When you think of Japan, your mind fills with all sorts of images of ancient traditions, beautiful landscapes and fascinating culture.
Although the Japanese past is rich in events and interesting history, today’s Japan is just as fascinating with cutting edge technology and wonderful architecture, whilst still maintaining the country’s traditions.
Whether you want to experience food like you’ve never tasted (or seen!) or you want to go shopping in some of the world’s best shopping areas, Japan is the place to visit! Japan is famous for its temples and shrines – you could spend weeks in cities such as Kyoto or Nara feasting your eyes on architectural marvels and historic monuments.
If culture is more to your taste, you can’t get much better than Japan’s colourful and rich heritage including wonderful kabuki (Japanese performing arts) and traditional geisha. SkyAir Link Travels & Tours will help you to find all the information you need to plan your perfect holiday to Japan.
Japan is located in the North Pacific off the coast of Russia and the Korean peninsula. The area of Japan is 377,873km², which makes it slightly smaller in land mass than California. Japan consists of four main larger islands and over 4000 smaller islands. The main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Honshu is the largest with an area of 231,000km². A modern railroad system connects the major islands and Japan’s high-speed Shinkansen runs between major urban areas.Japan is over 70% mountainous terrain with approximately 18% land mass suitable for human settlement. Japanese cities are typically sprawling and densely populated. Tokyo, a megalopolis and the capital of Japan, is located on Honshu island. Central Tokyo has a population of 12 million people, with the population of the Greater Tokyo Area estimated at over 35 million people.The islands of Japan are located in an area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. This area is where most of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Japan is very seismically active with over 1,500 earthquakes per year. In 1923 the Great Kanto Earthquake killed more than 143,000 people in the Tokyo area. Tsunamis and volcanic eruptions are other natural destructive forces in Japan. In 2011 the Tōhoku Earthquake, also known as 3-11 (three-eleven) in Japan, was the most powerful earthquake known to have struck Japan.
There are over 127,078,679 (July 2009 est.) people living in Japan. For most of Japan’s history its borders were closed to foreigners. As a result, Japan’s society is very homogeneous, composed of 98.5% ethnic Japanese. The remaining 1.5 percent are mostly Korean, who number around 1 million. There are also considerable numbers of Brazilians, Chinese, and Filipinos residing in Japan. There is also an ethnic minority of indigenous people, called Ainu, who live mostly in northern Hokkaido.
Japanese is the official language of Japan. Many Japanese also have some ability in writing and speaking English as it is a mandatory part of the curriculum in the Japanese educational system. Japanese uses four different writing systems; Kanji (Chinese characters), Hiragana (phonetic alphabet for native words), Katakana (phonetic alphabet for foreign words), and Romaji (western alphabet used to write Japanese). Japanese vocabulary has been strongly influenced by loanwords from other languages, with most loanwords coming from Chinese and English.
The climate of Japan varies considerably depending on the region and season. Summer is usually very hot and humid, known to the Japanese as “mushiatsui”. From mid June there is a rainy season which lasts around one month. Winters are usually mild, with the northern areas of Japan receiving more snow. Spring and autumn are usually sunny with mild temperatures.
The two major religions in Japan are Shinto and Buddhism. While religion does not play a major role in the life of the average Japanese, religious ceremonies are usually held at births, weddings, and funerals. On New Year’s Day visiting a temple or shrine is also a common custom. About 1% of the population follow Christianity, which was heavily persecuted in Japan prior to the Meiji Restoration in 1873.
Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple
This is a Buddhist temple with a thousand-year-plus history. Approximately 300 years ago, NaritasanShinshoji Temple became a popular stop for pilgrims who prayed for safety, luck, and prosperity to bless their lives.
There are more than 12 million visitors annually. It continues to be one of the most famous temples in Japan. Ceremonial prayers and rituals are performed by a priest several times throughout the day , and are open to the public. This ritual is intended to deliver the wishes of the people to Buddha.
Interestingly, this branch of practiced Buddhism originally came to Japan from China; therefore the ceremonies are full of fascinating rituals that have been practiced for many centuries.
Currently, at the start of the temple grounds is a three-storied pagoda decorated with bright colors. A large portion of the temple remains from the original structure built in the Edo period. Each building reflects the architectural style of the period in which it was built. Five of the structures have been designated as important national cultural properties.
Lankaji Temple, Swara city
Ven Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thero established Lankaji Temple and The Government of Japan, legally recognised it by vesting the status of SHUKYO HOJIN. Being the head of the Lanka-Ji he established the Japan Sri Lanka Buddhist and Cultural Centre. His noble services elevated him to be the Chief Head Priest for Sri Lanka in Japan. Further he was honoured to be the Head Priest of Mahabodhiaggra Srawaka Maha Vihara. The Government of Sri Lanka in recognising his contributions for social development and Reha bilitation made Ven. Bana gala Upatissa, the authorized Representative of the Ministry of Social Services in Japa
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Lankji Temple was established in 1984 in Tokyo. Then It was transferred to Sawara City in Chiba Ken in 1989. Finally it was officially opened in 1992.
Sawara Grand Festivals
Sawara Grand Festivals can be seen twice a year, one in July and again in October. The summer festival is called ‘HonjukuYasaka Shrine’s Festival’ held for three days on the second or third weekend in July, and the autumn festival is called ‘Shinjuku Suwa Shrine’s Festival’ also held for three days on the second weekend in October. Sawara is divided into two parts, Honjuku on the eastern part and thr Shin Juku on the western part, by a river called the Onogawa River.
The amazing feature of the festival is the festival music, ‘Sawara Bayashi’, played by music players firmly sitting on the rails of the float. And, the dancing called “TekoMai” performed by young girls drawing the ropes attached to the float is a spectacular view worth seen.
In ancient times only the eldest son of family was qualified to take part in the music group, but at present, everyone can join it and play the festival music with a favorite instrument.
Akihabara Electronic Market
The Akihabara district in central Tokyo is a dynamic place that is always changing. Very soon after World War II ended in 1945, small open-air shops sprang up close to Tokyo’s Akihabara Station, selling parts for electric consumer goods and equipment. That was just the beginning. People with technical skills, returning from the battlefields, went there looking for parts to make radios. In those post-war chaotic days people wanted news of the world, so they set about making radios, which were scarce along with everything else.
Several years later, chaos settled into order and Akihabara’s open-air shops moved under the elevated railway tracks near the station. They began specializing in certain types of components, and laid the foundations for what rapidly became known as Radio Center. Soon the shops were branching out into specialty fields, like component parts for ham radios. Radio Center was Akihabara’s first persona.
Japan’s economy blossomed from the mid-1950s and into the 1960s, creating an opportunity for wholesale merchants to establish large home appliance stores in Akihabara and open their doors to regular consumers. The low prices and attractive goods gave Akihabara a new face as Electric City.
Beginning around the end of the 1970s, more and more stores began stocking components for computers, and during the 1980s Akihabara was reborn again, this time as Computer City.
Today, Akihabara is taking on its fourth persona, Robot and Figurine City. Robots represent perhaps the most exciting aspect of technology, while figurines are part of pop culture. Akihabara has lots of both, so with its latest rebirth it is becoming Techno/Pop City.