During the Heian Period (794–1185), Japan was divided into independent kingdoms fighting with each other. To protect their territories, the Japanese feudal lords required men for defense — and thus, a class of trained warriors called the samurai began to emerge.
Legendary for their courage and exceptional skills on the battlefield, the samurai of Japan followed a strict code of honour. The way of the samurai features heavily in Japan’s pop culture, inspiring anime series like Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Champoo, classic Japanese movies like Akira Kurosawa’s Ran and Throne of Blood, and even Hollywood movies like The Last Samurai.
Many historians believe that sumo wrestling began as an ancient Shinto ritual. Today, it’s the national sport of Japan. Physical strength plays an important role in this famous sport, where a professional sumo wrestler must force their opponent out of the ring or make them touch the floor with a part of their body that isn’t the soles of their feet.
To do this, the wrestlers will push, grapple, or shove their opponent down with sheer force.
Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Mazda, Honda, and Subaru are some of the most famous car brands in the world.
Leading the global automotive industry since the 1960s, Japanese car manufacturers have been known to produce durable and reliable cars at affordable prices.
Shinkansen bullet trains
Operated by Japan Railways (JR), the Shinkansen is a railway network of high-speed trains with nine lines connecting the major cities of Japan.
Featuring a sleek design and a nose shape, the Shinkansen bullet trains carries passengers in different directions around Japan, running up to 320 km an hour.
With a Japan Rail Pass, you can enjoy unlimited access to the Shinkansen bullet trains — easily your fastest and most comfortable option for long-distance travel in Japan.
Electronics and gadgets
Looking for the latest trends in technology? Japan is known for creating high-quality electronic products with homegrown brands like Sony, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, and Nintendo.
Head to Tokyo’s famous Akihabara district — or Electric City, as its nickname goes — for a dizzying array of cameras, video games, computers, home appliances, anime merch, and all kinds of futuristic gadgets under the neon lights.
Anime and manga
Speaking of geek cultures, we can’t ignore one of Japan’s greatest contributions to global entertainment: anime and manga. Anime is a term that describes Japanese animation, while manga refers to Japanese comics or graphic novels.
You have your classic anime series of the 90s, such as Sailor Moon, Cowboy Bebop, Slam Dunk, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Or Pokémon, Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Mobile Suit Gundam, which have cultivated strong international followings and launched popular franchises.
Nothing says “welcome to Japan” quite like sitting on one of their toilets!
These Western-style toilets are well-equipped with heated seats and several bidet options, which you can adjust using the control buttons on the side of the toilet.
Out of politeness to other people in the washroom, you can even play the sound of flushing water while you relieve yourself.
When it comes to wacky and colourful inventions, the vending machines of Japan will definitely catch your eye! These machines can be found almost anywhere you go, be it in the big city or a rural town in the countryside.
Ranging from typical to downright eccentric, they display all kinds of surprises: cup ramen, ice cream, coffee, eggs, rice, canned soup, umbrellas, surgical masks, and even condoms.
Japan is famous for capsule hotels, a unique style of lodging that caters to budget travelers.
Costing anywhere from ¥2000 ($19) to ¥5000 ($47.50) per night, a capsule hotel has just enough room for a single futon mattress and one person.
Personal lockers are available in a separate area of the hotel, while the showers and toilets are communal.
Punctuality and politeness
Few people can rival the Japanese in terms of showing respect, courtesy, and hospitality to others. Japanese people are famous for their polite behavior, which includes greeting superiors with a bow or waiting patiently in line.
Moreover, you can always expect Japanese people to be extremely punctual. Time is valued to such a degree in Japan that the trains almost never run late; and in the case of delay, the railway company will actually hand out certificates that you can show to your employer.
Safety and low crime rates
Besides trains that arrive on time, Japan is famous for being one of the safest and peaceful countries in the world.
While Japan is not immune to national disasters like earthquakes, it benefits from low crime rates, limited access to firearms, and the constant presence of police officers and law enforcement. Even petty crimes like theft occur less frequently in Japan.
Some tourists have experienced misplacing their mobile phones in Japan, only to return to the same place to find that it’s still there.
Really, we can go on and on about the list of things Japan is famous for. We hope this list tickled your curiosity, and we wish you good luck for your future travels to Japan!
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