In the 8th century Nara became the first centralized capital of the country. The capital then moved to Kyoto. Through much of its history there were regional warlords throughout Japan who would rise to power and become Shogun. Land was ruled by what was called a Daimyo who had warriors called Samurai. There was a caste system developed and marriage wasn’t allowed outside of this caste. This is called the era of Feudal Japan. During the 15 century the provinces of Japan went to war with each other. In the 1600s the country was unified again. Through most of Japan’s history the borders were closed to foreigners. During the late 1920s and 1930s Japan became militarized and they went to war with China in 1937 and ultimately were defeated by the dropping of atomic bombs by the US which ended World War II. Since then Japan has risen to be an economic powerhouse.
Climate in Japan
Japan has various climates. Spring has great temperatures in Japan and it’s not too hot. Summer starts with rain but get very hot in July through August. Winters are about average and the average yearly temperature for Tokyo is 16.3 degrees C.
The language of Japan is Japanese.
Currency in Japan
The Japanese use the Yen as currency.
Japanese Major Cities
- Tokyo – 9 million
- Kanagawa – 4 million
- Osaka – 2.6 million
- Aichi – 2.2 million
Things to do in Japan (Cities and main point of interest)
- Visit Kyoto’s Ancient Sites – From 794 to 1868 this was Japan’s capital. See the Kinkakuj which was once a retirement villa for Shogun but is now a Zen Buddhist temple. There are 17 world heritage sites in Kyoto.
- Overnight in a Temple – Stay overnight in a temple with monks Eko-in is one such place on Mount Koya where you can do this.
- Soak in a Hot Spring – venture to Dogo and try one of the hot springs there. There are many others throughout the country.
- Visit Tokyo – No visit to Japan is complete without seeing Tokyo. Visit Sensoji, a Buddhist temple in Asakusa. Try the Hanayashiki Amusement Park or go to Rokku Broadway and take in some shows such as comedy or storytelling. For a good drink go to Kamiya bar.
- Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park and Museum -Visit this memorial to the victims of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
- Northern Alps – Hike the Northern Alps as these arе premier hiking grounds. There arе day hikes or week long adventures available.
Food and Restaurants in Japan
Japanese cuisine combines rice which is a staple with main dishes and side dishes. Soup called miso is often served along with pickles called tsukemono. The rice is served in its own bowl. The Japanese don’t like to combine foods with different flavors coming in contact with each other.
Seafood is a very common food eaten in Japan and often made into Sushi with rice. Tempura is another common food which is a deep fried batter with vegetables or fish. Tea is a very common beverage and noodles are often eaten as a substitute for rice. Sake is a common alcoholic drink in Japan.
Shopping in Japan
Visit Isetan in Tokyo which has great food, men’s fashions, ladies designer goods, and home wares. There are English speaking personnel for visitors. Kiddyland is great for the children as well as teenagers with Hello Kitty toys being popular here. Ameya-yokochō is a marketing Tokyo where you can get many different Japanese items. Junkudō in Kyoto is a great bookstore to visit and they have many English language books too.