Japan is a fascinating country which is best known for its economic and business powers. It holds the title of world’s 3rd largest economy based on its GDP. It is an island country in East Asia with a population of 138.64 cr. (as per the census of 2017).
Japan is world’s tenth most populated country and held this position for more than 40 years (since 1968-2010). The total area covered by Japan is 145,920 sq. miles. The population of Japan consists of Japanese (approx.98.5%), Koreans (0.5%), Chinese (0.4%) and others (0.6%).
The language which mostly prevails in japan is Japanese however; it includes prominent dialects of Kansai, Osaka, Kyoto and Tohoku.
Tokyo is the capital of japan which is located on the pacific coast of central Honshu. It has Japan’s largest urban and industrial agglomeration in Japan. Tokyo is the world’s most populous metropolis. It is one of the Japan’s 47 prefectures, consisting of 23 central city wards, towns and villages.
Japan has more than 6,800 islands in the Pacific Ocean, because of which it is known as the “Land of the Rising sun”. 97% of the land of Japan consist of main islands namely Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu which are situated from north to south.
About three quarters of the land of Japan is made of forests and mountains. This is the reason why Japan features a very high population density and huge metropolises, most of which are situated on the coasts.
The archipelago is located on a large volcanic zone – it has more than a hundred active volcanoes.
Japan is a liberal democracy, a constitutional monarchy on the model of the United Kingdom.
Japanese education system is excellent, as evidenced by its literacy rate of 99%. Most children go to senior high schools, and, in turn, most of them then go to higher education institutions. As of 2013, Japan had 2 universities ranked in the World’s top-30, 3 in the top-100, and 9 in the top-200.
The climate of Japan is cold in the north (where snow and ice dominate in winter), temperate in the central regions, and almost tropical on the small southern islands.
The rains are abundant almost everywhere, and between summer and autumn the country is hit by torrential rains and typhoons.
The climate of Japan is influenced by the monsoon circulation: in winter it’s affected by cold currents from the north-west, and in summer by wet and humid currents of tropical origin.
Culture in Japan
Japanese culture is unique. Japanese language students always learn more than a language – which is unique in itself. They also learn the deep meanings and values of an ancient culture.
Aesthetics and creativity remain prominent in Japan. Calligraphy, painting (the famous Ukiyo-e), ikebana (flower arrangement), pottery, lacquer ware, theatre (Noh, Kabuki …), and manga, to name the most famous ones: Japan art is immensely rich and varied.
The Japanese culture is a multi-layered and complex system that has been developing within itself and forming new layers for thousands of years. When Westerners think of Japanese culture, perhaps one of the first images that spring to mind is one of an ancient Samurai warrior wielding his heavy sword, or perhaps they picture a young Geisha, pouring tea and serving sushi.
While these elements do play some role in the entire concept of Japan as a whole, the entire meaning and history of the nation is larger than that.
The Japanese value outside appearances very much. This is not to say that they do not value what is private and hidden, but much importance is placed on one’s presentation and appearance.
Traditionally, the Japanese place great importance on the concept of WA, or group harmony. The value of the common greater good is more important than valuing one’s own needs. This principle is applied in schools, as well as social groups and, later in life and the workplace.
The appearance, or tatemae, is more important than the reality, or honne. Although this may appear as hypocritical or negative to the eyes of westerners, to the Japanese this may be completely normal.
Learn the Japanese way of life with a local
Japan’s population is over 124million, 75% of whom live in urban areas like Tokyo, Yokohama, Kawasaki, Osaka and Nagoya. With such densely populated cities, space is precious and land prices extremely high.
Most city workers have office jobs and are known as salary men or OL (office ladies). Management is hierarchical and the work ethic strict, with overtime assumed. In fact, leaving on time suggests a lack of commitment or loyalty. Nevertheless, people enjoy a high standard of living.
Housing is typically apartments or ‘mansions’ as they are known to the Japanese. More traditional style homes, with straw mats (tatami mats) and futons, can be found in the suburbs, while western style housing (with tables and chairs!) are becoming more popular in rural towns.
Transport to and from work is by train. For this reason, rush hour in Tokyo and other major cities can be unbearable for foreign visitors, best to avoid the popular train lines during these hours (7am – 9.30am / 5 – 6.30pm).
The highly efficient network of trains and subways, make traveling around Japan a pleasure and are by far the best way to get around. Once you find your bearings, you’ll be fine!
Food in Japan
In the search for happiness, where is a better starting place than food? We Indians love stuffing our faces with enormous portions, whereas the Japanese have long since realized that moderation leads to a longer, healthier life.
Japan has its own identity of traditional cuisine there are early influences from Korea, China and South East Asia.
White rice is a staple element of almost all meals and other ingredients include soy products, grilled or raw fish, thinly sliced stir-fried pork with bean sprouts and vegetables.
Miso soup is a popular dish made from miso paste (fermented soya beans and barley) and containing various accoutrements such as tofu and/or vegetables. Sushi is also a popular Japanese meal which involves vinegared rice with seafood, raw fish or vegetables.
A typical Japanese meal usually involves a number of dishes on the table rather than a main course.
A lot of restaurants specialize in specific dishes – e.g. ramen shops will only have ramen or sushi bars, only sushi. So don’t get caught out expecting large menu’s in these places.
You’ll find Izakaya’s – Japanese style pub/restaurants – all over Japan, which will have large menus and are a bit livelier than the smaller fast food style dining options. If possible, ask your guide to recommend one locally to your hotel.
Family restaurants (Gusto, Denny’s) will offer all types of dishes suitable for all, in case you are feeling homesick and tired of Japanese food.
All department stores (e.g. Isetan, Mitsukoshi, and Takashimaya) will have a dedicated floor for restaurants. They tend to be a bit more pricey but quality should be very good and a great selection to choose from on one floor.
Most moderately priced restaurants display plastic replicas of their menu which is a help – so if in doubt, look for restaurants with picture displays.
Expect to pay 2,000-5,000 JPY per person for dinner and 1,000-1,500 JPY for your lunch.
Most of the working men/women eat out for lunch so you’ll find 12pm-2pm very crowded in the city center areas. Whereever you see large office blocks, you’ll find good quality lunch places here at really affordable prices! If dinner is included in your ryokan stay, book a time when checking in. And try not to be late!
If you have a special dietary requirement, tell your UJT travel consultant in advance. It is important we notify ryokan in advance as they are not used to these requests from the locals.
The main types of accommodation in Japan are:
We recommend home-stay as the best way for a real immersion and to adjust to Japan (most often, students do not stay more than 3 months in a home-stay family).
It significantly helps one to improve their Japanese language skills. What best way to put into practice what you have just learned at school?! And one will learn a great deal about Japanese culture and customs, and about the local area.
We can help find a family and arrange everything, depending on one’s preferences.
In a home-stay, one has their private room but will usually have to share facilities.
Pros: this is immersion in Japanese life: a great way to adjust to one’s new life, learn about the local area and of course improve one’s language skills and knowledge of Japanese culture altogether.
Cons: home-stay requires self-discipline to mingle and to respect the rules set by the family. Also, it is quite costly: around YEN 3,000 per day.
One has their own room – Western or Japanese – or shares it with other students. The facilities – laundry, kitchen, study room – are shared though some rooms may be equipped with their own fridge and bathroom.
It is a great way to meet a lot of people in what will usually be quite a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Pros: it is the cheapest accommodations in Japan (it can be as low as YEN 20,000 per month). One gets to meet people and make friends. It is also not necessary to buy furniture and equipment.
Cons: no or very little intimacy, common facilities, rules to abide by, possibly a curfew.
It is probably the best compromise to live an autonomous life at a reduced cost.
In a shared apartment, one can lead a more independent life by having their own room, though the facilities are shared.
Pros: this is a good way to meet people and learn life in a community. Not expensive. Not so many rules. No curfew.
Cons: shared facilities only. One can never be sure of getting along with their roommates.
Private apartment (Studio):
All the comfort one needs, though in a limited space. The apartment might be furnished with a table, chair and bed but there will be some more furnishing to do as well as some equipment to purchase.
The cost can vary greatly, depending on the size of the apartment, the building’s age, the appliances, the location and also length of the lease. The minimum budget will be YEN 40,000 (+ Utilities of about YEN 5,000) though more commonly one can expect to pay at least YEN 50,000.
Pros: total privacy, being independent and having one’s own pace.
Cons: this is the most expensive accommodations as not only the rent will be higher but there may be furniture and equipment to buy. Also the living space will be small. One may feel lonely in a studio so it is important to have a social life outside.
What is Cultural Tour?
Cultural tourism relates to the majestic art, fascinating architecture, age-old customs, impeccable hospitality, authentic cuisines, thriving nightlife, and many more amazing and fascinating facts related to the country of Japan. These compelling aspects build up the culture of the country.
The cultural tour also plays an influential role in developing and boosting the history of tourism in Japan.
Moksh Overseas is one of the Top Foreign Education Advisor in India, known ubiquitously for its honest, transparent modus operandi.
Moksh is equally popular for the innovative and unique approach to any endeavor it takes up. Owing to the rich experience of almost a decade in the field of Foreign Education, Moksh is well versed in the art of blending Education and Travel and thereby, provide the youth in India, a memorable and productive Global Exposure.
MOKSH OVERSEAS EDUCATION CONSULTANT
159-160, Kaliandas Udyog Bhavan, HasumalTandelMarg, Prabhadevi (Landmark – Near Century Bazaar Signal),
WRITE TO US AT
Moksh – China
Room no, 601, C zone, 4, Beijing inn building, Dongushijing hutong, Dongcheng district, Beijing 100020, P.R China
Presenskaya Nab 10, Moscow, Russia