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Japan Travel Guide
Japan, an archipelago comprised of 6,852 islands, is the tenth-largest population in the world (estimated at above 127 million people). Ninety-seven percent of its land area is made up of its four largest islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu). The Greater Tokyo Area (in Honshu) includes the capital city of Tokyo as well as many other neighboring prefectures. It is considered the biggest metropolitan area worldwide since it has a population of over 30 million people. From archaeological findings it is believed that people have lived in Japan as far back as the Upper Paleolithic era. Japan is, in fact, first mentioned in Chinese history texts as far back as the 1st century AD.
Japan boasts a complex climate due to the extent of the archipelago as well as its mountainous regions. The majority of the country can be found in the northern temperate zone which is the reason that Japan enjoys four distinct seasons. With that in mind, if you are looking to visit Japan it is best to do so during the seasons which are considered climatically stable. These seasons include autumn when you can enjoy nature’s calming colors and agreeable temperatures, or spring when you will be able to enjoy the full bloom of the famous sakura (cherry trees).
Japan’s population is homogeneous with close to 99% being of Japanese ethnicity. This is attributed to the fact that it is an island nation that has been cut off from the rest of the world (some minor exceptions to this are from Korea and China). With a population of approximately 1 million (many of which are in their 3rd and 4th generations), Koreans make up the largest minority of Japan. Other notable minorities include Chinese, Brazilians, and Filipinos. In the end, though, you will find that many of these minority populations are also of Japanese descent. The culture of Japan is quite unique having gone through various periods of openness and isolation during its history. Whatever has passed in its history, though, Japan has managed to hold on to many of its own native customs which have been seamlessly blended with the heavy influences from China that are present. The Japanese New Year is by far the most significant holiday in the country. For the most part, everything closes down from December 30th to January 3rd while the population heads to their homes and families (resulting in heavy congestion of all transport). The New Year is welcomed by going to the neighborhood temple at midnight, and festive foods are prepared. During this time, airline fares are also quite high since many tend to take welcome the New Year by traveling to other countries as well. There are 2 primary religions dominant in Japan. From traditional Japan, you will find Shinto which is the ancient animist religion. Buddhism is considered the newest imported faith since it only present in Japan for a little over twelve hundred years.