recent volcanoes are juxtaposed with old and highly dissected ones. The shores are characterized by elevated and depressed features such as headlands and bays, which display an incipient stage of development.



1. Mount Fuji


Without a doubt Japan's most recognizable landmark, majestic Mount Fuji (Fuji-san) is also the country's highest mountain peak. Towering 3,776 meters over an otherwise largely flat landscape to the south and east, this majestic and fabled mountain is tall enough to be seen from Tokyo, more than 100 kilometers away.


Mount Fuji has for centuries been celebrated in art and literature and is now considered so important an icon that UNESCO recognized its world cultural significance in 2013. Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Mount Fuji is climbed by more than a million people each summer as an act of pilgrimage, which culminates in watching the sunrise from its summit.


While some still choose to begin their climb from the base, the majority of climbers now start from above the halfway mark, at the 5th Station, resulting in a more manageable six-or-so-hour ascent. Those who do attempt the complete climb are advised to depart in the afternoon, breaking up the climb with an overnight stop at one of the "Mountain Huts" designed for this very purpose. An early start the next day gets you to the top for the sunrise.


Of course, for many, simply viewing the mountain from the distance, or from the comfort of a speeding train, is enough to say "been there, done that."



2. Imperial Tokyo




Tokyo's most famous landmark, the Imperial Palace with its beautiful 17th-century parks surrounded by walls and moats, is a must-see when visiting the nation's capital. Don't be put off by the fact that the majority of the palace is closed to the public (it's still in use by the Imperial family), as there is still enough to see simply by strolling the grounds.


In addition to the many fine views of the palace from numerous points in the surrounding parkland, visitors are permitted into the East Higashi-Gyoen Garden and other areas that are opened to the public as part of an organized tour. One of the most romantic views is of the famous Nijubashi Bridge, or "double bridge," so named for its watery reflection.




3. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park



While little needs to be said here of the horrors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August 1945, much can be said of the incredible efforts this vibrant city has made to commemorate the many victims of the world's first nuclear attack. Perhaps even more importantly, Hiroshima has become a symbol of lasting peace.


Visited by more than a million people each year, many from overseas, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Kōen) lies at the epicenter of the atomic blast in what was once a bustling part of the city. Here you'll find a number of important monuments, memorials, and museums relating to the events of that fateful day.



4. Historic Kyoto



One of Japan's most visited cities, lovely Kyoto — one of the few cities in the country to be spared the devastation of WWII — attracts more than 10 million visitors annually. Most of them are here to explore Kyoto's fine old streets and architecture, much of it unchanged since the Imperial family took up residence here more than 1,000 years ago.


Even then, the city was Japan's most important cultural center. This legacy, in fact, continues to this day with its many museums and art galleries, each bursting with important sculptures, paintings, and other art forms.


Highlights of Kyoto's Buddhist-influenced architecture include its many well-preserved temples, 30 of which are still in use, and important structures such as the 14th-century Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), famous for its exquisite gold-leaf-clad exterior.


Be sure to also visit Nijo Castle, a 17th-century fortress that has retained its original walls, towers, and moat. Also worth seeing are the castle's beautiful gates, along with its palace with fine interior décor.




5. The Island Shrine of Itsukushima, Miyajima


Just a short ferry ride from mainland Hiroshima is the island of Miyajima, famous the world over as Japan's Shrine Island. Covering an area of 30 square kilometers in Hiroshima Bay, Miyajima is best known as the home of the Itsukushima Shrine, a Shinto temple dedicated to the Princess daughters of the wind god Susanoo.


Dating from the eighth century, the majority of the shrine's buildings rise out of the waters of a small bay supported only by piles. The effect at high tide is simply stunning, making these structures - including the famous Great Floating Gate (O-Torii) - appear as if they're floating on water.


Linked together by walkways and bridges, it's a fascinating place to explore, in particular its larger halls. These include the exquisite Honden (Main Hall), the Offerings Hall (Heiden), the Prayer Hall (Haiden), and the Hall of a Thousand Mats (Senjokaku).


Another notable feature is the shrine's stage, where visitors are entertained with traditional dances and musical performances. Also worth exploring are the island's exquisite grounds and gardens, home to wild deer and numerous bird colonies.




6. Temple City: Historic Nara


For centuries the hub of Japanese culture, the lovely unspoiled city of Nara is home to a large number of historic buildings, along with important national treasures and works of art.


In addition to its many historic streets, the city boasts numerous important old temples. These includ the magnificent seventh-century Kofuku-ji Temple, perhaps the best known of the Seven Great Temples of Nara; and the splendid eighth-century Todai-ji (Great East Temple), famous for its huge bronze statue of the Great Buddha (Daibutsu), cast here in AD 749.


Also of interest in Todai-ji are its Great South Gate (Nandaimon). This spectacular two-story structure is borne on 18 columns, with two Nio statues standing eight meters tall, and it guards the temple entrance. Also of note here is the Hall of the Great Buddha, the world's largest timber building.


7. Osaka Castle

Built in 1586 by famous Japanese warrior and politician Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Osaka Castle (Ōsaka-jō) was at the time the largest and most important fortress in the country. Although destroyed and rebuilt a number of times since, the present structure, built in 1931, remains true to the original.


Highlights of a visit include the huge five-story, 42-meter-tall main tower. Built on an imposing 14-meter-tall stone base, the tower is home to a number of displays detailing the history of the castle and the city. Be sure to visit the top floor for its superb views over Osaka, an especially attractive sight as the sun sets.


Also of interest in Osaka Castle Park is the Hokoku Shrine, while Osaka's best-known temple, Shitennō-ji, is also worth visiting and dates back to AD 59. Notable as Japan's first Buddhist temple, this lovely shrine features a five-story pagoda along with a number of other exquisitely decorated buildings. Among them are the Golden Pavilion (Kondō), with its fine statues and paintings; the Lecture Hall (Kōdō); and a lovely covered corridor linking three of the site's gates.


8. Chūbu-Sangaku National Park and the Japanese Alps



Japan boasts a number of outstanding areas of natural beauty, many of them designated as national parks or, in some cases, UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the country's most spectacular of these is Chūbu-Sangaku National Park in the center of Honshu. Located in the park's northern and central regions is the group of mountains collectively referred to as the Hida Mountains, or Japanese Alps.


This region contains some of the highest peaks in the country, including Hotaka at 3,190 meters, and Yari at 3,180 meters. Similar in many ways to the Alps of Central Europe - both in the character of the landscape and in its abundance of snow in winter - the Japanese Alps attract large numbers of walkers and climbers in summer and skiers in winter.


Of particular interest is the park's abundance of flora and fauna, including the rare ptarmigan and mountain antelopes found at higher altitudes. The park's many hot springs also draw visitors and led to the development of various spas and holiday resorts, the best known being Kamikōchi.



9.Sapporo 


Sapporo is a major city on Japan’s northernmost island, and it’s actually closer to Russia than many nations you might consider “nearby to Japan,” such as Korea or China.


Sapporo’s cultural background is distinct from the rest of Japan, owing to its unique history. Every winter, Sapporo receives more snow than any other Asian city, making it a winter wonderland.


The annual Sapporo Snow Festival in January attracts visitors from all over the world with its spectacular snow structures and sculptures.


Some of the older buildings in Sapporo look more similar to European architecture than Japanese, and we honestly recommend spending time just learning more about the history behind some of these buildings.


In terms of food, Sapporo might just be the global capital of Ramen.


Ramen is, by far, the most widely consumed foodstuff in the city, and you can get practically any type of ramen that you can think of in this city, aside from a few other unique foods and drinks that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in Japan.


Sapporo’s beer is also considered the best in the country, and the city is home to Japan’s oldest brewer Sapporo Breweries the you can explore on a Sapporo private customized tour – so as you would expect, there are lots of bars and live entertainment venues in every corner of the city.


10.Osaka


Osaka is Japan’s second-largest urban area and the third-largest city overall.


Despite its older brother, Tokyo, it is nevertheless a destination that you cannot overlook while visiting Japan. Osaka is located in the heart of Japan, making it an excellent location to begin your Japanese adventure.


Osaka has been one of Japan’s most significant cities throughout much of history, serving as the country’s capital.


As a result, several of Osaka’s notable sites are among the best things to see in the city. The Osaka Castle is Osaka’s major attraction. The enormous Osaka Castle was erected in 1583 and takes up a huge amount of space. 


But aside from the historic areas, Osaka is still a great city to visit. It’s, by far, the best city in Japan to shop for souvenirs.


You’ll get much better deals on traditional Japanese stuff in Osaka than you would in Tokyo.


And it’s pretty tough to get bored here with the seemingly unlimited bars, clubs, and concert venues located throughout the city.


On top of that, the food is absolutely incredible, and since Osaka receives fewer international tourists than Tokyo, the cuisine tends to be more “authentic” than Tokyo as well.


11. Tokyo 

Vehicles Passing on a Spacious Road and Towering Buildings



You probably already knew this was on the list, but a trip to Japan without seeing Tokyo is like eating lobster with no butter. Some would even go so far as to claim that Tokyo feels like an independent country in its own right.


The sheer bulk of this metropolis is unimaginable, and I doubt you’ll dispute that there’s plenty to do in Tokyo.


Tokyo is one of the world’s entertainment hotspots. There’s usually some sort of performance, event, or festival going on somewhere in the city at any given moment.


You may think of Tokyo as a contemporary metropolis, but there’s still a lot of history that remains.


You may begin your journey in the historical area of Yanesen, a lovely and relaxing suburb named after the Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi districts it encompasses.


If you want to shop and party on the side, check out Harajuku, which is known as the epicenter of Japanese fashion and pop culture.


If you just wanna relax and escape the hustle and bustle, you can visit the city’s numerous parks, shrines, temples, and museums that are liberally scattered across town. 


In a nutshell, Tokyo has it all. It’s one of the most interesting cities in the world to visit.


Furthermore, despite its vastness, it is exceptionally clean, well-organized, and safe in nearly every nook and cranny – as is almost all of traditional Japan.


12. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Lit Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

The Memorial Cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a somber tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.


The cenotaph is a simple stone monument with an inscription that reads: “Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil.”


The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum located in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, was founded in 1955 by the city of Hiroshima.


It commemorates the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The museum presents the history of Hiroshima before and after the bombing.


The park and museum are located in the center of Hiroshima city. The easiest way to get there is by taking the tram to Genbaku Dome-mae Station.


There are a number of great places to stay in Hiroshima. Some of the best include the following:


Hiroshima Royal Park Hotel – This hotel is located right next to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and it offers wonderful views of the park. The hotel is also just a short walk from the Hiroshima Train Station, making it a great choice for travelers.

Hotel Granvia Hiroshima – This hotel is located in the heart of downtown Hiroshima, and it offers easy access to all of the city’s attractions. The hotel features rooms with beautiful views of the city, and it offers a number of excellent amenities and services.

Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel – This hotel is located on top of Mount Futabayama, and it offers stunning views of the city and the bay. The hotel is just a short drive from the center of Hiroshima, and it features a number of excellent amenities and services.

13. Ishigaki 

White Sand Beach in Ishigaki 

 If you wanted to go somewhere that’s a bit different from the rest of Japan, then Okinawa is definitely one of the best places to visit in Japan for you.


Ishigaki is an island in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture. It is part of the Okinawa Prefecture, which is located in the south and west of Japan. The most frequent languages spoken here are extremely distinct from Japanese.


The island of Ishigaki, which is part of Okinawa Prefecture, is sometimes known as the Hawaii of Japan since to its beautiful turquoise seas and white sand beaches, which are likely to have earned it TripAdvisor’s 2018 title of the world’s greatest travel destination.


You’ll spend most of your time on Ishigaki island exploring its many beaches.


However, aside from the beaches, Ishigaki also has extraordinary cuisine, which is far and away from the most distinct food in Japan. Here, fresh seafood is second to none versus anywhere in the world.


The island of Ishigaki has several resorts, some of which are very beautiful.


However, its most appealing aspect is how cost-effective it is. While the Maldives, Hawaii, or any other sunny destinations similar to it are pricey, hotels on Ishigaki are surprisingly modest, especially when compared to Japan’s status as one of the world’s most expensive countries to live in.


14. Hakone

Temple Gate Facing the Ocean

Hakone is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. It’s located just a few hours from Tokyo, and it’s easy to get to as a day trip from the big city.


Hakone is known for its hot springs, and there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in the area too. You can visit the boiling sulfur pits by ropeway, sail around Lake Ashi in pirate ships, or enjoy a mountain view from the cable car.


When visiting Hakone, there are plenty of places to stay. Here are some of the best places to stay in Hakone Japan:


The Prince Hotel: This hotel offers guests a panoramic view of Mount Fuji and is within walking distance of the Hakone-Yumoto Station.

The Hakone Ginyu: This ryokan offers traditional Japanese accommodations and is located close to the lakes and mountains of Hakone.

The Hotel Green Plaza: This hotel is close to the Odawara Station and offers guests easy access to all of the sights and attractions in Hakone.

The Fujiya Hotel: This historic hotel is located in the heart of Hakone and offers guests a variety of restaurants and spa treatments.

The Okuda: This modern hotel is located close to the Hakone-Yumoto Station and offers guests beautiful views of Mount Fuji.

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