30 Reasons to Visit Japan

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Source: Jonathan Leung

Japan is a great place to visit. Its culture, tradition, food, temples, architecture, technology, almost everything is amazing. When you once visit it, you’ll love it. You will have the most exciting experience of your life. And why is that? Let us show you.

1. Mt. Fuji

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If you want to experience the breathtaking sunrise, this is one of the most beautiful places to do that. Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan which is actually a perfectly shaped active volcano. It’s been extremely popular over the centuries and local people have always considered it a sacred mountain. It is so tall that you can even see it from Yokohama and Tokyo when the day is clear. Because of its stunning views it also very popular among artists.

2. Kyoto

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This city was once the capital of Japan, and today it is probably one of the most picturesque cities in this marvelous country. It is the town with countless Zen gardens, shrines, temples and other precious historical structures that will leave you breathless. Kyoto is the city which offers a great number of various cultural and artistic events, as well as many nature related events all over the year, so you will certainly enjoy yourself whenever you go there.

3. Hokkaido

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When it comes to Japan, Hokkaido is probably one of the names that you keep hearing all the time.  And why do people talk about it so much? This is also one of the most beautiful places to visit when you go to Japan. It is Japan’s northernmost island which has extremely harsh winters with lots of snow, low temperatures and ice-covered seas. But the perfect and untouched nature will make you fall in love with it, especially if you are an outdoor lover. It is a great place for snowboarders and skiers in winter season and for hikers, campers and cyclists in summer.

4. Takeda Ruin Castle

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People say that Takeda castle built in the 15th century is one of the finest among hundreds of other beautiful Japan castles. It is extremely impressive despite being almost all ruins. Everything is perfect about it: its location on a mountain top, its design, the walls; the views are simply unbeatable and the atmosphere is historic and mysterious. It takes a steep climb to get there from the train station but it is well worth it. Takeda Castle is a perfect place to see Japanese fall foliage and sakura, or experience the spectacle called ‘sea of clouds’.

5. The Imperial Palace

imperial palace
Source: Graham Stanley

Some people say that this is the most beautiful place in the world. You should go and check that out. The Imperial Palace is located downtown Tokyo city and represents a wonderful share of true nature in the middle of the big and busy city. There are two amazing gardens and a park around the palace, open to the public. Once a castle where samurai lived back in the 17th century, today Japan’s Imperial Family resides there. Thousands of tourists come to this wonderful place every day to admire the wonderful architecture of the palace itself and the marvelous plants and seasonal flowers.

6. Japanese Shrines and Temples

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If you are planning to visit Japan, you must put the ancient temples and Shinto shrines on your list. Although the buildings of Shinto shrines are not especially impressive, they are always located in beautiful natural surroundings. The temples almost always come with wonderfully cultivated gardens and you can see a huge variety of statues there such as buddhas, bodhisattvas and ‘guardians of Buddhism’. These amazing places are a perfect starting point for discovering Japanese culture and tradition.

7. Lake Ashi

lake ashi
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This picturesque crater lake in the heart of Hakone National Park is known for its stunning views of Mount Fuji, a great number of hot springs as well as numerous historical sites. The Japanese consider it sacred and there is a Shinto shrine at the base of the lake. You shouldn’t miss it if you happen to be in Japan. You can take a boat ride and enjoy the views of the lush greenery of the surrounding mountains, or you can choose to walk along one of the spectacular trails in the park and enjoy the remarkable views of the lake itself. When you get tired, you can feel the healing power of nature in one of the numerous hot springs.

8. The Pond of God’s Child

gods child pond
Source: Tzuhsun Hsu

The Kaminoko pond is a mysterious pond with sparkling blue, completely transparent and clear water. Underground it is connected to Lake Mashu and there are some fallen trees at its bottom which never rot. This is because the temperature of the water is constantly eight degrees. The perfect clearness of the water makes you feel as if you can touch the bottom, but it is actually five meters deep. The marvelous blue color of the pond persists even on cloudy days and is definitely something you should see.

9. Suspension Bridges in Japan

suspension bridge
Source: PROMasayuki (Yuki) Kawagishi

If you have ever dreamed of walking along exciting rickety bridges like those in adventure films, then you should definitely visit some of the famous suspension bridges in Japan. Japan is the country blessed with countless gorgeous hills and mountains with deep gorges and rivers that run through them. That’s why there are a lot of suspension bridges which can sometimes give you a heart-stopping experience with impressive and magical views all around.

10. Japan Waterfalls

Source: Toshihiro Oimatsu

Being a mountainous region with lots of snow in winter and rain on summer days, Japan is extremely rich with beautiful waterfalls. They are sprinkled all over this amazing country and its rough landscape offers a lot of various kinds of waterfalls. They might not be well known outside Japan, but they are something everyone should see and experience. If you choose to see some of them, you will certainly be amazed by the beauty of the waterfalls and the stunning surroundings.

11. Cherry blossoms

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You will get a trip of a lifetime if you decide to visit Japan during cherry blossom season. It is absolutely impossible to think of spring in this beautiful country without picturing the view of a sea of lovely cherry trees overflowing with wonderful pink blossoms. The Japanese have been appreciating the gentle pink blossoms for centuries and today, the whole nation turns into a shade of pink color as spring approaches. It is their favorite free time activity called ‘hanami’, which literally means ‘looking at flowers’. Everybody enjoys the picnics under the beautiful trees with blossoms.

12. Mifuneyama Rakuen

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Mifuneyama Rakuen is a big park spread over the foot of Mountain Karafune in Saga, Kyushu. It was built as part of a holiday home for one of the rulers of the Takeo Domain and it took three years to be completed. If you happen to visit this beautiful park, you will enjoy the marvelous azaleas, cherry blossoms, wisteria, evergreen plants and crimson maple trees. Together with the stunning views of the mountain rocks it offers a great experience. The park hosts various events as well as photography sessions for its guests.

 13. The Whirlpools of Naruto

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This wonderful natural attraction is among the top landscapes in Japan. The so called Naruto Strait is between Oge Island of Naruto City and Awaji Island. These famous whirlpools occur at high as well as low tides during spring and autumn. The view of the spinning waves that splash and spray the water and the incredible thunderous sound is absolutely spectacular. There is a beautiful long bridge over the place and under the bridge there is a walkway taking you to the whirlpool. Almost 50 meters above the sea, there is also an observatory offering stunning views through the glass floor.

14. Unkai Terrace

unkai terrace
Source: Kentaro Ohno

Seeing the cloud sea is the main reason for visiting Unkai Terrace in Hokkaido. And yes it is a wonderful experience. But it cannot be seen every day since specific weather conditions are needed. Fortunately, even if you miss this spectacle, you will enjoy the look at the constantly changing cloud patterns and the scenic views of the Hidaka Mountains. There is a ropeway gondola taking you to the terrace which is open from May to October. The observation area is amazing and there is also a café nearby where you can enjoy your breakfast along with the breathtaking views.

 15. Japanese Hot Springs

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Natural hot springs or Onsens are extremely popular in Japan. Every region has its resort towns with hot springs. There are various types of Onsens and the variations depend on the minerals found in the water. All hot springs have a relaxing and calming effect on both your body and mind. But depending on the minerals in them, they provide various health benefits. You can enjoy indoor and outdoor Onsens; there are also those which are mixed or only for women or for men; there are lots of public Onsens, but many of them belong to hotels or ryokans. If you ever visit Japan we highly recommend an overnight visit to one of the Onsen ryokans.

 16. Kabuki Theater

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If you want to do something cultural in Japan, one of the great things to do is going to the traditional Japanese theater called Kabuki. This is something nobody should miss when in Japan. The theater involves extravagant costumes, striking make-up, unusual wigs and great showmanship. The movements of the actors, conveying the meanings to the spectators, are extremely important, since they use the old form of the Japanese language. The platforms on the stage are revolving which allows quick changing of the scenes and actors. There is also a footbridge leading through the spectators and the music is live and performed on old traditional instruments. The historical events are the main topics. You will enjoy the attractive and appealing performance.

17. Tokyo Fish Market

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All those sushi lovers must not miss a visit to Tokyo Fish Market. This is probably the biggest and busiest fish market in the world and the great majority of world’s sushi comes through here. There is also a large tuna auction almost every morning before the sunrise. If you want to see it all, you must wake up early, since it opens at 3.30 a.m. But be sure to spend the night somewhere close to the market since there are no trains at that time. And, yes, you must be polite and respectful, and you must follow all the rules if you want to enjoy this unforgettable experience. There are numerous chains and shops at the market as well as various eateries, so it is always good fun.

18. Bullet trains

bullet train
Source: Dom Crossley

You have probably heard about fast trains in Japan, but are they really as speed as bullets? You should go and check that. If they are not, you will definitely enjoy the luxury and comfort they provide. You can have a unique experience of traveling at speeds up to 320 km/hr. The trains connecting the biggest cities, Tokyo and Osaka, are the busiest high-speed lines in the world. They serve over 150 million passengers every year.

19. Tokyo’s Ginza District

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For all those who like shopping and having fun, Tokyo Ginza District is a must visit place. It is the most renowned shopping, entertainment and dining district offering countless boutiques, department stores, restaurants, cafes, galleries and night clubs. You will simply love the place and the crazy crowds that go along with it. Every important and big fashion or cosmetics brand name has its shops there. Most shops in Ginza are open every day and weekend afternoons are the best time to visit them. This is when the central street is closed to traffic and turns into a huge pedestrian zone.

20. Night View from Inasa-yama

night view
Source: Aapo Haapanen

The best place to enjoy the night view in Japan is from Inasa-yama. It is said to be one of the three most beautiful night views in the world. And the view is really spectacular. The Nagasaki port is in the center which is surrounded by mountains from three sides and the lights from homes and the city itself blend with the amazing stars up in the sky. You can enjoy this view from the different places in the city and the best way to do it is from the glass-paneled gondola taking you up to Mount Inasa.

 21. Sake

Source: Martin Abegglen

Sake is a must try when you visit Japan. It is a kind of a beverage which is fermented from rice. Many people think it is a kind of a beer because rice is actually a grain. But this drink is not carbonated and when it comes to the flavor, it is closer to that of wine but still different. It is not distilled, so don’t expect anything like vodka or gin. There are different varieties as well as purities of sake. There are extremely expensive as well as cheap kinds of sake. Nevertheless, sometimes even cheaper sake can have more appeal and uniqueness than those high priced ones, but most of the time you get what you actually pay for.

22. Sushi

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Of course, when you go to Japan, you must try the one and only original sushi. You have probably tried it at home, but you can get the real taste only when you eat it in this wonderful country. It is not only a popular dish with the people outside Japan, it is also one of the favorite dishes among the Japanese. They usually prepare and eat sushi on some special occasions and celebrations. When it first appeared, sushi was actually pickled fish in vinegar, but today there are many different types you can choose from. And they are beautifully served, too. The most popular are: nigiri, gunkan, norimaki, temaki, inari and chirashi.

23. Ramen

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You must try ramen if you visit Japan, you will just love to lean your face over a hot bowl of delicious ramen noodles. It is a very popular dish that originally comes from China. It is not expensive and there are numerous ramen restaurants all over Japan. They are perfect for budget travelers. The dish itself is simple; it is a noodle soup but today it has many different variations and certain districts in Japan are well known for their great ramen. Some of the popular types are: shoyu, shio, miso, tonkotsu and they have different noodles and toppings.

24. Capsule Hotels

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Have you ever imagined how it would feel to sleep in a pod-sized hole? This may sound unusual but interesting. Maybe you could also try this if you like small spaces and crowds.  These hotels were first developed in Japan and they feature a great number of really small rooms, if we can call them like that. They are actually capsules and the main intention was to provide cheap, overnight accommodation for those who do not need services offered by regular hotels. This might be quite an adventure, why not try it!

 25. Puppy Cafés

puppy cafe
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Many people in Japan live in overcrowded apartments, especially in big cities, and it is not allowed to have pets there. That’s why they have come up with the idea of opening pet cafes where they would be able to connect with various animals and just for the price of a cup of tea. Cat cafes have spread all over the country and they include animals like birds, rabbits, goats, some of them even have penguins. You definitely must see this.

26. Japanese Toilets

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Have you ever heard of a toilet that warms your back, sprays water, cleans itself and even plays music? Going to the bathroom in Japan sounds fun. But if you are a Westerner, you might get a bit terrified when you first go into contact with their toilets. There are lots of different buttons and unknown symbols and man figures that you get completely confused; not to mention your fear that you might be sprayed with water by only approaching the toilet. Yes, these things are not cheap at all, but still they are everywhere in Japan. If you are too scared, don’t worry, public washrooms usually have toilets of both styles: Japanese and Western.

27. Karaoke

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Do you know that karaoke actually originated in Japan? That’s why this is the best place to sing your favorite songs to music accompanied with lyrics on the screen. People of all ages in Japan just love karaoke and it is also one of the favorite nightlife entertainments for tourists. Karaoke clubs in Japan usually offer a number of private rooms or boxes with karaoke equipment. Of course there are endless Japanese songs, but most of the places offer a fine collection of English songs, too. You can also order some food or drinks in karaoke boxes and have fun with your friends.

28. Anime & Manga

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What is anime or manga? If you don’t understand them, going to Japan might help you make out why they have become so big and important. Japanese comics – Manga and Japanese animation- anime are integral parts of modern life and culture in Japan today. Once you come to this country, you cannot escape their influence. Without them, Japan would certainly not be so intriguing and colorful as it is. They have even turned into a global phenomenon today. You can find manga and anime characters literally everywhere: fashion, souvenirs, advertising, food, stationery.

29. Clean Japan

super clean
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When you come to Japan, the first thing you notice is how extremely clean it is. You don’t see any litter or even a cigarette butt anywhere. All the streets have a nice smell and you will be amazed when you see that bus drivers have white gloves. Everything is so clean, that it looks completely new. This is how it should be everywhere. They simply respect their surroundings and that’s it.

 30. Efficient Public Transportation

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Can you imagine rush hours in, let’s say, Tokyo? It might seem scary to you, but don’t worry as much as it is crowded it is not a problem to commute all around this huge city. Public transportation in Japan is known for its punctuality, great service, and, of course, crowds of people. And the best way to travel is by bullet trains which offer great comfort and luxury.

If you decide to travel to Japan, you’ll get a chance to visit a country which is completely steeped into its own tradition and culture and where people are extremely proud, generous and polite. We hope this helps you decide to visit this marvelous country.

Have a good trip and travel!