Japan is a country formed by over 3000 islands and located in north-eastern Asia, between the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. Japan`s four major islands are Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Hokkaido.Japan is a country of amazing contrasts, with big and vibrant cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo, and countryside and historic villages such as Kyoto and Nara.
REASONS TO GO
The vibrant Tokyo, a heaven for shopping.
Watching Sumo and Geisha Dances.
Cherry blossom parties.
WHEN TO GO
Best time to visit Japan are the climatically stable seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November).
Spring is the time when Japan´s famous cherry trees (sakura) burst into bloom. Starting from Kyūshū sometime in March, the sakura zensen (cherry tree blossom line) advances northward, passing the main cities of Honshū in early April. Once the sakura bloom, their glory is brief, usually lasting only a week but even so viewing pretty sakura flowers is a main reason for many travelers to visit Japan.
Autumn is an equally good time to travel, with pleasant temperatures and soothing colours; the autumn foliage pattern reverses that of the sakura, starting in the north sometime in October and peaking across most of Honshū around November.
Winter in Japan is cold, but it's not so bad. In Tokyo, the temperature hardly drops below 33F. January and February is a good time for skiing. There are many good ski resorts in Hokkaido and the north region on Honshu island.
New Year's is an important holiday for Japanese people. Japanese airports, highways, and train stations are crowded during the last week of December and the first week of January, so try to avoid traveling on this period of the year.
Other peak holiday seasons, particularly Golden Week (late April to early May) and the mid-August O-Bon (Festival of the Dead), are very popular for domestic travel and can be problematic in terms of reservations and crowds.
GOOD TO KNOW
Currency: yen (JPY)
Area: 377,864 sq km (145,894 sq miles)
Population: 129 million
Electricity: 100V/50 or 60Hz (American plug)
Calling Code: +81
Time Zone: UTC+9
The following are Japanese national holidays and some of the most important other annual nationwide events.
January 1 New Year
Second Monday of January Coming of Age
February 3 Beginning of spring
February 11 National Foundation Day
March 3 Doll's Festival
Around March 20 Spring Eqinox Day
April 29 Showa Day
May 3 Constitution Day
May 4 Greenery Day
May 5 Children's Day
July/August 7 Star Festival
Third Monday of July Ocean Day
July/August 13-15 Obon
Third Monday of September Respect for the Aged Day
Around September 23 Autumn Equinox Day
Second Monday of October Health and Sports Day
November 3 Culture Day
November 15 Seven-Five-Three
November 23 Labour Thanksgiving Day
December 23 Emperor's Birthday
If a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will also be a holiday. If a day lies between two national holidays, the day will also be turned into a holiday.