Asia, Go now, Japan, Photo Essays
Comments 29

Why Travelling in Japan is Like Nowhere Else in the World.

I dreamed of visiting Japan for a long time.  I devoured stories of Tokyo’s quirky contrasts, streets lined with cherry blossom and indulgent toilets from friends who had been there, and of Samurais and Geishas from movies and books I had read. But when I finally landed in Tokyo, it struck me that I had no idea what travelling in Japan would be like.

Over the last four weeks, I’ve come to realize that Japan is not one of those places you can understand virtually. It is a country you need to witness, breathe, experience and feel for yourself. To convince you that Japan is worth visiting, I can only give you a glimpse of this layered, complex, intriguing part of the world… for this is a country where:

You step into the future in a high speed Shinkansen (bullet train)

Japan shinkansen, Japan bullet train, train travel japan

With a bento box – prepared daily for train travellers – to feast on along the way

Japan bento box, Japan vegan food, is Japan worth visiting

To relive the past (circa 756 AD) at intriguing fire rituals at Shinto shrines

Japan shinto shrine, Japan shintoism, Japan travel blog

And feel hopeful gazing at “Ume” – Japanese plum trees – in bloom, signifying the end of winter…

Japan ume, Japan plum blossoms, why visit Japan

Here you learn to sleep on futons, on woven tatami mats in traditional Japanese rooms

Which are dedicatedly cleaned by their owners from 10 am to 4 pm daily!

traditional japanese room, japan tatami room, why travel to japan

Your days begin in toilets with heated seats, deodorant, music and oscillating bidets

Japan toilets, Japan toto, is Japan worth visiting

And culminate in Onsens (public Japanese baths) fed by mineral-rich hot springs – after shedding ALL your clothes and inhibitions

Japan onsen, Japan public bath, what is Japan like

So rejuvenating that even snow monkeys come down from the Japanese Alps in winter for onsen…

Japan snow monkeys, Jigokudani park, reasons to visit Japan

In Hiroshima, your heart breaks at the horrors mankind has inflicted on earth

The atomic bomb of 1945 raised the entire city to the ground; only this dome-roofed building remained.

Hiroshima japan, reasons to visit Japan, Japan travel blogger

Then you hit the countryside and marvel at what the earth has given mankind

places to visit in Japan, Japan solo travel, Mount Aso Japan

And forget all about mankind in the dreamy moss forests on Yakushima Island…

Yakushima island, Japan travel guide, why visit Japan

You can seek out Japanese style izakayas (neighbourhood bars) for the finest sake

Japan izakaya, Japan sake, why travel to Japan

Indulge in incredible Japanese food – even as a vegan

As long as you know how to ask for it 😉

Japan vegan food, vegan travellers, Japanese food

Learn the art of macrobiotic Japanese cooking that balances yin and yang

macrobiotic japan, vegan food japan, vegetarian food japan

Boost your energy at vending machines on literally every street corner

(They even dispense hot green tea!)

Look out for a red line at the bottom, which indicates hot.

Japan green tea, why is Japan different, reasons to visit Japan

You can indulge your sweet tooth in mochi 

Made of soybean; exotic flavors include horse chestnut, matcha, red bean, ume and sakura.

Japan mochi, Japanese vegan dessert, Japan vegan food

Without fully realizing the passion and precision it was originally made with

Japan mochi, Nara mochi, Japan vegan food

And taste Matcha green tea in a traditional tea ceremony in a temple or secret tea room 

Japan tea ceremony, matcha tea japan, Japan tea room

Not knowing these tea ceremonies began as peaceful meeting spaces for the Samurai

Samurai japan, tea ceremony samurai, what is japan like

If you’re lucky, you could wield a 200-year-old Wakizashi or Katana (Samurai swords)

Japan wakizashi, Samurai sword Japan, Airbnb experience Tokyo

And even try mastering the art of Samurai swordsmanship!

Samurai swordsmanship, Japan samurai, wakizashi japan

On the rural countryside, where the average age can be close to 80 

Aso Japan, Japan countryside, reasons to visit Japan

You can lose yourself amid ancient cedar forests

Japan cedar forest, Yakushima island, places to visit in Japan

And traditional architecture that has survived the test of time

Japan architecture, what is Japan like, Solo travel Japan

Forgetting that a modern, fast-paced city like Tokyo exists 

Tokyo skyline, Roppongi hills tokyo, why visit Japan

When spring arrives and the “Sakura” – cherry blossom – are in full bloom 

cherry blossom Japan, sakura japan, cherry blossom 2018

You’ll forget you’re still on the same earth…

cherry blossom japan, reasons to visit Japan, solo travel japan

And even though Japanese / Kanji is difficult to learn

(Learn Arigatou gozaimas: thank you very much)

Japan language, Kanji, why visit Japan

Kanji characters representing happiness. Photo: Dominic Alves (CC)

The thing you’ll remember most fondly is the warmth and politeness of the Japanese people, and their willingness to help no matter what 💚

Japanese people, Japanese culture, why travel to Japan

What are your reasons to visit Japan?

*Note: I wrote this post in collaboration with Japan Tourism. Opinions on this blog, as you can tell, are always mine!

Connect with me on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Google+ to follow my travel adventures around the world!

More blog posts about travelling in Japan:
In Search of Murakami’s Japan
Japan Tourist Visa for Indians: Requirements and Tips 
Secrets Behind Some of Japan’s Most Intriguing Traditions

29 Comments

  1. For all of the reasons that you stated and hopefully to make and meet some new friends are all the reasons that I want to go to Japan Lovely post!

    • Shivya Nath says

      Thanks Trudy! Hope you get to experience it soon 🙂

  2. Now I desperately want to visit Japan for bento- box,sakura, shinkasen,onsen,cedar forests,Samurai,Mochi…..Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. This post is slightly different from your regular ones, but loved sifting through the photos with the captions. Totally inspoins me to book a rickti to Japan

  4. Anushka says

    I have come to Japan a week back and will be staying here for my studies for 3.5years. I wish to trod around the country like you did. So can you please share your itineraries of four weeks? I won’t be able to do it in one go but would love to go around in manners similar to yours.

  5. I search on google where to travel in my summer vacation and Reached your post and I feel Japan is best places to my next trip, This places is awesome for travel. Thanks for Sharing.

  6. Swati says

    Arigatou gozaimas for this amazing post. 😀
    Mouthwatering and wonderfully captured. Looking forward for more excerpts about Japan! 🙂

  7. Amazing post. You summed up a whole country so beautifully with all your pictures. The bento box looks so tempting… 🙂

  8. When talking about Japan, I have only heard people talk about its face-paced cities and how it is super expensive. But you have captured the serenity that the place offers so beautifully in your pictures. I have always been fascinated with the Japanese culture. Hope I get to visit it someday 🙂

  9. Arigatou gozaimas for the post. My Favourite country too. Have lived there for a year and been on a few short trips. Still my thrist to go back to Japan never ends. Awesome place indeed and not to forget how warm the people are.

  10. Perfect, thank you for sharing with us these beautiful pictures about your experience in Japan.

  11. Hello,
    Nice way to show most of Japan in a single post,like movie posters of 90s.
    Thank you for sharing.

  12. Gowthami says

    Hey shivya… I have been following your travels for 3 years now and admire the way you explore the world. But out of some superb coincidence this time your blog came up on my feed while I was waiting at Narita airport bidding adieu to Japan after a 10 days trip here. Your blog took me through a rewind of memories from the last 10 days. An absolutely fitting summary you have shared about the country. The people and their kindness surprises me as to what has made them so (And if there’s a way to bring that to India and in Indians 🤔).. beyond that, the impeccably clean city despite being overpopulated has been a startling realization too. Perfection in everything they do, from wrapping papers to tiny chopstick rests, everyone should experience it’s culture and people at least once.

  13. Chaitanya Agrawal says

    My parents are travelling to Japan on 1 May. Would be great if you could tell us how they could ask Vegetarian food.

  14. Mea says

    How did you ask for vegan/veggie food? I am going soon and want to know. Definitely don’t want to stay hungry there!! Every menu card i looked through so far, even the vegetarian friendly ones, have seafood (crab, fish) marked as vegetarian And it breaks my heart to see that! 🙁 Do tell!

  15. Have seen many videos about Japan.
    And this small country seems so beautiful. A visit to this country is a must for every traveler.
    But have also heard that Japan is a little bit costly

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.