Where the future meets the past, Japan is a country of synthetic and natural beauty. In the country’s cyber cities, colorful pop culture and computer technology reigns supreme. However, in the authentic Japan, the country's peaceful side pervades in its tranquil gardens, tea houses and temples. Enjoy it all on a Japan vacation.
There are over 6,000 islands that make up Japan. Of prominence are the four largest islands; Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. Japan’s history lies predominantly within the arts, with evidence of art, calligraphy, poetry and prose being practiced from very early on. Its identity has been shaped by its close proximity to the Asian mainland, though its isolation has resulted in a culture quite distinct from its neighbors. Despite its noticeably eastern traditions, modern day Japan is very much influenced by western culture, making for a unique clash. Throughout history Japan has seen the rise and fall of Emperors. Today the current Emperor has very limited control and is more of a ceremonial figurehead, while the country’s Prime Minister holds power.
Japan’s weather spans sub-arctic to sub-tropical depending on where you are. Though weather varies greatly across the land, Japan as a whole experiences four different seasons. Spring time occurs from March to May and is when Japan’s famous cherry blossoms come into bloom. June to August marks the summer season which is often accompanied by rain and humidity. The autumn months from September through to December see the leaves change color and crops harvested, while from December to February winter occurs with central and northern Japan commonly receiving snow.
Festivals celebrating different shrines are constantly taking place in Japan. Some of the country’s biggest events include The New Year and Obon, both of which are celebrated by families and aim to honor ancestors. On February 3rd and 4th Japan celebrates Setsubun which marks the beginning of spring. In lying with tradition, crowds visit shrines and throw beans at someone wearing a mask who represents a demon and chant 'Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi' which translates to ‘Out with the demons, in with good luck!'