A IS FOR AGRICULTURE, ARCHAEOLOGY, & ART
ARCHAEOLOGY in Japan is the study of past cultures of the country. The country has 370,00 registered archaeological sites. The Sannai-Maruyama site was inhabited by hunter-gatherers around the time frame 3900 BC ∆ōC 2900 BC. Japanese archaeologists have recovered 33 bronze mirrors from a 3rd century A.D. keyhole-shaped burial mound in the Yamato region stirring debate over a mysterious country called Yamatai and its queen, Himiko.
In Japan ART is greatly appreciated. Arts and crafts include calligraphy, painting, ceramics, textiles, woodcraft, and Ikebana - flower arrangement. Men and women highly skilled in the arts are called living national treasures. Landscape gardening is an art that has developed in Japan and may be traced back to around 600 AD. ORIGAMI is part of Japanese culture and an form of art. It was first created for special ceremonies and is passed down from generation to generation. Because of Sadako Sasaki, origami cranes have become a sign of peace.
Japan has many species of BIRDS, and there are several Bird Sancturaries. The Kiyi (Green Pheasant) is the National bird. Birding is becoming popular. Kushiro is the home of the Red-Crested Crane brought back from the brink of extinction. Eight threatened species breed on small islands in the Izu islands, Ogasawara islands, and Nansei Shoto. Approximately 20% of the birds in Japan are considered endangered. The Amami Thrush is found only on Amami and nearby small islands. The Wild Bird Society has conservation projects.
Japan has many BRIDGES including Suspension Bridges. The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the world. The islands of Honshu and Shikoku are connected by 3 bridges. The Eshima Ohashi Bridge is the largest rigid-frame bridge in Japan and the third largest in the world. The Vine bridges of Iya Valley need to be rebuilt every 3 years.
Japan has many CASTLES and many cities in the country were built as Castle Towns. Nakagusuku Castle was the first stone castle built in Japan and currently is in ruins. Himeji Castle is one of the finest examples of 16th century castle architecture and is a World Heritage Site. Matsumoto Castle is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in the country. Shuri Castle is a reconstructed castle of the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom. The Imperial Palace was originally used as Edo Castle by the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Architecture in Japan varies from traditional to modern.
CURRENCY in Japan has a history beginning in the 8th century. Originally the main items of currency were arrowheads, rice grains and gold powder. Then the country adopted currency systems and designs from China. The first formal currency system in Japan was the K®≠ch®≠sen. The first official coin type was the Wad®≠kaichin minted in 708 CE. By the end of the 10th century the national currency was abandoned and once again rice was the currency. The expansion of trade in the 12th century created a need for a currency and Chinese coinage came to be used as the standard currency up to the 17th century. Coins from Annam (modern Vietnam) and Korea were also used. Japanese imitations of Chinese coins were made from the 14th century until the beginning of the Edo period in 1603 when a new system was put in place. Tokugawa coinage was a monetary system established 1601 which lasted until 1867. Then a new currency system based on the Japanese yen was established which has remained Japan's currency system to this day. The Bank of Japan was establish in 1882 and there is a network of ATMs throughout the country. D IS FOR DAMS, DINOSAURS, & DISTRICTS
The remains of DINOSAURS have been found in Japan including those of the Nodosaur. Several museums in the country have Dinosaur Exhibits. The Dinosaur Museum in Fukui Prefectural is the only dedicated dinosaur museum in all of Japan
EDUCATION in Japan is compulsory from Elementary thru Junior High. The countries/japan-overview/japan-instructional-systems/ school systemconsists of 3 years of optional kindergarten, 6 years of primary school, 3 years of lower secondary school, and 3 years of upper secondary school. Children are required to attend school for a minimum of nine years. The school uniform is modeled on European-style naval uniforms and was first used in Japan in the late 19th century. Take a virtual tour of the Aichi Center for Japanese Studies.
Japan has many EVENTS and festivals throughout the year. Aoi Matsuri is said to be the oldest festival in the world. Snow Festivals are held during the winter in northern Japan, and Sapporo has ice carvings. During the Doll's Festival, mothers and daughters show handmade dolls to friends and family. Special symbols on Children's Day are carp streamers and irises. Japan has a wide range of entertainment including nightlife, sports, and amusement parks.
The history of FOOD in Japan dates back to the early Japanese Neolithic settlements. Archaeological studies reveal the importance of rice and seafood since then. Not much is known about the Kofun period. When Buddhism became widely accepted, a taboo on eating meat began to be enforced. Treatises on ceremony, tax documents, and fiction lists food ingredients used, and basic preparation methods in the Heian period. There are no details of specific food during the Middle Ages. Once the country entered the Edo period, there is a record of foods from commoners. Japan has many regional specialties. Many of them originating from dishes prepared using local ingredients and traditional recipes. Chopsticks are used to eat. There are hundreds of varieties of sushi and it is not restricted to raw fish. Tea is the drink of Japan and a Tea Ceremony is an art form. The World Food Day is celebrated.
Japan has many FORESTS and some are set aside as conservation sites. National Forests account for 30% of the wooded area in Japan. There are 3 threatened bird species that breed in the forests on the main southern islands of Japan. The Japanese Night-heron and Fairy Pitta are mainly confined to lowland forests in southern Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, and the Yellow Bunting nests only in mid-altitude forests in the mountains of Honshu. The Okinawa Rail and the Okinawa Woodpecker are endemic to the forests of Okinawa.
The GLOBAL POSTION of Japan is approximately 35 degrees North latitutde and 139 degrees East longitude. The highest place is Mt. Fuji, and Lake Hachiro-gata is the lowest. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt using a global positioning system. Japan has many geocaches.
Japan has a Constitutional Monarchy with a Parliamentary GOVERNMENT and was the first Asian country to introduce a parliamentary system which is called the Diet. The Emperor is the Head of State and the Prime Minster is the Head of Government. The Imperial Family is the oldest hereditary monarch in the world and descends from an unbroken lineage nearly 2,000 years old. The Chrysanthemum is the floral emblem of the Imperial Family which is called the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Japan has over 1500 HISTORIC SITES and Monuments. Click HERE for the top 5 historic sites. The Hida Minzoku Mura Folklore Village demonstrates rural life in Medieval Japan. Nakabaru Vestige on Henzu Island is the remains of a village approximately 2500-2000 years old.
Japan celebrates a variety of HOLIDAYS. The biggest holidays are New Year. The Japanese New Year has been celebrated since 1873. The Gregorian Calendar has been used in Japan since 1873. There are Lucky and Unlucky Days. During the year, the country has Public Holidays, and Golden Week is a Japanese term applied to the period containing certain public holidays. Nagoya has a St. Patrick's Day Parade
Japan is made up of thousands of ISLANDS including artificial islands and peninsulas. The Yaeyama islands have some of the best scuba diving in Asia. Shiraho Reef on the South East tip of Ishigaki Island has the largest expanse of blue coral in the world, and Kabira Bay on the north shore has a cultured black pearl industry. Iriomte Island is forest and jungle. The entire island of Miyajima is called Shrine Island. Shikoku is a mountainous wooded island and is the smallest of the 14 main island. Yonaguni Island is at the southernmost tip of Japan. The Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017.
Many aspects of life in Japan focus on KIDS. Kids Web Japan has activities for kids and information about the country. National Geograpic has a special Kids page about Japan. Time for Kids has a special page about the day in the life of a young boy. Activity Village has Japanese-themed crafts for kids.
The LANGUAGE in Japan is called Japanese. Poetry began as a language of the aristocrats. Haiku is a very short form of Japanese poetry. Renga is a linked poem with strict rules - 1 person writes 2 lines another 2 lines and so on. English is taught in school.
Japan has many LIGHTHOUSES and some are open to the public and have museums. The lighthouse at Sakai is the oldest wooden, western-style lighthouse in Japan and is a national historic site. The Marine Tower in Yokohama is the tallest lighthouse in the world.
The islands of Japan have many MOUNTAINS with the plains and intermontane basins only accounting for 25% of the national territory. Central Japan is marked by the convergence of three mountain chains that form the Hida Mountains which are sometimes called the Japanese Alps. Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in the country. Mountain Climbing is a popular activity.
Japan has a wide variety of MUSEUMS including a Toy Museum, a museum that used to be a prison - Abashiri, and a museum dedicated to preserving the heritage of a small tribe of nomadic reindeer herders who live on Sakhalin Island. The Bank of Japan has a Currency Museum.
The Pacific Ocean is to the east of Japan. The Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea are to the north, the Sea of Japan is to the northwest, the East China Sea is to the southwest, and the Philippine Sea is to the south. Marine Day also known as "Ocean Day" or "Sea Day", is a Japanese national holiday celebrated on the third Monday in July. NOAA provides information on why the ocean is salty.
Japan belongs to many International ORGANIZATIONS. including the World Trade Organization, and the World Health Organization. Japan holds many international cooperations within the United Nations as a basic principle of its foreign policy.
Japan has a population of over 127 million PEOPLE. The ancestors of the Ainu were the original inhabitants of Japan and lived in a settlement in Hokkaido. Famous People include singers, actors, wrestlers, and sports players. Japan has had a variety of rulers including Emperors and Shoguns.
Japan has many PORTS, Harbors, and Marinas. Nearly everything imported to Japan comes through ports. The Port of Nagoya is the largest and busiest trading port in Japan. The Port of Tokyo is another large port and one of the largest seaports in the Pacific Ocean. There are more than 2,000 fishing ports. Hakodate has been a fishing ports since the 18th century and was one of the first to be opened to trade with the west.
The growing interest in QUILTING in Japan is attributed to a number of American Quilt exhibits held in the country. An International Great Quilt Festival is held in The Tokyo Dome Stadium. Sashiko Quilting and Origami Quilting originated in Japan.
Japan has a variety of REPTILES including turtles, lizards, geckoes, and snakes. There are also many amphibians including salamanders, newts, frogs, toads, and salamanders. Frogs are thought to bring good luck.
Japan has many RIVERS. Due to the mountainous nature of the terrain, most rivers are short, fast flowing, and shallow. The longest river in Japan is the Shinano River which flows from the mountains of the Chubu region through Niigata Prefecture to the Sea of Japan. Most rivers are not navigable, and a network of ports, harbors, and highways serve as transportation of goods.
Playing and watching SPORTS is a popular past time in Japan. Baseball is the most popular sport. Several games were invented in Japan including Judo and Karate. Japan first participated in the Olympic Games in 1912 and has competed at almost every Game since then and hosted them 3 times. The Japan Game Fish Association promotes fishing as a sport.
Japan has many TEMPLES and every Japanese municipality has at least one. The oldest structure in Japan is a temple in Nara. Kinkakuji Temple is famous for its golden exterior. Ryoanji Temple is famous for its Zen rock gardens. Shofukuji Temple is the oldest Zen temple in the country. Zenkoji Temple is one of the most important pilgrimage temple in the country.
Japan has all forms of TRANSPORTATION. The railway system in Japan leads the world in terms of safety, efficiency, and comfort, and there are both Public and Private Railways. The country has several airports including 2 International Airports. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructer, and Transportation of the National Government issues License Plates for Motor Vehicles. The Seiken Tunnel is the longest and deepest rail tunnel in the world and runs under the Tsugari Straits. Many large cities have subway systems. The country has a network of local city and rural buses. Japan has both domestic and international ferry service.
Japan has a variety of TREES and some have sysmbolic significance. Unusual trees include the Camphor tree, the Tea plant, the Wax tree, the Lacquer tree, and the Mulberry tree. Pine trees symbolizes youth and longevity and are used as a decorative plant in Japanese gardens and are popular for bonsai. Many tree species are grown as bonsai. The country does not have an official tree, but many of its prefectures do. The blossom of the cherry tree and the chrysanthemum are the unofficial National Flowers.
Japan has both active and inactive VOLCANOES. They are part of 5 volcanic arcs and part of the northwest quadrant of the Ring of Fire. The Volcanological Society of Japan provides information about volcanoes in the country. Mount Usu and Showa-Shinzan are major tourist attractions in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. In 1978 Mount Usu on Hokaido erupted and volcanic ash covered 80% of the island. Mt. Aso is the most recent volcano to erupt. It is the largest active volcano in Japan, and is among the largest in the world. Showa-Shinzan is the newest volcano. It emerged in 1943 in the wheat field of a farmer and over the next 2 years grew to its present hight of over 1,000 feet. Geothermal activity at thousands of sites has created natural hot springs. The Dogon Hotsprings is over a thousand years old. Beppu Hot Springs has more than 3,000 hot springs and is the largest spa resort in the country. The eruption of a volcano can cause a Tsunami.
The WEATHER in Japan is temperate and there are 4 seasons spring, summer, fall, and winter. The northern Island of Hokkaido is cool and rainy with long cold winters and short warm summer. The southern island of Kyushu is subtropical and warm. In September 2017, Typhon Talim hit southwestern Japan with strong winds, high storm surges, and heavy rains and many people had to be evacuated.
Japan has many YOUTH HOSTELS including traditional and western. Most of them are in out-of-the-way places or on the edges of built-up areas. There are also Elderhostels now called Road Scholars. The country has nearly 3,000 official campsites.
Japan has many ZOOS and aquariums. The Asa Zoological Park has zoo animals, a petting zoo, and pony rides for kids. Tama Zoological Park has nearly 200 animals and several types of gardens. Toba Aquarium has nearly 1,000 species of 20,000 different sea animals. The Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Yokohama Sea Paradise has a 3 story aquarium with over 100,000 sea creatures and an escalator thru an underground world.