There are many great reasons to visit Japan, being home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, unique fashion sense, crazy Tokyo nightlife and wasabi Kit-Kats just to name a few.
If you are looking for inspiration for your next break away- here are a ten top reasons to visit this modern, yet cultural and exciting country:
Japanese cuisine is healthy, fresh and often cooked right in front of you. You will not only find the best sushi in the world but sashimi, donburi, ramen, udon, kobe beef, soup- the list goes on! Don’t forget to slurp when you eat your noodles.
The amazing food is said to be one of the reasons the Japanese have a life expectancy of 87 years, whilst the average age for western nationals is just 75.
There are more noodle shops in Tokyo than any other city in the world and Japan is the country with the most three-star Michelin restaurants.
As if those weren’t reason enough- you can also get your hands on almost any kind of soft-serve flavour in the world, including plum, bitter melon, miso, wasabi and squid ink!
2. How cute everything is
Japan has a kawaii (cute) culture- almost all major companies in Japan have a cute mascot that represents the company. Even the Japanese police have a mascot!
It’s a huge prominence in pop culture, entertainment, clothing, food, toys and personal mannerisms. If you like cute stuff too then you will have a field day here. Ask for an ice cream sundae- you’ll get a teddy shaped one.
3. How stunning the temples and shrines are
All of the beautiful ancient Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines are reason enough to visit Japan. They are considered to be among the most numerous, famous and important religious buildings in Japan.
One of the best-preserved cities, Kyoto offers 2,000 Buddhist temples and shrines within the limits of the Kansai Region city, while Nara is home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. All historically significant, visiting these will give you an opportunity to really experience the peaceful nature of the Japanese.
Between February into early May, the country’s iconic sakura (cherry blossoms) capture the attention of visitors alike as their beautiful pink flowers blanket the country in soft, colourful beauty. Everyone wants to be outside in Spring to catch this magical view.
The Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival is usually held every year from 23 April to 5 May, dates varying, so it is worthwhile planning your trip around that!
5. It’s amazingly clean
You won’t see any rubbish or cigarette butts on the ground, the streets actually smell nice and the bus drivers wear white gloves. Japan is so clean you could apparently safely lick the sidewalks, and they will probably taste like nori.
The Japanese have a culture which strives for perfection, and it is reflected in their respect for their surroundings. Tokyo is even so clean to the point where it almost looks brand new!
6. To see Mount Fuji
Japan’s tallest peak Mount Fuji is an active volcano about 100 kilometres south-west of Tokyo. A pilgrimage site for centuries, it’s considered a sacred mountain and an icon of numerous works of art. To see it with your own eyes is surreal- is there a mountain more stunning and picturesque? Be sure to visit in the colder months to see the scenic peak in a layer of snow.
7. To experience the weird and wonderful
There are a lot of things about Japan that can’t be explained. The country is steeped in bizarre tradition and unusual ancient practices that have somehow translated to modern day. Robot restaurants, karaoke bars, Cosplay, naked festivals, capsule hotels and cat cafes… why else would you want to visit?!
8. The land of Hello Kitty, Sailor Moon & Pokemon
Dating back to the early manga and films of the 1950’s, the Japanese pop culture movement has taken off since the 80’s and 90’s around the world to become one of the most influential sources of entertainment in the world alongside the United States.
Pop Culture is astoundingly huge in Japan and you can expect to find Hello Kitty, Sailor Moon and Pokemon, just to name three of the thousands of iconic characters- everywhere you look.
9. Ancient Japanese culture
In Japan, even with Tokyo- known to be amongst the most powerful cities for technology, you will still find a culture which has a love affair with the modern whilst staying extremely faithful to its roots. It’s a culture that truly withstands the test of time.
Japanese culture is thousands of years old but it is still as rich and prevalent as ever, wherever you go in the country. Kyoto is one of the best cities to view Geisha history and culture in particular, especially in the Gion district. Samurais, Japanese gardens, tea ceremonies, Kimonos, Geta, eating and sleeping on the floor. Be sure to experience the amazing culture of the Japanese people while you’re there.
10. It’s safe
An excellent reason to visit Japan is that it is a safe country to travel around. Even with such a large number of people- it is still one of the safest countries in the world.
Japan is considered as the safest in Asia- with only 1.4% of the population having been victims of assault, according to a report by Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
You can walk through crowds and crowds of people and still have your wallet and your cellphone at the end of it. In fact if you dropped something you would probably have someone running after you to try return it to you. The people for the most part, are very decent and upstanding citizens.
The Japanese people are incredibly friendly, with some of the best hosting skills in Asia.
If you are new to visiting Asia you may find it more challenging to negotiate yourself in busy towns and on the super efficient travel networks. Tours of Japan is a great option to help guide you through the country in the first few days and help settle in easily.
I hope I’ve inspired you to visit Japan! I’ve barely scratched the surface on the many reasons to visit this wonderful country.
Have you ever been or are you wanting to go?