Shinto is widely considered to be the native religion of Japan. While most locals would deny being religious at all, Shinto traditions and festivals play a huge role in everyday life. In Kyoto alone, there are over 400 Shinto shrines dedicated to various kami (deities).
Japan’s service industry sets the global standard for excellent service, and one of the best parts is they’re not doing it in the hopes that you’ll leave a good tip. Most people in the service industry are courteous to a fault. In Japan, there’s no need to thank these people; to them, they’re just doing their job.
Traditional fashions such as kimono are unique to Japan and one thing that sets it apart from other cultures. Many locals still enjoy wearing traditional clothes for special occasions, including graduation, weddings, and festivals.
Anime and manga
Astro Boy, written in the 1950s, is one of the world’s first manga. The comic was admired for its progressive style, and decades later, manga and anime would grow to become one of the country’s most iconic exports. Japan’s manga has a strong influence on the comic book artistry in South Korea and China in particular.
Geisha, geiko, hangyoku, and maiko
Geisha are professional female entertainers, although historians believe the first geisha were male. These women entertain anyone who can afford their services with conversation, dance performances, and games at high-class restaurants and private parties. Geisha are the precursor to another uniquely Japanese phenomenon: hostess clubs.
Earthquakes and natural disasters
Japan reports more earthquakes than any other country in the world. It can experience dozens of small earthquakes each month. Larger earthquakes, which cause infrastructural damage or tsunami, are much more rare, but devastating when they do happen.
Aside from favorites loved around the world, such as edamame (soybeans), sushi, and miso, there are a lot of uniquely Japanese dishes even the most adventurous foodie might need coaxing to try. Natto, anyone?