This collection of islands has fascinated travellers since Japan picked itself up from World War defeat, and became one of the leading economic and technological centres of the world. Ancient gods and traditional customs sit side by side with cutting edge technologies and trendy pop culture, and there is always something new to learn about Japan. From deformed dogs and perfect melons, to empty orchestras and bizarre meal-time etiquette, here are 23 interesting facts about Japan you probably never knew.
1. Japan has been inhabited since 30,000 b.c
2. An estimated 127 million people live in Japan. It has the 10yh largest population in the world.
3. 70% of Japan is mountainous – including over 100 active volcanoes.
4. A melon can sell for over $400 in Japan.
5. Japan imports 85% of Jamaica’s annual coffee production.
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7. Japan has a 99% literacy rate among children aged 15 years and over.
8. Slurping your noodles loudly in Japan is considered evidence of enjoying your meal.
9. Tokyo has the world’s largest fish market, handling over 2000 tonnes of marine products daily.
10. Raised floors help indicate where you should take off your shoes in Japanese buildings.
11. “Geisha” means “person of the arts” and the first Geisha were actually men.
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13. At 83, the average life expectancy for Japanese people is 4 years higher than for Americans.
14. Basashi is a popular Japanese dish, consisting of raw horsemeat slices with ginger and onions.
15. Whale meat is not actually a delicacy in Japan, but they are still hunted for research purposes.
16. Excessive inbreeding of Japanese dogs has resulted in one of the world’s highest defect rates.
17. Since 1949, Japan has produced 19 winners of the Nobel Prize.
19. There are 6800 islands in Japan.
20. Japan produces 60% of the world’s animated TV shows.
21. Japanese company Toyota is the third largest automobile producer in the world.
22. The term “karaoke” means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.
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Learn more and explore this archipelago with the Rough Guide to Japan.