Japan
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Japan is an island country in the Far East that is separated from the mainland of Asia by about 100 miles of ocean. It is a country of mountains and hills, many of which are dormant volcanoes. The Japanese Alps run through Honshu and Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in the country with an elevation of almost 13,000 feet. The cities of Japan are very modern, yet seem to retain much of the ancient culture of the ancestors. There are many ancient festivals celebrated according to the changing seasons. From the snow-capped mountains to the fabulous beaches, everything about Japan will amaze you.

Attractions

When you choose Japan for your next vacation destination, you can enjoy a wealth of activities. Snow sports in winter dominate the scene, but in summer you can enjoy playing golf, cycling, attending cultural festivals. The many attractions are available all year round.

Tokyo

Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the center of business for the country. There are many districts with characteristic attractions and the Ginza is one of the shopping paradises of Asia. Get a commanding view of the city from the Tokyo Tower and you can visit Rainbow Island to see space-age architecture. If you like getting up early in the morning, you will have a thrilling adventure at the waterfront as you see the fishermen selling their catches at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Enjoy the peace and quiet of the forested grounds of the Meiji Shrine and Old Tokyo is the site of the cultural festivals.

Northern Honshu

Northern Honshu is also known as the Tohoku region and has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. There are three national parks in this area. Sendi is the site for the Tanabata Star Festival and in Azi ? Wakamatsu, you can visit samurai residences and castles. There is a large volcanic crater and the area is known for its hot springs and resorts. See the Hokkaido dancing cranes and hot springs bathing monkeys.

Travel to Japan

You can travel to Japan by air with several international airports in the country. It is also accessible by sea on cruise ships or ferries from China. You can take the Trans-Siberian train route to China, which departs from Moscow on a daily basis.

Travel Within Japan

There is an extensive network of domestic airports in Japan and there are frequent ferries to the Japanese islands. The rail service throughout Japan is the best in the world, with frequent service on the major routes. If you cannot read the language, driving is complicated because you will have difficulty understanding the road signs and traffic is congested in the larger cities.

Language

Japanese is the official language, but in the cities and the tourist destinations some of the people speak English.

Visa

You do require a travel Visa to enter Japan, as well as a valid passport with proof of a return ticket.

Safety

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world for tourists. The people are friendly and will do what they can to help you. The food and drink are all considered safe to eat, but if you are not used to eating raw seafood, you should stay away from it.

Food and Drink

The Japanese specialties that tourists like to sample when they visit this country include teriyaki, which is marinated beef, chicken or fish seared on a hot plate, sukiyaki, which is thin slices beef, tofu and vegetables cooked in soy sauce and dipped in egg and tempura, which is deep fried seafood. Most places have the traditional Sushi Bar, where you can enjoy raw seafood. Green tea is the most popular beverage and there are also varieties of teas available. Sake is a rice wine that can be served hot or cold and shochu is a strong drink that you need to acquire a taste for.

Shopping

It is not unusual to see Japanese people carrying large amounts of cash, because this is the main method of payment when shopping. All the stores are open from 10 A.M to 7 pr 8 P.M. every day ? even on public holidays. Some of the items that tourists like to shop for include Shinto and Buddhist artifacts, kimonos, silks, fans and paper lanterns.

Entertainment

All of the major towns and cities in Japan have a very vibrant nightlife. There are bars and nightclubs of all kinds. You can also take in many kinds of concerts and shows.

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