Japan is an island nation located on the Pacific Ocean, east of Korea and China, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea in the south. It is composed of over 3,000 islands, the largest of which are Hokkaid?, Honsh?, Shikoku, and Ky?sh?. Most of Japan's islands are mountainous, and many are volcanic; the highest peak is Mount Fuji.
Japan is the world's second-largest economy after the U.S. and one of the world's leading industrialized countries. It is a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected parliament, one of the oldest legislatures in Asia. Despite its rugged terrain, it is one of the most populous--and one of the most densely populated--countries in the world. Its capital Tokyo, with over 30 million residents, is the largest metropolitan area in the world.
Historically, Japan adopted many Korean and Chinese customs and institutions, beginning in the 5th and 6th centuries. From the 12th century to the mid-1800s, Japan was a feudal country led by clans of warriors. After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Japan adopted many European and American customs and institutions. Its culture today is a mixture of these influences along with traditional Japanese culture.
Japan's name in the kanji writing system is often translated as "Land of the Rising Sun", and comes from the country's location on the east coast of Asia.