Travel Alert Status
Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Temperature extremes are fewer than in the U.S. since no part of the interior is more than 100 miles from the coast. At the same time, because the islands run almost directly north-south, the climate varies. Sapporo, on the northern island, has warm summers and long, cold winters with heavy snowfall. Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe, on the southern part of the largest island of Honshu, experience relatively mild winters with little or no snowfall and hot, humid summers. Fukuoka, on the island of Kyushu, has a climate with mild winters and short summers. Okinawa is subtropical.
Spring, with its profusion of cherry blossoms and other flowering trees and shrubs, and autumn, with its gold and flaming red trees and lovely fall flowers, are the most pleasant seasons. The hot, humid summers are difficult in the cities, but the sandy beaches along the coast and the many fine mountain resorts provide pleasant relief. With rather mild and dry winters it rarely snows or rains in the Tokyo area at this time of year.
Japanese is the official language. The Japanese place great value on nonverbal language or communication. For example, much can be said with a proper bow. In fact, one is often expected to sense another person’s feelings on a subject without verbal communication. Westerners often misinterpret this as a Japanese desire to be vague or incomplete. The Japanese may consider a person’s inability to interpret feelings through body language as insensitivity.
Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%
Note: Up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil
Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)
36 00 N, 138 00 E
Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula