They say Japan was made by a sword. They say the old gods dipped a cold blade into the ocean, and when they pulled it out four perfect drops fell back into the sea, and those drops became the islands of Japan.

Japan, also known as Nippon, is an island country in eastern Asia. A land full of mystical and unusual stories, traditions and culture. The uniqueness of the language with its symbolic character gives Japan the meaning of “sun origin”, therefore it is often called the “Land of the Rising Sun”, indeed. Japan is one step away from the International Date Line. While Europe is still sleeping, Japanese people already enjoy their Miso soup, which is a traditional Japanese soup based on ‘dashi’ mixed with miso paste. It is obtained by fermenting soybeans with salt and a special mushroom. It became an indispensable part of the Japanese cuisine that three quarters of all Japanese consume miso soup at least once a day.

江戸 – All roads lead to Edo

Japan with its 127 million population is the world’s tenth largest. About 9 million people live in Tokyo, the world’s most populous metropolis and Japan’s capital. Back in history, Tokyo was known as Edo. From a small town in the 16th century Edo grew and in 1868 the emperor moved from Kyoto to Edo and renamed it Tokyo.

Today, Tokyo offers a broad and wide choice of entertainment, shopping and culture to visitors. In districts like Asakusa Tokyo’s history can be still seen and visited. Also can be found throughout the country traces and impressions of many world famous personalities through games of the baseball player Ichiro Suzuki, embossed by Emperor Hirohito, captured on film and aired into the world by the director Akira Kurosawa or you heard for sure of Beatles front man John Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono.

侍 – How to appreciate the Samurai

The world renowned Japanese are certainly the Samurai, the warriors of the premodern Japan. Initially a military nobility, later hired by wealthy landowners and warlords to protect their independence of the government. Samurai were equipped with many arms, but their main weapon and symbol was for sure the sword. From childhood on they were trained to self-discipline and consciousness of duty, without fear and anxiety the samurai marched into battle. In the 15th and 16th centuries Japan was constantly at war with itself, thus warriors were in great demand. With its non-traditional military art, ninja warriors arose and their unique warfare made them powerful and known throughout the world. Many of the famous samurai movies by the moviemaker Akira Kurosawa are set while this time. Their teachings can still be found today across Japan in attractions of the everyday life and in Japanese martial arts.

富士山 – the immortal Fujisan

Mount Fuji also known as Fujisan, is Japan’s tallest mountain at 3.776 meters. Mount Fuji is about 100 kilometre from the capital city Tokyo, from where you can see it on a clear day. It is easy to

recognize, a volcano with a striking form, almost like a cone. For several months in the year the mountain top is covered in snow, which makes it the best known symbol of Japan. To get on the mountain, you can drive up the Fuji Subaru Line toll road until Fuji Kawaguchiko 5th Station itself, at an elevation of 2.305 meters. The last piece to the peak has to be walked. Along the slopes you see a lot of Japanese larch called karamatsu, an evergreen whose needles actually change colour in autumn and fall off during winter.

Although Japan is considered a highly developed industrial country, it offers an ideal combination of active travel and nature trips. Connected to its tradition and nature Japan is hardly to beat by its uniqueness.

With its unspoiled nature, the island of Hokkaido in the north of Japan, attracts many outdoor lovers, with its very cold and harsh winter because of its lots of snowfall. Ideal for winter sports in the colder seasons, while the summer is not getting as hot and humid as the rest of the country.

During the months of July and August it can be very humid in Japan, which is why these months are not necessarily ideal for a trip. In spring and autumn, three months before and after the period a holiday in Japan can be very pleasant.

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