Countries » Japan
Japan, known as Nihon or Nippon (日本) in Japanese, is an island nation in East Asia. A gap year in Japan is a unique and interesting way to spend your year abroad. The nation is well known for its crazy styles, character toys and beautiful temples and gardens. It's pretty much guaranteed that no two days in this vibrant country will be the same.
The annual cherry blossom festival is a huge draw as well as the Sapporo Ice Festival – depending on whether you visit Japan in spring or summer you should try and fit them in to your gap year schedule. Skiing is popular in Japan, as is hanging out in the gardens and whiling the night away in the crazy karaoke bars.
One of the best things about Japan is the juxtaposition of new and old. You can pretty much see the technological future of the world in the business areas of the big cities like Tokyo, while the past is the present out in the country. Make sure you check out both during your time there to see how the country has changed. Tumbledown wooden shacks can still be spotted next to glass fronted designer condominiums and in the middle of a modern skyscraper you might discover a sliding wooden door which leads to a traditional chamber with tatami mats, calligraphy, and tea ceremony. All signs of Japan's rich and beautiful history.
Top sites to make sure you include in your Japan line up include Mount Fuji, Harajuku, Himejo Castle and Kiyomizu-dera. If you're in South East Asia for your gap year, make sure you pop over to Japan. You won't regret it.
Sumo is the national sport in Japan. Most Rikishi (professional Sumo wrestlers) weigh an average of 160 k, and up to 250 kg.
Japan experiences around 3 mild earthquakes every day, with an average of around 1,500 each year.