Japan Overview

By | October 29, 2020

Japan is one of the world’s most densely populated countries, and is also called the “Land of the Sunrise”. Here, ancient cultural expressions mingle with the very latest. Futuristic urban environments, imperial temples, snow-capped peaks, flowering cherry trees and lightning-fast high-speed trains.

Japan flagJapan 2

Capital: Tokyo
Biggest city: Tokyo
State: empire
Language: Japanese
Religion: shintoism, buddhism
Surface: 377,835 km
Population: 127.3 million (2013)
Population density: 336 residents per km²
Life expectancy: 82 years
Illiteracy: 1%
Currency: Japanese Yen (JPY)
1 yen = 0.07 kr
GDP per capita: $ 33,500 (2010)
Time difference: +8 hours
Electricity: 100 V AC, 50 / 60Hz
National Day: December 23rd
Country area code: 81
2-Letter country abbreviation: JP (See more abbreviations on Abbreviationfinder)
Business: service sector 69%, industry 24%, agriculture 7%
Climate: from cold temperate in the north to subtropical in the south; much rain from June to July

Japan is slightly smaller in area than Sweden, and consists of just over 3,900 islands. The four main islands – Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku – make up about 99 percent of the land area. From Kyushu, the Ryukyu Islands extend in an arc towards Taiwan.

The land area is gradually increasing, and since the 1950s, more than 800 km² of land has been gained from the sea through polder facilities. However, about 75 percent of the country’s area is uninhabitable, and consists of steep mountains, deep ravines and forests.

Until the 19th century, Japan was a very isolated archipelago, but developed during the 19th century to become one of the most powerful countries in Asia. During World War II, Japan allied with the Axis powers Germany and Italy, and after the defeat was occupied for seven years by the United States. Today, Japan is one of the richest and most developed countries in the world, and plays an important role in international and regional economics and politics.

Japan is located in an area of ​​great geological activity, and has around one tenth of the world’s active volcanoes. The country is often hit by earthquakes and minor tidal waves. In March 2011, Japan experienced the strongest earthquake in the country’s history, followed by a tsunami that caused major damage along the northeast coast.

The James Bond films “Beloved Spy”, “You Only Live Twice”, “Diamond Fever” and “Skyfall” are all largely shot in Japan. The same goes for the movies “The Last Samurai”, “Lost In Translation”, “Ran” and “Kill Bill – Vol 1”. The hotel scenes in “Lost In Translation” were recorded at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo.


The following objects in Japan are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The year in which the item was added to the list is indicated in parentheses.

  • Horyu-ji Temple Facility (1993)
  • Himeji Palace Area (1993)
  • Shirakami-Sanchi (1993)
  • Yakushima (1993)
  • Historic buildings and monuments in ancient Kyoto (1994)
  • The villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama (1995)
  • Hiroshima Peace Monument (Genbakudomen) (1996)
  • Shinto Shrine on Itsukushima Island (1996)
  • Historical monuments in Nara (1998)
  • Shrines and temples of Nikko (1999)
  • Holy Places of Ryukyurik (2000)
  • The sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kiiber Mountains (2004)
  • Shiretoko Peninsula (2005)
  • Iwami Ginzan’s Silver Mine and Cultural Landscape (2007)
  • Hiraizumi, area of ​​temples, gardens and archeological sites (2011)
  • Ogasawara Islands, about 30 islands in the Pacific Ocean with rich and varied ecosystem (2011)
  • Fuji Volcano, Japan’s Highest Mountain (2013)
  • Tomioka silk factory and related industrial heritage (2014)


Electricity and electrical outlets in Japan

Voltage: 100 V

Frequency: 50 Hz / 60 Hz

Type of plug: A, B

Need an adapter: Yes, Swedes need an adapter.


Weather in Tokyo

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Christmas Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average temperature °C 17 16 16 17 20 22 24 26 25 23 21 19
Day °C 8 9 12 17 21 24 28 29 26 20 15 11
Night °C 2 2 5 10 14 18 22 23 20 15 9 4
Rain (mm) 43 58 94 119 132 181 128 147 181 158 84 44
Rainy days 9 11 17 16 16 20 20 17 20 17 12 9
Soltim / day 6 6 6 5 6 4 5 6 4 4 5 6


Fukuoka is said to be the oldest city in Japan as it is the city closest to China and Korea. It is located on the north shore of Kyushu Island, and has 1.4 million residents (2007).

After the first Mongol invasion of Japan, a 3 meter high and 20 kilometer long wall was built on the island of Kyushu where Fukuoka is located. Fukuoka hosted the 2001 World Swimming Championships.


Hiroshima is a port and industrial city in Japan, founded in 1589. The city is located on the island of Honshu, and has 1.1 million residents (2007). From the beginning, Hiroshima was a fishing village. However, the city grew rapidly and developed into a significant trading center.

Hiroshima became the target of the first atomic bomb in combat, which was dropped by the United States in the final stages of World War II in 1945. 129,000 people are said to have died in the first few days alone. Today, the city is called the city of peace and at the Peace Museum you can see monuments of the dead in connection with the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Kobe is a city in the Kansai region on the island of Honshu in Japan. The city is one of Japan’s most important port cities, and has 1.5 million residents (2008).

In 1995, the city was shaken by an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale. More than 5,000 people died, between 27,000-35,000 were injured and about 300,000 people were forced to leave their homes. This was the worst earthquake in Japan since the great earthquake in Tokyo in 1923.


Kyoto is a mountain town on the main island of Honshu in Japan. The city is part of Osaka’s metropolitan area, which also includes Kobe. The area has an extensive and diverse industry.

Kyoto was the capital of Japan before Tokyo, from 794 to 1868. Kyoto is still today the city where the emperor is crowned. It is also one of the country’s major places of pilgrimage and a very large tourist resort. In Kyoto, there are more than 1,600 Buddhist and Shinto temples preserved as the city was largely spared bombing raids during World War II.

Historic Kyoto was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.


Matsuyama is located on the north coast of the island of Shikoku in Japan, and has 515,060 residents (2006). Industries include the manufacture of machinery, paper and textiles, as well as the chemical industry, oil refinery and port. Citrus fruits are grown in the city’s surroundings, among other things. The city is also known for its hot springs.

Japan’s oldest bathhouse, Dogo Onsen, is located in Matsuyama.


Nagasaki is a city on the island of Kyushu in Japan with 455,156 residents (2006). On August 9, 1945, the city was exposed to the second atomic bomb in history. About 70,000 people are estimated to have died, and about 120,000 were left homeless by the explosion that devastated the entire city. 50 years later, in 1995, it was declared “Nagasaki Peace Day” on August 9th. The city has now become an important symbol of all work against nuclear weapons. The Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki was first built in 1955. The museum that exists today was opened in 1996.

The Peace Park is located on a low hill and was created at the same time as the Atomic Bomb Museum as a wish for world peace. In the northern part of the park is a 9.7 meter high statue created by Seibou Kitamura. It symbolizes the love of the Buddha and the desire of the Nagasaki people for eternal peace. The park also has the Fountain of Peace and most of the monuments donated by different countries.


Nagoya is Japan’s fourth largest city and has 2.2 million residents (2007). It is located on the Pacific coast of the Chubur region in central Honshu. Nagoya is one of Japan’s most important port cities along with Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Yokohama, Chiba and Fukuoka. The two most popular tourist destinations in the city are Nagoya Castle and Atsuta Temple.


Naha is located on the southwestern part of the island of Okinawa, which is part of the Ryukyu Islands, and has 314,174 residents (2008). Shuri Castle in Naha was the palace of the Kingdom of Ryukyu, but was almost completely destroyed in 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa. In 1992, the castle was rebuilt with the help of photographs, historical notes and memory.


Osaka is located on the southern coast of the island of Honshus on the Gulf of Osaka by the Pacific Ocean. It is built on the tributaries of the Yodogawa and Yamatogawa rivers. The city has 2.6 million residents (2004). Osaka, together with the adjacent cities of Kobe and Kyoto, forms a cohesive metropolitan area with over 19 million residents, and is considered Japan’s second most important industrial region.


Sapporo is Japan’s fifth largest city, with 1.8 million residents (2007). Sapporo is a relatively new city. It was founded in 1869 when, after the Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government decided to develop Hokkaido, which had previously been almost uninhabited. From the very beginning, Sapporo was intended to become an administrative center. Hokkaido had previously been ruled from Hakodate, located on the south coast, but this city was considered unsuitable for both military and administrative reasons.

In Sapporo, which is a winter sports resort, the Winter Olympics were held in 1972. Sapporo would also have hosted the 1940 Winter Olympics, but the event was canceled due to World War II.


According to Countryaah, Tokyo is the capital of Japan, and has 12.7 million residents (2007). The entire metropolitan region covers an area slightly larger than Skåne and, with its 37 million residents, is the world’s most populous metropolitan area. Tokyo, along with London and New York, is the world’s leading financial center.

Tokyo’s first metro line was inaugurated in 1925. There are currently 13 lines in operation. In addition to the metro, the city also has more than 30 commuter train lines. In 1964, the Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo.


Yokohama has 3.6 million residents (2007) and is thus Japan’s second city. Yokohama is located on the western shore of Tokyo Bay and is one of the country’s most important port cities.

It is part of the Tokyo region and together with Kawasaki forms the northern center of Keihin, Japan’s most important industrial region. The city has large steel mills, oil refineries, shipyards and automotive industries and extensive production of machine tools, electronic products and man-made fibers. Yokohama also has several universities and a number of colleges. The city’s port is Japan’s largest import port.