It is undeniable that Japan is an extremely unique and picturesque country. With its Pokémon planes, anime and sumo wrestling, Japan is completely different to England. Japan is also beautiful no matter what the season – the country gets completely covered in snow during the winter and the cherry blossom in Spring is like something out of a fairytale. The Japanese are friendly and there is no need to learn the language since English is taught from a young age. Planning to go away this summer but can’t decide where? Well, here are five reasons why you should consider Japan:
Japan is any food lover’s paradise. Its cuisine has something to suit everyone – sushi, ramen, bento…the list goes on. Japanese sweets are worth trying too; they have every type of KitKat you can imagine (including sweet potato and wasabi!). There are even food museums in Japan, some of which are dedicated to instant noodles.
Though Japan is known for its skyscrapers, its natural beauty should not go amiss. Japan is a surprisingly green country and there are plenty of multi-coloured parks and gardens – great for any budding photographer. A trip to Japan is not complete without a visit to Mount Fiji and Arashiyama bamboo Forest. Mount Fiji is located just outside Tokyo and offers spectacular views over the city.
3. Stunning architecture
Japan is famous for its ancient Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, which contrast with the advanced technology and modern architecture found in the cities. Gingaku-Ji and Todaiji are two Japanese temples worth a visit. If you’re into fashion, check out the Prada flagship store in Tokyo. It was built in 2003 and consists of green, diamond-shaped panels.
Kawaii is the Japanese word for ‘cute’, and Japan is exactly that. You will find images of Hello Kitty on practically everything, from mugs to perfumes to books to stationery. There are also many puppy and cat cafes where you can stroke these adorable animals. They were introduced a few years ago since many Japanese citizens are unable to have their own pets.
Japan has thousands of festivals throughout the year, including religious festivals and fire festivals. It’s worth seeing one of these festivals if you want to experience more of the Japanese culture. Obon is Japan’s largest summer festival and it is celebrated in both July and August, as well as the seventh month of the lunar calendar. The festival is a celebration of the homecoming of ancestors’ spirits and people visit graves, shrines and temples.
Tokyo is the capital of Japan and it’ll make you feel as though you are in a different world. The city is futuristic, while at the same time giving you a glimpse into the past. Venture to the Tokyo National Museum, which in itself is the oldest museum in Japan, to find out more about the history of Tokyo. You could also pay a visit to the Ueno Zoo or Ueno Park. The transport in Tokyo is much more reliable than that in other countries, and the bullet train is the best way to travel around the city.
Kyoto is another reason to visit Japan. It’s the country’s second main city and has a wealth of history, including Ginkaku-ju (The Silver Pavillion), a temple which was built in the 1480s. Kyoto is also the birthplace of geiko (or geisha) culture, and has a fantastic shopping district.
Onsen are hot springs located all over Japan. They are natural and offer relaxation for tourists. Some onsen look out over natural features such as gardens and rivers, and may be decorated with tropical plants. The minerals in onsen water are believed to have healing powers.
As the birthplace of karaoke, Japan is the best place to visit if you love singing. Karaoke originated in a snack bar in Kobe City and has since become a popular pastime in Japan. In the cities you will find karaoke rooms, which include a television, microphones and a touch pad to choose the songs you want to sing. You can hire these rooms for a certain amount of time and perform with your friends.
10. Capsule hotels
Fancy something a little different to your ordinary hotel? Well, capsule hotels offer just that. Capsule hotels contain little pods are designed to provide tourists with cheap and basic accommodation. They’re ideal for students or anyone travelling on a low budget, and usually come with a TV and Wi-Fi. However, capsule hotels are not suitable for people who suffer from claustrophobia!
Japan isn’t really known for beaches, but it does have a warm climate and approximately 30,000km of coastline. Okinawa, in the south of Japan, is one of the best places for swimming and sunbathing, and has sub-tropical white sand and turquoise water with coral reefs. Japan’s beaches are also great for snorkelling and surfing, as well as other water sports.
12. Safe and clean
Japan is an extremely clean country. You won’t find a single piece of litter in sight. People also wear masks if they are ill. There is a lack of crime, making Japan one of the safest places in the world.