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Japan Overview




Spilling more than 1,800 miles along the Asian mainland, from Siberia almost to Taiwan, the long string of islands that calls itself Japan is kaleidoscopic in the many faces it presents to the world. Bullet trains, gentle geishas, strutting samurai, grim-faced salarymen. History conjures horrific images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today, Japan is an economic powerhouse, its technological marvels spanning the globe. The values of Confucius—humility, generosity—may be found everywhere. Still, the great philosopher would surely be mystified by this fabled land of endless contrast.

Geography
Japan is situated in northeastern Asia between the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. The area of Japan is 377,873 square kilometers, nearly equivalent to Germany and Switzerland combined or slightly smaller than California. Japan consists of four major islands, surrounded by more than 4,000 smaller islands.

The four major islands:
Hokkaido
(northern island)
83,000 square kilometers
Honshu
(main island)
231,000 square kilometers
Shikoku
(smallest island)
19,000 square kilometers
Kyushu
(southern island)
42,000 square kilometers





There is only one official language spoken in Japan, which is of course Japanese. However, many Japanese are able to understand English to a certain extent since English is the foreign language that everyone must learn as part of compulsory education.
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History
In order to understand any contemporary society, a knowledge of its history is essential. The following pages present the most general facts of Japanese history. [Read more]


Religion
Shinto and Buddhism are Japan's two major religions. They have been co-existing for several centuries and have even complemented each other to a certain degree. Most Japanese consider themselves Buddhist, Shintoist or both. Religion does not play a big role in the everyday life of most Japanese people today. The average person typically follows the religious rituals at ceremonies like birth, weddings and funerals, may visit a shrine or temple on New Year and participates at local festivals (matsuri), most of which have a religious background.
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Tradition
Kimono, Garden, Tea Ceremony, Geisha, Japanese Plum, Sumo, Hanetsuki(Japanese Badminton)...
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Arts And Crafts
Architectures, Bonsai, Bunraku(Japan Puppet), Caligraphy, Ikebana, Kabuki, Martial Arts, Music, No Theater, Origami, Poetry, Ukito-e ...
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Attraction/SightSeeing
Japan offers a very wide range of attractions, from historical and cultural treasures to modern and futuristic sights and beautiful forests, mountains and sea coasts.[Read more]

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