If I used to be pressured to select a favourite nation to journey in it must be Japan. It’s a sentiment we frequently take into consideration as each individual we speak to ask for our favourite nation to journey.
Not that it’s a secret, I’ve famous quite a few occasions on this journey weblog that I completely adore Japan. This might clarify why I plan to return yr after yr to the Land of the Rising Solar. I’m not alone, numerous associates, movies, documentaries, articles and others who really really feel the thrill of touring in Japan.
Why is Japan such an excellent place to journey?
What attracts me again and to spend all my financial savings on sushi and sake?
- 1 Respectful Individuals
- 2 The Meals
- 3 The Sushi Trains
- 4 The Sake
- 5 The Free Inexperienced Tea!
- 6 The Matcha
- 7 Japanese Bogs
- 8 The Tidiness
- 9 The Geisha
- 10 The Web
- 11 The Kotatsu Tables
- 12 Tatami Mats
- 13 The Tradition
- 14 The Historical past
- 15 The Nature
- 16 The Cute
- 17 The Pricing
- 18 It’s Protected!
- 19 The Merchandising Machines!
- 20 The Seasons
- 21 The Temples
- 22 The Powder
- 23 The Transport
- 24 The Effectivity
- 25 The Guidelines
- 26 The Onsens!
- 27 The Strangeness
- 28 What to pack for Japan
- 29 THANKS FOR READING!
The Japanese are well-known for being extraordinarily well mannered. After touring to 80+ nations I can truthfully say that the Japanese are among the many most courteous individuals on the earth.
Whereas nearly all of Japanese shouldn’t have robust English expertise, they’re nonetheless welcome foreigners of their land. It’s widespread for them to offer assist and exhibit compassion in the direction of guests.
I’ve had quite a few situations of Japanese coming as much as me to only apply their English and help in any means they will. I’ll always remember once I had an area man in Tokyo run as much as me on the practice station and ask if he might accompany me to dinner to be good and converse.
The considered a Japanese particular person being impolite, aggressive, or violent is uncommon as it’s towards their cultural norms and society.
In the event that they don’t appear the friendliest it’s possible they can’t perceive you and don’t need to be embarrassed for his or her lack of ability that will help you because it thought-about impolite. It will probably solely be the case in rural elements of Japan and with older individuals. Simply present them a smile and say a few phrases of Japanese – it goes a great distance!
Ever since I used to be in highschool and tried sushi for the primary time I really feel in love with Japanese meals, a minimum of what I assumed was Japanese meals. On my first journey to Japan I got down to discover and eat at each sushi restaurant potential.
Then I noticed there’s a lot extra to Japanese meals than sushi! My subsequent discover can be Ramen.
Ramen is now favourite of mine and it’s a Japanese staple recognized for being low cost and cheerful that locals eat on a regular basis. Personally there’s nothing higher than a scorching bowl of ramen on a chilly winter day in Japan. The favored noodle soup dish that often has noodles, tomago, moyashi, seaweed, and pork on the planet’s most scrumptious broth. Every area and even metropolis has their very own fashion of ramen and they arrive in all kinds of types comparable to Shoyu, Shio, and Miso.
Don’t let the meals finish with ramen and sushi as a result of there’s a lot extra depth. Japanese meals is so assorted there are such a lot of basic dishes and types like yakitori, okonomiyaki, Japanese curry, tempura, bento, yakiniku, miso, udon, soba, and donburi.
What makes Japanese meals so particular is consideration to element meals is made with care whereas highlighting lovely components. There isn’t any haphazard canned or overcooked meals right here, it’s virtually all lovely and recent.
The Sushi Trains
Whereas sushi might be a particular and costly meal out the place you reside, you’ll find it for an reasonably priced worth in Japan. In fact, there are costly world-class choices, however virtually each respectable sized city and metropolis in Japan has conveyor belt sushi.
Conveyor belt sushi is a fast and low cost meal in Japan. Sushi is made and despatched out onto a practice like a conveyor belt which can rotate across the restaurant. Visitors can seize what they please after which on the finish of the meal the waitress will come to tally up the plates to provide a complete for the meal.
The plates are totally different coloured and the upper grade sushi goes on costlier plates, which is all colour coded. Sometimes you will get two items of nigiri for ¥100 to ¥200 after which the costs go up from there relying on the reduce of fish.
You possibly can simply stroll out of a sushi conveyor belt meal feeling stuffed off high-quality fish for underneath ¥1500. That’s the worth of mediocre sushi in the USA!
Sake is an alcoholic Japanese rice wine. It’s scrumptious and in case you have by no means had I urge you to order a carafe, or tokkuri, subsequent time you see it on a menu.
Sake is Japan’s nationwide beverage and is usually served on particular events within the tokkuri, a small porcelain bottle, after which poured and sipped from a sakazuki. You’ll be able to both have sake chilled, heat, or room temperature. Usually talking, low cost sake is warmed to masks the style whereas fantastic sakes or barely chilled to savor the style. A mean sake could be very reasonably priced in Japan and may be loved at any meal you could have out.
We like to have it at an Iizakaya (Japanese pub). You may as well discover it within the liquor part on the grocery retailer and get your self an entire bottle for between 800 yen-2000 yen. Don’t hassle making an attempt to select the most effective one by studying the labels, it’s nearly unimaginable until you converse Japanese. My greatest recommendation is to select the prettiest bottle and go from there, or you possibly can all the time check out your language expertise and ask somebody!
Don’t overlook to deliver some house!
The Free Inexperienced Tea!
I’ve by no means visited any Japanese sushi restaurant and never been provided free inexperienced tea and I adore it. My favourite is the DIY sushi conveyor belt eating places that provide inexperienced tea powder in entrance of you, with your personal cup, and a scorching water dispenser at your seat. Drink as a lot as you need.
In case you missed it – Inexperienced tea has main well being advantages like improved mind perform, fats loss, a decrease danger of most cancers.
Matcha is a finely floor powder from inexperienced tea leaves. The completed product is a shiny inexperienced powder that’s generally utilized in conventional Japnese tea ceremonies and in addition in lots of different meals gadgets in Japan. It’s scrumptious and may be drunk with milk or water – scorching or iced. I personally assume Matcha is barely candy, vegetal, and nutty nice to have with sushi, poke bowls, or with different sweets.
Whereas matcha is a premium product often served at hip cafes and vegan eating places outdoors of Japan, within the nation you’ll find it in all places. Matcha ice cream, matcha soba noodles, matcha pancakes and matcha sweet.
There are additionally many well being advantages of Matcha. It’s full of antioxidants, boosts your metabolism and enhances the temper, burns energy, and calms the thoughts. Oh and it’s inexperienced and tastes good. Win win win!
I’m unsure there’s something higher on this world than a Japanese rest room. Sure, I simply referred to a rest room as one of the best factor on the earth, and also you possible will too the primary time you sit on a heat Japanese rest room seat. A Japanese rest room is nothing in need of hygienic.
They’re virtually absolutely automated so that you don’t should do something – not even wipe. For starters, I’ve but to take a seat on a rest room in Japan that isn’t heated – which feels fantastic on a chilly winter day.
It doesn’t cease on the heated seats, they’ve a sprig perform in your rear and entrance aspect for the women together with an air dryer. As well as, they typically include sound results so nobody will hear you doing your small business.
I do know it might not sound like a lot, even scripting this I’m realizing that I’m raving a few freaking rest room, however simply wait till your first time on one then circle again with me.
The Japanese take cleanliness very critically and that is obvious all over the place. I simply talked about how clear going quantity two could be, however bogs apart, Japan is a really clear place.
Good luck discovering many trash cans on the streets, however that doesn’t imply you’ll discover a lick of trash anyplace. The Japanese individuals are aware of their impression on different and are all the time anticipated to select up after themselves.
Lodge rooms? spotless. Public loos? Truly nice in Japan! Bus drivers, policemen, practice conductors – all sporting gloves. If one is sick it’s anticipated to put on a face masks. And don’t overlook to take a experience in a taxi cab in Japan – will probably be the cleanest you’ve ever taken a experience.
There’s a preconceived notion that geisha are prostitutes, and this can’t be farther from the reality. A geisha is a extremely expert and educated skilled artist. She is a feminine entertainer performing totally different types of Japanese artwork and performances. To rent out a geisha for a personal occasion is a not low cost affair and is usually carried out at an ochaya (tea home) or at a ryōte (Japanese restaurant). Costs sometimes begin at ¥50,000 and up for a geisha or maiko (apprentice).
If hiring out a geisha just isn’t in your finances see for those who can spot them across the metropolis. Gion, in Kyoto, is the normal geisha district in Japan and it’s right here that you simply stand the most effective probability of seeing one going to or from an appointment. I used to be fortunate sufficient to be in Kyoto through the Setsubun Pageant (the day earlier than the start of Spring) and was capable of see a number of geisha and maiko, which is how I snapped the photograph under.
The Asia Pacific area has a number of the quickest web connection on the planet, and this undoubtedly rings true in Japan. A lot of the locations we stayed at in Japan had no less than 100 Mbps obtain speeds!
I’ve by no means had that sort of web anyplace on the planet until I’m at my residence paying for fiber. If you must keep related and get work executed, Japan has you coated.
The Kotatsu Tables
Depart it to the Japanese to invent the subsequent biggest factor on the planet (after their rest room in fact). I’m not speaking about Nintendo or Sony, however a kotatsu desk. A kotatsu desk is a low desk, with a blanket/futon over it and a heater operating underneath the blanket. It’ll hold you heat and comfy for hours on finish and within the winter time you’ll by no means need to depart this desk.
I’ve but to see a kotatsu desk outdoors of Japan, though I’ve tried to make my very own makeshift one at house (not almost nearly as good). Should you see a kotatsu desk someplace when you’re in Japan seize a bottle of sake, a great e-book, and luxuriate in its heat.
A tatami mat is a selected sort of flooring utilized in Japanese rooms. It’s historically made utilizing rice straw to type the core. You’ll find tatami mats in lots of Japanese houses and conventional Japanese inns (ryokans.) Whenever you discover them in your lodging you’ll discover that a roll out mattress shall be on the ground and you’ll sleep proper on the tatami mats.
In case you are heading to Japan I might extremely advocate in search of out a minimum of one Japanese ryokan to remain at throughout your journey. Not solely do they appear cool, however they’ve additionally performed a task in Japanese tradition because the eighth century!
The Japanese have a really proud and distinctive tradition, particularly in comparison with Western Nations, and solely intently associated to China. It’s fascinating to witness this totally different tradition first hand with a go to to Japan.
Japanese tradition has modified drastically over all its durations. From the meals to the clothes, performing arts, language, faith, and even written textual content it’s straightforward to get mesmerized by Japanese tradition.
I might attempt to clarify extra, however truthfully, Japan is just not a type of locations you possibly can’t perceive from a weblog, films, or by means of books. That you must go there to witness the daily lifetime of the world and breathe within the fantastic Japanese air for your self.
The Historical past
The Land of the Rising Solar has some fairly fascinating historical past. It’s all fascinating from early Japan, ninjas, and samurais throughout feudal Japan, the Edo Interval, and all the best way to WWII and post-war Japan.
You’ll see elements of its historical past, particularly the extra trendy historical past like sobering reminders of the destruction of conflict and mankind on the bombing websites of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on any journey.
I guess you understand that Japan is among the most populated nations on the planet. However did you additionally know that the forest nonetheless covers over 67% of Japan’s complete land space? With such a excessive inhabitants it’s arduous to consider that Japan is likely one of the most forested nations on this planet.
It’s acquired mountains, volcanoes, breathtaking coastlines, caves, rivers, bays, and forests crammed with brown bears, Japanese deer, monkeys, and delightful wildlife. Whereas there are over 126 million individuals dwelling in Japan, most of them stay on Honshu and in densely inside metropolis boundaries.
The Japanese reside in concord with nature. Since historic occasions nature has been the beating coronary heart of many tales and hundreds of artworks. Nature is a logo of enchantment, peace, and thriller. All of it hint again to the Shinto faith that believes within the many spirits, kami, that exist in nature.
Whereas the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Sapporo are good to go to it’s the countryside and rural areas that hold drawing me again. You’ll haven’t any hassle taking within the nature you can once you journey to Japan.
Positive, Japan would be the offender of the Howdy Kitty fad, however there’s a lot extra cuteness in Japan. Keep in mind Tamagotchi? Pikachu? TOTORO? These have been all a product of Japan.
Our final go to was round Christmas. The recent vacation commodity? A robotic canine to like you. It was tremendous lovable and I virtually needed one (till I noticed the ¥200,000 yen price ticket).
That’s only one instance, go to Japan and also you’ll see what I’m speaking about. How about “Good day Kitty Lane” within the Chitose airport or the truth that virtually each city, metropolis, giant enterprise, sports activities staff, faculty, area, and even laxative firm has their very own mascot in Japan? That final one is true…
One of many primary complaints I hear about touring in Japan is how costly it’s to journey. Outdoors of transport I truly discover Japan fairly affordable. I’m not going to say it’s just like Thailand, South Africa, or Nicaragua, however I might put it on par with locations like Canada, Austria, or Italy. Nonetheless cheaper than nations just like the U.Okay., Nordic Nations, or america.
Inns and lodging choices are all the time a combined bag. Yow will discover affordable ones, keep in hostels, or capsule pod lodges. Or if you end up touring through the excessive season, in resort cities like Niseko, or benefit from the finer issues in life you’ll, in fact, see larger costs.
What I do discover good worth in Japan (and crucial half) is the meals. One can simply have a pleasant Japanese meal out for beneath ¥20,000, and keep in mind conveyor belt sushi that I discussed? The perfect half is that you simply by no means have to consider a further tip add on as it’s thought-about impolite to go away a tip in Japan.
Japan is likely one of the most secure nations on the earth. On a International Peace Index they rank quantity 9 out of all of the nations on the planet. Given their big inhabitants measurement of 126 million individuals, that’s fairly spectacular. Canada is the one nation that ranks larger than them that’s “shut” in inhabitants at 35 million individuals.
It’s among the best nations to journey for solo feminine vacationers as individuals are respectful and the probabilities of being harm by violent crime is exceptionally low. Fewer than one individual is murdered for each 100,000 within the inhabitants, in comparison with four.eight for the USA and 44.7 in Belize. Japan has strict gun legal guidelines, a secure society, with low inequality, and excessive ranges of schooling.
In contrast to many different elements of the world, and even my own residence nation I really feel protected in Japan strolling alone at night time and I’ve by no means felt preying male eyes on me. For probably the most half, everybody right here simply minds their very own enterprise!
The Merchandising Machines!
The sheer quantity of merchandising machines in Japan is unattainable to disregard. I feel I learn someplace that there are over 5 million merchandising machines in Japan and you will get virtually something from them. In fact, there are common issues like Coca-Cola and shrimp crackers, however then there are books, batteries, bras, umbrellas, bottles of sake, heck in some locations it’s even the way you order your dinner.
There are a number of causes Japan has so many merchandising machines. For one it’s a cash-based society – good for merchandising machines. Value of labor can also be exceptionally excessive, so with a merchandising machine, you get rid of the necessity for a gross sales clerk. Japan is likely one of the most secure nations on the planet, and the considered vandalizing a merchandising machine is nearly unthinkable.
Individuals are additionally busy right here – Japan is a workaholic nation. Why go right into a 7-11 when you’ll be able to hit up a merchandising machine. Merchandising machines supply aggressive costs for primary merchandise. So, don’t skip going to a merchandising machine in Japan, though it is going to be arduous to keep away from one!
There really is not any dangerous time to go to in Japan. The nation will get 4 superb seasons and every one is gorgeous in its personal means. Late spring (March to Might) and late autumn (September to November) are usually thought-about one of the best occasions to go to Japan. That’s when you will discover clear skies and delicate temperatures.
For winter lovers and snowboarders, it’s greatest to go to the northern areas and mountains between December and March. If you wish to chase the cherry blossoms, the timber begin to blossom within the hotter south in late March and can begin to fall from the timber after two weeks. This makes locations like Kyoto a wonderland in April and early Might.
Through the fall months, you’ll see the leaves change and every little thing flip brilliants colours. Then in fact, summer time is all the time a well-liked time to journey, and when you have lengthy summer time days you might really feel the humidity.
Our aim is to return twice a yr. All the time within the winter, as a result of Japan has magical snofalls and tourism is down after which as soon as once more through the different seasons.
It’s virtually unattainable to know what number of temples and shrines are in Japan, however the truth that Kyoto alone has over 2,000 that ought to inform you one thing – you’ll be onerous pressed not to see a Japanese temple.
Taking time to correctly discover and see a few of these awe-inspiring temples whereas visiting Japan is a should. They’re all so totally different and delightful in their very own distinctive approach.
A few of these temples are over 1000 years previous and clearly must be handled with respect and humility. A number of of my favorites are Senso-ji, Kotoku-In Temple, and Kotoku-In Temple.
Over the previous ten years, the small city of Niseko in Hokkaido has risen to worldwide fame within the ski world. This a part of Japan receives epic snow dumps making it a powder paradise.
Though, the slopes at Niseko are mellower than these within the Swiss Alps or North America, the snow is a few type of dry white magical fluff. To sweeten the deal, between the months of December and March the snow doesn’t appear to cease falling on the bottom.
Nevertheless it’s not simply Niseko, it’s throughout Hokkaido! We discovered nice powdery goodness within the small city of Furano, and ski resorts like Kurodake and Rusutsu Resort are main highlights for any skier or snowboarder.
You’re not restricted to Hokkaido although as they awe inspiring Japanese Alps, additionally obtain loads of snowfall on the island of Honshu at resorts like Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen.
In case you are a diehard ski-bum you higher add Japan to your record of bucket record locations — it’s epic!
Japan has the world’s greatest transport system. Particularly across the massive cities like Osaka, Tokyo, and Kyoto. Getting round is never a problem with an environment friendly rail community, which is one of the simplest ways to get round Japan.
Whereas transportation is usually costly, once I first traveled Japan I bought a JR move. A JR Cross is just out there to foreigners and primarily works like a Eurail cross in Europe. A cross is bought for a set period of time or rides, relying in your wants and locations. It’s greatest for many who need to hit greater than two or three locations in Japan, however you’ll have to do your analysis to see what’s greatest for you.
I personally had a two-week limitless rail move and traveled at a speedy tempo to locations like Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Naoshima, and so many extra cities and cities. Nicely well worth the funding. Probably the most dependable solution to verify practice fares and occasions is on Hyperdia
It’s necessary to notice that Japanese trains depart on the dot of it’s scheduled time. Don’t consider me? Learn this text. To be Japanese is to be punctual. In case you are not punctual you’ll 100% miss your practice.
Additionally – Japan is the place you’ll be able to experience the well-known Shinkansen practice – or “bullet practice” – which actually is an expertise because the practice rockets throughout the nation. Observe that not all trains in Japan are Shinkansen trains.
I’ve by no means been in a extra effectively run nation than Japan. I’ve already touched on the transport and being on time, however there are various different points the place I simply assume “Why can’t the USA function like this – it makes a lot SENSE.” Pay any go to to Japan and also you’ll see how disciplined and rule based mostly society operates.
Japan has a number of “guidelines” which will appear unusual or strict to the typical Western traveler. I put guidelines in quotations as a result of whereas many occasions they don’t seem to be legal guidelines or truly set guidelines, it’s advisable to respect all of the social norms and customs.
Issues I all the time discover as quickly as I’m in Japan are:
- Be on time. It is extremely disrespectful to be late in Japan.
- On an escalator, there’s a aspect for strolling and a aspect of standing. This is identical in lots of different locations, however in Japan, it’s truly enforced.
- Don’t hesitate to bow. Males bow with their arms to their sides. Ladies bow with their palms collectively in entrance.
- Current enterprise playing cards with two palms.
- By no means stick your chopsticks in a bowl of rice as that’s how rice is obtainable to the lifeless.
- By no means put on your footwear inside. Slippers will probably be provided and are for indoor put on.
- It’s thought-about rude to go away a tip.
- Respect the aged.
- Don’t litter. You’re anticipated to wash up after your self and deal with your personal trash and mess you create.
- All the time wash earlier than you enter an onsen. All the time.
- Keep away from talking loud or inflicting a scene in public.
- Don’t level your finger at anybody.
I might in all probability make an entire publish concerning the cultural norms and expectations in Japan, however the most effective factor to do is go and expertise all of it for your self and adapt. In the event you do break a rule it’s okay, the Japanese perceive that you’re a foreigner and should not know their guidelines.
Visiting a Japanese Onsen ought to be on the prime of your issues to do in Japan listing! An onsen is a Japanese scorching spring the place guests are separated by intercourse and may soak bare within the heat water, often outdoors.
It’s an extremely enjoyable particularly through the winter months and a singular cultural expertise available. As Japan is a volcanically lively nation, there are hundreds of onsens scattered all through.
Don’t be shy! Everybody in an onsen is bare and nobody cares. Chances are you’ll not put on a showering go well with in an onsen and a few conventional onsens even ban tattoos so verify accordingly in case you have tattoos. Onsens are separated by intercourse and you’re required to scrub your physique earlier than getting into and lots of occasions additionally, you will wash afterward to take away the minerals.
Watch some YouTube movies earlier than visiting in case you are involved.
In the long run, Japan is only a unusual and distinctive place to go to (in a great way!). I typically say that there’s the entire world, after which there’s Japan.
It’s the results of the island being so shut off from the remainder of the world till just lately. Japan is among the solely nations on the planet that has by no means been managed by a Western Nation. It has an extended historical past of independence and is way away from nearly anyplace apart from China, Korea, and some different Asian nations.
You possibly can go there and virtually really feel like you’re in one other world. They’ve issues like maid cafes, seven-story arcade outlets, robotic cafes, cat cafes, a bunny island, a fox island, rest room solely slippers, extra merchandising machines than individuals, and simply infinite quantities of various devices and enterprise concepts. I don’t assume it’s potential to ever get bored in Japan.
What to pack for Japan
Journey Water Bottle
The faucet water in Japan could be very clear so there isn’t a want to purchase plastic water bottles and contribute to our world’s plastic drawback. We’ve shifted to utilizing an insulated aluminum water bottle because it handles the recent solar nicely and in addition retains drinks heat when want be. See all of our favourite water bottles right here.
Verify the costs right here!
Smith Lowdown 2
In the event you’re visiting in the course of the summer time you’ll undoubtedly need sun shades in Japan. My favorites are made by Smith. The Chromapop lens technologyis like seeing the world with a recent set of our eyes. They improve distinction, scale back glare, and reflection for excellent imaginative and prescient whereas driving, strolling round city, or out on the water. We additionally love the type of the glasses for anybody who likes to reside an lively way of life.
It’s thought-about impolite to put on your footwear inside in Japan so most locations will provide you with slippers to stroll round with as soon as you’re taking your footwear off on the door. Nevertheless, I by no means discovered these slippers snug and would quite have my very own from residence.
You’ll be doing a whole lot of strolling in Japan particularly in case you are hanging out in cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Sapporo, or Osaka. Ensure that your ft don’t need to kill you and get a pair of excellent males’s strolling footwear or ladies’s strolling footwear.
Japan is probably going a great distance from the place you reside and I can’t stress the significance of a superb journey pillow for that long-haul flight.
Digital camera Gear
Likelihood is you’ll need a digital camera on your journey to Japan. Our favourite pocket-sized level and shoot digital camera for fast journeys are the Sony RX100V. It takes incredible photographs and video and is the dimensions of your palm. To up your images recreation a bit contemplate the Fuji X-T3. We simply purchased that digital camera and discover the pictures out of unbelievable. Take a look at our different journey cameras right here.
Take a look at a number of the greatest sellers proper now and decide up a replica. There’s nothing higher than having fun with a great guide beneath the consolation of a Japanese katsu desk. I’ve just lately upgraded to the Kindle Paperwhite and completely adore it. It’s small, has touchscreen features, and a backlight in order that I can learn at night time and not using a harsh glare.
Examine the costs right here!
Journey Insurance coverage
We by no means journey with out journey insurance coverage with World Nomads. Natasha is a little bit of a fear wart and would fairly keep protected than sorry. World Nomads provides unimaginable versatile and nice plans!
Typically it’s good simply to have an actual e-book in your arms when touring. We advocate the Lonely Planet Japan guidebook.
Japan primarily makes use of the Sort A plug like North America, however there’s usually no socket for the grounded portion. Be sure to discover a good common adapter just like the one I’ve to maintain you charged. In any other case, you might wrestle to seek out one when you land.