Japan Fun Facts for Kids

Name Origin

Japan is called Nihon in Japanese. Nihon means sun origin, that’s why Japan is also known as the Land of the Rising Sun.


The flag of Japan features a disc of the sun, which is the red circle known as hinomaru. The flag symbolizes Japan as the land of the rising sun.

People & Language

There are about 125 million people living in Japan. And they speak Japanese, or Nihongo. Nihon refers to Japan, as you already know, and go means language. So Nihongo means the Japanese language.

You’ve probably already known some Japanese words without knowing it. Such as ninja, samurai, karate, judo, and sudoku.


Main religions in Japan are Shinto and Buddhism. If you travel to Japan, you will find many shrines and temples that you can visit. Shintoists pray at shrines. Buddhists pray at temples. Many tourists enjoy visiting famous shrines and temples in Japan, so make sure to visit at least one when you travel to Japan. You can make a wish while visiting a shrine or a temple, and get your fortune told.

During Christmas time, you will see many streets and department stores in Japan decorated with Christmas ornaments. I especially like the blue lights that light up on Christmas nights. Christmas is celebrated more like a Valentine’s Day for couples in Japan, and families celebrate the festive season by having Kentucky Fried Chickens. Christmas is not a public holiday in Japan, and school is still open as usual.


Japan has four main islands. The one on the top is Hokkaido. Hokkaido is famous for its fresh seafood, natural hot springs and volcanoes. The one at the bottom here is Kyushu. Kyushu is famous for its mountains and beaches. This one here next to Kyushu is Shikoku. The smallest island of the four. And the largest island in the middle is called Honshu. It is home to Japan’s major cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

You see, the map has 8 regions shown in different colors. Hokkaido in brown, Kyushu in dark blue and Shikoku in orange. For Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, the names of the islands are the same as the names of the regions. Honshu island however has 5 regions: the light blue region is Tohoku, the red region is Kanto, the green region is Chubu, the yellow region is Kansai, and the purple region is Chugoku.

Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest mountain and volcano, is located in Chubu. Mount Fuji is considered a spiritual site as Japanese people believe that nature such as mountains, rivers and forests have their own spirits.

The capital of Japan is Tokyo, the most crowded city in Japan and home to 14 million people. Tokyo is located in the region of Kanto. The literal meaning of Tokyo is Eastern Capital.


Japanese currency is called yen. There are three bank notes: the 10,000 yen note, the 5000 yen note and the 1000 yen note. 1000 yen is about 10 US dollars. There are also 6 yen coins: the 500 yen coin, the 100 yen coin, the 50 yen coin, the 10 yen coin, the 5 yen coin and the 1 yen coin. 1 yen is about 1 US cent.

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