Japan is a timeless jewel nestled in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The country is a beautiful fusion of ancient traditions and the modern way of life. On the one hand, you can enjoy the marvels of advanced technology by riding in the famous Japanese bullet trains and on the other hand, you can experience the countries rich traditional heritage by visiting its century-old temples and night markets that offer an array of scrumptious delicacies that have been prepared using recipes that date back many centuries. In fact, there is an abundance of dining options in Japan.
Some restaurants serve a thousand type of sushi to restaurants that specialize in just one dish. Japan is a paradise for seafood lovers, and the dishes are prepared with great care and precision. The Japanese cuisine varies from region to region and is seasonal. Hence, you are guaranteed a completely different culinary experience in the summers as suppose to the winters.
The Japanese landscape is incredibly diverse. It is a slender volcanic archipelago with beautiful hot springs scattered all over. Two-thirds of this island nation is covered with opulent mountain ranges at the helm of which is the magnificent Mount Fuji. In the summer months, you can embark on hiking trails laced through cedar groves and vast fields of wildflowers.
And if natural beauty isn't your thing then you can always visit one Japans neon-lit cities that are a living embodiment of a sci-fi film although many of them were founded hundreds of years ago. Japan tourism has had a boost in the last ten years or so thanks to globetrotters and social media. Read on further if you are looking to plan a memorable Japanese holiday.
Currency: Japanese Yen
Population: 127 million
Time Zone: UCT+9
Area: 337,972 sq. km.
Official Language: Japanese
Country's calling code: +81
Japan is an archipelago of many smaller Islands nestled in the North Pacific Ocean. Four main Islands in Japan make up the entire country. In the North are Islands Hokkaido and Honshu, in the South are Islands Shikoku and Kyushu. The largest amongst these four is Honshu, and the smallest is Shikoku. In addition to these four main Islands, there are numerous smaller group of Island. The largest among them is the Ryukyu (Nansei) Islands.
The capital city of Japan is Tokyo and is in the east-central part of the Honshu Island and is among the most densely populated cities in the world. Other major cities in Japan are Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima and Mount Fuji. The oldest city in Japan in Fukuoka and the Rembrandts of the city can be traced back to the Old Stone Age. Tourist can enjoy the vast expanse of this beautiful country all thanks to the growth in Tourism in Japan in the last ten years.
There are very few countries in the world that can match the rich and colorful Japanese History. The early settlers of the country can be traced back to the pre-historic era, and over the centuries the country has witnessed the rise and fall of numerous samurai empires in isolation from the rest of the world. Over the year Japan has made the remarkable transition from one of the most war-prone nations to a symbol of peace, restraint, and growth on the world stage.
The first settlers came to Japan 35,000 years ago from the Chinese mainland. The second wave of human settlers came to Japan around 400 BC, and their origins can be traced back Korea. These settlers were known as the Yayoi people and introduced, rice cultivation, metalwork and weaving in Japan. The first evidence of recorded history in Japan can be traced back to 250-538 AD. Buddhism made its way to Japan in 538-710 AD during the Asuka Period. The last great Japanese emperor was Showa, who spearheaded the Japanese during World War II and later its surrender and ultimate rebirth into the modern, industrial nation it is today.
Current Japanese population stands at an estimate of 127 million as of December 2017. Japan contributes to 1.69% of the world's population. Although Ethnic Japanese make up for most of the Japanese society, however, early settlers can trace their origins back to Korea and China. Koreans form the most significant ethnic minority in Japan, and most of them arrived in the 20th century. Chinese form the second largest minority in Japan and are mostly settled in the city of Yokohama, Tokyo, and Osaka. The only ethnic tribe present in Japan are the Ainu people. Surprisingly, Japan is also home to a vast Brazilian community. In fact, the community is the second largest of its kind outside of Brazil.
The most popular religion in Japan is Shintoists and has about 96 million followers. Buddhism is the second most popular religion in Japan with a significant following. Over the years both Shintoism and Buddhism have synchronized as one and even though there is a clear distinction between both, it is difficult to ascertain especially for non-practitioner. Christianity is another popular religion and has about 2 million followers. Even though, there are very few followers of Christianity, Japanese enjoy Christian traditions and practices and enjoy celebrating Christmas.
However, many Japanese today don't identify themselves as followers of any religion. But that doesn't mean that they are atheist as they may follow certain religious rituals especially those concerning funerals. And neither do they deny or reject any spiritual teachings or practices. In addition to religion, many Japanese also believe in superstitions surrounding especially those concerned with bad karma and curses.
The official language if Japan is of course Japanese. Nearly 125 million people in Japan speak the language. However, Japanese is the de facto official language of this pacific nation as there is no written law mentioning its official status. The Japanese language uses a lot of Chinese characters knows as Kanji and is heavily influenced by the same. Although the origin if the language is yet unknown, scholars believe that the early settlers from continental Asia of the Pacific Islands brought is with them. Due to an increase in globalization many international languages namely, English, French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese and German are now spoken by the natives and immigrants alike.
Here is a translation of a few common phrases that will help com handy during your Japanese Holiday:
Thank you: Arigatogozaimashita
How are you: Ogenkidesuka
I am fine: Daijobudesu
The local currency accepted in Japan is the Japanese Yen. 1 Japanese Yen is approximately 0.57 INR. Yen denominations available are 1,000, 2,000 (rare), 5,000 and 10,000. Coins are available in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500-yen denominations.
Foreign currency is rarely accepted in Japan except for at Airports, high-end hotels, and money exchangers. However, credit cards, traveller’s cheques, and debit cards can be used almost everywhere as the country is very technology friendly. ATMs are available at every corner and are operational 24*7.
A two-star hotel in a city like Tokyo can cost anywhere from INR 2,300 per night as double occupancy rate. A medium range 3-star hotel can cost anywhere between approx. INR 8,000 to approx. INR 15,000 per night and higher end and luxury hotels can charge anywhere from approx. INR 15,000 to approx. INR 30,000 per night. Of course, these hotels come with a host of amenities available to guests and are often more centrally located.