Japan

Quick Facts

Map of Japan
Population: 127,420,000
Languages: Japanese (National) and several regional dialects.
Climate: Tropical in south, cool temperate in north.
Captial City: None (Tokyo is the de facto capital)

Landmarks

  • Mount Fuji – the highest mountain in Japan and an active volcano that last erupted in 1707-08. It has a symmetrical cone shape and is often featured in Japanese art. Notably, it is the subject of printmaker Katsushika Hokusai’s series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (around 1831).
  • Himeji Castle – in Japanese, Himeji-jo. Added to the World Heritage List in 1993. It is a castle from the early 17th century and its design is very complicated – like a maze. Tourists often get lost.
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial, or Genbaku Dome – in memory of those who died in Hiroshima during the Second World War. Inscribed on World Heritage List in 1996.

The Japanese Crane (also called the Red-Crowned Crane)

Habitat: Deep water marshes; sometimes agricultural areas.
Diet: Omnivorous. Diet varies according to feeding site, but includes amphibians, rodents, reeds, grasses and invertebrates.
Classification and relatives: Bird. Related to fifteen other species of crane, all large, long-legged, long-necked birds that fly with their necks outstretched; this group includes the Australian Brolga. Most cranes, including the Japanese Crane, have a courtship display which resembles a ‘dance’. The birds prance, hop, flap their wings and call loudly.
Conservation status: Endangered (2008)! In places which are being built up, cranes lose their habitat as wetlands become drier or are polluted. In Japan, feeding stations for the cranes are popular; this causes large numbers of cranes to gather, which increases the risk of disease – however, the population in Japan is stable.
Lifespan: Usually 30 years; can live up to 60 years in captivity.