Saturday, December 3, 2022

Japan

  • Population: 126.5 million people live in Japan (2020)
  • Capital: Tokyo, which is the biggest city in Japan with over 13 million inhabitants.
  • Name: Japan, in Japanese: Nihon or Nippon
  • Government: Constitutional Monarchy. The Japanese emperor is called Naruhito.
  • Language: Japanese
  • Religion: majority are Buddhists or Shintoists
  • Life expectancy: 86 years
  • Currency: 1 Yen (JP¥) = 100 sen
  • National Anthem: Kimigayo” – The Emperor’s Reign
  • National Symbols: red sun disk (as shown on the flag), national bird: green pheasant, national flower: cherry blossom and chrysanthemum, national fish: Japanese koi fish
  • National Day: 23 February – Birthday of Emperor Naruhito, who was born in 1960
  • Prime Minister: Joshihide Suga, since 14 September 2020

Geography

Japan is an island country on the Asian continent. More exactly, Japan is an archipelago or chain of islands along the eastern coast of Asia, reaching from the northern coast of Russia to the South East China Sea.

The Japanese islands consist of 4 main islands and many of smaller isles. In total there are over 6,800 islands! The largest of the four major islands is Honshu, which is also the seventh largest island in the world.

The biggest cities in Japan are Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya.

The highest mountain in Japan is Mount Fuji, a dormant (sleeping) volcano, which last erupted in 1707. Mount Fuji is 3,776 metres/ 12,388 feet high.

Snowcapped Mount Fuji in Japan - Japan Facts
Snowcapped Mount Fuji in Japan

Japan lies on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, a chain of volcanoes which are responsible for the most dramatic volcanic outbreakes and tsunamis in the recent years. In Japan, there are more than 108 active volcanos. Japan records the most earthquakes in the world every year.

Japan is slightly smaller than the state of California in the USA or slightly bigger than Germany.

Attractions

  • Tokyo: Visit the Imperial Palace and gardens or have fun at Disneyland Tokyo
  • Kyoto: see the historic sites and temples such as the famous Golden Pavilion
  • Osaka: visit Dotonbori, the main entertainment district and the aquarium or go on tour in the Universal Studios
Shinsekai Osaka - shutterstock
Shinsekai in Osaka at night
  • Hokkaido: Go skiing or snowboarding in one of the oldest ski resorts in Japan
  • Nagano: Monkey parks and hot springs and the famous Matsumoto Castle
  • And don’t forget try to go on a ride on the super-fast Shinkansen train, the high-speed Japanese bullet train. The maximum speed of the train is 320 kph/ 200 miles per hour)
Shinkansen Train

People

Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. About one third of the population live in and around Tokyo and the central plains of Honshu. Most people (over 90%) live in urban areas.

Japan is the oldest monarchy in the world and has an emperor. Naruhito, the reigning emperor is Japan’s 126th emperor, in Japanese called ‘tenno’. The emperor’s wife is Empress Masako. The imperial palace is in Tokyo and this is the main residence of the imperial family.

Emperor Naruhito and empress Masako - wikicommons - Official White House Photo by Andea Hanks
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako

The crown is usually handed down from father to his son or grandson. Naruhito was crowned in May 2019, after his father, Emperor Akihito, stepped down.

Economy

Japan is the third largest economy in the world after the USA and China. The country however, has no natural energy resources and is the world’s largest importer of oil, coal and liquefied natural gas. Japan was was badly affected by the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in 2011, there are many coal plants currently under construction in Japan.

Jjapan car assembly line - image by Bandit Chanheng/shutterstock.com
Japan car assembly

The main trading partners of Japan are the USA, China, South Korea and Australia. The main export products of Japan is known for the production of motor vehicles, electronics, robotics and mobile games. Some of the biggest companies in Japan are Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda and Sony.

The unemployment rate in Japan is very low, but still more than 15% of the Japanese population live under very poor conditions.

Animals

In Japan, deer roaming the many parks are a common sight. Here you see a girl with a deer.

Deer in Japan

Japan has also one of the largest thermal regions in the world. Many popular hot springs are to be found on the southwestern side of Japan. The hot springs are called ‘onsen’. There are local snow monkeys which keep warm by bathing in the hot springs as you can see below.

Japanese snow monkeys
Japanese snow monkeys taking a bath

Diverse species of animals can be found in Japan, the most common animals are snow monkeys (Japanese macaques), deer, flying squirrels, wild cats and bears. There are about 160 species of wild animals, 700 species of birds and 32 000 insect species in Japan.

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