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Japan - 日本

Itsukushima Torii (Japanese gate), Itsukushima island, Hiroshima
Itsukushima Torii, the gate to the Shinto shrine on the island of Itsukushima (also known as Miyajima), the island is one of Hayashi Gahō's, the "Three Views of Japan," Japan's three most celebrated scenic sights.
Image: Yukio22


Japan in brief

Location map of Japan. Where in the world is Japan?
Location map of Japan

Flag of Japan
Flag of Japan

Destination Japan, a Nations Online country profile of the "Land of the Rising Sun," a nation that occupies a chain of islands in East Asia in the North Pacific Ocean roughly parallel with the eastern coast of Asia's mainland.

The archipelago stretches from south of the Russian Sakhalin Island in the north to near Taiwan in the southwest. Japan's main islands are (from north to south) Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. The country shares maritime borders with China, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, Russia, and Taiwan.

Japan is spread over 6000 islands and has a surface area of 377,915 km², making it slightly larger than Germany or somewhat smaller than the US state of California.

The country has a slowly shrinking population, and the proportion of older people is rising. In 2021, 125 million people live in Japan. The national capital and largest city is Tokyo. Other major cities are Fukuoka, Fukushima, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, and Yokohama.
The official language is Japanese.

Japan | 日本, Nippon

  Nippon/Nihon in Kanji script

While retaining its time-honored culture, Japan rapidly absorbed Western technology during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

After its devastating defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become the third most powerful economy in the world and a staunch ally of the US.

While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, actual power rests in networks of powerful politicians, bureaucrats, and business executives.

The economy experienced a significant slowdown in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth.
(Source: CIA - The World Factbook)



Country Profile

Official Name:
Local Name: Nihon (Nippon)
Local Formal Name: Nihon Koku

ISO Country Code: jp

Actual Time: Wed-May-31  12:46
Local Time = UTC +9h

Country Calling Code: +81

Capital City: Tokyo more


Official Sites of Japan

Japan's National Diet Building in Tokyo
Japan's National Diet Building in Nagatachō, Tokyo. The building is the meeting place of both houses of the national parliament of Japan, the country's bicameral legislature.
Image: Wiiii

Political system
Japan is a constitutional monarchy, but the power of the Emperor (Tennō) is limited.
According to the constitution of 1947, Japan is a parliamentary democracy.
The ceremonial head of state is the emperor; he appoints the Prime Minister, the head of the government of Japan.
The legislature consists of a two-chamber parliament (National Diet). The Shugiin, the House of Representatives is the lower house, which is re-elected every four years. The Sangiin (the House of Councilors) is the upper house of the National Diet, its members all serve six-year terms.

Official Sites of Japan

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

royal The Imperial Household Agency
Introduction to the official duties and various public activities of Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress, and other members of the Imperial Family.

Kantei of the Prime Minister
Official website of the Prime Minister of Japan and his Cabinet.

Japan's National Diet (国会 Kokkai)
Japan's bicameral legislature is composed of two houses:

The House of Representatives is the lower house of Japan's National Diet. (English version of the Shugiin)

The House of Councillors is the upper house of Japan's legislature.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Japan's representation to the UN.
Embassy of Japan
Embassy of Japan in the United States of America, Washington D.C.
Japan Embassies and Consulates Abroad
Websites of Japan Embassies and Consulates around the world.
Foreign Embassies and Consulates in Japan
Embassies, Consulates and International Organizations in Japan.
Visa for Japan
Information on visa requirements to enter Japan.

Statistics Bureau & Statistics Center
Japan in figures.




Maps of Japan

Map shows Japan
Political Map of Japan (click map to enlarge)
Image: ©


Map of Japan
Political Map of Japan.
Google Earth Google Earth Map Japan
Searchable satellite view and map of Japan.
Google Earth Google Earth Map Tokyo
Searchable satellite view and map of Tokyo.

Searchable maps/satellite views of the cities of:
Fukuoka, Fukushima, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Yokohama

profile Reference Map of Asia
Political Map of Asia.


News from Japan

Japanese Newspapers
Media In Japan

While the use of online media and social platforms is ubiquitous, the printed press still has a very high readership and is highly trusted.
Japan generally respects the principles of media pluralism. But journalists have a hard time fully fulfilling their role as guardians of democracy due to the influence of tradition and business interests.

Online News from Japan

Asahi Shimbun
National Japanes Newspaper.
Japan Times
English-language daily newspaper, based in Minato, Tokyo.
Japan Today
A leading source of Japan News in English.
Kyodo News
National and international news.
Mainichi Daily News (English version)
National newspaper with Japanese and international news.
News on Japan
Summary of Japan-related news from various sources.
Nikkei Shimbun
'Japan Economics Newspaper,' the world's largest financial newspaper.
Nikkei also publishes the Nikkei Asian Review, an English-language business journal.
Sankei Shimbun
Daily Japanese newspaper. It also publishes Japan Forward, an English-language news and opinion website.

Yomiuri Shimbun
One of Japan's five National Newspapers.
The Yomiuri Shimbun English edition (The Japan News).

NHK World-Japan
State-owned international broadcaster.  

International News sources
Japan - The Guardian
UK's The Guardian with Japan-related news.
Japan |
Japan news by Reuters, an international news organization based in the UK.



Arts & Culture of Japan

Pond garden at the Adachi Museum of Art, Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture
The Pond Garden, one of the six traditional Japanese gardens at the Adachi Museum of Art in Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture. The museum also houses a collection of modern Japanese art.
Image: Adachi Museum

Arts & Culture

The Japan Foundation
Organization for international cultural exchange in Japan.

Japanese cuisines
There's more than just sushi.

Vintage Images of Japan. The agency licenses old photographs, illustrations, and maps of Japan between the 1860s and 1930s (Meiji, Taisho, early Showa) for editorial, advertising, and special projects.

Kyoko Date
Page about the first virtual cybergirl.

Tokyo Girls' Update
The magazine propagates the "in" things for Japanese gyarus (gals).

Japan's Most Influential Fashion Brands
Article about Japan's old and new fashion trends.

web culture Shift
The Japan-based international online magazine features creative culture.

Harajuku Cosplay Steampunk


Art Museums
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto - MOMAK
The National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto was established in 1963. The Collection Gallery exhibits selected works of nihonga (Japanese-style painting), and yōga (Western-style painting).

National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (MOMAT), consists of the main building and the Crafts Gallery in Kitanomaru Park near the Imperial Palace, and the National Film Center in Kyobashi near Ginza.

Mori Art Museum - MAM
A contemporary art museum in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo.

Other Museums
cultural reference Kyoto National Museum
The Kyoto National Museum was established as a National institution for the collection and preservation of cultural properties.

The National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka is one of the major museums in Japan.

Osaka Museum of Natural History
The museum shows more than 10,000 items of species, including a variety of animals, plants, insects; it also maintains a flower, greenery, and nature information center.

Tokyo National Museum
The museum collects, houses, and displays a comprehensive collection of artworks and antiquities from Japan as well as from other Asian countries.

Wikipedia entry about the phenomenon of Japanese pop music.
Japanese Music: Top 100 Songs Charts.
Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO or Human Audio Sponge)
Influential Japanese electronic music band.

Cosplay characters at the Tokyo Game Show
Cosplay anime/manga characters at the Tokyo Game Show (TGS). TGS is one of the largest video game exhibitions in Asia.
Image: Sergey Galyonkin

Japanese anime and entertainment magazine.
All things anime and manga.
The first Manga magazine in the world on the web.
Japanese in Anime & Manga
E-learning site that offers a fun way to learn a number of character/genre-based Japanese expressions that appear in anime and manga
Manga Rock
Online Manga Reader.

Artificial Pets
Egg-shaped mini computer and one of the biggest toy fads of the 1990s.
Beagle-like robotic pets designed and manufactured by Sony. The production of the AIBO is now discontinued, you can not buy any new ones.
Hello Kitty
Sanrio's most famous character.
Pokémon (Official Japanese website)
Short for Pocket Monsters, fictional creatures called "Pokémons," which humans, known as Pokémon Trainers, catch and train to battle each other for sport.


Video gaming in Japan
Video gaming in Japan is a major industry. Wikipedia article about Game Boy and co.


Tokyo 2020
Official website of the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo from Friday 24 July until Sunday 9 August 2020.

Martial Arts
Aikikai is the original school of Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba.
Judo (All Japan Judo Federation)
The Japanese martial art, the 'gentle way,' was created in 1882 by Japanese educator and athlete Kanō Jigorō.
Jujutsu (Jiu-Jitsu Global Federation)
Japanese martial art, using an attacker's energy against him.
Japan Karate Association
Budo culture.
The Art of the Sword.
The Ogasawara-ryū is a school of etiquette, archery, and mounted archery that views etiquette as the building block of its techniques.
Sumo is a form of competitive full contact wrestling that originated in Japan.

Illuminated nebuta float from the Aomori Nebuta Festival
An illuminated nebuta float kept in the Nebuta Museum in Aomori. The Aomori Nebuta Festival is a summer festival that takes place in early August in Aomori, a coastal city in the north of the island of Honshu. The festival is famous for the floats of brave warrior-figures which are carried through the center of the city.
Image: Wmpearl

Traditional Japan

The Way of Tea - The Urasenke Tradition of Tea.
Sado/Chado - Tea Ceremony
The ritualized preparation and serving of powdered green tea in the presence of guests.
Ogasawara Sencha Service School
An Introduction to Tea Ceremony by Head Tea Master of Ogasawara Sencha Service School.

Traditional Culture
GODS of Japan
Comprehensive A-to-Z Photo Dictionary of Japanese Buddhism (Buddhist & Shinto Deities)
Ikebana International
The Art of Flower Arrangement.
Japanese Buddhism
Page about Buddhism in Japan by
Japanese garden database
Japanese gardens around the world.
Japanese Mythology
Japanese myths site by Shimane Prefecture.

Kabuki-za theater in the Ginza district of Chūō, Tokyo, is the principal theater in Tokyo for the traditional kabuki drama form.
Kunijo Kabuki Ekotoba
An illustrated manuscript of Japanese classical play Kabuki.

Beautiful Japanese Women

Kimiha, a Miyagawa-cho geisha from Kyoto
Kimiha, a Miyagawa-cho geisha who finished her apprenticeship as a maiko.
Image: Japanexperterna

Karyukai means "Flower and Willow World," a poetic term for the society of the Geisha. (comprehensive Wikipedia entry for Geisha)

The site refers to pictures of beautiful women in Japanese art - Bijinga.

Kimono, meaning clothing in Japanese, an easy-to-read site about Japan's traditional high maintenance clothing.

Japanese games
Nihon Ki-in
Japan Go Association.

Wikipedia article about Shogi, a Japanese board game comparable with chess.

Traditional Crafts
The Samurai Sword
The Japanese sword (日本刀 nihontō), Wikipedia article about the traditional Samurai swords and fittings.

The Japanese Sword Museum
The museum in Tokyo is dedicated to the art of Japanese swordmaking.

Traditional Crafts of Japan
From silk, the aristocratic fiber to paper and porcelain.

The Virtual Museum of Traditional Japanese Arts
A virtual museum by the Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

History and culture of Wajima-Nuri, the traditional Japanese lacquerware.

Japanese Zen
Zen - International Research Institute for Zen
Established to promote basic research on Zen Buddhism.

The Institute for Zen Studies
Founded in 1964 to promote research in Zen teachings, thoughts, and various cultural expressions. (in Japanese)



Business & Economy of Japan

Skyscrapers of Shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan's financial center.
Image: Kakidai

Economy of Japan
Japan is among the world's most literate and technically advanced nations; its economy is a highly developed free-market economy and the third-largest in the world by nominal GDP. Japan is ranked 7th in the 2020 Best Countries survey power ranking. [1] But Japan is also the most indebted country in the world, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 235%.
The nation's main export goods are cars, consumer electronics, computers, semiconductors, copper, iron, and steel. Other key industries in Japan are petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, bio-industry, shipbuilding, aerospace, textiles, cosmetics, and processed food.

Bank of Japan
The Central Bank of Japan. The Japanese central bank is a legal person and not a government agency or a private corporation.

Index of the Japanese stock market.

Japan Exchange Group (JPX)
Financial services corporation that operates the exchanges of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Osaka Securities Exchange.

Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI)
JCCI is a network of local economic organizations made up of the representatives of some 1.26 million member businesses nationwide.

Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI)
The TCCI is an economic organization, founded in 1878; the chamber represents the commercial and industrial interests of businesses of the 23-ward area of metropolitan Tokyo.

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
JETRO is a Japanese government-related organization that promotes mutually beneficial trade and investment relations between Japan and other nations.

Top Japanese Brands

Japan's automotive industry is one of the largest industries in the world. Japan was among the three countries with the highest production of cars since the 1960s, surpassing Germany. Japan was the pioneer in robotics manufacturing of autos starting in the late 1970s.

Japanese automobile manufacturer of small cars, the company was founded in 1907. The company is now a subsidiary of Toyota.
Japanese multinational manufacturer of automobiles, aircraft, and motorcycles, with its headquarters at Minato, Tokyo.
A Japanese manufacturing company for commercial vehicles and diesel engines, headquartered in Tokyo.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries is, outside Japan, best known as a manufacturer of motorcycles and outboard engines.
Japanese automobile manufacturer based in Aki District, Hiroshima Prefecture.
Mitsubishi Motors
One of the three major heavy industrial manufacturers in Japan is also a manufacturer of cars; the company is based in Tokyo.
Japanese multinational automaker headquartered in Nishi-ku, Yokohama. By now, it is the world's largest manufacturer of electric vehicles.
The automotive division of Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) is the largest manufacturer of all-wheel-drive passenger cars. Its headquarters are in Ebisu, Shibuya, Tokyo.
The Japanese manufacturer of motorcycles, cars, and outboard motors has its headquarters at Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture.
Japanese multinational company and the world's largest automotive manufacturer, headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of Toyota.
Japanese multinational manufacturer of motorcycles, power sports equipment, musical instruments, and electronics.

Beauty & Fashion
Beauty and Health made in Japan.
Kansai Yamamoto
Japanese Contemporary fashion.
French luxury house founded in 1970 by Japanese designer Kenzo Takada.
The Japanese answer to CHANEL & Co.
Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer.

Japanese luxury pearl company.

Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd.
Japanese Beer.

Fine cameras and copiers.
Konica Minolta
More fine cameras.
... and more fine cameras.

Consumer Electronics
Manufacturer of toys, from the Rhythm Ball (1950) to Sailor Moon (1993), to Tamagotchi (1996), Digimon (1997), and much more.
Formerly a Japanese card company, now a multinational manufacturer of video games and game consoles, headquartered in Kyoto.
Japanese multinational electronics corporation headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka.
Japanese Hifi. Japanese multinational corporation with its headquarters in Bunkyō, Tokyo.
Entertainment universe. Japanese multinational video game developer headquartered in Tokyo.
Japanese multinational corporation, manufacturer of a wide range of electronic consumer and business products, they are headquartered in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture.

One of the largest advertising agencies in the world.

Heavy Industry
There are three major heavy industrial manufacturers in Japan.

Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI)
IHI Corporation produces ships, aircraft engines, turbochargers for automobiles, industrial machines, space products like sounding rockets and launch vehicles, energy systems (industrial power station boilers), and other facilities.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI)
Japanese multinational corporation is a major player in the area of shipbuilding, aerospace engineering, vehicle construction (railways, construction vehicles, motorcycles), building construction and civil engineering, as well as machine and power plant construction (robots, bag conveyor systems, and gas turbines).

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)
Japanese multinational company with 300 subsidiaries, active mainly in the heavy industry, mechanical and automotive engineering, and in the aviation and electronics industry, headquartered in Tokyo.




Port of Nagoya with the Aquarium, the Giant wheel, and the Fuji Icebreaker
The Port of Nagoya with the public Aquarium, the Giant wheel, and the Fuji Icebreaker, view from the observation deck of the lighthouse. The Port of Nagoya is the largest and busiest trading port in Japan.
Image: Cesar I. Martins

Cruise Port Guide of Japan
A guide to the ports of Japan.

All Nippon Airways
Largest Japanese airline. The Tokyo-based company is listed in the Nikkei 225; it is a member of the global airline alliance Star Alliance.

Japan Airlines
The second-largest Japanese airline is based in Shinagawa, one of the 23 districts of the Japanese Prefecture of Tokyo. The flag carrier airline of Japan has its main hubs at Tokyo Haneda Airport and at Tokyo Narita Airport. JAL is a member of the aviation alliance Oneworld.

First international low-cost carrier in Japan with its hub at Kansai International Airport, Izumisano, Osaka. The airline serves destinations within Japan and offers flights to Hong Kong and Shanghai in China, Busan and Seoul in South Korea, Kaohsiung and Taipei in Taiwan, and Bangkok in Thailand.

Narita Airport
New Tokyo International Airport, Narita-shi, Chiba.
Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)
The other one of the two primary airports that serve the Greater Tokyo Area, located in Ōta, Tokyo.
Kansai International Airport (Osaka)
Osaka's international airport is located about 50 km (by road) south of the city on an artificial island in Osaka Bay.
Central Japan International Airport (Nagoya)
Chubu Centrair International Airport is located on an artificial island in Ise Bay, 48 km (by road) south of Nagoya.

The location and information about other major Japanese airports you will find here: Fukuoka, Fukushima, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Yokohama.

Shinkansen, a Japanese high-speed train passes Mount-Fuji.
A train from the N700 Shinkansen series, a Japanese high-speed train, passes Mount Fuji in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan. Mount Fuji is an active volcano that last erupted in 1707. Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Image: hans-johnson

The Japanese National Railways was privatized in 1987, below listed are the seven legally independent successor companies:

Japanese Railways Companies Map
Japanese Railways Companies Map
Image: Vladsinger

Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaidō)
One of the seven successors of the Japanese National Railways. JR Hokkaido operates its route network on Hokkaido, the second-largest island of Japan, and the northernmost prefecture.

East Japan Railway Company (JR Higashi-Nihon)
One of the six major passenger railway companies in Japan. Its route network covers the northern half of Honshu.

West Japan Railway Company (JR Nishi-Nihon)
West Japan Railway Company operates its route network in western Honshu. It has its headquarters in Kita-ku, Osaka.

Central Japan Railway Company (JR Tōkai)
Railway operator and freight mover with a route network in the Chūbu region in the central area of Japan. Its headquarters is located in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture.

Nihon Kamotsu Tetsudō (JR Kamotsu)
Japan Freight Railway Company, or JR Freight, operates rail freight transport nationwide. It has its headquarters in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Shikoku Railway Company (JR Shikoku)
JR Shikoku operates the former state route network on the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands of Japan.

Kyushu Railway (JR Kyūshū)
JR Kyushu operates rail services on Kyushu island and the Beetle hydrofoil ferry service across the Tsushima Strait between Fukuoka and Busan, South Korea. Its headquarters are in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka.

Odakyu Electric Railway Co., Ltd.
Odakyu Electric Railway operates limited express luxury tourist services south-west of Tokyo, to mountain resorts and beaches.




Tourism in Japan

Matsushima islands in Matsushima Bay, Japan
A scene from Matsushima islands in Matsushima Bay in Japan. The group of islands in Miyagi Prefecture is one of the Three Views of Japan, Japan's three most celebrated scenic sights.
Image: scottagunn

Destination Japan - Travel and Tour Guides


Discover Japan:
Fushimi Inari-taisha, Hakone, Himeji-jō hilltop castle, Kanazawa, Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple, Meiji Shinto shrine, Mount Fuji, Naoshima Island, Osaka Castle, Tokyo Skytree, the tallest structure in Japan, Zen Buddhist Kinkaku-ji temple.

Japan National Tourist Organization
Travel and tourism guide on Japan, the Japanese, and much much more.

Web Japan
Japan-related magazine, operated by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). The site was launched to help people around the world get to know more about Japan and the Japanese.

Japan Tourism Agency
The agency website offers information on Japan's tourism destinations.

Islands and Regions of Japan

Attractive Regions of Japan
Attractive Regions and ports of Japan.

Map of the Main Regions of Japan
Map of Japan's main regions
Good Day Hokkaido
The official guide to Japan's northernmost prefecture by Hokkaido Tourism Organization.

Travel to Tohoku
Explore the deep north of Japan. Official visitors guide by Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization to Tōhoku, a region in the north of Honshu island known for its volcanoes, mountainous terrain, and skiing.

Go Central Japan - Visit Chubu
Official visitors guide to Central Japan by the Central Japan Tourism Promotion Association; the Chubu region is the central part of Honshu island.

Kansai Region
Official visitors guide to the Kansai or Kinki region in the central south of Honshu, main cities are Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, and Osaka.

Visit Hiroshima
Official visitors guide to Hiroshima Prefecture in Chūgoku region of southern Honshu.

Kyushu Tourism Information
Kyushu is Japan's third largest island, main cities are Kagoshima, Oita, Nagasaki Miyazaki, Naha, and Kurume.

Tourism Shikoku
Official visitors guide to Shikoku, one of the four main islands of Japan.

Official travel and tourism information about Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan's main islands.

More Japan Guides
The japan-guide provides general information about most aspects of modern and traditional life in Japan.

The Japan FAQ: Know Before You Go
(Or: what I wish I knew before...) The Complete Guide to Working, Visiting, and Living in Japan.

PhotoGuide Japan
A Guide to Photography in Japan.

Official City Sites and City Guides

Travelers guide to Tokyo by the Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Tokyo National Research Institute of Cultural Properties
The Tokyo National Research Institute of Cultural Properties.
Tokyo Food Page
More than 800 Tokyo-area restaurants.

City of Chiba
City of Fukuoka
Hiroshima City
City of Kobe
City of Kyoto
City of Osaka
City of Sendai
Yokohama City




UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Richu-tenno-ryo Kofun in Sakai city, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Richu-tenno-ryo kofun, also known as Mozu-mimihara, the Southern Mausoleum of Emperor Richu in the city of Sakai. The keyhole-shaped kofun has a mound length of 365 m; it is the third-largest kofun in the country. Japan's kofuns are megalithic tombs or tumuli constructed between the early 3rd century and the early 7th century CE. The term is the origin of the name of the Kofun period.
Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Image: © Sakai City Government

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan
There are 19 cultural and four natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan, and seven sites on the Tentative List, an inventory of those properties that each State Party intends to consider for nomination. (see the List of World Heritage Sites in Japan).

World Heritage Site Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area
The 48 Buddhist monuments in the Horyu-ji area were the first World Heritage Sites in Japan.
A variety of Buddhist pagodas and temples in the town of Ikaruga in the Nara Prefecture are some of the oldest preserved wooden buildings from the 7th to 8th centuries CE.

World Heritage Site Himeji-jo
Himeji Castle is a Japanese hilltop castle complex from the beginning of the Shogun period and one of the finest surviving example of an early 17th-century Japanese castle. The building, also known as the White Heron Castle, is situated in the city of Himeji in the Hyōgo Prefecture. Located on a hilltop in the central part of the Harima Plain, the castle covers 107 hectares and includes eighty-two buildings.

World Heritage Site Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
The Gassho-style houses found in the historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are rare examples of their kind in Japan. These three villages are located in a river valley surrounded by the rugged high mountain region of Chubu in central Japan. The villages were remote and isolated for a long time. The property includes the villages of "Ogimachi" in the Shirakawa-go region and "Ainokura" and "Suganuma" in the Gokayama region, all located along the Sho River in Gifu and Toyama prefectures.

World Heritage Site Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group
The Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan is the country's latest World Heritage Site. Located on a plateau above the Osaka Plain, the property includes 49 kofun (“old mounds” in Japanese), tombs for members of the elite.

World Heritage Site Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range
In the dense forests of the Kii Mountains are three sacred sites - Yoshino and Omine, Kumano Sanzan, and Koyasan, which are connected by pilgrimage routes to the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto. These pilgrimage routes reflect the fusion of Shinto, rooted in the ancient tradition of nature worship in Japan, and Buddhism, introduced from China and the Korean peninsula.

Himeji castle complex, Japan
Himeji Castle in Himeji city in the Hyōgo Prefecture; view from southwest. The hilltop castle complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Image: Seattleite7


Education in Japan

Clocktower of Kyoto University
Clocktower of Kyoto University.
Image: Soraie8288

Japanese school system
The Japanese school system consists of the primary school (six years), the middle school (three years), the high school (three years), and the university (four years). Compulsory schooling is only for the nine years of elementary and middle school, but 98% of students continue to high school.

Japan's Imperial Universities
The Imperial Universities were founded at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Until the end of the Second World War, they were run by the imperial government. Today they are among the most renowned universities in Japan.

National Universities

Hokkaido University
Hokudai in Sapporo is one of the top universities in Japan.

Kyoto University
Kyoto University has three campuses, Katsura, Uji, and Yoshida. It is one of Japan's oldest universities, founded in 1897.

Kyushu University
Kyudai in Fukuoka, on the island of Kyushu, is a leading university in the country.

Nagoya University
Meidai, a Japanese national university, is located in Chikusa-ku ward of the city of Nagoya.

Osaka University
Handai is a public research university and one of Japan's most prestigious institutions; it was founded as a merchant academy (Kaitokudō) in 1724.

Tohoku University
Tohokudai, located in Sendai, is a national university and among the most prestigious universities in Japan.

University of Tokyo
The former Tokyo Imperial University was the first Japanese institution of higher learning, founded in 1877.

Other Universities
Tokyo University of the Arts
Tokyo's university for fine arts, music, film, and new media is one of the most prestigious art schools in Japan.

Chiba University
National University, established in 1949.

Chuo University
Founded as Igirisu Horitsu Gakko (The English Law School) in 1885.

Study in Japan Guide
Study in Japan
A guide to studying in Japan.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Official website of the independent administrative institution of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA.)

The National Institute of Informatics
Computer Science and Information Engineering Research.

National Science Museum
National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo.



Environment & Nature

Mount Yōtei seen from Niseko Annupuri, Hokkaidō
Mount Yōtei seen from Niseko Annupuri International Ski Area. Mt. Yōtei is an active stratovolcano in Shikotsu-Toya National Park in south-western Hokkaidō, Japan.
Image: MIKI Yoshihito

Japan's environmental issues
The island country is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, and volcanic eruptions, with fatal consequences for people and the environment. The country lies in the western part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the belt of active volcanoes, volcanic arcs, and tectonic plate boundaries with seismic activity surrounding the Pacific Ocean.

In addition to the threat of natural disasters, there is homemade damage to the environment caused by man. Japan's rapid industrialization since the early Showa period has imposed severe pressures on the environment. The damage to the environment and people caused by industrialization was preprogrammed.
Japan is a member of the Group of Eight (G8), the highly industrialized countries, and it ranks 6th among the countries with the highest CO2 emissions.
Japan's most recent environmental problem is a million tonnes of radioactive water from the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the operator of the plant, will run out of storage facilities and will eventually be forced to empty the radioactively contaminated water into the Ocean. [2]

Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan
Official website of the ministry.

National Parks of Japan
Information about Japan's National Parks.

Japan Meteorological Agency
Japan's agency for the observation and study of natural phenomena in the fields of weather, water, earthquakes, and volcanism.

Geological Survey of Japan
Official Japanese geoscientific information.

Japan for Sustainability (JFS)
JFS was a non-profit group that provided environment-related information from Japan.

Friends of the Earth Japan
Tokyo based environmental advocacy group.

Environmental Organizations in Japan
List of environmental conservation activities in Japan by Japanese NGOs.

Gassho-style houses in Shirakawa-go village, Japan
Two Gassho-style houses in Shirakawa-go mountain village, a Japanese UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Image: Alexis


Japan History

Sannai-Maruyama site in Aomori, Aomori prefecture
Reconstruction of a Jomon period longhouse building at the Sannai Maruyama site in Aomori, Aomori prefecture, Honshu.
Image: 663highland

Sannai-Maruyama site
The Sannai Maruyama site was inhabited by hunter-gatherers in the Jōmon period, around the time from 3900 BCE – 2900 BCE.

Japan Guide - History
Most general facts of Japanese history.

National Museum of Japanese History
The museum's homepage.

National Archives of Japan
Japan's official documents and records.

Wikipedia W Samurai
Wikipedia entry about the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan.


Additional Information

Selected country profiles of Japan published by international organizations.


Amnesty International: Japan
Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization focused on human rights.

BBC News Country Profile: Japan
Country profiles by the British public service broadcaster.

FAO: Japan
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a UN agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.

GlobalEDGE: Japan
The Global Business Knowledge Portal about Japan.

The Heritage Foundation: Japan
Index of Economic Freedom by The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank.

Human Rights Watch: Japan
HRW conducts research and advocacy on human rights.

OEC: Japan
The Observatory of Economic Complexity provides the latest trade data.

Reporters Without Borders: Japan
RSF (Reporters sans frontières) is an international NGO that defends and promotes media freedom.

Wikipedia: Japan
Wikipedia's Japan page in many languages.

The CIA World Factbook -- Japan
The CIA World Factbook intelligence on Japan.



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Maps of other countries in East Asia 
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