Japan Culture and Traditions

Japan is an island nation located off the mainland Asia’s coast, in the Pacific Ocean. The country consists of almost 7,000 islands. The most populous islands being Kyushu, Shikoku, Hokkaido, and Honshu in which 97% of the population live. Japan is ranked as the 11th most populous country in the world with a total population of 127 million.

Being an island nation, Japan has its experience in both isolationism and globalism. As a result, Japan culture and traditions are a unique blend of old traditions and new traditions. In this country, we can see centuries-old culture and traditions go hand in hand with advanced technology, a feat that most advanced countries can’t do.

A Brief History of Japan Culture and Traditions

Since Japan and China is quite close to each other, early Japanese culture was influenced by China. The situation changed when Japan became isolationist during the Edo period. Due to its isolationist policy, Japan has no connection with the outside world. Consequently, the influence of other countries is minimal, resulting in a distinct Japanese culture.

Japan Culture and Traditions

After the Edo period was over, the isolationist policy was stopped. Japan opened its door to the outside world. Over time other cultures, including Western ones, started to influence Japan. Food, art, lifestyle as well as advance in technology, influence Japanese culture. Thus, creating the Japanese culture that we now know.

Modern Culture and Traditions

  1. Sports

Sport is a major part of Japanese culture. Karate, judo, and sumo are sports that originated from Japan. Sumo, in particular, is very famous in Japan. The modern sumo was developed during the Edo period and stay mostly the same since. It is Japan’s national sport. Interestingly enough, baseball is also popular in Japan despite being adopted from Western cultures.

  1. Cuisine

The cuisine is a huge part of Japanese culture. Since Japanese people are mostly fish eaters, the country’s cuisines are primarily made of fish. The most popular cuisine is sushi, which is a dish made of lightly-seasoned rice, seaweed, and fresh fish. Japanese people also eat pork, poultry, and beef cuisines, although not in the same amount as they do fish.

  1. Japanese Language (Nihongo)

One of the parts of Japan culture and traditions is language. The main spoken language in the island nation is Japanese (Nihongo). Nihongo is spoken by 99% of Japan population. Modern Nihongo is developed between the 17th and 19th century during the Edo period. Before Nihongo, Japanese people used Kanbun as their spoken language. For Indonesian, you can also find great website called belajar bahasa jepang to learn Japanese for free.

Unlike English which is consisted of only a single alphabet, Nihongo consists of three different alphabets. They are Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana. Each of these alphabets serves different purposes. Basically, Kanji is logographic Chinese characters, Hiragana is a phonetic Japanese alphabet, and Katakana is a phonetic alphabet that is used for foreign words.


Japanese is an island country that has a rich culture and traditions as well as an interesting language. Japan is an exceptional example of the blending of old traditions and new ones. Japanese maintain their culture and traditions while being one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, which is an impressive feat in itself.