A wise traveler never despises his own country.
— Carlo Goldoni, 1707 - 1793




In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and an ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians hold actual decision-making power. Following three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan's economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains a major economic power.


Japan , known as Nihon or Nippon (日本) in Japanese, is an island nation in East Asia.

Read more about Japan in our Japan travel guide »

Featured journals from


Nippon Express

by yossi

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. After years of thinking about it, months of planning, at least one failed attempt and several bumps in the road, I finally arrived to Japan.

Apr 2010 - Aug 2013  »  Israel | Hong Kong (S.A.R.) | Japan | Germany | United Kingdom

Culet culet!!!!!

by Robert__Bcn

Un viaje a Japon

Mar 2013  »  Germany | Spain | Japan

Travel Adventures and Great Local Accommodation Spots

by stefanie

A journal of adventure, travel and hot spots that you must visit.

Sep 2006 - Apr 2013  »  Japan | China (People's Republic)


by koi


Mar 2013  »  Japan

Featured hotels in


JapanHotel Nikko Alivila 

600 Gima Yomitan Son
Nakagami District
Yomitan 904-0393

Price (US$): $253 - $329 / night

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Location. Hotel Nikko Alivila is located on the beach in Yomitan and local attractions include Kadena Air Base. Regional points of interest also include Okinawa Zoo and Cape Manza. Hotel Features. Dining options at Hotel Nikko Alivila include 5 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. The hotel serves a complimentary continental breakfast. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a sauna. Spa amenities include massage/treatment rooms, facials, and body treatments.… more »

JapanWith The Style Fukuoka 

1-9-18 Hakataeki-Minami, Hakata-ku
Fukuoka 812-0016

Price (US$): $423 - $424 / night

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Location. Near the airport, With The Style Fukuoka is located in Fukuoka's Hakata neighborhood and close to Sumiyoshi Shrine, Fukuoka Convention Center, and Tochoji Temple. Nearby points of interest also include Ohori Park and Kushida Shrine. Hotel Features. With The Style Fukuoka features a coffee shop/café, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited hours. A complimentary cooked to order breakfast is served each morning. Recreational amenities include a spa… more »

JapanHotel New Grand 

10 Yamashita-cho Naka-ku
Yokohama 231 8520

Price (US$): $148 - $443 / night

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Location. Located in central Yokohama, Hotel New Grand is steps from Yamashita Park and Yokohama Marine Tower. Nearby points of interest also include Yokohama Stadium and Yokohama Cosmo World. Hotel Features. Dining options at Hotel New Grand include 3 restaurants. 2 bars/lounges are open for drinks. This 4.5 star property has a business center and offers business services. Additional property amenities include a coffee shop/café and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. Guestrooms. Air… more »

JapanMars Garden Wood Gotemba 

1089 Higashitanaka
Gotemba 412-0026

Price (US$): $257 - $576 / night

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Location. Located in Gotemba, Mars Garden Wood Gotemba is connected to a shopping center with local attractions including Fuji Speedway and Great Boiling Valley. Regional points of interest also include Hakone Open Air Museum and Hakone Shrine. Resort Features. Recreational amenities include a sauna. The property's full service health spa has body treatments, massage/treatment rooms, and facials. This 4.5 star property offers small meeting rooms and audiovisual equipment. This Gotemba… more »

JapanThe Tokyo Station Hotel 

1-9-1 Marunouchi
Tokyo 100-0005

Price (US$): $399 - $445 / night

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Location. The Tokyo Station Hotel is located in Tokyo's Marunouchi neighborhood, close to Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Tower. Nearby points of interest also include Sensoji Temple and Imperial Palace Garden. Hotel Features. The Tokyo Station Hotel's restaurant serves lunch and dinner. 2 bars/lounges are open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning (surcharges apply). Recreational… more »

Browse more hotels in Japan »



Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula

Geographic coordinates

36 00 N, 138 00 E

Area comparative

slightly smaller than California


29,751 km


varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north


mostly rugged and mountainous

Lowest point

Hachiro-gata -4 m

Highest point

Fujiyama 3,776 m

Natural resources

negligible mineral resources, fish


126,804,433 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%


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



Government type

a parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy


3 May 1947 (current constitution adopted as amendment to Meiji Constitution); notable earlier dates 660 B.C. (traditional date of the founding of the nation by Emperor JIMMU); 29 November 1890 (Meiji Constitution provides for constitutional monarchy)

National holiday

Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)

Chief of state

Emperor AKIHITO (since 7 January 1989)

Head of government

Prime Minister Naoto KAN (since 8 June 2010)

Internet country code


Internet users

99.182 million (2009)


176 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Chiba, Kawasaki, Kobe, Mizushima, Moji, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Tomakomai, Yokohama

Other countries in the region