Japan Facts

Interesting Japan Facts for Kids

Here are some interesting Japan Facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.

  • Population: 127 million people live in Japan (2016)
  • Capital: Tokyo, which is the biggest city in Japan with over 9 million inhabitants.  
  • Name: Japan, in Japanese: Nihon/Nippon
  • Government: Constitutional Monarchy. The emperor is called Akihito
  • Language: Japanese
  • Religion: majority are Buddhists or Shintoists
  • Life expectancy: 83.5 years
  • Currency: 1 Yen (NOK)=100 ore
  • National Symbols: crane - birds, cherry blossom -flowers
  • National Day: 17 May (Constitution Day)

Japan Geography:
Where is Japan? - Japan Map

Japan is on the Asian continent. Japan is a chain of islands along the eastern coast of Asia, reaching from the northern coast of Russia to the South East China Sea. A flight to Tokyo takes a  8 hours flight from Singapore, 13 hours from London/England, 12.5hours from New York/USA. 

On the map below you can spot where Japan is located in eastern Asia. 

Map of Japan

The Japanese islands consist of 4 main islands and dozens of smaller isles. The largest of the four major islands is Hokkaido, which is also the seventh largest island in the world. The biggest cities are Tokyo (where almost ⅓ of all Japanese people live), Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya. The highest mountain in Japan is Mount Fuji, a dormant (sleeping) volcano, which last erupted in 1707.

Japan Facts: Snowcapped Mount Fuji in JapanSnowcapped Mount Fuji in Japan

Japan lies on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire', a chain of volcanoes which are responsible for the most dramatic volcanic outbreakes and tsunamis in the recent years. In Japan, there are more than 108 active volcanos. Read more about the Pacific Ocean when you click here.

Japan Attractions

Here are our favourite Japan attractions for kids:

Kyoto at night
  • Kyoto: see the historic sites and temples such as the famous Golden Pavilion
  • Osaka: visit Dotonbori, the main entertainment district and the aquarium or go on tour in the Universal Studios
  • Hokkaido: Go skiing or snowboarding in one of the oldest ski resorts in Japan
  • Tokyo: Visit the Imperial Palace and gardens or have fun at Disneyland Tokyo
  • Nagano: Monkey parks and hot springs and the famous Matsumoto Castle
  • And don't forget try to go on a ride on the super-fast Shinkansen train, the high-speed Japanese bullet train. The maximum speed is about 320km/h (200 miles per hour)
Shinkansen Train - image by Sean Pavone

Japan People

Japan is the oldest monarchy in the world and has an emperor. Akihito, the reigning emperor is Japan's 125th emperor, in Japanese called 'tenno'. The crown is usually handed down from father to his son or grandson. The current emperor's wife is Crown Princess Michiko. The imperial palace is in Tokyo and this is the main residence of the imperial family.

Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko at their wedding in 1959 in Japanese traditional dress

The Japanese language is complex, but there are no singular and plural forms and there is no gender form (as in French, Spanish or German) and no articles are used. There are only 48 sounds so it is relatively easy to learn to speak, but learning how to write Japanese is quite a task. There are three styles of writing the symbols. The biggest challenge is learning to write the characters!

In Japan, learners at most schools have to wear school uniforms as the primary school children in the image. 

Japan School Kids lining up - image by Stephane Bedouze

The Japanese school holidays are much shorter than in most countries around the world, and even during holidays and on weekends, many Japanese students go to school for club activities or extra lessons.

Japanese celebrate many festivals among them the most popular in springtime to celebrate the spring flower season and the cherry blossom. The Gion Matsuri in July is celebrated in Kyoto when the Japanese people dress in traditional kimonos.

Jellyfish Eyes by Takashi MurakamiArtwork 'Jellyfish Eyes' by Takashi Murakami

Famous Japanese are:

  • Miyamoto Musashi, a samurai 1584 - 1645
  • Yoko Ono, anti-war activist and artist (and widow of Beatles star John Lennon). Born in 1933
  • Haruki Murakami, writer (born 1949), he won many awards for his works
  • Takashi Murakami, artist (born 1962), see his artworks 'Jellyfish Eyes' in the image
  • Yamapi, actor and youth idol (born 1985)
  • Emperor Akihito, current emperor/'tenno heika' (reigning since 1989)

Japanese Food

The Japanese diet consists mainly of rice, fish, soy products and vegetables. Many dishes contain these ingredients and soups as well as sushi (which contains raw fish such as salmon or tuna) are very popular.

Japanese sushi in bento boxJapanese Sushi in a typical bento box

Popular Japanese food:

  • Sushi: raw fish and rice rolls and 
  • Bento box: Lunch boxes often filled with sushi and other treats and snacks
  • Ramen: egg noodles in a broth
  • Soba: buckwheat noodles in broth
  • Tempura: light and crispy deep-fried food such as vegetables, fish or meat
  • Taiyaki: sweet treat with various fillings in fish shape
  • Yakitory: chicken cubes on skewers often dipped into a salty soy sauce
  • Yakiton: pork cubes on skewers
Typical Fishmarket shop

Animals in Japan

In Japan, deer roaming the many parks are a common sight. Here you see a girl with a deer.

Deer in Japan

Japan has also one of the largest thermal regions in the world. Many popular hot springs are to be found on the southwestern side of Japan. The hot springs are called 'onsen'. There are local snow monkeys which keep warm by bathing in the hot springs as you can see below.

Japanese snow monkeysJapanese snow monkeys taking a bath

Diverse species of animals can be found in Japan, the most common animals are monkeys, deer, flying squirrels, wild cats and bears. There are about 160 species of wild animals, 700 species of birds and 32,000 insect species in Japan.

Interesting Japan Facts
Did you know...?

ikebana - Japanese art of flower arrangingJapanese art of ikebana - flower arranging

... that Japanese love plants and they even have an artform of arranging flowers which is called 'ikebana'. This art of arranging flowers is known worldwide for its special way of showcasing the beauty of the flowers in the flower arrangement. 

Another artform involving plants is the art of growing bonsai trees. This special hobby of growing miniature trees is a common hobby in Japan. Pine, maple, cherry and plum trees are the most popular trees used for this art of cutting back and trimming. The mini trees are kept small and healthy but in a similar shape as their counterpart in nature, just a lot smaller.

Japan Facts for Kids: Useful Resources

Find more Japan Facts for further research here:


We hope you enjoyed reading our Japan Facts for Kids. Make sure to bookmark this page, as we plan to add on more information to make this page even more interesting, not only for children:-)

Picture credits on this page: Images by Shutterstock.com, Schoolkids by Stephane Bidouze, Fishmarket by F11Photos, top image for Japan facts by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com


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