The country of Japan is only the size of the state of Montana, but is home to the world's tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with around 37 million residents.
Confucian and Buddhist ideologies have influenced many aspects of Japanese culture and much of the country's history has contributed to its homogeneous society. For example, group identity and social harmony, are highly valued within Japanese society. Other characteristics of the people include being extremely conscientious, meticulous, industrious, honest and technically-skilled. Since the Second World War, the majority of the country's population migrated to urban areas, leaving only 25% of the country's residents still living in the rural mountains and along its rugged coastlines.
Japan is an island country off the east coast of the Korean peninsula by the Sea of Japan made up of four main islands. Approximately the size of Montana, Japan's four main islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Most of the islands are mountainous and many are volcanic; for example, Japan's highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano.
Japan's climate varies from cool, temperate in the north to tropical in the south. Participants will experience average summer highs around 28°C (83°F) around the southern islands and 23°C (73°F) near the northern island of Hokkaido. The climate, throughout most of the year, is moderate, but the winter months do bring cold throughout most of the country, with the exception of the southern islands of Kyushu and Shikoku.
Participants can expect regular rainfall year round, although it does vary across the nation. The month of June typically marks the beginning of the rainy season, which tends to miss the northern-most island of Hokkaido.
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