Japan Printables and Worksheets

Japan Related Teacher Resource

History and Facts About Japan

Japan is a country that is also known as the Land of the Rising Sun, mainly because the characters that form Japan's name mean "sun origin. “It is a country where the Paleolithic people from the Asian mainland came and settled in Japan about 35,000 years ago.

In 1543, three travelers from Portugal found themselves on a Chinese ship. They drifted ashore on Tanegashima, which is a tiny island situated near Kyushu. These were the first-ever European visitors to Japan. After this, Jesuits also started traveling to Japan to introduce them to Christianity. Soon more Portuguese traders started visiting Japan and brought gold, tin, lead, silk, and other items of trade to Japan.

Portuguese trade was thriving until 1641, when the Japanese government banned Christianity. As a result, they replaced Portuguese traders with Dutch traders, who were not engaging in missionary work.


Japan is situated on the eastern coast of Asia. Much of the territory of Japan comprises four massive islands such as Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, and thousands of other smaller islands. These four islands together take up 97% of Japan's total land area. And of these four main islands, Honshu island is the largest island in Japan. These four islands comprise mountains, sometimes snow-capped, with short rushing rivers and lakes.

The island chains of Japan are separated from China to the southwest by the East China Sea, from Russia, North and South Korea to the west and northwest by the Sea of Japan.

Among islands, Japan is also home to numerous mountains, and many of which are volcanic. Mountain Fuji, another volcanic mountain, is also located in Japan. It is also the highest point in Japan.

70-80% of the country has forests and mountains, although these are not suitable for agricultural, residential, or industrial purposes, mainly because of the climate, steep elevations, and earthquakes that cause landslides. Due to this, most of the population resides near the coastal areas on the arable land.


Japan is run on a constitutional monarchy. However, the emperor does not have substantial political power. He is a mere symbolic figure in the constitution of Japan. He does, however, appoint the prime minister, who is the head of the government of Japan. The constitution of 1947 declared Japan a parliamentary democracy.

Languages Spoken

Japanese is the popular language across Japan, with a majority of the population speaking Japanese as their primary language. The language primarily has no links to East Asian languages like Chinese and Korean, but it has borrowed a lot of words from the Chinese and English languages.


The majority of the religion that people in Japan practice is a blend of Buddhism and Shintoism. A very small number of people practice Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Sikhism. The native religion, Shinto, was developed in prehistoric times. It focuses on the importance and the divinity of the natural world. The religion, like some other religions, does not have a single holy book.

Buddhism and Shintoism are practiced side by side in Japan, with many Buddhist temples built near sites of importance in Shintoism.


Comparing different countries in the world today, Japan is easily one of the most technologically advanced societies. This consequently gives it the state of the world's third-largest economy.

It has a great export business, which includes automobiles, electronics, and steel, among many other high costing products. Sometime in the 1990s, the country's economic growth did stall, but Japan has managed to bring it back up, growing every year by 2%.


The country's vibrant culture puts incredible value on social peace and hard work. Before the 10th century, Japanese culture was quite similar to Chinese culture, but the rise of the samurai and the Heian period changed the rules of Japanese society.

Like other societies, Japanese culture was also influenced by the dominant religion, Shinto and Buddhism.

Today, Japanese society has adapted to western culture in many ways. However, Japanese people still partake in many activities and traditions that help preserve their rich cultural heritage. This includes their tea ceremonies, wearing traditional kimono dresses, and studying traditional arts and crafts.

Sumo wrestling is also a sport popularly practiced in Japan. It is a Japanese way of fighting. This sport started as a Shinto ceremony to entertain their gods. People in Japanese culture believed that if people failed to please the gods, there would be no good harvest season.

Lately, the culture of Japan has been swiftly incorporated into the mainstream culture. This is with the fast-spreading popularity of anime and manga series that people worldwide have watched and read. This has allowed the culture of Japan to be put on the map.


Japanese food is famous globally. It, in all ways possible, is a paradise for an avid foodie. Japan has provided the world with exquisite food like sushi, sashimi, and Ramen noodles.

The variety of Japanese food is world-class and it fully encompasses the fun culture of Japan.

Rice is a popular food that was once traded as currency and has now become a staple food for the Japanese for over 2000 years. Japanese incorporate rice as an ingredient in many of their meals, either as a side dish or a base ingredient. Japanese make sure that rice rarely goes to waste because, in Japanese culture, people are reminded from a very tender age of the importance of the intensive labor that goes into harvesting rice.

Final Thoughts

Japan is a country that has strived hard to reach the status it has today, and it is a country rich in culture and heritage. And with the blast of the internet, Japanese culture has reached today's world in an unprecedented way.