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Japan Travel Guide



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Full country name: State of Japan
Area: 377,915 sq km
Population: 127,078,679 (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Tokyo
Language: Japanese
Religion: 84% - 96% Shintoism and Buddhism, 4% - 16% other
Government: Constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy
Time Zone: UTC+9
Dialling Code: 81
Electricity: 100V 50/60 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
Currency: Yen (JPY)
Average Yearly Salary: USD 32,700

Meals:
Budget: JPY400-700
Mid-range: JPY700-2000
High: JPY2000 +
Accommodation:
Budget: JPY1500-3500
Mid-range: JPY3500-9000
High: JPY9000 +

Geography: The island notion of Japan is located in East Asia. The country consists of several thousands of islands, of which Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu are the largest ones. Japan borders with Korea, Russia and China. The Sea of Japan separates the Asian continent from the Japanese archipelago. Over 70% to 80% of the country is mountainous and forested, therefore it is unsuitable for agricultural or industrial use. Since Japan is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, it often experiences tremors and is volcanically active.

Climate: The climate of Japan is temperate in most parts of the country, but in some of the regions the climate varies strongly. Winter seasons in Japan are mild, whereas summer seasons - hot and humid. The rainy season begins in early May and last till late July. Typhoons hit parts of the country annually in late summer. Northern island of Hokkaido and the Sea of Japan experience colder climate and are usually covered in snow in winter. In Okinawa, on the contrary, the average temperature in January is about 17 C.

Recommended clothing: Overcoats, warm sweaters and warm shoes/boots are recommended when traveling to Japan in winter. Warm socks are also handy to have, since you remove your shoes hen entering shrines and temples, which are not heated. Light clothes, such as cardigans, light sweaters and T-shirts are advised for summer.

Health: Medical health facilities are of a good quality, but quite expensive, therefore travel insurance is strongly recommended. Some Japanese doctors may speak English. There are hospitals in all bigger cities. Typhus occurs in some river valleys. Japanese encephalitis may occur, therefore vaccination is recommended, especially for long-term travel.

Food & Drink: Japanese cuisine, which is based on combining staple foods, is known and enjoyed worldwide. Typically the combination includes: rice or noodles, with a soup and okazu (dishes made from fish, meat, vegetable, tofu and the like) are combined. These are usually flavored with miso, dashi, and soy sauce. A regular Japanese meal consists of several different okazu, a bowl of cooked white Japanese rice, a bowl of soup and some tsukemono (pickles). A standard meal comprises of three okazu and is called ichijū-sansai. There are various cooking techniques applied to each of the three okazu; they may be raw (sashimi), simmered, grilled, deep-fried, steamed, vinegared, or dressed. Since Japan is an island nation, seafood is plentiful. Meat has been rare until fairly recently, due to restrictions of Buddhism. However, strictly vegetarian food is hard to find; even vegetable dishes are flavored with the ubiquitous dashi stock. Noodles, as well as rice, are an essential part of Japanese cuisine. Soba (thin, grayish-brown noodles) and udon (thick wheat noodles) are the traditional noodles, served hot or cold with soy-dashi flavorings.

Public Holidays:
1 Jan New Year's Day
Second Monday of Jan Coming of Age Day
Feb 11 National Foundation Day
Mar 20 Vernal Equinox
Apr 29 Showa Day
May 3 Constitution Memorial Day
May 4 Greenery Day
May 5 Children's Day
Third Monday of July Marine Day
Sep 23 Autumnal Equinox
Nov 3 Culture Day
Nov 23 Labour Thanksgiving Day
Dec 23 Birthday of the Emperor

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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