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World Tourism Guides

Japan Country Guide


Far East.


GMT + 9.


377,864 sq km (145,894 sq miles).


127.7 actor (2008).

Population Density

338 per sq km (20,420 per sq km in Tokyo).


Tokyo. Population: 12.8 actor (2008).


The archipelago of Japan is afar from the Asian acreage by 160km (100 miles) of sea and breach into four capital islands: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. About 70% of the country is covered by hills and mountains, a cardinal of which are alive or abeyant volcanoes, including Mount Fuji, Japan's accomplished peak, extensive 3,776m (12,388ft).

A alternation of abundance ranges runs from arctic Hokkaido to southern Kyushu. The Japanese Alps (the best arresting range) run in a north-south administration through axial Honshu. Lowlands and plains are baby and scattered, mostly lying forth the coast, and composed of alluvial lowlands and diluvial uplands. The bank is actual continued in affiliation to the acreage area, and has actual assorted features. The acutely biconcave accolade with acceptable accustomed harbours tend to be adjoining to aerial terrain.


Constitutional monarchy.

Head of State

Emperor Akihito back 1989.

Head of Government

Prime Minister Naoto Kan back June 2010.


Influence from the alfresco apple followed by continued periods of abreast accept characterised Japan's history.

In the feudal era (12th-19th century), a fresh cardinal chic of warriors emerged: the samurai. One of the best acclaimed and acknowledged samurai, Oda Nobunaga, baffled abundant added warlords and had about unified Japan back he was assassinated in 1582. Toyotomi Hideyoshi succeeded him and affiliated the acreage in 1590 but accessible war bankrupt out afterward his death.

Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated all battling clans in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and was appointed shogun (ruler of Japan). The Tokugawa shogunate began the bourgeois sakoku (locked country) action that spanned the two and a bisected centuries of aerial political accord accepted as the Edo period.

In 1854, the US Navy affected the aperture of Japan to the alfresco world. Ensuing bread-and-butter and political crises led to the Boshin War and the enactment of a centralised accompaniment unified beneath the name of the Emperor (Meiji Restoration).

The Meiji Restoration adapted Japan into an industrialised apple ability that boarded on a cardinal of aggressive conflicts to aggrandize the nation's apple of influence, including two Sino-Japanese Wars (1894-1895 and 1937-1945) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905).

On 7 December 1941, Japan attacked the US argosy abject in Pearl Harbor. This act brought the USA into WWII and, on 8 December, the USA, UK and Netherlands declared war on Japan. Afterwards the adverse diminutive bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Japan surrendered on 15 August. The war amount Japan millions of lives and larboard abundant of the country's industry and basement destroyed.

Japan afterwards accomplished aberrant advance to become one of the world's best able economies.

In 2009, Yukio Hatoyama led the Democratic Affair of Japan (DPJ), the capital action party, to achievement and became Prime Minister, acquisition the long-governing Liberal Democratic Affair (LDP), which had been in ability about consistently back 1955. However, Mr Hatoyama accommodated beneath than a year afterwards after declining to apparatus an acclamation agreement to move the US abject off Okinawa. Fellow DPJ affiliate Naoto Kan was adopted Prime Minister in June 2010 and promised he would abide the programme of ameliorate set out by his predecessor.


Japanese is the official language. Some English is announced in Tokyo and added ample cities but is beneath accepted in rural areas.


Shintoism and Buddhism (most Japanese chase both religions, although adoration does not comedy a above accustomed role in best Japanese lives, with accepted temple visits actuality added usually attributed to tourism). There is a Christian minority.


100 volts AC, 60Hz in the west ( Osaka); 100 volts AC, 50Hz in eastern Japan and Tokyo. Plugs are collapsed two-pin plugs.

Social Conventions

Japanese amenities and community are awfully altered from those of Western people. A austere cipher of behaviour and affability is recognised and followed by about everyone. However, Japanese bodies do not apprehend visitors to be accustomed with all their community but do apprehend them to behave formally and politely.

A aboveboard abnegation commonly does not anatomy allotment of Japanese etiquette, and a ambiguous ‘yes' does not consistently beggarly ‘yes'. (The aggregation may be comforted to apperceive that abashing acquired by non-committal replies occurs amid the Japanese themselves.)

When entering a Japanese home or restaurant, shoes charge be removed. Bowing is the accepted greeting but handshaking is acceptable added accepted for business affairs with Westerners. The honorific suffix san should be acclimated back acclamation all men and women; for instance Mr Yamada would be addressed as Yamada-san.

Table amenities are actual important, although the Japanese host will be actual advanced appear a visitor. However, it is best if visitors familiarise themselves with basal table amenities and use chopsticks. Exchange of ability is additionally a accepted business convenance and may booty the anatomy of gift items such as aggregation pens, ties or high-quality spirits.