JAPAN

Japan - The Land of The Rising Sun

Country
Japan's four main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Kobe is Japan's sixth largest city (roughly equivalent to the size of Montana) and is the capital of Hyogo Prefecture on the south side of the main island of Honshu. Kobe's population is around 1.5 million people.

Geography and Weather
Surrounded by ocean and mountains. People can enjoy the ocean, hiking in the mountains, and visiting the city all in the same day and all within about 15 minutes by car. Kobe is humid with hot summers and cool/cold winters with little snow. Its climate is more mild than many other Japanese cities, making it one of the most coveted places to live in Japan.

Food
Kobe is famous for its Kobe beef. Popular dishes incorporating Kobe beef include shabu shabu (thinly sliced beef and vegetables cooked in boiling water then eaten with dipping sauce) and steak.

Transportation
Trains are the most common form of public transportation in Japan. You can expect to see lots of bikers and pedestrians. 

Religion and Culture
Buddhism and Shintoism are the main religions in Japan. Japan has a very unique culture with its traditional paintings, sculptures, woodblock prints, and architecture. In modern pop culture, video games, manga, and anime are all extremely popular. Karaoke is also very popular. Japan's national sport is sumo. Martial art forms of karate, kendo, and judo are widely practiced. Baseball is one of Japan's most popular sports, and soccer also has a strong following.

Customs
Bowing is the traditional form of greeting in Japan. However, church members generally greet each other with a handshake. Men bow with their hands at their sides, while women bow with their hands in front. Deeper bows are reserved for people of great importance.

The Church in Japan
There are nine stakes and districts located within the Japan Kobe Mission. The Kobe Mission is serviced by both the Fukuoka and Tokyo temples. Heber J. Grant dedicated Japan for missionary work in 1901.

Numbers
Total church membership: 127,635
Missions: 7
Congregations: 267
Temples: 2 (A third temple in Sapporo will be dedicated in 2016)
Family History Centers: 63