Japan has to be one of the unique countries to visit for many reasons, and we are about to uncover our top reasons to travel to this beautiful destination. Why visit Japan? Well, firstly, Japan has a fascinating culture, incredible landscapes, delicious food and incredibly welcoming people, and the country is so progressive and modern that the sheer sight of locals living their daily life will mesmerize you.
Wondering why travel to Japan? Let us tell you that Japan is a perfect mash-up of Eastern traditions mixed with the modern ways of the Western world, making it stand out amongst the crowd as a top destination for travellers to visit. If you get excited by unique experiences, beautiful scenery and stunning architecture, to name but a few things Japan has going for, then you'll love our best reasons to book that ticket to Japan.
Here is what motivated us to explore Japan in the first place.
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So, why visit Japan?
There are so many reasons you should add Japan to your travel bucket list, and we cannot wait to share everything we love about this exciting destination. You probably already know that our Japan travel blog was created because we love this country so much.
There's so much going on in Japan. This amazing country has the best Japanese cuisine and visiting Japan will only make you hungry for more. The Japanese history is intriguing and exciting, with cities like Kyoto revealing some much of ancient Japanese culture. Tokyo, on the other hand, is the heart of cool Japanese fashion with crazy cool anime centres and sky scrappers, as well as incredible sky gardens.
Visiting Japan will leave you in awe, as this modern world is so different from anything you've ever experienced before. And we have so many recommendations for you as well. Our first trip was just 2 weeks in Japan, but then we fell in love with this country so much, we kept coming back year after year. In fact, we even lived in Japan for a while, and we experienced it in all seasons.
We love the Japanese way of life, and I even wrote a book about How to behave in Japan. Here are our main reasons to visit Japan. We promise, you will love it!
Japanese culture goes back 35,000 years ago, and since then, it has been significantly influenced, leading to the truly unique culture we see today. Yes, you will experience a cultural shock, but in the best possible way.
It will all start with the language. Japanese is the national and primary language in Japan. Not that many Japanese speak English, but everyone will be keen to try to help you. Japanese is written with a combination of three scripts: kanji, hiragana and katakana.
If you want to break some of that language barrier, I can highly recommend learning some basic Japanese. I used Japanese with Aimee courses, and they have been incredible.
As part of the culture is also the religion in Japan. Shinto and Buddhism are the primary religions of Japan, and this is very obvious with the many Buddhist temples and shrines scattered all around the country. These beautiful temples all have a story, and it's the perfect place to immerse yourself in the country's rich culture.
Everywhere you look, there's something remarkable to learn about Japan. The Japanese traditional festivals tell a story about the local kami (Gods) and link with the natural world. Then there are the traditional clothes, like the superb kimonos made from luxurious materials. The visual arts are so entirely unique and wonderful in Japan with calligraphy, papermaking, ceramics, and even the art of ikebana. You'll see astounding performances like Noh and Kabuki.
For anyone who has seen photos of Japanese scenery, this has already convinced you to add this stunning place to your list of countries to visit. Well, if you are not familiar with Japan's landscape and are wondering what to expect, then let us paint a picture. Japan is a paradise for nature lovers, with plenty of rugged mountains, bamboo forests, white sandy beaches, island archipelagos, volcanoes, waterfalls and the iconic Mount Fuji -- which will further enter its spotlight.
Above all, Japan has well-defined seasons, which means every single month has something new to offer. Spring in Japan is a very popular time to visit, when the cherry blossom festival is in full swing. People gather under the cherry trees to have picnics and socialise under the delicate Sakura flowers.
The country attracts millions in the autumn, too, when the leaves start to turn into delightful hues of reds and oranges. The countryside looks absolutely stunning, with colourful valleys stretching for miles. Summers are the best time to visit Hokkaido, when the scenery there turns into the most incredible fields of colours. And winter in Japan is the time to hit the ski resorts, which are world-famous for their perfect snow.
Picture Japanese castles surrounded by delicate cherry blossoms, with delightful mountain scenery in the background. Japan is the most beautiful country we've ever visited.
The temples and shrines in Japan are a reason alone to visit. See the stunning Fushimi Inari Shrine, used a pilgrim site for centuries. Bow at the Senso-ji in Tokyo, the city's oldest Buddhist temple. There are several thousand temples to see in Kyoto alone, so as you can imagine it will take years to be able to discover all the worship places in Japan.
Every Japanese municipality has a Japanese temple, so even if you are spending just 7 days in Japan, you will never be far from one. In the Tokyo, even anime lovers are lured to temples, as in Tokyo, the Ryohoji is using fun drawing to get more visitors.
In addition, there are a host of wonderful Buddhist zen gardens which you need to explore, and it is worth noting that many of the temples and shrines you will see are over 1000 years old.
Do you also travel for amazing food? Then Japan won't disappoint, as this is the land of the best food in the world. No exaggeration here! Japanese food is famous across the world, and some of the most well-known dishes include ramen, sushi and tempura, to name just a few.
One of the must-do things when in Japan is to indulge in sushi served from the famous sushi conveyor belt and visit a traditional sake bar for a few local beverages.
For those who love to treat themselves, it is worth knowing that the city of Tokyo is home to more Michelin-star restaurants than any other city in the world, so be sure to save an evening for this experience. In addition, we highly recommend trying out some authentic Kaiseki food in Kyoto; local cuisine served as a multi-course meal made using ingredients not found in other parts of the world.
Don't forget to check how to behave in a restaurant. You'll learn so many interesting things about chopsticks handling, how to eat sushi properly, and what not to do to offend.
One of the most important and noticeable personality traits of Japanese people are their politeness and kindness, which is second to none. Even in the most remote parts of Japan, where English-speaking locals are hard to come by, people will go out of their way to help you with directions or recommendations. It is not uncommon for them to call over other bystanders to offer a helping hand, leaving you feeling incredibly grateful for the local generosity. I remember when we got engaged in Japan and the Japanese shopkeeper was so helpful in trying to help us find the best engagement rings.
Manners go a long way in Japan, and the culture is focused on respect for each other and their elders. However, Japanese people may come off as reserved and shy. You will notice certain things they would rather not speak about, especially if that means an awkward conversation or risk of conflict, so always be courteous when chatting with them. The locals make Japan what it is, which is why many love to visit this country.
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The country features twenty-five great historical and natural sites, with more potentially being added to the list as the years go on. Japan is a country to witness mind-blowing historical and cultural sites, and you can look forward to enjoying various Buddhist monuments, shrines, and natural gems such as Mount Fuji, as well as top-class museums.
You could easily spend your entire trip visiting all these beautiful places, but if you are short on time, I recommend checking this 3 weeks itinerary to Japan, which includes several world heritage sites.
The most popular Unesco world heritage site in Japan is the Itsukushima Shrine also known as the floating Shinto Shrine.
Japan is diverse, so it appeals to all travellers, especially groups or families with different interests. Young travellers will want to visit the Pokémon mega center Tokyo which is a huge megastore with everything Pokémon including toys, pillows and stationary. Manga and anime lovers should visit Akihabara and meander around the most interesting anime paraphernalia.
For foodies, we recommend taking a sushi-making class and visiting the many izakayas (local gastropubs). Go to Omoide Yokocho in Tokyo for some delicious yakitori or take a foodie tour to learn more about fascinating dishes.
Culture buffs will be delighted by a Maiko performance in Kyoto with a traditional tea ceremony to learn more about matcha (Japanese powdered green tea).
All visitors must stay in a Japanese ryokan and, of course, watch sumo wrestling steeped in tradition. As you can see, you will never be bored in Japan, are there are so many wonderful things to do.
The Japanese Onsens
Like other volcanic countries, Japan is home to numerous natural hot springs dotted around the country, which have become the central part of Japanese culture throughout the ages. Onsens are the best places to immerse yourself in the local customs and traditions, meet locals and, of course, soak up the healing waters which come from deep within the earth, and you can find them all over the country.
Like everything Japanese, there is an etiquette around visiting an onsen, but that's the fun part of visiting Japan, learning how everything works! Make sure to wash your whole body well before entering the hot springs entirely naked. Don't worry, though, some onsen are separated by gender and nobody stares at you.
There are many Kyoto onsen we recommend, but if you're around Tokyo, head to Hakone or Nagano for onsen surrounded by mountain views.
Many wish to visit Japan to see the beautiful Mount Fuji, which was added to the World Heritage List as a cultural property.
This iconic volcano has been a sacred site for the Shinto people since the 7th Century. It welcomes many visitors each year to climb to the summit or witness the many art forms present here, such as calligraphy, ancient pottery and ukiyo-e prints.
Mount Fuji is at the top of every traveller's bucket list, and when you see it for yourself, you will know precisely why it is deep in the hearts of the locals.
If you wish to see Mount Fuji, the best chance to see the tip is by visiting during winter. This is because there are more clear skies in December than any other month, making it the ideal time to see Mount Fuji.
If you wish to climb Mount Fuji, then you will want to time your visit to August.
There are many places to see Mount Fuji from, including skyscrapers in Tokyo. One of my favourite locations for spotting the tip of the volcano is Omohara forest on top of Tokyu Plaza Omotesando. You can also see it from the Observation Deck at Mori Building in Roppongi Hills.
Safety and Ease of Travel
Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. While I always travelled with my husband, I know many of my friends went to Japan alone. Solo women travellers always say they feel comfortable and safe.
Japan is an ultra-modern country with a unique transport system that makes travelling across the country as easy as pie. Ease of travel comes so natural in Japan, thanks to the superfast and reliable shinkansen (bullet train). We do recommend a JR Pass, so you can travel to more than one destination in the country.
Every major city has a reliable metro system as well, which is efficient and affordable.Tokyo metro system is very intricate and so easy to navigate once you wrap your head around it. When planning a trip to Japan, I recommend getting a pocket wifi to ensure you have access to the internet at all times. This will make it easier to navigate the city.
Japan is home to some exceptional shopping opportunities. Tokyo and other major cities are home to world-class shopping malls, traditional markets, shopping streets and street vendors, which make it a haven for those who love to shop or browse.
Shopaholics or curious shoppers cannot miss out on Ginza -- the luxury shopping area of Tokyo, Umeda in Osaka, Shinjuku and Shibuya in Tokyo, Hakata in Fukuoka and Nakano for anime and gaming enthusiasts. I must recommend a trip to Ginza Six and Loft, two of my favourite shops in Japan. For budget shoppers, check out Don Quijote as well. These are perfect places for souvenirs from Japan.
If you wish to visit Japan to experience a whole new level of nightlife, then you are in for a treat. Japan after dark is incredible, with so many cool activities to do. Tokyo is probably the best place for it, with impressive pub crawls in the evening that will take you to some of the most obscure izakayas.
You will definitely want to see Yokochos (Japanese word for alleyway) to eat great food and mingle with locals. We can recommend Omoide lane in Japan, Ameya Yokocho, Nonbei Yokocho and Niku Yokocho.
Shinjuku is also an interesting adult only place after dark, with Kabukicho being Asia's largest red light district.
As you can see, there are many reasons to visit Japan, and I'm sure by now you are in the process of buying your ticket! I love everything about this country, and I know Japan offers something unique to everyone who comes to visit.
I want you to have the best trip ever, which is why I put together a wealth of information to make your planning a bit easier. Check what to pack for Japan and how to dress in Japan. I also created accommodation guides on where to stay in Tokyo, where to stay in Kyoto and where to stay in Osaka.
And of course, I have so many ready-made free itineraries to make your journey that much easier. I recommend 7 days in Tokyo, 5 days in Kyoto and 4 days in Osaka. But there are many great day trips you will want to do to places like Nikko, or day trip to Nara or Yoshino.
I can't wait to hear your thoughts about what you loved in Japan. Please let me know in the comments section below.