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All About Japan

[Excerpt from the 'Japan: Explore the World from Home Guide']


The first people thought to have lived in Japan date from about 30,000 years ago. At this time, Japan was joined to Siberia with a land bridge, so humans could freely walk across.

From the 1st to the 12th Century, Japan experienced the rise of Buddhism as the religion of the country. There was a gradual trend of centralising power over the country to the imperial court of the Emperor.

From the 12th Century Japan saw the emergence of a ruling class of warriors known as the Samurai. A samurai warrior appointed by the Emperor to rule the country was called a Shogun, and the Emperors eventually became  powerless figureheads of the country. The Shoguns ended up with a lot of power and ran the country.

In the 17th century, the Shogun decided to ‘protect’ Japan from outside influence, and they made a rule which restricted foreigners from entering the country and native Japanese from leaving. This ‘isolationism’ broke down in the 1850’s when the Shogun were forced to step down and Japan returned to being ruled by Emperors.

From the 1850’s onward, after being closed off from the world for almost 250 years, Japan quickly adopted many Western ideas on how things should be organised. They transformed their political system, their courts, and their military. They also adopted many western cultural ideas and there was a lot of industrialisation.

To learn more about the history of Japan, their culture, cuisine, language and people, as well as fun printable activities and recipes head over to the shop and get your copy of the guide.


Our 'TOP SPOTS' Map of Japan


Traditional samurai warrior costume


The Vital Stats:

  • Population: 127 million (2019)

  • Area: 377,973 sq km (61st in the world)

  • Capital: Tokyo

  • National Language: Japanese

  • Say Hello or Good Afternoon: Konnichiwa

  • Currency: Yen

  • National Anthem: Kimigayo

  • Japanese drive on the: Left of the road

Fun facts about Japan

  • In Japan, they call their country ‘Nippon’ which means ‘the sun’s origin’.

  • The highest point in Japan is Mount Fuji which is 3,776 metres tall!

  • Japanese people have the second longest life expectancy in the world. Hong Kong claims the number 1 spot.

  • By far the most populous city in Japan is Tokyo with over 13 million people. The next largest city, Yokohama  has 3.7 million people.

  • The national flower of Japan is the Cherry Blossom.

  • Japan is the world’s fourth largest island country and is made up of 6,852 islands. The largest Island country in the world is Indonesia.

  • Japan is the only country in the world to have an Emperor on the throne. The Emperor doesn’t have any real power but is the symbolic leader of the country.

  • The Japanese Macaque Monkey is the world’s most northerly monkey and are also known as ‘Snow Monkeys’

Get even more fun facts in the full Japan Guide.


Mount Fuji with cherry blossoms in the foreground


Japanese snow monkeys relaxing in the water in Jigokudani Monkey Park

download a sample recipe and activity from the

Japan: Explore-the-World-from-Home Guide

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