Japan is a country of stark contrasts - it has some of the most modern and technologically advanced cities on earth as well as many reminders of a traditional and historic civilisation. Much of the historical heritage of Japan was destroyed during the Meiji Restoration and subsequently by bombing in the Second World War but some significant sites remain, most notably in the old capital of Kyoto with its treasure chest of shrines, temples and historic buildings. The medieval castles at Himeji and Matsumoto are also impressive examples of the Shogun era, whilst numerous small villages serve as reminders of traditional rural life. Japan has a unique spiritual legacy, with Buddhism incorporated with traditional Shinto beliefs - there are many impressive temples and shrines throughout the country which harmoniously blend with Japan's beautiful natural landscapes. Some of the most spectacular features are its mountains and Mounts Fuji and Yarigatake offer great trekking opportunities in unbeatable locations. Explore in depth highlights of Japan.

Travel Information for Japan
Time zone:GMT +9 (Japan standard time) Daylight savings:    None
Main languages:Japanese
Currency: yen (JPY)

1 = ¥116, $1 = ¥104, £1 = ¥138

(rates as of Sep 2016)

Internet Domain:.jpInternational Dialling Code:    81

For help planning your trip to Japan including visas, vaccinations, currency exchange, flights, accomodation and insurance, see our Japan trip planning page.

Further information on Japan

Discover more about Japan - the country's geogrpahy and natural features, an assessment of its status on freedom and rights and data on the country's population and economy.

Geography & Natural Features

Map of japan

Total area: 377,835 sq km (3,091 sq km under water)

Coastline: 29,751 km (Pacific Ocean, Sea of Japan)

Neighbours (border lengths): No land borders

Climate: Climate varies from tropical in the south to cool temperate in the north. There are four distinct seasons with the early summer being wet and humid before turning hot and dry in August. Mild Spring with its famous cherry blossom bloom is the most popular time to visit Japan.

Highest mountain: Mount Fuji (3,776m) - Climb this mountain!

Freedom & Rights

Summary status and rankings for Japan from classifications of different organisations measuring political and economic freedom, democracy and civil rights. See more details of these rankings.

Freedom in the WorldFree -
Democracy IndexFull democracy 20/167
Economic FreedomMostly Free 20/179
Press FreedomNoticeable problems 60/179
ILGA LGBT rightsLimited rights -
Corruption PerceptionsLow corruption 15/174
Overall Ranking:    29/195

Other Data & Links

Status: Independent Country

Population: 127,103,388 (rank: 10/196)     Density: 336.3 people/sq km (rank: 26/196)

Ethnic groups: Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%. note: up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil (2004)

Religions: Shintoism 83.9%, Buddhism 71.4%, Christianity 2%, other 7.8%

GDP (PPP): $4729 billion       GDP per capita: $37,100 (rank: 25/195)

Information derived from the CIA World Factbook. Other country profiles: BBC News.