There are so many reasons to visit Japan, here you are our top 7 !
1 – Nature and natural wonders
There are enough natural wonders in Japan to satisfy the most ardent sightseers. Japan has ancient forest, beautiful lakes, waterfalls and mountains, all within easy travelling distance by Shinkansen (high-speed railway). Nagano and Tochigi are famed for the beauty of their mountains and waterfalls. Travel further afield to Hokkaido and discover an area famed for its natural beauty. Of course there is the iconic Mount Fuji which is the highest and most beautiful mountain in Japan. The surrounding lakes and hot springs are a sight to be seen as well of course.
2 – Seasonal Festivals
There are festivals for everything in Japan from dolls and noodles, to ancestors. For the spring, the Cherry Blossom festival is known all over the world, but there are many festivals (matsuri) and seasonal celebrations to make your trip memorable. In the summer, try the fireworks festival (hanabi) for the best fireworks in the world. Fireworks are a traditional Japanese entertainment, so you will also see traditional Japanese dress during the festival. Look out for Kimonos and Yukatas. For late visitors to Japan, the autumn leaves are spectacular and for the winter there are snow and ice festivals. One of Japan’s largest winter events is the Sapporo snow festival.
3 – History
History is everywhere in Japan. The cities may be the most technologically advanced, but outside you will find ancient shrines, temples, gardens and castles. Travel a little further to visit fishing villages and mountain villages where people are living far removed from the speed of Tokyo. The cities of Kyoto and Nara which were formerly Japan’s capitals, have remained largely untouched by development and are among the most charming places in Japan.
4 – Japanese Art
Japanese art has a strong relationship with Chinese culture, although Japan has created its own way to develop ideas and innovation in combination with Buddhism. There are many museums, studios and galleries where you can see Japanese art such as origami, washi, silk, kabuki and ancient pottery, ink painting (ukiyo-e) calligraphy, martial arts and the world famous tea ceremony.
5 – Japanese culture and tradition
The Japanese way of life has shaped our world over the past 70 years. Japanese technology has made aspects of our lives easier and more efficient. The Japanese craving for constant innovation means that things move quickly in Japan, and the rapidly changing fads and fashions make Japan a fascinating place to visit. Names such as Panasonic, Sony, Nikon are known all over the world – visits of the factories are highly recommended. Of course Japanese culture and heritage is much more than just technology. Japanese cinema has influenced movie making all over the world and has introduced the world to the culture and tradition of imperialist Japan, feudalism and the legend of the samurai. There are many museums in Tokyo- try the Tokyo National Museum and Edo-Tokyo Museum.
6 – Japanese cuisine (Washoku)
Japanese cuisine offers a great variety of food, and has introduced the unique taste of umami to the world. You can try regional cuisine such as tempura, sushi, sukiyaki and ramen in all Japanese restaurants. Washoku is a cultural heritage that is preserved carefully, using seasonal ingredients to create delicious art. You should also take a trip to the Tsukiji fish Market in Tokyo which is of the world largest markets. It has over 400 different types of seafood and over 700,000 tons of seafood sells each year.
7 – Uniqueness
You might familiar with cultural icons such as Hello Kitty, the Japanese are famous for their love of anything Kawaii, which mean cute. They are also renowned worldwide for their impeccable manners and service. They also have very high standards of hygiene – wait until you try one of the public toilets especially the washlet, a very unique experience indeed. Japanese animation and manga are celebrated in the Akihabara district in Tokyo and are also known all over the world. If you have time, visit a karaoke bar to see how it is really done.
8 – And of course the best thing to do is meeting Japanese people so what are you waiting to discover this wonderful country!
By Yoshino Abe & Barbara Duriez