Japan is a country where the past meets the future. Japanese culture stretches back millennia, yet has also adopted the latest modern fashions and trends. Japan is a study in contrasts and contradictions. Many Japanese corporations dominate their industries, yet if you read the financial news it seems like Japan is practically bankrupt.
Cities are as modern and high tech as anywhere else, but tumbledown wooden shacks can still be spotted next to glass fronted designer condominiums. Japan has beautiful temples and gardens which are often surrounded by garish signs and ugly buildings. In the middle of a modern skyscraper you might discover a sliding wooden door which leads to a traditional chamber with tatami mats, calligraphy, and a tea ceremony. These juxtapositions, which mean you may often be surprised and rarely bored by your travels in Japan.
Currency: yen (JPY, ¥)
Area: 377,835 km2
Religion: Shinto and Buddhism (often both), Christian (0.7%)
Greece has captured the world's imagination with its ancient culture and fantastical myths. Visions of vengeful gods and goddesses, massive armies led by generals riding in chariots, and great philosophers discussing ground-breaking ideas dance in the heads of the millions of tourists who flock to the country each year to visit world-famous sites like the Parthenon in Athens, the Acropolis of Rhodes, the churches of Thessaloniki, and the Oracle of Delphi.