With its exotic fusion of modern and traditional culture, Japan offers a wide array of adventure from skiing, hiking, exploring glowing streetscapes and 24-hour drinking and dining scenes. In this article, we’ve narrowed down some of the best things you can do during your stay in Japan.
Indulge yourself with Japanese cuisine
Japan is heaven of the earth for food lovers as it offers a wide array of cuisine, ranging from simple soba noodles to multi-course kaiseki banquets. In a city such as Tokyo or Kyoto, you could eat different Japanese specialties every night for a month without repetition. There’s no doubt that a food tour of Japan will be memorable, but there’s just one problem: once you try the real thing in Japan, the restaurants back home will be bland in comparison. The only solution is another trip to Japan!
Visit Kyoto Temple’s and Gardens
With more than 1000 temples to choose from, you’re spoiled for choice in Kyoto. If you like things gaudy and grand, you’ll love the retina-burning splendor of Kinkaku-ji. If you prefer wabi-sabi to rococo, you’ll find the tranquillity of Hōnen-in or Shōren-in more to your liking. And don’t forget that temples are where you’ll find the best gardens: some of them are at Ginkaku-ji, Ryōan-ji and Tōfuku-ji.
Immerse yourself in a Japanese onsen
There’s nothing like lowering yourself into the tub at a classic Japanese onsen. The Japanese have turned the simple act of bathing into a folk religion, and the country is dotted with temples and shrines to this most relaxing of faiths.
Visit Fuji Five Lakes
Even from a distance, the perfectly symmetrical cone of Japan’s highest peak will take your breath away. Fuji-san is among Japan’s most revered and timeless attractions. Hundreds of thousands of people climb it every year. Those who’d rather search for picture-perfect views can do so from the less-daunting vantage points in the foothills and hot springs of the scenic Fuji Five Lakes district.
Tokyo is one of the world’s reigning cities of superlatives with top-class dining, drinking and shopping. It’s a city always in flux, which is one of its enduring charms, forever sending up breathtaking new structures and dreaming up new culinary delights.
Hike the Japan Alps
Hike right into the heart of the high peaks of Japan Alps and you’ll be in awe of so much mountain splendor. You can go hut-to-hut among the peaks for a week with nothing on your back but a solid day pack.
Visit Japan Castles
Japan’s castles have about as much in common with their European counterparts as kimonos have in common with Western dinner dresses. Their graceful contours belie the grim military realities behind their construction. Towering above the plains, they seem designed more to please the eye than to protect their lords. If you have an interest in the world of samurai, shōguns and military history, you’ll love Japan’s castles.
Experience tropical paradise at Okinawa
Okinawa is a subtropical playground sandwiched between southern Japan and Taiwan. Stretch out on white-sand beaches, snorkel through rainbow-colored corals and sail up rivers through thick mangrove jungles while island-hopping. Divers can rub shoulders with manta rays, hammerhead sharks and a zillion tropical fish off the Yaeyama and Kerama Islands. Back on land, refuel with a typically Okinawan dish of stir-fried pork, bitter melon and tofu, and don’t forget to wash it down with some fiery awamori liquor.
Ride the Shinkanshen
Japan’s shinkansen are probably the coolest trains on earth. If there’s a little kid in your heart that still thrills when a train goes by, you can spend hours on the platforms watching this low-flying rocket ship zip past. And for getting around the country, they are even better than airplanes. They’re comfortable and quiet, and you might find yourself wanting to skip your station and just keep going.
Cherry Blossom Viewing
If you carry the stereotype mindset that Japanese are sober, stolid and serious people, you owe it to yourself to join them under a cherry tree laden with blossoms in the springtime. It’s as if the cherries release some sort of a narcotic that renders all inhibition meaningless. They’ll drench you in sake and beer, stuff you with snacks, pull out portable karaoke systems and perhaps even get up and dance. Japan is a happy place when the cherry blossoms are out, and you’re more than welcome to join the party.
Next stop? How about visiting the city of japan and the world’s most populous metropolis. . .Tokyo! Get a move on!