As a traveler, I am madly in love with Japan and I think everyone should go there. Seriously. At least once in your life. But if you think you belong to one of these 5 categories, this is absolutely necessary. Here’s why.
To me, Japan is a food paradise. I have NEVER had a bad meal there. Variety is great and no matter if you go for an expensive fine dining restaurant, street stall yakisoba or a ready-made meal from the supermarket, there’s a fairly high chance you’ll be positively surprised. Dipping noodles, ramen, sushi, mochi, onigiri, yakitori, everything matcha… the list is endless. Many regions have their own typical dishes. Check out Osaka food ideas by Continents & Condiments.
Tip: Skip TripAdvisor recommendations and follow small empty streets to find a tiny place with noodles or anything local. It might just blow you away.
This one doesn’t need explanations. Japan is simply gorgeous – with its nature and mountains, cities and cultures, temples, shrines and people, it’s a perfect place for beginners, professionals or any types of photographers in general. Whether you specialize in wildlife, fashion or landscape – doesn’t matter. Japan seems to have it all.
Tip: Look EVERYWHERE. There are so many tiny details in pretty much everything; you don’t have to stick to photographing sakura trees, sushi and maikos.
3. People who love animals.
It seems like Japanese love both their pets and their wildlife. Many know the heartwarming story of Hachiko, the Akita who waited at Shibuya station for his best friend to return every day for almost 10 years after he passed away. But Hachiko is not the only animal-hero or animal-celebrity in Japan. There was a cat who served as a train master at one of the stations; you can find Japanese raccoon dog, tanuki, on the porches of many houses… You can schedule many animal encounters – from going to the deer park in Nara to enjoying a cup of tea in the owl café in Osaka. Visit hot springs with macaques, take a trip down to the rabbit or cat island, fox village and much more.
Tip: Do your research in advance and make sure you choose the place where animals live long, happy, and healthy lives and are treated right.
4. People who love people.
Politeness, kindness and friendliness of locals will leave you wondering whether you’re doing everything you can to be a better version of yourself. The way they are respectful of other people, of mother nature and of their own country is remarkable. But the more you learn about the history and culture of Japan, the more you realize how hard it can be for an outsider to understand their values, their ways of thinking, their national identity. In this place, where progress and tradition go hand in hand, the mentality seems nothing but complex. But no matter what, the interactions with local community can turn out to be one of the most positive experiences on your trip.
Tip: Don’t hesitate to start conversation with workers of local pubs and bars – many of them have hidden talents and lots of stories to tell. Often it might seem hard conversing in English in Japan, but you’ll be surprised by how much you can understand without speaking the language.
5. Nature enthusiasts.
Japanese scenery is mind-blowing. One of the most popular periods to visit Japan is during sakura season, but this country is stunning at any time of the year. Mountains, hills, bamboo forests, cliffs, beaches, caves and lakes – you can find almost any type of natural landscape in Japan. It’s picturesque, it’s enigmatic and it’s fascinating.
Tip: This one’s easy – don’t forget to bring your camera!
Let us know in the comments what brought you to Japan and why you liked it!
If you’re visiting Asia, read also:
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I’m all of these, but especially #2 (photographer) and #5 (nature lover). I’ve been fortunate to visit Japan several times for business, and always got some time to be a tourist as well. I love it there! Great post, thank you.
Thanks, Jim! Japan is great, I’m glad to hear you’ve been visiting!