People, food and culture
Japan is famed for its ethnic and social homogeneity while today Japanese society is an epitome of diversity. It includes minority groups such as the Ainu of Hokkaido and the Ryukyuans of Okinawa, but also other nationalities such as the Koreans, Chinese, and Brazilians. The country’s culture has changed greatly over the millennia from the country's prehistoric period to its contemporary modern culture which absorbs influences from Asia, Europe, and North America.
Japanese cuisine is renowned around the world - popular dishes such as Ramen, Udon, Sushi, and Tempura need no introduction. Apart from the mainstream dishes there are also local specialties arising from the smaller towns and cities be it a type of sweet, fish, noodle, seaweed or tofu. Tokyo and Kobe consistently give birth to some of the best eateries in the world. You will never be far from a great meal.
It is also a country of drinkers. Whilst “sake” (rice wine) is the national drink, lager-beer is the most popular. And let’s not forget that Japanese single malts have that captivated the palates of the scotch drinking world by storm.
It is not just the alcoholic drinks that are popular though. Sado, for instance, is a Japanese green tea ceremony and an ancient tradition with roots traced back to Zen Buddhism. The ceremony involves the preparation and drinking of tea, including the widely celebrated powdered tea, Matcha.