Essential Info for Japan

Essential facts about JapanPopulation: Over 126.3 million

Capital city: Tokyo (also largest city)

Neighbouring countries: Japan is an island nation in East Asia with it's closest neighbours being North Korea, South Korea, Russia and China. 

Geography: Japan's terrain is mostly rugged with over 70 percent of the country being mountainous. The country's highest mountain is Mount Fuji which reaches an elevation of 2,776m (12,388 feet). Much of the mountains in Japan are heavily forested. Japan is also located in a volcanic zone along the Pacific deep. Low level earthquakes and tremors are common and more severe earthquakes do occur occasionally. 

Political system: Japan is a constitutional monarchy. The Emperor is a ceremonial figurehead whose power is very limited. Power is held mainly by the Prime Minister and other elected members of the Diet, while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people. 

Major religions: Japan enjoys full religious freedom, but most people subscribe to Buddhism with elements of Shinto.

Main languages: Japanese is spoken by 99 percent of the country's population. Japanese and English are taught at most public and private schools throughout the country. 

Money: The Japanese Yen (JPY) is the official currency used in Japan. The banking system is extremely sophisticated and ATMs are readily available throughout the country. 

Time: GMT +9

Electricity: 100 volts, 60Hz in the west (Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Hiroshima), and 100 volts, 50Hz in the east (Tokyo, Sapporo, Yokohoma). Flat two- and three-pin plugs are used.

Internet domain: .jp

International dialling code: +81. City/area codes are used, e.g. (0)3 for Tokyo and (0)82 for Hiroshima

Emergency numbers: The emergency contact numbers in Japan are as follows - 110 (police), 119 (ambulance/fire), 118 (coast guard). Operators are proficient in English and in Tokyo they also speak other foreign languages.

Driving: Cars drive on the left. Japan has an extensive and sophisticated public transport system and it's unlikely that expats living in the major cities will need a car.