Making your way over to Japan? Here are the must know essentials:
On my trip to Japan, I really indulged in all the diverse landscapes that this amazing country has to offer. From Tokyo’s bustling ambiance to the juxtaposition of Kyoto’s Zen-like atmosphere, you will experience a mix of Japan’s high-tech culture and ancient traditional roots that this country has kept sacred and alive. Between the majestic temples, tranquil gardens, fast paced city, rural countryside and coastal treasures, it is truly one of the most deeply embedded cultures to explore. Japan may be one of the more expensive countries to visit in Asia, but the journey you will encounter here will certainly leave you far and above satisfied!
The Japanese currency is JPY Yen. It’s fairly simple to convert from USD as the rate of every $1 is 110.87 Yen. Unlike most countries in Asia, Japan is not a place to bargain. Though you may be paying a little more in Japan, don’t worry, everything you receive will be of truest quality.
Place to visit:
Tokyo’s electrifying energy pulsates through millions of people’s everyday footsteps. On every corner, you can find technicolor neon lights, mouthwatering food, and who can forget Harajuku girls. It’s unlike any other city in the world. Its futuristic aesthetic and busy crosswalks all seem to make sense once you’re in the midst and rush of it all. Shibuya Crossing is known to be the center of Tokyo’s universe, with thousands brushing through its streets.
At the Tsukiji fish market, early birds don’t just catch the worm, but catch the freshest fish, but be ready to rise at 4 AM. Marvel in the sight of it all while local fishermen sell at one of the world’s largest fish markets. This is a must-see when visiting Tokyo!
For those that love to lie out and people watch under native cherry blossom trees, Ueno Park is the place to be!
Have drinks in Golden Gai, a rare hidden gem of small back alleys, filled with Japanese speakeasy dens.
Everyone loves a good road-trip so why not take one to Mount Fuji, a 3776m mountain located near Tokyo! Climbing season is from July to mid-September, but even in off season, you will experience the captivating snowy views that Mount Fuji has to offer. Once there, take a drive to the natural hot springs for some fresh air and relaxation. Attending at night will insure a ceiling full of stars above you.
If Tokyo’s hustle and bustle becomes too overwhelming, take a trip to one of Japan’s most beautiful destinations, Kyoto. One of my most cherished experiences was being in Kyoto during Sakura. Sakura takes place in March/April and is considered a symbolic time for rebirth when all cherry blossoms go into full bloom. You can go to the bamboo forest, try to spot a Geisha, or head to Kinkaku-ji, a gold colored Zen Buddhist temple, resting on a body of water. If you enjoy hiking make sure to visit Fushimi Inari-taisha, a 4-kilometer sanctuary of red shrines covered with detailed Japanese scriptures. Kyoto really shows the true essence of what Japan represents.
The local people of Japan are considered to be some of the kindest in the world. The culture thrives off having the utmost respect for its people and visitors. Though not many Japanese people speak English and if you get lost in translation, the native locals will always help in guiding you to your desired destination.
Where do I begin? The intertwining routes of Tokyo’s subway system make it a challenging thrill hopping from district to district. Flooded with Japanese businessmen, local families and tourists, the subway still always remains punctual and clean. When heading to Kyoto, take the high-speed bullet train as it gets you there in less than 3 hours. If you’re staying in Japan for a significant amount of time, make sure you purchase a JR pass, as this will save you some extra Yen in your pocket.
A shrimp tempura roll was the only extent of taste I had before my travels to Japan. Upon arrival, I was thrown into an overwhelming amount of new food explorations, which was undoubtedly the best food in the world! The cuisine, designed like a work of art, ranges anywhere from tuna to abalone shell. The noodles, rice balls, and who can forget ramen, will make you never want to leave this country! While slurping your noodles may be considered rude in any Western society, Japan differs as this act of indulgence is a sign of deliciousness complimenting the chef. From cat cafes to conveyor belt sushi, which is my personal favorite for a cheap and delicious treat, you can experience it all! Just make sure not to eat your leftovers while walking down the streets as it’s considered disrespectful in Japan. Needing your next snack or even a pair of socks? One of the many vending machines on just about every corner will have you covered. Green tea and saki every day, yes please!
Itching for your next adventure? What are you waiting for?! Japan’s welcoming culture awaits your arrival!