Why visit Japan? Is Japan worth visiting? Over 4 weeks in the country, I realized that Japan is not a place you can understand virtually.
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)
With a bento box – prepared daily for train travellers – to feast on along the way
To relive the past (circa 756 AD) at intriguing fire rituals at Shinto shrines
And feel hopeful gazing at “Ume” – Japanese plum trees – in bloom, signifying the end of winter…
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!
Your days begin in toilets with heated seats, deodorant, music and oscillating bidets
And culminate in Onsens (public Japanese baths) fed by mineral-rich hot springs – after shedding ALL your clothes and inhibitions
So rejuvenating that even snow monkeys come down from the Japanese Alps in winter for onsen…
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.
Then you hit the countryside and marvel at what the earth has given mankind
And forget all about mankind in the dreamy moss forests on Yakushima Island…
You can seek out Japanese style izakayas (neighbourhood bars) for the finest sake
Indulge in incredible Japanese food – even as a vegan
As long as you know how to ask for it 😉
Learn the art of macrobiotic Japanese cooking that balances yin and yang
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.
You can indulge your sweet tooth in mochi
Made of soybean; exotic flavors include horse chestnut, matcha, red bean, ume and sakura.
Without fully realizing the passion and precision it was originally made with
And taste Matcha green tea in a traditional tea ceremony in a temple or secret tea room
Not knowing these tea ceremonies began as peaceful meeting spaces for the Samurai
If you’re lucky, you could wield a 200-year-old Wakizashi or Katana (Samurai swords)
And even try mastering the art of Samurai swordsmanship!
On the rural countryside, where the average age can be close to 80
You can lose yourself amid ancient cedar forests
And traditional architecture that has survived the test of time
Forgetting that a modern, fast-paced city like Tokyo exists
When spring arrives and the “Sakura” – cherry blossom – are in full bloom
You’ll forget you’re still on the same earth…
And even though Japanese / Kanji is difficult to learn
(Learn Arigatou gozaimas: thank you very much)
The thing you’ll remember most fondly is the warmth and politeness of the Japanese people, and their willingness to help no matter what 💚
What do you think, is Japan worth visiting? Why do you want to visit Japan?
*Note: I wrote this post in collaboration with Japan Tourism. Opinions on this blog, as you can tell, are always mine!
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Found your answer to why visit Japan?
Read my blog posts on planning a trip to Japan:
Things to Know Before Travelling to Japan for the First Time
Japan Tourist Visa for Indians: Requirements and Tips
Secrets Behind Some of Japan’s Most Intriguing Traditions
Is the Japan Rail Pass Worth It? A Guide to Bullet Train Travel in Japan
The Ultimate Vegan Guide to Japan
How My Japan Trip Changed My Impression of Japanese People
Why Robinson Crusoe Island Might Just be The Most Unique Place on Earth
Why Travelling in Japan is Like Nowhere Else in the World
Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, “sustainability influencer,” social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes that travel – if done right – has the power to change us and the world we live in.
You just made me go green with jealousy… When will I land in Japan 😍
Soon I hope 😉
Wow! You have my mouth and soul WATERING! xoxoxoxoxo
Hope you’ll get to satisfy both soon 😉
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!
Thanks Trudy! Hope you get to experience it soon 🙂
Now I desperately want to visit Japan for bento- box,sakura, shinkasen,onsen,cedar forests,Samurai,Mochi…..Thanks for sharing your experience.
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
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.
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.
Arigatou gozaimas for this amazing post. 😀
Mouthwatering and wonderfully captured. Looking forward for more excerpts about Japan! 🙂
Amazing post. You summed up a whole country so beautifully with all your pictures. The bento box looks so tempting… 🙂
Nicely written.. 🙂
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 🙂
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.
Perfect, thank you for sharing with us these beautiful pictures about your experience in Japan.
So, finally as you said you are holding a Samurai Sword. Was it very heavy?
Nice way to show most of Japan in a single post,like movie posters of 90s.
Thank you for sharing.
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.
Very alluring and informative
so beautiful pictures and also is a informative post ! thanks for sharing and keep it up !
I am even more excited to head to Japan. Hopefully one day soon I can afford to get there!
I love Japan, especially for their food.
Thanks for this wonderful blog. I Really love japan for their foods an technology.
You are one amazing human…..
My parents are travelling to Japan on 1 May. Would be great if you could tell us how they could ask Vegetarian food.
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!
We just came back from 3 weeks Japan during the sakura season and loved it. What was your best memory about your Japan trip?
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
I want to become like yuhh..
Well said about Japan. We didn’t have time to visit the same diversity of places as you in Japan this year.
I have always wanted to go to Japan and almost got there until the Tsunami came along. You have inspired me to make it happen sooner rather than later.
Thank you so much for an informative article. 🙂
Visited Japan for first time in May 2018, absolutely loved it. Clean, organized, safe, polite and helpful people, and so much to do, I feel like there is something for everyone. 10 days was certainly not long enough, would love to go back.
wow. Japan is in my go to list. I am a veggie and was always thinking Japan could be difficult. But if as vegan you can find so many options I feel inspired to travel more to countries that I thought could be difficult. Hopefully will start with Japan soon ! Thank you for your inspiring posts…