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The Ultimate Guide to Japan: 8 Reasons to Visit

by Travelbag on 24 October 2016, 15:10PM

From the weird to the wonderful, Japan is full of unique experiences whether that’s the famous robot hotels or the delightful culture of the Jomon period. At Travelbag, we adore everything about Japan, but here are our 8 favourite attractions.

 

Shinkansen

Japan's bullet train

The Japanese ‘Bullet Train’ is a must on all visits to Japan, it epitomises everything you expect from public transport. The high-speed train is always on time to the second, beautifully clean, and quick (travelling at 200mph, nearly double the speed of Britain’s fastest train). Our favourite stretch of Shinkansen track would possibly be around Shizuoka, here there are unparalleled views of Mt Fuji with long rolling fields of tea plantations. Also, don’t forget to allow some time before to grab yourself a bento box, a Japanese packed lunch filled with delicious small finger food.

Tip: Visit Japan during the 2020 Summer Olympics for a chance to ride a short section of track on the new Maglev Shinkansen, not due for total completion until 2027.

 

Cherry Blossoms

Japan's Cherry Blossoms

Typically running through the month of April, swiping from the south and slowly working its way north. The Japanese are so good at appreciating these beauties they have an entire pastime named after it called Hanami, which literally translates into ‘watching flowers’. The process is in fact so big that there are daily news updates of where has begun to blossom.

 

Mt Fuji

Mount Fuji

The massive mountain just outside of the sprawling metropolitan capital of Tokyo is just a spectacular sight. This giant, with an exceptionally symmetrical cone, is actually still an active volcano, but don’t fear, it hasn’t erupted in over 300 years. The walk up this 3776m monster takes roughly nine hours, 6 to climb up, 3 to come down – thanks, gravity!

 

Sapporo Winter Snow Festival

Sapporo Winter Snow Festival

The Sapporo Snow Festival is a tradition dating back to the 1950s when a group of students made 6 small sculptures in Odori Park. Now, sculptures line the 1.5 km of Odori Park and use around 16 000 tonnes of snow (that’s roughly 3500 truck loads!). The Japanese military, the Self-Defense Forces, and many volunteers craft the sculptures. Recent highlights include; a Star Wars sculpture, a snow replica of Melbourne’s Flinders street station, and 2016 saw a 17ft frozen model of Macau’s St Paul’s ruins.

 

Tokyo

Tokyo

Often referred to as the largest city in the world, this massive capital is home to quite possibly the cleanest streets in the world. While walking the streets you’ll see health conscious residents masked up so not to pass on or catch others germs, you’ll find free hand sanitizer on every street corner and mascots of MNCs handing out free packs of tissues. As you can probably tell, the stereotype of the typical polite Brit is terribly misconstrued, as the real polite lot are the Japanese; they even have plastic meal replicas at the counter as a menu so you can see what you’re ordering.

 

Snow Monkeys

Snow Monkeys

The Japanese Macaques are the most northerly-living monkeys in the world, found throughout Japan with one even calling the streets of Tokyo home for several months. These cuties often come down from the mountains to warm in the hot natural springs of Onsen during the colder snowy months – hence the name ‘Snow Monkey’.

 

Food and Sake

Japanese Food

There’s so much more to Japanese food than rice and Sushi. The proof is the 560 Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo alone, but you can still find cheap ramen noodle bars down many a backstreet. These cheap eateries are also where you’ll find the food menus made entirely of plastic food that looks good enough to eat itself. In Japan, they practice ‘Hara Hachi Bu’ or ‘eat until 80% full’ (literally translates into ‘stomach 80%’), an impressive activity when surrounded by so much heavenly cuisine.

 

Hitachi Seaside Park

Hitachi Seaside Park

Set on 140-hectres of land, the park is famed for its season round bloom of various flowers and more specifically the baby blue-eye flowers. Other features of this giant park include; 170 varieties of tulips, 1 million daffodils, and a mass planting of bassia scoparia.

 

So, maybe you fancy trying one of over 200 Kit-Kat flavours or spending Christmas Day in KFC (a recent Japanese tradition), all we know is for a perfect tailor-made Japanese holiday call our Travel Experts or visit in a local shop. Find our latest Japan offers here and more inspiration here.


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