An island country in the East of Asia. It spans an archipelago of over 14,000 islands with the biggest being Hokkaido, Okinawa, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu.
125.7 million (2021)
Carry a bag around for your trash, as there are not many public trash cans.
Do not wear shoes indoors
Three foods you need to try in this country:
- Yakitori (grilled skewer meats)
- Tamagoyaki (rolled egg)
- Unagi no Kabayaki (eel and rice)
- Takoyaki (octopus balls)
What the country is known for :
- Mount Fuji
- Futuristic Technology
- Cherry Blossoms
- Manga and Anime
- Bullet Trains (Shinkansens)
- Temples and Shrines
More About Japan
I visited Japan in July 2023. This country had not really been on my list of places to visit due to the expense and there was very little draw for me. However my cousin has been living there for a few years and a visit to see her combined with a girls trip with a couple of friends convinced me to go. I landed in Tokyo at night and decided to immerse myself, from the minute I left the airport, and decided to take the local metro to my hotel. To say ease, acceptance and safety were the underlying theme of my time in Japan, would be an understatement. I had the pleasure of visiting a handful of different cities during my trip.
Japan strikes a very beautiful balance in its maintenance of its historic as well as modern culture. One can get a view and an understanding of the lives of geishas, the ninjas and the samurai, the tea ceremonies, the kabuki, martial arts as well as modern day manga and anime. One can visit different prefectures within Japan to learn more about the different elements of Japanese culture. For example the highest population of the remaining geisha’s in Japan is in Kyoto, and that is also a good place to go learn more about the Samurai. There are many tours and opportunities that have been designed to enable visitors to immerse themselves within the culture, instead of just being observers. The modernity within the country with its robots, vending machines everywhere, high rise buildings in the big cities and neon lights at night that completely transform the whole city.
Japanese main religions are Shintoism and Bhudhhism. Therefore one can explore different temples and shrines across the country that were built in different periods in history. During one’s visit to a temple or shrine, one may follow the prayer rituals or receive a blessing. It is very interesting to learn and understand the links between the two religions and how people may practice one or both. Religion is a very integral part of Japanese culture. The world famous ‘torii gates’ are the entrance to the Shinto shrine, they are said to separate the material and the spiritual world. Therefore people often make a bow before entering the gate and at leaving. One of the pillars of Japanese culture is respect, and that is respect of others and one’s environment. There is a calmness and tranquility in the way things are done and generally work in the country which I believe is driven by the culture.
Japanese creativity is something that is taken very seriously. Pay attention to the design of their infrastructure, look at the art they create, the attention to detail of the food presentation, the origami, the zen gardens – they even have classes to teach mothers how to pack their children’s school lunches. The manga and anime is another aspect of creativity that is rife and one can visit a number of bookshops or shops dedicated to different characters in this art. Also, the fashion represents the creativity of Japanese people as many people express their personalities through the way they dress. The designs one can see spotted both in the fashion houses and on the street exude confidence, personality and an understated attention to detail.
For my fellow nature lovers Japan has a lot to offer. The culture places a lot of importance and emphasis on the benefits of maintaining the natural environment and therefore one will have many zen gardens – manicured to absolute precision to just walk around or stop for meditation. Japan has a hilly terrain which makes for amazing hiking trails with views and sights to behold. Mount Fuji is one of the most iconic active volcanoes, and has been a pilgrimage point for centuries. This is one of the many sacred mountains that people hike in Japan. For those more interested in beach life, Japan actually has a pleasantly surprising number of gorgeous coastlines and islands where one can enjoy clear sea water. Streams, rivers and lakes can be found around this beautiful country and their presentation changes significantly with the seasons. Also, cherry blossom season between March and April is a gorgeous time to visit as the flowers bloom and brighten up the country, ushering in the beginning of spring.
A trip to Japan is not complete without exploring the culinary scene of this country. Food is a very integral part of Japanese culture and the varierty of options is endless. As mentioned, presentation and precision is quite important and therefore if one visits the traditional restaurants or food stalls – the chef has specialised in creating particular dishes over years. I would recommend trying out different eatery options from the traditional specialist shops, to the sushi trains, the sweet shops, the street markets as well as the restaurants.
Just as a warning check whether conditions before planning your trip to Japan. The weather can be extremely hot or extremely cold – just be prepared for what you are going to get. Also as Japan is part of the ring of fire, it is prone to a number of earth-quakes and volcanic eruptions, therefore keeping up with the conditions is highly recommended.
|Do you speak English?||Anata wa eigo o hanashimasu ka?|
|Where is the toilet?||Toire wa dokodesu ka?|
|May I please have some water?||O mizu o itadakemasu ka?|
|I would like some food please||Tabemono o onegaishimasu|
|Where can I get a taxi?||Takushi wa doko de tsukamarimasu ka?|
NEWS & UPDATES
Japan’s many culinary delights presented me with a delightful dilemma during my visit. Faced with a multitude of delicious options, I embarked on a foodventure to uncover the art of Japanese cooking. After searching for
I always try and immerse myself in the local food culture. In many parts of Asia and South America, I have found that street food is very much part of the culture. As the diligent