Japan is a country that really should be on your bucket list for a whole host of reasons and if you have already visited, I’m sure you will agree. Japan is an extremely unique and diverse country that appeals to a wide range of travellers from solo backpackers on a budget to honeymooners with cash to splash. With a rich history and so many things to see and do, it’s easy to see why Japan is a must visit destination.
If you want to truly experience Japan and some of the amazing things it has to offer, we hope our recommendations and suggestions below of what you can see and do will help you when planning your trip.
Traditional Japanese Food
One of the first things people think of when it comes to Japan is the delicious food, especially sushi, which of course is a Japanese staple and one of Mr ESLT’s favourite dishes. However, there is so much more to the Japanese culinary scene. There are a number of traditional Japanese foods you should try during your visit, including numerous rice, tempura, udon, soba and ramen based meals and not forgetting mouth-watering Wagyu beef, which is one of the world’s most expensive cut of meat.
From grabbing a quick, cheap bite from a vendor at one of the many street stalls to 5 Star fine dining at numerous upscale hotels and restaurants, there are places for everyone to try the local cuisine, regardless of your budget.
The excellent and reliable high-speed rail transport network in Japan makes moving around the country and seeing its many sights extremely easy. The ‘Shinkansen’, known in English as the bullet train, whizzes between most of the major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu at speeds of up to 200 mph and with further routes planned between now and 2031, it really is one of the most advanced rail networks in the world.
The trains are clean punctual, comfortable, safe and efficient, making it a great way to travel around Japan, whether you simply want to travel from one city to another or you are taking a self-guided tour of the country incorporating a number of stops along the way. Plus, it is a great experience and one you won’t want to miss out on.
Beautiful Sacred & Religious Sites
Japan is home to a number of Buddhist temples. They are considered to be some of the most important religious buildings in the country. Many temples also have an accompanying Shinto shrine which houses a sacred object or objects. The architecture of both the temples and shrines are very similar and very distinctive.
Visiting one of many temples and/or shines whilst in Japan is a must. Why not check out Kiyomizu-dera in Eastern Kyoto, Hōryū-ji one of the powerful Seven Great Temples in Ikaruga or Fushimi Inari, which is considered to be one of the most famous shrines in Japan. It is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice and has 10,000 orange torii gates you have to pass through to get to it. Not only are they beautiful but also great for capturing a selfie in front of.
Breath Taking Nature
Japan is famous for its beautiful sakura, more commonly known as cherry blossom, if you’re planning on heading to Japan to see it in full bloom for yourself then the best time to visit is between the months of March and May. During these months you will find a number of events and festivals to celebrate the blossom together with sakura flavoured foods and even a sakura flavoured latte at Starbucks.
One of the most well-known symbols of Japan is Mount Fuji, which is located on Honshu Island about 100 kilometres (60 mi) south-west of Tokyo. It is the highest mountain in the country and it was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List as a Cultural Site on 22nd June 2013. It is a firm favourite with locals as it has been a pilgrimage site for centuries and it’s one of Japan’s three sacred mountains and also tourists, especially climbers.
Cool Cosmopolitan Culture
Not only is Japan a place for nature lovers but also for people who love big bustling cities. Japan is home to Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya and of course, Japan’s capital, Tokyo. Tokyo itself isn’t actually a city but Metropolis which is home to nearly 10 million people. Elements of old world Japan can still be found in Tokyo, however, they are mostly shadowed by the ultramodern skyscrapers and neon signs that line the streets of the capital.
There are so many attractions in Tokyo including Tokyo City View Observation Deck, the Imperial Palace, the Samurai Museum and not forgetting Tokyo Disneyland. In fact, there is so much to do in Tokyo you really don’t have to leave. However, we highly recommend that you do as there is so much to see elsewhere in the country, including the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Naka-ku, Jigokudani Monkey Park near Nagano and Himeji-jōa hilltop Japanese castle in Himeji, plus much, much more.
With so many things to do, see and experience in Japan, whatever your budget or interests, it really is a country that needs to be ticked off your bucket list as soon as possible. You won’t regret it.
- Collaborative post