Japan is a fantastic country in East Asia in the northwest Pacific Ocean. This Asian country is where the traditions and modern life meet. A combination of stunning nature, respectful and kind people, mouth-watering cuisine, and many other factors should make you put Japan on your bucket list! Traveling to Japan is very easy for travelers as there is a wide range of accommodation, convenient transportation, etc.

Why Visiting Japan?

Japan is a fantastic destination, combining the east’s traditions and the modernity of the west. The country is one of the world’s oldest civilizations with a rich and diverse history. Nature, historical sites, religious temples, etc., are among the main reasons to visit Japan.

The first thing that comes to mind about traveling to Japan is the country’s nature. The country is the home to real natural paradises in the world. Among these attractions are Mount Fuji, a world-renowned mountain, Bamboo forests, etc.

Japan is a paradise for shopping lovers. You will find some of the world-class shopping centers for buying souvenirs, handicrafts, and many other items in Tokyo and major cities. In Tokyo, areas like Harajuku, Venus Fort, and Akihabara are remarkable in this case. In Osaka, on the other hand, Umeda and Shinsaibashi are brilliant for shopping.

You definitely have tried Japanese cuisine or at least have seen Japanese restaurants back home. One of the main reasons for visiting Japan is the country’s fantastic cuisine, among which is Kaiseki. If you are going to visit Japan, missing Japanese cuisine is disappointing.

Temples and zen gardens are gorgeous in Japan. You can experience peace and tranquility in these holy places.  Fushimi Inari, Matsumoto Castle, and Osaka Castle are among the temples’ highlights in this spot of the world.

When you visit the country, you will quickly notice the Japanese people’s behavior. They are exceptionally respectful and helpful to everyone. For example, when you enter a train, you will be amazed by the peace and the silence of the atmosphere.  

Japan Top Destinations

Best Time to Visit Japan

The best time for visiting Japan is from March to May and October to November. Autumn and spring are the best seasons to visit this beautiful country.

Spring (March - May)

Temperature (Tokyo): 5°C (41° F) – 15°C (59° F) 

Features

Since March, Japan’s weather becomes delightful, with mostly sunny days and cool nights. In fact, spring is one of the best times to visit this beautiful country. Make sure to check the weather forecast since the nights can still be chilly. In northern areas, you should expect cold weather.

Tips

“Sakura” or cherry blossoms are the beautiful spring symbols in Japan. These sakuras starts blossoming from the south in late March to the north. Make sure to pack both warm and summer clothes for spring as the weather can be unpredictable. 

Summer (June - August)

Temperature (Tokyo):   19°C (66° F) – 31°C (88° F)

Features

The rainy season in Japan is from June to July. After that, the temperature increases rapidly, and it becomes suitable for swimming in the country’s coastal areas. Tokyo coasts and the remote islands of Okinawa are highly recommended.

Tips

Ensure to pack some light and breezy clothes. However, for hiking and climbing, you will need warmer clothes.

Autumn (September – November)

Temperature (Tokyo): 12°C (53.6° F) – 10°C (50° F)

Features

Autumn is the best time for visiting Japan and its beauties since the heat of summer eases, and the weather become fresher and drier. Yellow and red trees in many spots of the country, such as Nara prefecture, Kyoto prefecture, and Nikko, are exceptional.

Tips

You need to pack just like the spring. Bring a combination of cold and warm clothes as the weather is not easily predictable. Also, make sure to check the weather forecast before your plan.

Winter (December – February)

Temperature (Tokyo): 2°C (36° F) – 12°C (54° F)

Features

Winter weather in Japan highly depends on the region. For example, Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Kyoto have mild weather with the least snow and rain. However, in the country’s northern and western sides, you will experience much colder weather.

Tips

In cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, you need to pack clothes like sweaters, pants, jackets, and scarves. However, in Gifu, Nagano, Yamagata, Akita, Fukushima, Aomori, and Hokkaido, you need to pack some very warm clothes!

 
 

Best Japan Tours

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Japan Travel Guide 1

The Best Japan Tour

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Japan Travel Guide 2

Gods Gather at Izumo Taisha

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Japan Travel Guide 3
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Great Nature Mount Aso from Fukuoka

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Todoroki Waterfall from Fukuoka

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Japan Travel Guide 7

Have a Lobster BBQ in Kyushu

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Amaou Japanese Strawberry Farm

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Things to Do in Japan

In simple words, the fun never ends in Japan. There are so many things to do in this country that you might have to plan more than a few trips to this country to try them all. Or you will have to stay for several weeks. Their ideas for spending quality time and enjoying yourself do not end with family-friendly activities along with crazy and exciting things to do. Besides the fun and entertainment, there are many historical sites where one can get familiar with the rich culture and traditions of these amazing people.

There are more things to do in Japan than the list before you. And as soon as you step into Tokyo, the number of activities increases drastically. So have fun doing all the things you can, and discover all the best things this country has to offer.

Soak in an Onsen

Onsen in Japanese culture is a hot spring turned into a traditional bath. Since there are numerous volcanoes in Japan, the people have taken to turning them into their bathing spots with indoor and outdoor baths. They are rooted in the country’s culture, and to visit some of the Onsens, you might have to follow certain cultural rules. They are for hygiene, health, and they make you feel very comfortable and relaxed.

You can visit an Onsen almost anywhere in Japan, but do not leave it for the end of your trip. As soon as you see one, make sure to give it a go. Some Onsens in Tokyo use wine and other drinks to imitate the natural Onsens, but the real deal is something much better.

Enjoy the Views of Mount Fuji From a Distance or Up Close

Mount Fuji is a volcano that looks as if it is something out of a painting since it is so perfect. The mountain is surrounded by lakes, hot springs, and beautiful nature. From afar or on the mountain itself, Mount Fuji offers one of the best views you can get in Japan. And it is something to behold all year long. When it is covered with snow in winter or surrounded by green and lively trees of spring and summer, Mount Fuji is always beautiful. It is known to be hiding behind the clouds as well, which is also still attractive in its own way.

Hiking and conquering Mount Fuji is also among the top things people do. If going up the volcano is the goal, keep in mind to have enough training, an expert guide, and all the necessary gear. It looks perfect from a distance, but Mount Fuji is known to have some challenging hiking trails.

Get Enchanted by the Beauty of a Bamboo Forest

Find peace and tranquility in a Japanese Bamboo Forest. The country is famous for its Bamboo, but have you ever experienced walking in a dense Bamboo forest? They give a strange and amazing feeling as you walk inside them. That is why it is almost impossible to find one that is not packed with visitors nowadays. Crowded or not, a walk in a Bamboo Forest is one thing you have to do in Japan.

The most popular Bamboo Forest in the Country is Arashiyama, but it is probably crowded all year round since it is very famous. But have no worries as there are more of these amazing places all over the country. As you explore one of these magical Bamboo Forests, try to find peace and tranquility, it is said they are the perfect spot for this end since they ward off evil.

Discover the Beauties of Japanese Castles

One or several of the things that make the already fantastic landscape of Japan are their Castles. The Japanese people and the Samurai used to make something like a paradise and then call it a Castle. There are so many marvelous castles all over the place that it would be an injustice to just name one. And all of these structures are amazing in their own ways. For example, the Himeji Castle is known to be the biggest; the Osaka Castle is a pretty and luxurious one, and the Matsumoto Castle for its color.

All the other Castles have their own features as well, with each of them holding a portion of the country’s history. Visit as many Japanese Castles as you can, because they are all wonderful places. You can enjoy the amazing trees, the architecture, and at the same time, indulge yourself with history and culture.

Travel to Hiroshima and Learn its History

If you want to learn a little about history, one of the most important parts of the country’s history is found in Hiroshima. In August 1945, an atomic bomb brought a grim fate to Hiroshima, and ever since the end of the Second World War, the city and its Peace Memorial became an important part of Japan. Visiting Hiroshima and its Hiroshima Museum is something that everyone should do to learn its history and dark fate. It is also possible to see the people’s resolve in building a bright future. Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome, pay your respects to the fallen, and then move into the modern city and enjoy its beauties.

Try the Cheapest to the Most Luxurious Ramen

Ramen originated in China, but it is essential to try in Japan. They are basically the cheapest and fastest of the fast-food in the country, but they come in numerous flavors. They are healthy, not the same chape noodles people eat in college! From one place to the other, the ingredients and things added to the hot steaming bowl of this food.

Trying their Ramen is mostly about the experience, but it can also be a tasty and luxurious experience. Try the meat Ramen, the vegetarian version, or the simple vending-machine ones, and find your favorite type of this broth. Since there are different kinds of this food, keep trying the new versions of it that you discover while traveling.

Watch a Sumo Wrestling Match

Sumo Wrestling is an ancient sport, and more than that, an important aspect of Japanese culture. You can get a fair share of stories and legends behind this sport, but Sumo Wrestling was originally a sport and ritual to entertain the gods. Both the Wrestlers and the audience have their own roles like tossing salt and singing for the ongoing match.

In any case, Sumo Wrestling is an ancient national sport with six official events each year. If you want to catch professional matches, plan your visit carefully to see one of the six. Although Sumo Wrestling is not an Olympic sport, it is still exciting to watch.

See the Artistic Performances of Geisha

Geisha are traditional expert female artists who dance, play music and are trained in other traditional arts as well. It is fascinating how this cultural part of Japan has lived on after so long, in the tea houses and traditional establishments. These skilled Geisha offer the best traditional and cultural performances you can see in the county, but their services are expensive. If you cannot afford them or do not have the time to see their performance, at least see them in their unique dresses and make-up in the streets of the Gion district at night.

Walk Through the Legendary Fushimi Inari Shrine

One of Japan’s unique attractions is the orange gates of the Fushimi Inari shrine. The path is long and goes upwards at some point, and at the end of the trail among green trees, you will get a great view. Since the walk and hike in Fushimi Inari are among the top things to do in Japan, it isn’t easy to make the most of this trip with all the crowds. It is recommended to visit during the early morning hours and walking until the end of the trail of Torii gates of Fushimi Inari to get fewer crowds.

Busy or not, going to Fushimi Inari is a must, both during daylight hours and at night. It is free, and it is open all day long, making it easy to fit in your plans. Bring a camera, enjoy the trail and the beauties around you while looking for the perfect opportunity to take pictures.

Visit the Magical TeamLab Borderless Museum

Lose yourself in a world of lights and lanterns in the TeamLab Borderless Museum. This exhibition of lights and sounds is a memorable experience during a trip to Japan, like walking in a different world. This magnificent piece of art is a trendy place to visit; therefore, it is best to book your visit ahead of time. Finding a suitable opportunity to take pictures may be difficult in the TeamLab Borderless Museum because of the crowds of visitors, but be sure to have a good camera. Walking in the TeamLab Borderless Museum is a must-try activity like no other. Make sure not to miss it.

Attend a Cooking Class in Japan

Japanese cuisine is a world of wonders with rich flavors, therefore attending a cooking class is one of the best things to do while in Japan. Depending on how good a learner you are, you can discover the basics of their cuisine and move on to the more complicated recipes. Vegetarian or meat dishes come in variety as you move from one region to another. If your time and budget permits, learning how to cook and attending Japanese cooking classes is always a good idea.

Travel by a Bullet Train

It may sound like an odd thing to do, but riding the bullet train in Japan is very fun as it speeds across the country and along with the villages. With a top speed of 320 km/h, it will only take 2 hours to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto. Besides the speed, the Japanese bullet train is also very clean and comfortable. The fast and efficient bullet trains or Shinkansen connects all the major cities, making it possible to have safe and rapid transportation from one point to the other. There is only the matter of their expenses, varying from one spot to another. However, there are always suitable offers.

Have Dinner and Watch an Extraordinary Performance at the Robot Restaurant

Theme restaurants are trendy in Japan, especially in Tokyo, with the exotic Robot Restaurant having the spotlight as the best of them. If you want to describe the Robot Restaurant in one word, that word would be ‘Insane’ because it is mostly about the performances rather than food. It has an excellent performance of all kinds of robotic things along with lights and music, making it something to see at least once.

Although most things in Japan are family-friendly, it is best not to bring any kids to Robot Restaurant. It is a crazy display with ninja and dragon robots with the occasional dancer wearing bikinis and fighting the monsters; so, it is not precisely suitable for children.

Get More Familiar with Japanese Culture by Staying at a Ryokan

To top the experience of this country, you have to stay in a Ryokan. A Ryokan is a traditional-looking inn or hotel that will serve you traditional meals and tea, in the old fashion ways, and provide a place to rest like the old times. It is surprisingly comfortable, even though you will be sleeping on the ground with futons and in traditional ways. You will be well taken care of, and with a lot of hospitality, while experiencing the way of life that locals used to have before the modern days.

Experience a Real-life Go-Kart

Dress up as your favorite character from the Go-Kart game in Nintendo 64 and go for some karting in the streets of Tokyo. Fans of Mario and gaming will fall in love with this activity, and anyone else who has no memories of playing this game will also find it enjoyable. Go-Kart is among the most exciting things to do in Japan that any travelers must try at least once.

Photo by Phil Whitehouse via Flickr

What to see in Japan

Local Transportation in Japan

Bus

City buses are alternatives to the metro that you can find in almost all Japanese cities. However, in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Sendai, Nagoya, Kanazawa, and other tourist cities of the country, there are special buses for tourists as well. 

Metro

Extensive metro network systems are operating in major cities of the country such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, helping you reach the city’s most important spots. The metro starts to operate around 5 to midnight. 

Bicycle

Biking will be an excellent experience in japan. Many hotels and hostels offer free bicycles to get around the cities. 

Taxi

There are some spots in the country that you can’t reach by metro or bus. In such cases, you need to take taxis. It’s recommended to have your address in Japanese to give the driver not to get confused or lost.

Intercity Transportation in Japan

Air

Many airlines in Japan, such as Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), help you reach 50 destinations in the country. Peach Aviation, Vanilla Air, Jetstar Japan, Air Do, Air Asia Japan, Spring Airlines Japan, Starflyer, IBEX Airlines, and Fuji Dream Airlines are other airlines in Japan.

Shinkansen

Major cities in Japan are connected by a bullet network system run by Japan Railways Group (JR Group) and known as Shinkansen, with 320 kilometers per hour.

 

Regular Train

There are many cities in the country without Shinkansen trains, and you should take regular trains to reach them. 

 

Bus

Buses for intercity transportation are the best for budget travelers if you have no problem with slow traveling or spending a night on a bus. 

 

Ferry

Japan is made up of more than 6,800 islands. Therefore, using the ferry as a means of transportation is very crucial. Ferries in Japan are modern, offering a variety of amenities. 

Flight Deals to Japan

Japan Travel Costs

Accommodation
Budget$26 – $52
Mid-Range$64 – $128
High-End$156 – $311
Food
Budget$13
Mid-Range$20
High-End$64
Transportation
Budget$7.50
Mid-Range$20
High-End$57
Intercity Transportation
Budget$26
Mid-Range$68
High-End$192
Entertainment
Budget$5.80
Mid-Range$16
High-End$45
Alcohol
Budget$6.17
Mid-Range$16
High-End$42
Average Daily Costs
Budget$53
Mid-Range$133
Luxury$329

Best Hotels in Japan

Find the best hotels in Japan using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.

Japan Travel Tips

Tipping

Don’t tip in Japan ever! It’s considered rude, no matter how great their service will be. It is an essential tip!

Smoking

Smoking in the streets is forbidden in Japan. If you want to smoke, make sure to find a designated area for smoking, which can be found around the country. Outside such areas, it’s considered disrespectful!

Tattoo

Tattoo in Japan does not make a positive impression because it’s a sign of criminal gangs like Yakuza. The attitude is changing, but still, it’s better to cover your tattooed parts of your body.

IC card

Make sure to buy IC cards, which is the payment method for public transportation. It also works in convenience stores, vending machines, and even game arcades. Each city has its own card, and it’s called a Suica card in Tokyo.

Not any No!

You won’t hear the answer “no” in Japan because it’s how the Japanese avoid any offense. However, many times, “yes” is actually “no”! You need to see the clues to find out if the answer is what they meant or not.

Bow

Bowing the way that Japanese people show their respect. There are different levels of bows, including 30-degree bow (quick), 70-degree bow (quick), and 90-degree bow (long). The last one is usually done for high authorities, like a president or a CEO.

Etiquettes

Eating in the streets, smoking in the streets, taking photos of people, pointing at people or things, speaking loud outside, saying no aggressively, entering someone’s house with shoes on, etc., are considered disrespectful. 

Language

Japanese is the official language in Japan, learning some basic phrases can definitely be helpful. However, Japanese people are usually good at English, and in major cities, you won’t face critical trouble regarding language.

Safety

Japan is the fifth safest country in the world. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about safety in this beautiful country.

Tap Water

Tap water is safe and reliable in Japan. Besides the edibility, tap water has a fantastic quality, and you don’t need to have bottled water or mineral water.

Voltage

There are two plug types in Japan, which are A and B. the voltage is 100V and 50/60Hz.

Emergency Calls

Emergency Numbers
Police110
coast guard118
Fire, ambulance, emergency rescue119
Foreign Residents Support Center “FRESC”0570-011000
Disaster Voice Message171
Weather Announcement Service177

Currency & Money Tips

The official currency of Japan is Yen (円, en), dividing into 100 sen (not used in daily life, but in stock markets, etc.) with denominations of 1,000 yen, 2,000 yen (very rare), 5,000 yen, and 10,000 yen, and coins of  1 yen, 5 yen, 10 yen, 50 yen, 100 yen and 500 yen. Foreign currencies are not accepted in Japan.

Cash

Cash is still the most used payment method in Japan, especially for small ones. It would help if you had cash for small entrance fees and small restaurants, shops, etc. Also, having cash for payments like buses, trams, etc., are recommended.

Credit cards

Credit cards are widely accepted in major cities, especially in hotels, most department stores, mid to high-end restaurants, outlet malls, many train stations, convenience stores, supermarkets, etc.

ATMs

Unfortunately, most ATMs in Japan don’t accept cards issued in other countries. The exceptions are the post offices and 7-eleven convenience stores across the country. The rate would be competitive, but the service fee can vary depending on the card. Beware that most ATMs in Japan are out of operation at night.

Money Exchange

Exchanging money in Japan is available in banks, post offices, major hotels, licensed changers in airports, etc. According to your currency, the best way is to exchange your money before coming to Japan. For example, you won’t face any problem regarding money exchange for US dollars. However, you may not find some Asian currencies.

Food & Drink (Japanese Food)

If you like to go on a food tour, plan for a long trip to Japan to sample their rich cuisine along with some of the best Asian drinks you can have. Like most countries, you can find almost all of their traditional or modern dishes in the capital of Tokyo. But in Japan, it is best to stay on the move and try new food. Traveling and trying new things in this country is also a good idea to learn their culture and eating habits along with some of their legends. It isn’t easy to name all of their unique foods; therefore, this list only includes those you should not miss, even as an ordinary traveler.

If you find their food impressive, keep a lookout for all of their specialized and traditional restaurants. Whatever you may like in a cuisine, Japan probably has it, even much better than what you expected it to be.

Sushi

Sushi is the number one dish of Japan that any traveler must try, even if they have never had Sushi in their home country. Since it is a famous food all over the world, you might ask why you should have Sushi in Japan? The answer is the freshness, the expert Japanese chefs, and local ingredients. It is a very simple food with rice and vinegar as base ingredients as well as different kinds of raw fish and vegetables on top. There are numerous versions of this food found all over the country, so if you want to taste it more than once, nobody will stop you.

A hint about this food is that it is not exactly an original recipe of the Japanese people, and not exactly made to be served as food either! Sushi was initially a method of keeping fish edible for long periods, but it turned out tasty and healthy. Nowadays, there are even some varieties of this dish that do not use raw fish. Discover your favorite kind of Sushi that has been perfected over the ages by the hands of local Japanese chefs.

Sashimi

Sashimi is a kind of raw meat dish that originated in Japan, and remains a traditional food of the country. It is mistaken with Sushi a lot because of the raw fish used in Sashimi. The major difference between the two dishes is that Sashimi is made with thin slices of meat. These thin slices are very carefully cut, and they are never served with rice. Additionally, Sashimi is served with soy sauce and wasabi.

Both of these country’s raw meat foods require the chef to be an expert. It is not only to make the food into perfection, but it is also to inspect the quality of the fish and red meat used along with the vegetables and other ingredients.

Ramen

Ramen outside of Japan has nothing to do with the Ramen served inside the country. Most people know Ramen as cheap and quick wheat noodles (which they are) with little to no need of any effort or other ingredients. The real Ramen you have to try in the different parts of this country is made with fresh noodles, eggs, slices of meat, soy sauce, vegetables, and many more spices and herbs. The taste is like no Ramen you have ever tasted, and it is very rich and healthy.

The texture and taste of the real Japanese Ramen come with preparing the broth and its numerous ingredients. As soon as you try Ramen in Tokyo, you will fall in love with this simple yet very delicious dish.

Tempura

Tempura is mostly the name of a cooking method and serving rather than the name of a food. It was a dish of fried fish and vegetables served with various side dishes. Nowadays, it is almost any kind of meat and vegetables deep-fried using this method. At first, the ingredients, meat or vegetables, are covered in an egg batter, and then they are deep-fried in oil, and that’s it! Tempura is just that, fried fish or vegetables. But what makes it very unique among Japanese food is all the various things that are served along with the Tempura.

What is mostly served with Tempura usually includes sweet potatoes, eggplants, mushrooms, shiso leaf, lotus root, prawn, radish, soy sauce, ginger. It is sometimes even served on top of a plate of rice.

Japanese Curry (Kare-Raisu)

In the late 19th century, the Indian Curry found itself in japan with a few modifications. This new Curry was given the name of Kare Raisu or Japanese Curry. This story is that the Indian dish was given to the British, and as soon as the British found themselves in Japan, they introduced it to the Japanese people, and hence, a new recipe was born. The Japanese Curry is very well localized with regional ingredients and became something trendy that still exists. This version of Curry has a sweet taste compared with the original, with lots of meat and vegetables that are served on top of rice.

The texture, taste, and smell are unique, so it is a must-try dish of this country and India. It is still spicy and hot, but not as much as the original recipe. If too much spice is not tolerable for you, ask for one of the milder versions with less spice.

Yakitori

Yakitori is a king of skewered chicken that is grilled over hot coals, which goes great with beer. There are numerous ways of making this food, some very simple while others are extremely luxurious and delicious. For making the Yakitori, different parts of the chicken are taken, cleaned, seasoned, and then covered with a soy-sauce-based sauce. As soon as the skewers are ready, they are barbequed and served with vegetables.

In the contemporary versions of Yakitori, you can see some people also using pork and beef as well as fish besides the usual chicken. Make sure to have some Yakitori along with a drink of your choice to have a more memorable meal in Japan.

Shabu-Shabu

Shabu-Shabu is a very exotic food with an odd way of serving and eating. First of all, you have to find a restaurant specializing in serving Shabu-Shabu since the ingredients are served raw with a pot for you to make into a broth! You are provided with the types of meat you want to put into your broth, with various types of vegetables and ponzu or sesame-based sauces for dipping. You can ask for instructions on the different ways of making your broth just the way you like it. Just be careful as you will have a time limit in almost all restaurants.

In case you are wondering, the name Shabu-Shabu is given to this dish for the sound the meat makes as you are boiling it in the pot. Try it with different dipping sauces as well as a plate of rice, and bring your friends and family for this fun and tasty experience.

Udon

Udon is a hearty and delicious soup of Japan, getting its name from its thick wheat noodles. It is in some ways similar to Ramen since it can be quick and cheap, suitable for people with little time to eat. It can also be, in its simplicity, very healthy and delightful. Udon is the best thing to eat during the year’s colder times. This soup can be made with various ingredients added to the mix, including a sauce made with soy sauce.

Udon is just so good! There are even some restaurants and establishments that specialize in only this Japanese dish. These specialized places even make the noodles just before preparing the soup, offering only fresh Udon to their customers.

Soba

Unlike Udon, Soba is a thin noodle made from buckwheat flour. Soba can be served hot in the form of a broth, topped with vegetables and spices, or served cold with a dipping sauce. Specialized Soba restaurants let you choose the type of vegetable you want to be added. In contrast, other places mostly add onions, and garlic among several other vegetables, to keep the earthly taste and texture. The color and name of Soba come from the buckwheat flour that is used to make the noodle, giving it a unique flavor.

It is not very difficult to make; therefore, if you liked them, make sure to ask for the recipe and the way of making the noodles at home. Fresh Soba is healthy and tasty, and it can very easily become your favorite Japanese food.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a food that looks like a pancake, but you decide how to cook it. Okonomiyaki literally means ‘grilled how you like,’ and most restaurants take that name to heart. In most places, the staff will prepare the food for you, using the ingredients you select (flour, a kind of batter with eggs, meat, beans, and vegetables), while in others, they let you cook for yourself! It is a fun and delicious experience to have an Okonomiyaki, and because of that, you should not miss it while traveling to Japan.

Onigiri

Onigiri is a simple, tasty, and reasonably priced snack available anywhere in Japan. You can even purchase these delicious and small snacks at stores, in different shapes, and wrapped in a kind of dried seaweed. Their flavor comes from several ingredients that vary depending on your taste. It is safe to say there are limitless variations of Onigiri since it can be so very easily modified. Some of the most common combinations are vegetables with different meat types and eggs. Put some dipping sauce next to them, and you will get addicted to the Onigiri.

Gyoza

Gyozas are mouth-watering and crispy snacks inspired by the famous Chinese Dumplings. To make Gyoza, a circular dough is filled with cabbage, chives, mushroom, garlic, ginger, and minced pork, wrapped and then pan-fired into perfection. There are also other kinds of Gyoza which are boiled or deep-fried and use different vegetables as fillings. So far, the Gyoza of Japan is very similar to the Chinese Dumplings. What makes them different is mostly the dipping sauces they use, such as soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and chili oil.

Miso Soup

Miso Soup or Miso-Shiru is a very traditional Japanese soup, made by mixing miso with dashi broth (a kind of fish stock). The traditional version of Miso Soup is mostly very simple and served as a side dish with daily meals. The already small yet rich soup can become better by adding tofu, onion, wakame seaweed, or several other optional vegetables for some added texture. Miso Soup goes perfectly with almost all Japanese dishes. As flavorful as it gets, it is never served as a meal. Even as a side dish, it is done with other side dishes such as rice.

Unagi (freshwater eel)

Unagi is one of Japan’s eel dishes, more specifically, the freshwater eel. It may not look very delicious, but as soon as you give it a try, it will easily become one of your favorite parts of Japan’s cuisine. The Unagi is never served raw, as the eels can sometimes be harmful when not cooked. The eels are first sliced into smaller pieces, and then they are covered in kabayaki sauce, which has a sweet taste. As soon as they absorb the sauce’s flavor, they are grilled over hot coals and then served.

Unagi is traditionally served over a bed of rice, with its thick soy-based sauce. But you may also find the fried version of Unagi that tastes amazing with a drink. It is suggested to try both versions at least once.

Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu is a kind of pork cutlet that was inspired by western cuisines.  Tonkatsu was, and still is, a staple food of the working class, which is fast and easy. For the Tonkatsu, pork is dipped in flour and a kind of egg batter then covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried in oil. Try finding a specialized Tonkatsu restaurant in Japan, serving this food with its special sauce and less oil. As you try Tonkatsu in different parts of Japan, you will see various kinds of vegetables and fruits as toppings, usually including a cabbage salad.

Mobile & Internet

Wi-Fi is becoming widely used in Japan; however, they are not available everywhere. So, buying a SIM card can still be the best way of getting connected. The best company is B-mobile for travelers. However, if you have no problem with paying a little extra money for better speed, consider U>mobile as well. There is bad news! It’s tough to find SIM cards in Japan for calls and texts for non-residents.

How to buy

You can simply put it in your pass purchase. Also, several vending machines and kiosks sell SIM cards in airports. Besides, electronic sellers like Yodabashi Camera and BIC Camer sell B-mobile as well.

Prices

Prices
b-mobile (2970 yen -~$28 USD),7GB – 21 day
U>mobile (3780 yen)220MB of high-speed data per day – 15 days

Holidays & Festivals

NameDate 2021Date 2022
New Year’s Day1-Jan1-Jan
Coming of Age Day11-Jan10-Jan
National Foundation Day11-Feb11-Feb
Emperor’s Birthday23-Feb23-Feb
Spring Equinox20-Mar21-Mar
Shōwa Day29-Apr29-Apr
Constitution Memorial Day3-May3-May
Greenery Day4-May4-May
Children’s Day5-May5-May
Sea Day22-Jul18-Jul
Sports Day23-Jul10-Oct
Mountain Day8-Aug11-Aug
Respect for the Aged Day20-Sep19-Sep
Autumn Equinox23-Sep23-Sep
Culture Day3-Nov3-Nov
Labor Thanksgiving Day23-Nov23-Nov

Shopping in Japan

Sake

You must never miss sake, a traditional alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. It’s also a good idea to buy some bottles and bring them back home.

KitKat

You can never skip Japan’s specialty, KitKat! It’s one of the most popular candies in the country you can find in other countries as well. The candy is made of green tea, strawberry, espresso, and many other flavors as well.

Kimono

Kimono is a trendy Japanese grab used by locals and tourists alike. You can find it in almost all cities in the country. Don’t forget that both men and women can use it. 

Wagashi candies

Wagashi candies are fantastically made of bean paste and sticky rice. Make sure first to try it in Japan and then bring some back home for your friends.

Cosmetics

Japan is one of the best manufacturers of cosmetic products, including makeup, skincare, and hair products in the world. The good news is that the costs of such products in Japan are exceptionally reasonable.

Sensu Folding Fans

Japanese Folding Hand Fans are multi-purpose tools! It’s an ancient Japanese accessory, weapon, and art piece. You can find these fans almost everywhere in Japan.

Green tea

Green tea is trendy in Japan, and you will find some of the best quality green teas in the world in this country with different flavors depending on the region.

Japanese Knives

You can purchase some of the best cookware in the world in Japan, but knives are something exceptional. They are beautifully designed and crafted, but they can be somehow pricy.

Kendama toys

Looking for something to buy for children? Make sure to try Kendema Toys, the traditional Japanese toy that has been around for ages. It’s similar to yo-yo but more challenging and fun.

Japanese Musical Instruments

Japan has very traditional and amazing musical instruments, like biwa (a traditional lute) and the koto (a type of string instrument). They have fantastic and relaxing sounds.

Toe Sucks

Toe Sucks (tabi) are very popular in Japan. You can find them in any 100-yen store, department store, or marketplace around the country. They are really beautiful.

Omamori

Omramori is a traditional and meaningful gift from Japan that is believed to bring your life a chance! Make sure to buy them for your back home!

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