17 interesting facts about Japan

Japan is an East Asian island country in the North Pacific ocean. Known for its culture and technological advancements, Japan is one of the most visited Asian countries. Here are 17 interesting facts about Japan, the “land of the rising Sun”.

Interesting facts about Japan

Japan geographical overview

Image by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from Pixabay

Japan has an area of 377,975 square kilometers (145,898 square miles) and a population of 123.3 million (2023). It is the 11th most populous country in the world.

There are nearly 14,000 islands in Japan. On the west of Japan is the sea of japan; on the north is the sea of Okhotsk; on the south is the east China sea; and on the east is the vast Pacific Ocean. Japan is heavily forested and mostly hilly.

High life expectancy in Japan

Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world for a country. The life expectancy at birth in Japan is over 84 years (2021 UN).

Japan is mostly mountainous

Topography of Japan

Japan is 70-80% mountainous. The major mountain ranges of Japan are the Hida Mountains, Kiso Nountains, and Akaishi Mountains. These three ranges are collectively termed the Japanese Alps. The highest peak in Japan is Mount Fuji. It is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,776.25 to 3,778.23 m (12,389.3 to 12,395.8 ft).

Mount Fuji

The GDP of Japan

A Japanese currency note

Japan is the world’s fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, only behind the US, China, and Germany. The largest industries in Japan are automobiles and electronics. The largest contributor to the Japanese economy is the service sector, followed by the industrial sector.

Capital of Japan

A view of Tokyo with Mount Fuji in the background

The capital of Japan is Tokyo which is also the country’s largest city and economic hub. The Tokyo metropolitan area has a population of over 37 million making it the most populous metropolitan area in the world.

Japan is at high natural disaster risk

A volcanic island in Japan

Since Japan is located along the pacific ring of fire, it is one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters namely Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. In an estimate, it is found that around 1,500 major or minor earthquakes hit Japan every year.

Forest cover in Japan is very high

The forest cover in Japan is over 67% of the total land area. This makes Japan one of the most heavily forested countries in Asia.

Bullet trains in Japan

Japanese bullet train Shinkansen

The Japanese bullet train, locally known as Shinkansen, is a high-speed railway network that connects far regions of Japan to Tokyo. The Japanese bullet train crossed the 600 km/hr (375 mph) mark in a test run in 2015. The maximum operating speed, however, is 320 km/h (200 mph).

Religion in Japan

Shintoism and Buddhism are the two major religions in Japan. Japanese people often follow these two faiths simultaneously.

Tea culture in Japan

Tea is a part of the culture in Japan. The traditional Japanese tea (o-cha) is a powdered green tea. In Japanese tea ceremonies, this green tea is served to the guests in a Tatami-floored tea room. The purpose of the tea ceremonies is to provide the guests with a a silent atmosphere away from the hustle of everyday life.

No shoes inside homes

In Japan, people do not wear shoes inside their homes. This is mainly because Japan has a culture of sleeping and eating on the traditional tatami (a type of mat) floor.

Decreasing population

The population in Japan is decreasing since 2010. Japan had a population of over 128 million in 2010. Now the population is close to 123 million.

Japanese language

The Japanese language is the most spoken language in Japan. Locally, the language is known as Nihongo. The Japanese language has various dialects. The Tokyo dialect is considered the standard Japanese.

Honshu island

Tokyo located on the Honshu island

The Honshu island is the largest island in Japan. It is also the seventh-largest island in the world. The island has an area of 227,960 square kilometers (88,020 sq mi). Honshu Island is the second-most populous island in the world. Over 80% of the Japanese population resides on Honshu island.

Japanese anime

The anime industry is a large industry in Japan. The anime stories created in Japan are watched all over the world. Japanese anime have a separate fanbase. Some of the shows are among the most-watched in the world.

Government of Japan

The government of Japan is a Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The emperor of Japan is the ceremonial head of the state. The emperor has no real political power.

Sports in Japan

Baseball is the most popular sport in Japan. Sumo Wrestling, association football, and tennis are also very popular in Japan.

Some basic facts about Japan

Most spoken languageJapanese
CurrencyJapanese Yen
Most popular sportBaseball
Government typeUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Area 377,975 square kilometers (145,898 square miles)
Population~123 million (2023)
Highest pointMount Fuji (3,776.25 to 3,778.23 m)

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