Published 9th October 2019
If you think of Japan you probably think of sushi and karate. You might even know that Japan is also called the Land of the Rising Sun, but there’s a lot more to Japan than you think. From neon lights and packed trains to hot springs and mountain temples, from tropical islands and love hotels to gastronomic delights and quirky museums, Japan is a crazy adventure just waiting to be had. But wait, there’s more! Here are a few interesting facts about Japan you probably didn’t know.
It’s not just an island
Japan might be one country but it is made up of 6852 islands. The four biggest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, while there are thousands of tiny islands which are not inhabited.
It’s the safest country in the world
Most of us would think twice about leaving our mobile phones, laptops or car keys on a table in a shopping mall while we go to the bathroom, but not in Japan. Japan has the lowest crime rate in the world. This may be because law enforcement is visible no matter where you are or because punishments are harsh, even for petty crimes.
It has the third highest life expectancy in the world
On average, Japanese men will live until they are 81 and Japanese women until they are 87. A Japanese person often holds the title of the world’s oldest person and at the moment this honour belongs to Kane Tanaka who, in 2019, is 116 years old.
On the other hand, Japan currently has their lowest birth rate since 1899. What this means is that the Japanese population is expected to shrink by one third by 2065. Local governments have even set up free speed-dating services so that singles can meet potential partners.
…but there is a high suicide rate
Sadly, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. There is even a suicide forest at the foot of Mount Fuji called Aokigahara that is the second most popular suicide spot in the world behind the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
There are a lot of earthquakes…
More than 1 500 earthquakes in a year, in fact. Japan is so prone to earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis that 1 September is known as Disaster Prevention Day. On this day every year schools and companies hold emergency drills in order to prepare for the next natural disaster.
…and vending machines
Walk any street in any city in Japan and you’re bound to bump into a vending machine of some sort. There are approximately 23 vending machines for every person in Japan! From hot and cold beverages to snack food to underwear, Japan has the most vending machines in any country in the world to satisfy your every need.
Quite surprising, perhaps, considering how healthy Japan as a nation is, but only the United States has more McDonald’s than Japan.
Tattoos are a no-no
Tattoos carry a stigma in Japan, since historically criminals were forcibly tattooed as punishment. As a result, if you have a tattoo you won’t be allowed in a public bathhouse, hot spring or pool. If you have a tattoo, don’t forget to cover up in the classroom too.
Families share bathwater
Speaking of baths, in Japan it is normal for families to share bathwater. No they don’t bath at the same time, but they use the same water. The father will bath first, followed by the mother and then the children. While soaking in your father’s dirty bathwater doesn’t sound very tempting, it’s not as bad as it sounds – in Japan baths are for soaking and not cleaning so any body-washing is done before getting into the tub.
So there you have it – a few interesting facts about Japan that you probably didn’t know. And we didn’t even get into the kinky stuff like Love Hotels, penis museums and hentai! (Confused? Look them up! We can’t talk about it – our moms might be reading this!)