Japan is a country that is a pioneer in technology yet steeped in history and culture. A land of natural beauty, rich heritage, age-old traditions and customs. Rising from the ashes of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, Japan has over the years built itself into a modern and futuristic country while still holding onto its values. Japan’s unique fusion of the modern and ancient worlds draws tourists from across countries, making it a destination unlike any other.
Unique Experiences in Japan
If you wish to explore this fascinating country, then here are 6 experiences that you must not miss on your next trip to Japan:
- Find ‘yourself’ in a Buddhist temple
Japan is home to both Shintoism, a religion that traces its origins to 1,000 B.C.E., and Buddhism. As a result, spirituality is at the core of Japanese culture. This is reflected in the numerous temples and monasteries dotting the country’s landscape.
When in Japan, do make it a point to visit one of these monasteries or temples. Mornings are the best time to visit as you can find your Zen amidst the rhythmic chanting of the monks. As the sun’s rays bathe the temples in its glow, you understand why Japan is called the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’. It is one of the top Japan tourist spots.
- Indulge in Japan’s culinary delights
Japanese cuisine is an acquired taste and has now caught the fancy of epicureans the world over. The food is healthy and tasty and served in small portions. This allows you to sample numerous dishes without feeling full. From sushi, sashimi, and yakitori to the famed Kyoto beef, Japan is a foodie’s paradise.
While you try out small and fancy restaurants, do not skip the street food. An essential part of sampling Japan’s cuisine is to try the street food. ‘Japanese Yatai’, as the food stalls are called, offer an array of dishes from yakisoba to katsu curry.
Another interesting way to understand Japanese cuisine is over a Kaiseki. A Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course meal that is presented in an exquisite manner. These are some of the top Japan tourist spots.
- Participate in local festivals
Centuries of Shinto and Buddhist history have been kept alive in Japanese traditions in the form of festivals. These festivals celebrate life, history, nature and everything that defines Japanese culture. At any given time, you are likely to find a festival in some part of the country so do your homework before finalising your itinerary.
One of the most popular Japanese festivals is Hanami, or the Cherry Blossom Festival. The Cherry Blossom flowers, also called Sakura, bloom across Japan in spring, covering the country in delicate pink.
It is celebrated across the country, with tourists and locals thronging gardens and parks to catch this natural phenomenon. The whole place dons a celebratory garb with open-air picnics, food stalls, and music. Do make sure to stay until the night as the cherry blossoms radiate in the light of lanterns. If you happen to be in Japan around late March or early April, you can catch the blooms of the cherry tree at Ueno Park in Tokyo, a popular viewing spot. These are some of the best places to visit in Japan.
- Step into History at Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki are a grim reminder of the horrors of World War II. Yet, destroyed by atom bombs, both these towns stand testimony to the Japanese spirit and resilience.
You can visit the Hiroshima Museum and Peace Park, and the Flame of Peace. Nagasaki, rebuilt as an urban jewel, is home to a thriving Chinatown, Glover Gardens, and Gunkanjima or Battleship Island. It is one of the top Japan tourist spots.
- Enjoy the traditional Japanese tea ceremony
Japanese take their tea-drinking tradition very seriously. It is not just an activity but a ritual with its own protocols. Your trip to Japan is incomplete without a visit to a chashitsu or tea room.
Make sure to follow the rules of the ceremony, some of which include taking off your footwear and washing your hands before seating yourself on the traditional tatami mat. Some of the tea houses even offer a kimono to allow you to enjoy the ceremony in its traditional form. These are some of the best places to visit in Japan.
- Marvel at the brilliance of Japanese technology
Japanese efficiency is well-known, and this is visible not just in their products but also in their services. Make sure to travel in the fastest high-speed train, the Shinkansen, which travels at 320km/hr.
For accommodation, you must try their capsules or pods, which are essentially compact high-tech rooms. You can also stay at traditional Japanese guesthouses called Ryokans, which enable you to soak into Japanese hospitality.
And while this may seem funny, make sure to use public washrooms at least once during your visit. Japanese toilets are known the world over for their cool, tech quotient. These toilets are temperature-controlled and equipped with heated seats and music to mask the sound of your ablutions and come with control buttons or sensors. As with everything Japanese, you can rest assured that the toilets will be squeaky clean.
Travel Insurance for Japan
Japan is an expensive country, and it is advisable to arm yourself with a travel insurance Japan policy to protect you from any untoward incidents, either medical or non-medical. Browse through the international travel insurance plans and choose the one that best meets your needs. You can use a travel insurance premium calculator to check the insurance coverage and premium sums. Also, if you already have travel insurance, you can renew the travel insurance plan online.
Japan has captivated tourists with its traditions of geisha, samurai, sumo wrestling, anime and manga, to name a few. However, beneath the glitz of technology and modernism lies a country that has firmly held on to its roots and values. So, are you ready to say ‘Konnichiwa’ to Japan?