Japan is comprised of 6,852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area. The country is divided into 47prefectures in eight regions. The population of 126 million is the world's tenth largest and Japanese people make up 98.5% of Japan's total population. Japan has the second longest overall life expectancy at birth of any country in the world: 83.5 years for persons born in the period 2010–2015. The Japanese population is rapidly aging as a result of a post–World War II baby boom followed by a decrease in birth rates. In 2012, about 24.1 percent of the population was over 65, and the proportion is projected to rise to almost 40 percent by 2050. 9.1 million people live in the core city of Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the world's largest metropolitan area with over 35 million residents and the world's largest urban agglomeration economy.
Japan has full religious freedom based on Article 20 of its Constitution. Upper estimates suggest that 84–96 percent of the Japanese population subscribe to Buddhism or Shinto. Fewer than one percent of Japanese are Christian. Other minority religions include Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Judaism, and since the mid-19th century numerous new religious movements have emerged in Japan.
Japanese cuisine is based on combining staple foods, typically Japanese rice or noodles, with a soup and okazu — dishes made from fish, vegetable, tofu and the like to add flavor. In the early modern era ingredients such as red meats that had previously not been widely used in Japan were introduced. Japanese cuisine is known for its emphasis on seasonality of food, quality of ingredients and presentation. Japanese cuisine offers a vast array of regional specialties that use traditional recipes and local ingredients. The Michelin Guide has awarded restaurants in Japan more Michelin stars than the rest of the world combined.