Japan is one of the best travel
destinations in the world and also, one of the most unique countries out there. The people, the food, the culture, the history. Even their transport is awesome!
There are just countless reasons why you should visit Japan and we’re going to look at ten of the best!
1. It’s Incredibly Safe!
To give you an idea of how safe Japan is, I’m going to tell you a couple of things that have happened to me.
So one night I forgot to pick up my skateboard after I went into a shop and didn’t remember until the next morning. It had been lying out in the street all night and it was still exactly where I left it when I went and got it that afternoon.
Another time, I was on a bus on my way to work and somehow managed to get off without remembering my bag. This was a bit more serious since my bag had my wallet and things in it. I asked my boss for help and they went and called the bus company. Within about ten minutes (no kidding) I had my bag back.
It’s pretty amazing how safe your stuff is in Japan. You can even leave your car or even your house unlocked without any worry of anything being stolen!
If you have any worries about going to new places, or you’re not sure which places are safe to go then Japan should be at the top of your list.
2. The Climate
As I’m sitting here, writing this, it’s just another summer day in Tokyo. The Sun’s out, there are clear blue skies and it’s about 35 degrees!
Before coming out here, I had no idea how hot it got in Japan. Up in the north, the summer’s a bit milder and further south – in places like Okinawa – it’s even more humid than it is here in Tokyo.
However, if you come back to Japan in winter, it’s a completely different world.
This leads to reason number 3…
When winter comes round, head into the mountains and it’s just snow as far as you can see. A skier/snowboarder’s paradise, with some areas getting more than 6 metres of beautiful powder (that was this past year)! Perfect shredding conditions!
We had the awesome opportunity of working as ski instructors last season in a town called Yuzawa. This is a traditional Japanese town where you can experience some of the best skiing in the world as well as Japanese culture at its finest.
For anyone looking to do a gap year, skiing here isn’t a bad place to start!
Before coming here, I was a bit skeptical about Japanese food. All I knew was they liked raw fish and seaweed. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of that stuff. But if you think that’s all Japanese food is, then think again!
The streets are littered with restaurants of just about every kind. In Tokyo alone, there are around 160,000 restaurants (Google it if you don’t believe me)!
Some of Japan’s favorite traditional foods include noodle dishes like ramen, udon, and (my personal favorite) yakisoba. I never realized just how many different types of noodles you can get.
They’re also really into their deep-fried stuff, like tempura. This is pretty much just fish or vegetables deep fried in batter. One other fried speciality is okonomiyaki. It’s famous and most popular in cities like Hiroshima and Osaka. What it is, is fried batter piled high with meat, fish, veg or cheese of your choosing. “Okonomi” literally means “to one’s liking”.
I could go on about food for hours but I’ll stop before I get too hungry.
If you want to find out more about Japanese food and drink, check out our article on “The 20 Absolute Best Food and Drink Items to Have in Japan”.
This might seem like a bit of a weird one to have on the list but trust me, it’s worth it.
The transport system in Japan (especially the cities) is unbelievable. Even people who can’t speak any Japanese will have no problems getting around the city. Everything is on time!
Trains are the best way to go. They go absolutely everywhere and there’s one every few minutes.
The culture of Japan is just incredible. One area in particular that this is so clear is their festivals.
They have festivals all year round, celebrating just about anything you can think of.
There’s the snow festival in Sapporo and the fire festival in Nozawa Onsen. Both are amazing to witness. However, nothing is quite as strange and unique as the Kanamara penis festival.
That is not a typo. I’ll just let that sink in for a minute.
There is an actual festival dedicated to celebrating a man’s manliness
. Now I must admit, we have been to this event, and it’s just as weird as you are picturing. There are t-shirts with very creative designs on them. There are also snacks of all shapes and sizes (well, maybe just sizes).
Anyway, festivals are quite a sight to see in Japan and they’re certainly a must-do for travelers.
7. Cherry Blossoms
One of the most iconic symbols of Japan is the cherry blossom. Once a year, they will turn the country pink and people will come from all over the world to witness them.
Whenever it’s cherry blossom season, parks and gardens are just packed with people, picnicking and drinking underneath the trees.
Such a sight to behold, and also a great chance to get hammered with your mates in one of the most unique drinking locations in the world!
We’ve met some amazing people during our time in Japan.
They’re incredibly hard-working for one. About 1 in 5 people work more than 50 hours per week and they also very rarely take holidays. It’s actually getting to the point where the Japanese government is trying to pass a law, forcing employees to take a paid vacation. That’s some dedication!
Other than that, Japanese people are very polite and respectful. Not only will you receive a handshake when greeting someone, but numerous bows as well. Everyone follows the rules. You will not find anyone crossing the road when it’s a red man, nor will you see anyone pick money off the street if they happen to find any.
Not many people can speak good English (just over 10%), but that doesn’t stop them from trying and some of their signs can be quite entertaining for us “gaijins”.
Japan has such an interesting history.
As you’ve probably figured out from the previous 9 points, Japan has something for everyone. Whether you’re a skier, a surfer (Okinawa has some amazing surfing), a photographer or even if you just want an original holiday.
One more bonus point; it’s totally legal to drink in public. You can have open cans while walking through the streets or chilling in the park underneath the cherry blossoms.