Japan•The national flag of Japan is a whiterectangular flag with a large red disk.Thecentered sun symbol (called Hinomaru) hasbeen an important part of Japans flag forthousands of years. The white field is symbolicof honesty and purity.•Capital: Tokyo
Population/Demography• most recent census (October 2010), Japans population is 128,057,352.• March 2012 the estimated population is 127,650,000.• worlds tenth most populated country.• loss in recent years due to falling birth rates and almost no net immigration• estimate for October of each year, the population peaked in 2008 at 128,083,960 and had fallen 285,256 by October 2011.• Japans population will keep declining by about one million people every year in the coming decades, which will leave Japan with a population of 87 million in 2060.• The population ranking of Japan dropped from 7th to 8th in 1990, to 9th in 1998, and to 10th since.
GeographyLocation: Japan consists of several thousands of islands, of which Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku are the four largest. Japans closest neighbors are Korea, Russia and China. The Sea of Japan separates the Asian continent from the Japanese archipelago.Area: Japans area is comparable to that of Germany or California. Japans northernmost islands are located on a similar geographical latitude as Milan or Portland, while her southernmost islands are on a similar latitude as the Bahamas. More than 50% of the country is mountainous and covered by forests. Japan is politically structured into 8 regions and 47 prefectures.Population: The population of Japan is about 125,000,000, including approximately two million foreign residents. More than half of the non Japanese population is of Korean descent.Earthquakes and Volcanos: Because Japan is located in a region, where several continental plates meet, the country experiences frequent earthquakes. Please visit the special page about earthquakes. For the same reason, there are many volcanos in Japan. Japans most famous volcano and highest mountain is Mt.Fuji.Climate: Due to the large North South extension of the country, the climate varies strongly in different regions. The climate in most of the major cities, including Tokyo, is temperate to subtropic and consists of four seasons. The winter is mild and the summer is hot and humid. There is a rainy season in early summer, and typhoons hit parts of the country every year during late summer. The climate of the northern island of Hokkaido and the Sea of Japan coast is colder, and snow falls in large amounts. In Okinawa, on the other hand, the mean temperature of January is a warm 17 degrees Celsius.
Festivals• Atsuta held at Atsuta Shrine in June• Nagoya Aoi held at Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine in May• Kyoto Gion held in July Kyoto Hadaka Okayama Hakata Gion Yamakasa held at Kushida-jinja in July• Fukuoka Hōnen held at Tagata Shrine in March Komaki Jidai held on October 22• Kyoto Kanamara held at Kanayama shrine in April Kawasaki Kanda held at Kanda Myojin shrine in May• Tokyo Kanto held on 3 to 7 August• Akita Kishiwada Danjiri held on September• Kishiwada Miki Autumn Harvest Festival held at Ōmiya Hachiman Shrine in October• Miki Nada no Kenka held at Matsubara Hachiman Shrine in October 14-15• Himeji Nagoya held in Hisaya Ōdori Park in Sakae, Nagoya• Nagoya Sanja held at Asakusa Shrine in May• Tokyo Sannō held at Hie Shrine in June• Tokyo Tenjin held at Ōsaka Tenman-gū in July Osaka
Government• The government of Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited.• Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet, while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people.• The Emperor effectively acts as the head of state on diplomatic occasions. Akihito is the current Emperor of Japan. Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, stands as next in line to the throne.
Attractions• Ueno, Tokyo: vast park filled with amusements. At cherry-blossom time, a national obsession, crowds flock to Ueno. Just outside the park is Ameya- yokocho, a bustling street market filled with tiny shops and vendors carts.• Yokohama: A half-hour from Tokyo, Yokohama is an important port that also serves as a commuter town. Because the port was opened to foreign trade in the 19th century, Yokohama shows significant foreign influences.• Harajuku, Tokyo: Next to the Harajuku train station is where you will find the famed teenage girls decked out in goth, punk or manga-character outfits.• Asakusa, Tokyo: Centered around the Senso-ji temple, this old-Tokyo neighborhood has famous tempura restaurants and souvenir shops lining Naka-Mise Dori.• Shibuya, Tokyo: Shibuya is for the daughters of Ginzas middle-aged lady shoppers--shops here are funky, cool and trendy.• Kyoto: The sheer number of temples, castles, shrines, and other beautiful architectural attractions makes it a walk-through old Japan.• Osaka: It does have some unique charms, however. For those interested in traditional architecture.