FASCINATING FACTS: 12 Startling Facts About Japan

An island nation of East Asia in the Pacific Ocean, Japan is an extraordinary country that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Their culture is unlike any other, and before you go it’s worth taking note of these interesting facts about Japan.

1. Japan is made up of over 6,800 islands.

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As if deciding where to go for your holiday wasn’t tough enough, there are over 6,800 islands that make up Japan. The good news is that many of the islands have been untouched by tourism, so it’s possible to find a gem during your pre-holiday research.(source)

2. Japan suffers from roughly 1,500 Earthquakes every year. 

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Japan sits atop four tectonic plates which are always moving. This makes it one of the worst spots on the globe for earth quakes. It has had some pretty devastating earth quakes in the past, and only recently did one result in a tsunami (2011) that caused large scale damage and a death roll of almost 16,000.(source)

3. Japan has more than 50,000 people who are over 100 years old. 

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With women comprising of around 87% of the tally, Japan has more than 50,000 people who are over the age of 100. This is a long way off from the 153 people when the survey started back in 1963.(source)

4. Japanese trains are known to be the most punctual in the world.

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Japanese trains are so punctual that if they arrive 5 minutes late, everyone gets a formal apology and sometimes even a “delay certificate” for work. Any delays longer than an hour appear on the news because its such a rarity.(source)

5. Some Japanese farmers grow square watermelons to make them easier to stack and store.

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Also home to the most expensive watermelons on earth (Yubari cantaloupes), Japanese farmers also shape many of their watermelons with glass boxes so that they become square – making them easier to stack and store.(source)

6. There are more pets than children in Japan.

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A recent 2014 survey showed that there approximately 21.3 million registered dogs and cats in Japan which outnumber kids under the age of 15 at 16.5 million. There is actual concern that by 2060 the population will have shrunk by 30% with more than 40% consisting of people over the age of 65.(source)

7. There are Cat Cafes in Japan where people can go to drink coffee and chill out with cats.

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Due to Japan’s small land size and large population, many people live in apartments or condos that don’t allow pets. Luckily for them, there are now at least 79 cat cafes across the country where they can go to drink coffee and relax with the friendly felines.(source)

8. People who sleep on the job in Japan aren’t frowned upon because it’s seen as exhaustion from working hard.

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Known as “Inemuri”, which means “sleeping while present” is a practice of sleeping on the job. It is considered a way for employees to express how hard they are working since they have little time at home. There are actually unwritten rules on how to perform “Inemuri”, such as sleeping upright to show that you are still socially engaged.(source)

9. There is a festival in Japan that celebrates the penis and fertility.

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Every spring there is a festival in Kawasaki, Japan that celebrates “Kanamara Matsuri”, otherwise known as the “Festival of the Steel Phallus”. It is a celebration of the penis and fertility, and is as odd as you’d expect. If you go, you can expect to find people of all ages sucking on penis-shaped lollipops and carrying about penis sculptures.(source)

10. In Japan, black cats are actually considered good luck.

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While the American superstition that black cats are bad luck was brought about because they were often considered to be the companions of witches, Japan sees them as good luck if they cross your path.(source)

11. Home to animee, Japan uses more paper for comics than for toilet paper.

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The Japanese are bonkers for comics (or “Manga”), with more than 553 million copies published each year.(source)

12. There’s an island in Japan that’s full of rabbits after being abandoned during WWII

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The island of “Okunoshima” was selected for its remoteness to be the manufacturing grounds of the highly toxic mustard gas during WWII. Unfortunately for our fury friends, rabbits were brought to the island to be test subjects. However, when the facility was shut down, the rabbits were released into the wild and subsequently flourished.(source)


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