If you wish to travel to Japan, here are a few essential facts which you need to know about the country...
The Japanese archipelago consists of over 6, 000 mostly mountainous islands, among which Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku are the largest.
Tokyo, the capital city, including its numerous suburbs, is the largest metropolis in the world, with over 30 million inhabitants. The Japanese population is concentrated on 21% of the territory only.
The Japanese climate varies greatly according to the latitude. For example, the island of Hokkaido has a temperate climate while the climate in the Ryukyu Islands is subtropical. In Tokyo and Osaka, the climate is subtropical and mostly humid.
Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the emperor holds no real political power and where sovereignty is held by the Japanese people.
The Japanese language is the mother tongue of about 90% of the population.
A trip to Japan offers a total change of scene and will undoubtly blur your landmarks. One of the most striking features is the blend of an ultra-modern society with ancient traditions. As an example, you can stroll in the capital and see many young women wearing kimonos (traditional dress), or disguised as Manga heroines (Japanese comics).
The best seasons to visit Japan are spring, especially if you want to admire cherry trees in bloom, and autumn where trees turn to gold and red. Japan offers various opportunities of stays and journeys.
Enjoy the Japanese wildlife and nature on the island of Hokkaido; take a walk in one of the Japanese gardens in Kanazawa, Okayama and Kyoto; stroll around the Tokyo metropolis and discover the trendy "bubble" hotels or get a seat at one of the numerous traditional theaters; discover Sh?koku temples or rice fields; go hiking to Mount Fuji or relax in hot springs in Kyushu. It would be difficult not to go to Nagasaki to pay tribute to victims of the second nuclear attack during the Second World War.
Relocate to Japan
If you intend to travel to Japan for a stay of more than 3 months, you need to apply for a work visa corresponding to your particular situation. In most cases, if you are not detached from your company, you will need to find an employer willing to hire you, and then to proceed to your visa application. Finding a job does not only require very good skills in Japanese, but also requires technical or specific skills as rJapanese recruiters are very demanding. However, if you are aged between 18 and 30, you can take part to the Working-Holiday-Scheme in order to live, work or study in Japan up to one year. You can easily find temp jobs to earn a living but these jobs are often precarious. For more information, review our Japan expatriate's guide.
The Japanese community abroad
The Japanese community abroad is mainly located in Brazil and in the United States. In Brazil, the first generation came to make a fortune and planned to return to Japan. Today the third generation of Japanese descendants is made of native Brazilians. There are around 1.3 and 1.5 million Japanese descendants in Brazil. In the U.S., Japanese descendants form the third largest Asian community in the country. They are mainly located in California, Illinois, Haiwaï, New York and Washington. Several thousands of Japanese people come to the U.S. every year; alternatively, many older Japanese people return to Japan every year as well.