Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The characters that make up Japan's name mean “sun-origin”, which is why Japan is often referred to as the “Land of the Rising Sun”.
A major economic great power, Japan is a developed country and has the world's third-largest economy by nominal GDP and the world's fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan ranks high in metrics of prosperity such as the Human Development Index, with the Japanese population enjoying the highest life expectancy of any country in the world and the infant mortality rate being the third lowest globally.
Japan is a nation of castle-builders, but because of bombings in WWII, fires, edicts to tear down castles, only twelve of Japan's castles are considered to be originals. Japan is famous for its temples and shrines, you could spend weeks in cities such as Kyoto or Nara feasting your eyes on architectural marvels and historic monuments. Japan is also famous for its gardens, known for its unique aesthestics both in landscape gardens and sand gardens. The nation has designated an official “Top Three Gardens”, based on their beauty, size, authenticity and historical significance.
Japan is a country that when you think of it, your mind fills with all sorts of images of ancient traditions, beautiful landscapes and fascinating culture. Whether you want to experience food like you’ve never tasted or seen, or you want to go shopping in some of the world’s best shopping areas, Japan is the place to visit. If culture is more to your taste, you can’t get much better than Japan’s colourful and rich heritage including wonderful kabuki and traditional geisha.