Amazing Facts About Japan That You Should Know

23 May 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House
Unsplash: Jezael Melgoza

There’s something special about Japan that pulls you in… not sure what it is because this charm is different for everyone. However, it’s possible that the magnificent cherry blossoms are the ones enchanting you. It’s also possible that the delicious and diverse Japanese cuisine is the one tempting you. And, it’s very much possible that the beauty and simplicity of Japanese culture is the one making you itch for an unforgettable escapade all over Japan.

For many adventurous or not-so-adventurous travelers, Japan is a must-see destination. It is an island country full of marvelous natural landscapes, majestic old and modern architecture, and more magical experiences than you can possibly imagine. Let’s not forget, this country’s got Studio Ghibli, Tokyo Disneyland, and anime… loads of anime. You can definitely say that there’s a bit of something for everyone to love in Japan! There's much more to learn about this certain east Asian country. Read on and find out.

    • Tokyo was originally called Edo.
    • Tokyo, formerly known as Edo, served as the seat of government during the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan from 1603 until 1868. Then, Edo became the capital of Japan, and the name was changed to Tokyo, which means "Eastern Capital."

    • The busiest train station in the world is Shinjuku Station.
    • There are 36 platforms at this train station, which sees about 3.5 million passengers each day.

    • Tourists can shop tax-free in Tokyo.
    • Foreign tourists can shop tax-free at some licensed shops, as long as you have your passport with you as evidence. One more thing, you must spend more than 5,000 yen at the store to qualify for the tax exemption.

    • The Shibuya Crossing is the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing
    • As soon as the Shibuya Crossing intersection lights turn green, about 2,500 people walk the massive crosswalks from all sides of the street. When crossing, beware the pedestrians and watch your steps.

    • The oldest operating business in the world is in Japan.
    • Kongo Gumi is the oldest company in the world, located in Osaka, Japan. The construction company was founded in 578 AD, and its area of expertise is designing, building, maintaining, and repairing cultural heritage buildings.

    • There is at least one vending machine for every 23 people in Tokyo.
    • In Japan, there are more than 5 million vending machines, with one located every 12 meters or so. These vending machines sell a variety of goods, such as sodas, candies, bananas, apples, live crabs, clothes, prayer cards, hamburgers, underpants, umbrellas, and many more things. With so many vending machines all over the country, the Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association says that there is at least one vending machine per 23 people living in the city.

    • There is a Japanese meat dish made from horses.
    • Due to its rich reddish-pink hue, horse meat has also been referred to as "sakuraniku" and can be prepared in a variety of ways:

      1. Basashi: thin strips of horse meat which is like horse sashimi
      2. Sakura Nabe: horse meat is cooked at your table in a pot of miso-based stock
      3. Horse Yakiniku: barbecued horse meat
      4. Bagushi: skewered horse meat

      Basashi, aka raw horse meat, is a specialty in Kumamoto. This horse dish is meat sashimi that is served with garlic, sliced onions, and ginger and dipped in sweet soy sauce. This unique Japanese food can be found in several izakaya bars and other specialty restaurants all over Japan.

    • About 1,500 earthquakes happen every year.
    • Japan is right by the Pacific Ring of Fire, so the country is very prone to earthquakes. It is reported that Japan averages between 40 and 50 tremors daily, or about 1,500 per year.

    • There are 6,852 Japanese islands.
    • Japan is an island country, thus it is made up of a number of islands — 6,852 to be exact. However, only 421 of these islands are inhabited per ScienceDirect. 4 out of the 421 islands are the main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku.