Are you going to travel to Japan? You already have an idea of what cities and places you want to visit. If you already have an itinerary, then you are right here! Let us inspire you and read tips for making the most of trip to Japan to truly get to know the local culture and fully enjoy your visit.
Taste Japanese delicacies
Japanese cuisine is famous all over the world. Tasting local delicacies is an essential part of the gastronomic experience when travelling through Japan. Typical dishes vary by region so some places are famous thanks for their delicacies. Japanese cuisine is very diverse and rich in various kinds of ingredients. Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo to taste a wide range of local cuisine. Japanese food is always prepared with love from the finest ingredients, and you will love it. That’s why its, first of our tips for making the most of trip to Japan. You must try Japanese cuisine as much as possible!
The Japanese, as Buddhists, were strict vegetarians until the 19th century. However, since the ban has been lifted, they have liked meat. So the famous Wagyu beef is among the best ingredients in the world. This breed of cow has been specially created, so each animal has its own masseur, and cows receive only the best food. The price of meat is higher, but it’s worth it to pay for it and taste it. Wagyu is excellent! The Japanese are fish and seafood lovers, so don’t miss the taste of fresh sushi directly from the fish market and plenty of other seafood dishes. As great fish lovers, they consume over 3000 species!
Did you know that in Japan, fruit is donated as a wedding gift? Local farmers are real perfectionists, and this is also evident during the growing of various fruits. It is no exception that you will find grapes, melons or cherries in the supermarket with a price many times higher than a full table in a luxury restaurant. The price of such fruit is astronomical, but its quality and taste are unforgettable.
The Japanese use a large number of vegetables in their dishes. They are not afraid to experiment and use less typical ingredients, such as seaweed, sponges and others. To flavour desserts, they use a sweet paste instead of traditional refined sugar, which is obtained from red beans. Their sweet dishes have a completely different taste.
Don’t miss out on the tea while travelling in Japan. High-quality green tea is a very popular drink, whether cold or warm. The Japanese mainly love Matcha, a tea made from ground tea tree leaves. Matcha is drunk on special occasions and is an essential part of the tea ceremony, but you will see many different meals with the Matcha taste. Visit tea ceremony is one of must-do things in Kyoto.
Visit Japanese Spa – Onsen
One of the best tips for making the most of trip to Japan is visiting an onsen. Japan is a country with high volcanic activity. There are more than 250 volcanoes on the islands, and a dozen of them are still active. Thanks to volcanic activity, there are many natural thermal springs on the islands, which the Japanese have been using as a spa for centuries. Typical onsens are found everywhere on the islands and are deeply rooted in Japanese culture. The Japanese use them both in and outside large cities. The most renowned onsens are planted in nature and serve to cleanse the body and soul.
During the stay in the spa, there are very strict rules that every visitor must observe. If you have a tattoo, you probably won’t be allowed to go to the spa at all. Almost all members of the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) have tattoo, and access to the spa is forbidden to any uninvited person. Since water in onsens is considered to be medicinal, strict rules must be followed to avoid contamination. You may only enter the mountain water after washing your whole body without a swimsuit. For this reason, spas are separate for men and women.
Visit the natural Onsens in the Japanese Alps in the Yamanouchi area. This area is inhabited by snow monkeys, who love the natural springs by bathing with people. The area is especially popular with tourists who desire to get closer to primates, so be prepared for many tourists who will be there with you.
Travel in Shinkansen – one of fastest trains in the world
Travelling in Japan is very easy to organize. The dense road and train network makes it easier to travel for both tourists and locals. Shinkansen is a network of high-speed railways and consists of eight tracks. The maximum train speed is 320 km/h, and it is a very safe, comfortable and fast journey across Japan. In addition to practical transportation, driving through Shinkansen is a real experience that would be a shame to lose.
If you plan to travel around Japan, read our tips first, where you will find useful tips on how to save on train tickets because Shinkansen trains are very expensive. Once you know the route you want to take in Japan, enter your estimated movements into this calculator. Then, you will find out if it’s worth it for you to buy a Japan Rail Pass – a prepaid ticket that entitles you to an unlimited Shinkansen fare throughout its duration.
Discover the beauty of Japanese gardens
The Japanese believe that Mother Nature is not perfect and needs to be enhanced and elevated. Therefore, Japanese gardens are closely related to culture and religion. Shinto, Hinduism and Buddhism influenced their ancient history. The Japanese love their gardens and are passionate about them. No matter how small is their property, they always perfectly maintained and tended their gardens. Japanese gardens are typically ponding with colourful carps, stone lanterns, bridges and carefully cut trees and shrubs.
Zen gardens are intended to facilitate meditation and calm the soul. This is a carefully raked gravel in which randomly erected stones are placed. These gardens can be found mostly in the Kyoto Zen Buddhist temples, which have been continuously maintained since the 14th century.
Check out the Sumo match
If you want to get deeper into Japanese culture, then visiting Sumo is one of the tips for making the most of trip to Japan. Matches are held 6 times a year and for the Japanese, this is always a huge event. Tickets are very expensive and sold out long in advance. If you can’t get to the match and still want to see this sport with your own eyes, then there’s another option. If they do not wrestle, they train, and you can go to one of these exercises. Training can be a much more interesting experience than the tournament itself because you will get much closer to the wrestlers, and the training will take place in a more intimate atmosphere.
Most people think that Sumo wrestlers are well-fed fat men who just push each other out in the ring. However, few people know that this sport is very old and connected with many traditional rituals. Wrestlers are real sports athletes who train their physical fitness. It is not always true that the bigger and stronger one wins. Therefore, in Sumo sport, there is no weight category.
Discover crazy shops in Tokyo
In big cities, such as Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka, you come across a lot of crazy shops and certainly belong to the correct knowledge of Japanese mentality. Do not miss the neighbourhood around the Akihabara Station in Tokyo. There you will find multi-storey shops that are focused on anime, mango, retro analogue games, slot machines and other crazy things you cannot even think about. Young Japanese women, dressed in cute disguises, cross the streets and tempt you to visit stores. You can spend a lot of time here and the atmosphere will completely absorb you.
Use the Don Quijote chain to buy souvenirs. They are truly huge shopping centres where you can buy different goods on each floor. Racks are crammed with cosmetics, food, drugstore, everything you can think of and do not remember. You will find plenty of brands and different products until your eyes pop.
Have you already visited Japan? Do you have some other tips for making the most of trip to Japan? Share it with us in comments.
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