Japan has long been known as a country where innovation thrives. The Japanese language is also widely spoken around the globe. But did you know Japan is home to some of the most advanced technologies in the world?
Japan is a technologically advanced nation with a population of over 126 million. In fact, it was ranked number one globally in terms of technological advancement in 2017.
Technology is defined as applying science and engineering to create functional devices or systems. For example, the Internet is a technology that allows us to communicate with each other and access information from anywhere.
Japan’s “technological prowess” is mainly fueled by its world-renowned universities and research institutions like Kyoto University, Keio University, Tohoku University, Chuo Gakuin University, Hokkaido University, Meiji Gakuin University, University of Electro-Communications (UEC), National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) among others.
In addition, over 60% of all companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange use this technology actively. This makes Japan a hub for hi-tech industries.
Japanese people are often amicable, kind, polite, and helpful. They love exchanging gifts too! And they do not hesitate to show their appreciation. Naturally, their gift-giving customs vary depending on the occasion or celebration.
However, there are certain things that most Japanese people must have in their house. These include stationery items, kitchenware, bath-ware, toys (see also, ‘What is Amigurumi?‘), clothes, beauty products, etc.
Japanese food (see also ‘Is Japanese Food Healthy?‘) is considered a culinary art form. From making sushi to ramen noodles, Japanese cuisine has influenced many cultures worldwide. Traditional dishes include rice balls, seaweed snacks (see also, ‘What is Nori?‘), fried chicken, tempura, and udon noodles.
More recently, fusion cuisines such as yakitori, curry, and donburi are becoming popular. A typical meal will consist of several small plates. It’s common to share these meals with friends and family.
Japanese people are famous for being punctual and hardworking too. Although, they always strive to enjoy life and spend time with loved ones.
Most households regularly gather together for dinner parties. Everyone shares stories about work, school, and play at these dinners.
Family members can be seen talking freely. No topic is off-limits. These gatherings are an opportunity for families to get closer and strengthen relationships.
Besides, it’s customary to bring a dessert to a dinner party. Dessert is typically served after the main course. People enjoy sipping green tea (see also ‘What is Raku Pottery?‘) while eating sweets.
So, let’s take a deeper look into Japan and discover more about its capital.
Tokyo is the capital and most populous city of Japan, located in the Kantō region of Honshu, the largest island (see also, ‘What Hemisphere is Japan in?‘). Its population is over 13 million, and the urban area is the second-largest in the country.
There are four main islands under the direct control of the central government: Honshū (mainland Honshū), Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa (see also, ‘How Big is Okinawa?‘). The Greater Tokyo Area has a population of over 37.7 million, ranking number one in both size and people in the 47 prefectures of Japan.
With over 14.32 million inhabitants, Tokyo ranks fourth worldwide behind London, Mexico City, and São Paulo. Tokyo is known as Shinjuku in English (see also ‘Best Hotels In Shinjuku‘), literally meaning Western town.
The word Tokyo derives from ancient times when the area was mainly settled in the Jōmon period Yayoi village. After the Heian Period, the area became part of Kanto Province under the Kamakura shogunate.
During the Edo period, the region’s name changed to Etchū Province. In the post-Meiji Restoration reorganization of 1868, Tokyo came into prominence as the new national capital under the short-lived Meiji Government. After establishing the Empire of Japan, Tokyo multiplied due to its strategic location.
The Imperial Palace and the adjacent moat were the sites of battles during the Pacific War, but today are open areas connected to gardens and parks.
Since the war, much development has occurred in the surrounding neighborhoods, particularly along the Sumida River. During the late 20th century, the metropolitan area expanded significantly, reaching its present boundaries.
Things To Do In Tokyo
There are many tourist attractions in Tokyo. Some are famous historical sites, museums, shrines, and temples that visitors can see.
Others are more modern, offering great shopping opportunities. One can go on excursions outside the city or just stay in the city. There are many things to do in Tokyo. Here are some suggestions:
Ghibli means ‘fairytale village’ in Italian. This is where Studio Ghibli was founded. The museum contains the works of Hayao Miyazaki, the founder of Studio Ghibli, such as Spirited Away.
Another highlight of this museum is the architecture of the building designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was inspired by the shape of nearby Lake Michigan.
A word used mainly in English to describe an old quarter with narrow streets and low buildings. However, it is also used in Japanese to refer to a historic district of Tokyo.
Located at a distance of about 75 km north of Tokyo, Yakumozaka is the nearest hot spring resort to the city.
It is considered the best among all the other hot springs in the Tokyo area. The view from the top of Mount Takao overlooking the sea is fantastic.
Ueno Park is one of the oldest traditional Japanese gardens. It features plants, trees, and water fountains from all over the world. Many people come here to relax after work or play sports like tennis.
Ueno Zoo is the only zoo in Tokyo which allows you to feed animals. So you can get close-up views of these creatures.
National Museum of Modern Art
At the National Museum of Modern Art, there are displays of Japanese art ranging from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Hanazono Shrine is dedicated to Empress Jingun, a goddess of Mercy. It is said that her statue brought rain during droughts (see also ‘Does It Rain A Lot In Japan?‘). From the shrine, one gets a beautiful view of the city.
Kasuga Taisha Temple
Kasuga Taisha temple is located within the grounds of Kasugayama Castle. It was initially built in 834 AD.
Cherry Blossom Season
The cherry blossom (Sakura) festival occurs in early March every year. Visitors travel from far and wide to see them and take pictures. It attracts tourists from across the globe.
The flower blossoms are so delicate that they must be handled with care, or else they will fade quickly. People try various methods to keep them fresh; using ice packs and plastic bags are two common ones.
Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo Disneyland is very affordable compared to Walt Disney World. However, the tickets are cheaper if you purchase them online before coming.
The prices range between US$85 – and $150 per person depending on when you buy your ticket. Admission fees include access to both parks.
On Saturdays, some rides shut down while others remain open. So if you want to ride Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, make sure to arrive around 9:30 am.
If you wish to experience the Tokyo Disney Sea, visit during weekends, as most attractions are open. Tokyo Disney Resort is beloved by children, but adults still have fun.
Takamatsu Castle Ruins
These castle ruins are found near the Safari River and have been well preserved since construction. Its location makes it look majestic with the surrounding mountains and rivers.
Shinjuku Gyoen Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen garden is a large public park in central Tokyo. It has many museums, including the Japanese Folk Craft Center and the Nature and Human Environment Museum.
There are also many events held in the summer. During winter, visitors enjoy walking alongside the frozen lake.
Senso-ji Temple is in Asakusa, on the eastern side of Tokyo Bay. Built in 645, its main structure consists of three concentric rings representing heaven, earth, and man.
Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market is considered the oldest fish market globally. It opened in 1872. Today, there are over 600 shops selling seafood here. Many people start their day off by shopping for delicious sushi (see also, ‘Why is Wasabi so Expensive?‘).
Ueno Zoo holds about 2,200 animals, including monkeys, bears, birds, and reptiles. Some of these animals can only be found in this zoo.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
MOSCATO is an exhibition hall devoted to modern art. Artists like Picasso, Matisse, Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Dali have exhibited here. In addition, the museum organizes special exhibits throughout the year.
This part of Yokohama is known for its Chinese restaurants, bakeries, and souvenir stores. Visitors will be surrounded by Chinese signage, smells reminiscent of Hong Kong, and various dialects such as Cantonese, Mandarin, and Hakka.
Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Modern Art
Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Modern Art is home to one of the largest collections of postwar Japanese art.
Sapporo Snow Festival
Sapporo Snow Festival is held every February in Sapporo city. It is celebrated annually on the first weekend of February. About 10 million people attend each year and participate in numerous activities.
One popular activity includes watching the snowfall outside a designated viewing area called “Midori no Madoguchi” (literal translation: “The Green Corridor”). This is where spectators stand on chairs to watch the falling snow.
Nishi Azabu Observatory
Nishi Azabu Observatory is located in Minato-ku, just west of Roppongi. It offers views of Mount Fuji (see also ‘Can You Climb Mount Fuji?‘), Tokyo Tower, and the Tokyo Skytree.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
TMG building is home to government offices and agencies within Tokyo (see also ‘What Government Does Japan Have?‘). It was designed by architect Kenzo Tange and completed in 1972.
Shibuya crossing is located in Shibuya ward, Tokyo. It is the busiest intersection in all of Japan. Every single second, 1,000 pedestrians cross through.
The Tokyo Tower is massive. And that’s precisely why it is included on this list! Located near Shibuya station, this tall glass tower offers unparalleled 360-degree views from its top. You can even see Mt. Fuji!
Harajuku or Haruko-cho is located just north of Shibuya ward. It used to be famous for being the center of the youth fashion industry in Japan. Nowadays, it remains well-known for its street style and alternative subcultures.
Meiji Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, who ruled during the late 1800s. It stands sentry over downtown Tokyo at the northernmost point of Chuo-Dori Avenue.
To conclude, we hope that you enjoyed this article. Please let us know which places were your favorite. Do you think we missed something important or did not explain things well enough? Feel free to leave any questions. Thank you!