Japan

Japan is located in Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula.

About 72% of Japan is mountainous, with a mountain range running through each of the main islands. Japan’s highest mountain is Mount Fuji with height of 3,776 m (12,388 Ft.) from the sea level. Since very little flat area exists, many hills and mountainsides are cultivated all the way to the top. As Japan is situated in a volcanic zone along the Pacific deeps, frequent low-intensity earth tremors and occasional volcanic activity are felt throughout the islands. Destructive earthquakes occur several times a century. Hot Springs are numerous and have been exploited as an economic capital by the leisure industry.

Japan is generally a rainy country with high humidity. Japan belongs to the temperate zone with four distinct seasons, but its climate varies from cooltemperature in the north to subtropical in the south.

Winter (December – February)

The temperature rarely drops below 0°C in the plains along the Pacific coast during wintertime. It is also quite dry and very often sunny. Central Japan and Northern Japan are highly reputed regions for winter sports. Southern Japan is comparatively mild and pleasant in winter. Clothing: overcoats, sweaters, etc.

Spring (March – May)

The plum blossom is a good sign that the cold winter will soon end and spring is just around the corner, followed by the cherry blossom at its best in the Tokyo area between the end of March and the beginning of April to bring this beautiful season to a climax. Splendid views of mountains, fields and gardens all blanketed in gentle pink abound in this season. Clothing: light jackets, light sweaters and other similar kinds of tops.

Summer (June – August)

The Japanese summer begins in June with a three to four week rainy season. This is an important time for farmers to plant rice. It becomes seriously hot and humid from July onward and many Japanese enjoy bathing in the sea and relaxing at cool resorts in mountainous areas. Summer is when many interesting festivals and other events are held all over the country. Clothing: light clothes (cardigans and other similar kinds are handy, since indoors are mostly air-conditioned.)

Autumn (September – November)

Autumn always brings such freshness with a light breeze and cool temperature after the hot and humid summer. All forests are dyed in glorious autumn colors. Chrysanthemums create beautiful displays with their abundance of flowers to enchant visitors to parks and gardens. Autumn is also the season for many exhibitions, music concerts and sports tournaments in Japan. Clothing: light jackets, light sweaters and other similar kinds of tops.

The country is southeast of the Russian Far East, separated by the Sea of Okhotsk; slightly east of Korea, separated by the Sea of Japan; and east-northeast of China and Taiwan, separated by the East China Sea. The closest neighboring country to Japan is the Russian Federation.Japanis an island nation in East Asia comprising an archipelago extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. Measured from the geographic coordinate system, Japan stretches from 24° to 46° north latitude and from 123° to 146° east longitude.
Japan’s territory is 377,915 km2, of which 364,485 km2is land and 3,091 km2 water.

The current population will shrink from the current level of 128 million to 86.74 million, as the graying nation’s aging accelerates and the birthrate continues to stay low.

Any foreign visitor who wishes to enter Japan must have a passport, which will remain valid during the period of stay.

Nationals of many countries are eligible to enter Japan without a visa unless the purpose of the visit is to reside in Japan, to obtain employment or to otherwise engage in remunerative activities.

The following is a list of nationals of countries that have “Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements” with Japan:

For a period of 90 days or less:

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria(*7), Bahamas, Barbados(*6), Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany(*7), Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong(*3), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland(*7), Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lesotho(*6), Liechtenstein(*7), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao(*4), Malaysia(*1), Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Serbia(*2), Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland(*7), Taiwan(*5), Tunisia, Turkey(*6), United Kingdom(*7), United States and Uruguay

For a period of 15 days or less:

Thailand(*2) and Brunei

(*1) For nationals of Malaysia (since July 1, 2013), visas are not required only for holders of e-Passport in compliance with ICAO standards. Those who do not hold such e-Passport are advised to obtain a visa in advance, otherwise will be strictly examined and may be refused entry to Japan.

(*2) For nationals of Thailand (since July 1, 2013) and Serbia (since May 1, 2013), visas are not required only for holders of e-Passport in compliance with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standards.

(*3) For citizens of Hong Kong, visas are not required only for holders of Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport issued by the Hong Kong SAR of the People’s Republic of China or British National Overseas (BNO) passports who have the right of residence in Hong Kong.

(*4) For citizens of Macao, visas are not required only for holders of SAR passport issued by the Macao SAR of the People’s Republic of China.

(*5) For citizens of Taiwan, visas are not required only for holders of Taiwan passport which includes a personal identification number.

(*6) For nationals of Barbados (since April 1, 2010), Turkey (since April 1, 2011) and Lesotho (since April 1, 2010), visas are not required only for holders of Machine-Readable Passport (MRP) or ePassport in compliance with ICAO standards. Those who do not hold an MRP or ePassport are advised to obtain a visa in advance, otherwise will be strictly examined and may be refused entry to Japan.

(*7) For nationals of those countries with visa exemptions permitting stays of up to 6 months under the bilateral visa exemption arrangements, those who wish to stay in Japan for more than 90 days are required to apply for an extension of the period of stay to the Ministry of Justice (Regional Immigration Bureau) before the period of permitted stay is to expire.

(*8) Nationals of Peru (since July 15, 1995) and Colombia (since February 1, 2004), are advised to obtain a visa in advance, otherwise will be strictly examined and may be refused entry to Japan. Nationals of countries that do not have “Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements” with Japan must obtain a visa.

A “Temporary Visitor’s Visa” is usually required as permission to stay in Japan for a period of up to 90 days for non-remunerative activities such as sightseeing, participating in amateur sports, visiting relatives, taking inspection tours, participating in lectures or research, attending conferences, making business contacts or other similar activities. Needless to say, the “Temporary Visitor’s Visa” cannot be used for any remunerative purposes, which involve profit making or payment acceptance within Japan by the visitor. To apply for a visa, please check the following link:

External: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/pdfs/procedure.pdf

As the type of documents required for the application may differ according to the purpose of your visit, the applicant is advised to check with the Japanese Embassy or consulate beforehand.

Shinto and Buddhism are Japan’s two major religions. Shinto is as old as the Japanese culture, while Buddhism was imported from the mainland in the 6th century. Since then, the two religions have been co-existing relatively harmoniously and have even complemented each other to a certain degree. Most Japanese consider themselves Buddhist, Shintoist or both.

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