If you’ve never visited Japan before, you should definitely give it a try. Not only will the culture shock blow you away, but there is just so much to experience that it would be a shame not to visit The Land of the Rising Sun at least once. Yes, it can be a long and potentially expensive flight, but you can solve the latter by using something like Bravofly’s iOS app to get a surprisingly affordable deal – it just depends on when you book. As for the former, it’s worth the 12 hours sat next to a screaming baby. Seriously.
Whether it’s the slightly alarming Hadaka Matsuri (naked festival), or the beautiful spring Hanami (flower viewing), Japan’s festivals are wonderfully unique, and it’s always worth trying to coincide your trip with one of the annual celebrations. Almost without exception, there are amazing street food stalls to open up your taste buds to new flavours and there are beautiful traditional ensembles to see too.
The Karaoke Karaoke is big. Some other countries see this sing-a-long as a cheesy way to spend a Friday night, but there is a huge culture surrounding it in Japan. Some karaoke bars are open until the wee hours of the morning, and serve all-you-can-drink beverages, as part of your initial (inexpensive) payment. Leave your nerves at the door; nobody minds if you have a bad singing voice – it’s all part of the fun.
The Beautiful Hilltop Temples
There are so many beautiful temples in Japan, but Mitaki-dera (三瀧寺) in Hiroshima gets a special mention. The natural surroundings are stunning and there are three waterfalls. It was founded in the Daido era (809), and is now often used for ceremonies for those who died during the atomic bomb. This temple is particularly stunning during the spring and autumn months, because of the lovely trees.
Crime is almost non-existent in Japan. You hear lots of scary stories in the West, but the police here do their job exceptionally well, and the culture is just very different. If you are a female lone traveller, it’s amazing how safe you will feel in Japan. This may not be a huge plus for everyone, but travelling in a place with seriously low crime rates never hurts, and cat-calling here is pretty rare. There are even women-only carriages on trains during rush hour.
Japan loves novel trends, when it comes to their snacks and drinks. Seasonally, big brands will flavour their products with different flavours, and these can even change depending on your region. For example, during spring, there are so many sakura (cherry blossom) flavoured items, but huge companies – such as McDonalds – even cater their produce to this single country. You can find squid ink burgers that are completely black!
What would be your number one site to see in Japan? Let us know!