How to Have a Once in a Lifetime Trip to Japan
Japan is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and culturally rich countries you can visit in Asia. It’s one of those places that absolutely, positively should be on your bucket list. Rich in tradition as well as being forward-thinking in technological innovation, Japan has got it all.
The Land of Elegantly Simple Cuisine
Of course, no visit to Japan would be complete without sampling the local cuisine. After all, it’s the country that’s synonymous with sushi. If you’re worried about the price of authentic Japanese sushi, Eater.com (2017) assures you that there is a range of dining options when it comes to this coveted delicacy. For instance, Hanamaru is known for being the finest conveyor belt sushi restaurant in the country, as well as being the establishment with first picks at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. For mid-range prices, check out Manten Sushi Marunouchi.
On the other hand, try the local street food if you’re not in the mood for anything fancy. Yakitori (grilled skewered meats) can be found almost everywhere that food is sold. Along with octopus balls or takoyaki, an Osaka delicacy topped with dried bonito flakes and Japanese mayonnaise. If it’s sweets you’re after, check out the mochi delicacies from Seigetsudo Honten, a confectionery store that’s been in business for more than a century. Those are one of the reasons people around the world travel to Japan, but not yet.
Variety is the Name of the Japanese Cultural Game
The sheer diversity of Japanese culture will have you struggling to decide what to check out next. If you’re a really early riser, head on over to Aeon Mall Kasai. It has adjusted its opening time for elderly customers. Open at 7 AM, which is referred to as “Gold Time,” the mall actually offers not just special deals for seniors, but activities like mass exercise classes as well.
Just walking around Tokyo will also allow you to see Japan’s intensely committed fashion subcultures. That includes the loudly colorful and imaginative Harajuku style or the nostalgic 1950s Americana-inspired Japanese Rockabilly. Pick up the mic and don’t be shy to bellow out a tune at the nearest bar that offers karaoke. Indeed, it’s a popular way for Japan’s seniors to stay active and happy.
The diversity of Japan’s cultural offerings is precisely why the country is so visible in global media today. From the Netflix reality TV series Terrace House, which has taken the US by storm, to the popularity of Japanese art, more and more people are interested in the country. This, in turn, has led to a mass influx of tourists. In other words, international backpackers, tourists, etc. are now traveling to Japan a lot.
In the digital world, the Japanese-influenced game Sakura Fortune features many aspects of the country’s culture that have become huge tourist attractions. The game’s main focus is on the country’s famous cherry blossom trees. It blooms between March and April every year and sees millions of tourists travel to Japan from all over the world.
The Art of Relaxation
The Japanese take everything seriously, even relaxation. Speaking of cherry blossoms, the public bath Tokyo Somei Onsen Sakura combines the beauty of local Somei-Yoshino cherry trees with the relaxing, mineral-rich waters of an underground hot spring. Evenly, not just the human you can find a lot of monkeys relaxing in the hot spring at Jigokudani park.
Apart from the many public baths, Japan also has a long-held tradition of manicured gardens, which you can see in Koishikawa Korakuen Garden’s traditional Edo-period landscaping.
If you’re looking to wet your whistle, there’s Cocktail Works in the bookstore neighborhood of Jinbocho. It offers a 160-strong collection of international craft gin that’s served in a variety of delectable ways. However, if you’re looking for something a little stronger – like inner peace – there’s no shortage of Taoist temples in which you can learn a thing or two about Japan’s spiritual/religious philosophy.
In terms of accommodations, you can either go for a luxury hotel or try out cheaper Airbnb options to experience Japan’s famed politeness and hospitality first-hand. There’s no doubt that Japan is a must-see location for anyone who’s looking to dip their toes in a gorgeous culture that’s both familiar and unfamiliar.
For those who are interested in exploring other cultures and countries, be sure to check out our travel guides here at The Broad Life.
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