Japan has been captivating travellers since it first opened up to international trade in 1853. While its many traditions and cultural landmarks persist, Japan is also 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 experience on a visit. From the fashion in Harajuku to perfect produce, to empty orchestras and bizarre meal-time etiquette, here are 23 interesting facts about Japan you probably never knew.
facts about Japan

 1. Japan has been inhabited since 30,000 B.C.

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facts about Japan

2. An estimated 127 million people live in Japan. It has the 10th largest population in the world.

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facts about Japan

3. 70% of Japan is mountainous – including over 100 active volcanoes.

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facts about Japan

4. A melon can sell for over $400 in Japan.

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facts about Japan

5. Japan imports 85% of Jamaica's annual coffee production.

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23 things you never knew about Japan: Japanese bald head guy emerging from water.

6. Japanese people used to shave their heads as a sign of penance for violating society's rules and breaching honour.

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facts about Japan

7. Japan has a 99% literacy rate among children aged 15 years and over.

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facts about Japan

8. Slurping your noodles loudly in Japan is considered evidence of enjoying your meal.

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facts about Japan

9. Tokyo has the world's largest fish market, handling over 2000 tonnes of marine products daily.

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facts about Japan

10. Raised floors help indicate where you should take off your shoes in Japanese buildings.

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facts about Japan

11. "Geisha" means "person of the arts"  and the first Geisha were actually men.

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23 things you never knew about Japan: Kobe memorial earthquake park in Japan.

12. About 1500 earthquakes strike Japan every year.

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facts about Japan

13. At 83, the average life expectancy for Japanese people is 4 years higher than for Americans.

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facts about Japan

14. Basashi is a popular Japanese dish, consisting of raw horsemeat slices with ginger and onions.

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facts about Japan

15. Whale meat is not actually a delicacy in Japan, but they are still hunted for research purposes.

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facts about Japan

 

23 things you never knew about Japan: Young attractive Japanese woman in a Yukata who drinks beer.© miya227/Shutterstock

facts about Japan

facts about Japan

facts about Japan

facts about Japan

Fighter with a sword silhouette a sky ninja. Japan.© Kichigin/Shutterstock

Top image © sabrinaokaeda/Shutterstock

Learn more and explore this archipelago with the Rough Guide to Japan.

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