Guide To: Japan
By: P. Szwarc
Japan consists of everything you can think of, plus a little bit more. It’s a land of beautiful landscapes, cutting-edge modernity, mouth-watering food, majestic temples, Zen gardens, and much more! I truly recommend all of you to visit Japan because it really is an amazing country! Not only are the people extremely kind, but there’s also a myriad of options of activities and places to choose from! In this article, I’m going to go through everything you’ll want to consider when planning a Japan trip.
When to go:
Japan truly is a year-round destination, and Japanese culture is noteworthy for its appreciation of the changing of the seasons. However, I’d suggest picking your ideal time to visit. If you enjoy the cold and all its wonders, I’d recommend visiting during the winter (December-January). If you’re a skier or a snowboarder in search of the seamless powder stash, visiting Japan’s mountainous regions is perfect for you! If you prefer sunnier days, visit Japan during June-August. Activities include colourful festivals spread throughout the country, hiking in the Alps, and visiting lovely coastal areas where you can enjoy the sea. During spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November), pleasant temperatures combine with the natural beauty of sakura (cherry-blossom season) and koyo (autumn leaf viewing)!
What to do:
1) Lose yourself in Tokyo – From owl cafés to sumo wrestling and eating Michelin-starred Sushi – there is literally nothing you won’t be able to find in Tokyo. Even taking the subway becomes an adventure, as will strolling the streets of this iconic city! Tokyo is bursting with things to do; however, I’ve selected some of my favourite activities:Firstly, go to the heart of Shibuya and cross the Shibuya Crossing. This might sound a bit boring, but the cool thing about this is that the traffic lights won’t switch on and off in alteration. Instead, the lights will hit green at the same time, meaning that in just one go, THOUSANDS of workers will try to cross the street at the same time. You feel like you’re in the middle of an ant hole.
Secondly, visit the Harajuku district. There, you can find almost everything related to Tokyo’s pop culture! If you love trendy Japanese fashion, Harajuku is a must!
Thirdly, visit the world-renowned Tsukiji Fish Market. I promise, you’ll eat the best sushi you’ve ever tasted in your life.
I can promise you there are more attractions, but these are my absolute favourite.
2) Indulge in Kyoto Tradition - There are many outstanding temples (e.g. The Golden Temple, a must-go!) and shrines, along with the world-famous geisha, to be visited and seen. It also is the perfect city to go shopping or to enjoy the traditional Japanese cuisine!
3) Climb Mt. Fuji – climbing Japan's highest and most well-known mountain, creates unforgettable memories. The mountain itself may look more picturesque from afar than from up close, but the views on clear days and the experience of climbing during the early morning hours amongst hundreds of other hikers from across the world, are both very worthwhile.
4) Pet some deer – Nara Deer Park is home to hundreds of freely-roaming deer. Considered to be messengers of the gods, Nara's deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been labelled as a natural treasure. They are surprisingly tame, and you can even feed them some crackers!
5) Sit back and relax in Japan’s beaches - The transparent and clear waters of Miyakojima in the south of Japan are truly a sight to witness. The shallow sea-coast water is ideal for snorkelling and diving. It also is a paradise for tropical fish, and you will be dazzled by their colours as you explore the coral reefs. Walking along the beach, the soothing sound of the waves will help you to relax while enjoying the view to your heart’s content.
6) Ski/snowboard - Visit Niseko, a very famous ski resort in Japan! It is known for having tons of light powder snow and amazing landscapes. Niseko's resorts are very accessible and welcoming to foreign visitors, who can enjoy plenty of vast, long ski runs, endless powder, and a growing number of after-ski activities.
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