Japan is a wonderful country with its own culture and traditions. Many foreign people who visited this country once, keep going back later on life. If you dream to go to Japan but need some additional information about its people, habits, and other things, this article could help you as we share with you interesting facts tips and resources about Japan to help plan your first trip right now!
Things To See and Do in Tokyo
- Tsukiji Fish Market- This is a free event, but you should arrive early and before dawn to witness the chaos in full swing. The ‘Visitors’ Passageway’ is where you can view the fish auction, which starts at 6.30am. Here you can try the famous blowfish fuku. Take a taxi anywhere in Japan, you won’t need it so hop on the subway to the Hibiya line. Exit 1 at Tsukiji station.
- Sumo – I was tight on money so I went with the cheap option (free) and went to a sumo stable, a training camp where you can watch these huge men train. You should arrive early as they close at 9 am so you can get there around 6. You can find many stables in the city. Just use google to locate them. If you are in the season (January, May, and September), then you can see a sumo competition. To purchase your ticket at the gate, you will need to go to Tokyo’s National Sumo Hall. Remember that the competitions begin at 9am so make sure you get there before 7am. It costs around $20 for tickets, but it is well worth the money.
- Shibuya crossing is located just a few steps from Harajuku. It’s a five-way “scramble cross” that crosses under a giant video screen. For a truly breathtaking scene, you can jump in any of the restaurants that overlook the crossing. This is again free!
- Tokyo city view. This is backpacking genius. Official Tokyo city view costs $18. However, you can avoid their extravagant consumerism by heading to Shinjuku’s Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices building and climbing to the 45th Floor to enjoy Tokyo from their free observation deck.
- Meiji Shrine- You can also walk there from Harajuku, so you can save money and combine Shibuya, Harajuku and this into one amazing afternoon. This shrine, Tokyo’s most iconic (and largest) shrine, is a must-see for all visitors.
- The Imperial Palace – The palace’s east gardens are open to the public at 9:00 AM (except Mondays, Fridays). Although you cannot access the actual palace, the serenity of the gardens will provide a welcome respite from the intense Tokyo.
Okay, now you know what Tokyo is like on a budget. It’s a great place to travel, but not inexpensive, especially if your goal is to climb Mount Fuji. You can still do the activities I have listed. You can choose to eat noodles at the ticket vending machines (they are my specialty) or at the newsagents. Sometimes you will need to spend a lot on sake and sushi, but that’s not cheap in Tokyo.
Kodo, Japan’s Legendary Taiko Drummers
I first heard the roaring force from Kodo from Japan. Kodo 20 years back when the Taiko masters of the drum set provided an enthralling soundtrack to The Hunted, a Christopher Lambert film, The Hunted. It was unlike anything I’d heard beforein my life – thrilling and exotic, extremely dynamic, complex and primal all at the at the same time. I’ve been a fervent fan since.
Their debut was during their debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981, Kodo is inspired by the Japanese island of Sado Island. Since then, they’ve given more than 500 performances in 46 countries around the world in the spirit of “One Earth,” using music as a universal language which they can connect their traditional Japanese culture with other. The group spends about a third of the time touring the world Kodo’s world-renowned performances transcend genres, borders and even time.
Kodo return to North America this year with their latest show, Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery, which was developed by their artistic director (and Japanese Living National Treasure), Tamasaburo Bando. A renowned Kabuki actor, and one of the most renowned and acclaimed of the onnagata (actor with a specialization for female parts) currently on stage, he’s proved to be a catalyst that has allowed Kodo to explore new territory in their highly well-reviewed Taiko expression.
Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with two of members of the Kodo family, Taro Nishita and Eri Uchida about the origins of Taiko drumming and its mythological roots in Japanese folklore, their role as ambassadors for Japanese culture, and about it is like living on Sado Island.
Traditional Food (Not Sushi)
Don’t buy the cheap, sodium-laden packets you ate in your college days! Ramen that is authentic in Japan is something completely different with a rich and complex broth, accompanied by perfectly chewy noodles, and then served with slices of bacon belly and scallions and an egg that is soft.
There are a variety of different kinds of ramen, as well as regional variations. However, there are four basic kinds of broths:
Shoyu: soy sauce
Tonkotsu: pork bone
Miso: miso based
Ramen is among the most popular Japanese dishes however the fact is that noodles that we are familiar with and love were actually developed in China. They first appeared in Japanese houses and in noodle stores around the early 1800s, and then the rest is the story of history.
Making a purchase for Ramen in Japan may be daunting at first, since the majority of times, you must buy an “ticket” from a vending machine, and then hand it to the staff member.
Ramen is among Japan’s traditional “fast foods,” and typically, it’s served swiftly hot, steaming hot and ready to be slurped. While it’s not considered appropriate in your country of origin but it’s a standard practice when eating Ramen. It helps cool your broth, and also shows the enjoyment of the meal. Drink it up!
Gyoza (Fried Dumplings)
If you’re in the market for an experience of Japanese food at home Look at Gyoza! The fried dumplings are simple to cook at home and are the perfect appetizer. They can also be served as a main meal with the rice or noodles that you fry. Gyoza is a type of dumpling (usually filled with vegetables and pork) that are cooked in a pan until crispy and then steamed after cooking. They are served with soy sauce to dip! Make yourself a Gyoza at home using this recipe.
Useful Tips For Your Trip To Japan
- Do not leave tipping in Japanese restaurants. You are probably familiar with leaving tips across the world, however in Japan it is offending because when you leave tips, others might consider it a sign that you do not earn enough.
- It is important to take off your shoes prior to entering into a place. In many establishments, you have to be barefooted. So be sure to look for any shoes in the area of the entrance. If you notice shoes, don’t enter wearing shoes as people might think you are rude.
- When you are on the escalator, remain on the left. This is the norm that applies to everyone in Japan. It’s not a problem, most people are on the left therefore you need to adhere to their example. If you are on the right side, it is rude and impolite.
- Do not smoke in the streets of Japan. Japan has laws prohibiting smoking in public areas. However, it is possible to smoke inside certain areas designated for smokers. Japanese people are concerned about their health and the breathing, which is why smokers aren’t permitted to smoke elsewhere.
- If you’ve got any tattoos you want to cover, do so. Japanese people aren’t fond of tattoos because they were once thought to be associated with the crime group Yakuza. Tattooed travelers aren’t permitted to go to spas, gyms, or swimming pools. Be respectful of others and remember that you cover up your tattoos.
- Be sure to have enough cash. In Japan numerous establishments – such as bars, hotels, restaurants and many other establishments do not accept credit cards. Also, be aware that certain ATMs will not accept foreign credit cards.
- Google Translate or a translation application could make your life easier in cafes, as it can be hard to comprehend Japanese menus without knowing the Japanese language. Simply download Google Translate and use it offline or online or start by taking in online Japanese classes to master the Japanese language.
- If you’re out with Japanese acquaintances, don’t consume your entire meal or drink at the café. People might think you didn’t drink or eat enough. Put a bit of it on your plate or in your glass, and everyone will be satisfied!
- Be careful when using chopsticks. Don’t place your chopsticks in the bowl of rice or cross them. Because that’s how Japanese serve rice to the dead. Also, don’t cut your food with chopsticks. Three simple rules to demonstrate your respect for Japanese traditions.
- Keep in mind that Japanese people don’t eat while they walk, as it is an unprofessional custom. If you must take a break outside, you can locate a bench or a location that you can comfortably sit and eat your lunch.
- If you plan to go to certain Japanese ski resorts, or a handful of cities across Japan by train, you should purchase the rail pass prior to you depart on your journey. This will help you save time and cost. If you are planning to only visit one city, avoid it completely, you’ll not have to.
- Be cautious when using taxi doors. The taxis in all of them have doors that can open and close automatically after you reach the destination. Be aware of your luggage and fingers as well as your clothes.
- Be aware that you may require an VPN to install before you install it.
- Finding a restaurant that is not good is virtually impossible. The food standards are very high and the products are healthy.
- Japan has a plethora of garbage cans, despite being one of the most clean countries on the planet. People don’t smoke or eat and walk around at simultaneously, which means there’s no need for garbage bins in the streets. If you need to dispose of a piece of paper or plastic go to the nearest convenience store, they always have a garbage bin within.
- Purchase the IC card to take public transportation.
- Every season is a great time to visit Japan. Japan is stunning all year long It isn’t a matter of when you’re planning your excursion. In the spring, you will observe a variety of stunning flowers, and in summer you can enjoy a wonderful weather, while in Fall, the country is vibrant and in winter you can take advantage of the mild climate that is not prone to rain and snow. In addition, there are activities like playing the koto, which you can practice throughout the year. What’s not to like?
- Japan is less expensive than you think! Of course, it is important to bring enough cash with you but that doesn’t mean the trip is expensive. If you’re on an extremely tight budget, you can purchase food at convenience stores. The transport cards can aid in saving money.
- Reserve restaurants ahead of time. If you’re planning to go to the same restaurant repeatedly it is best to reserve an appointment prior to going since many restaurants are booked frequently. You can reserve your table using an app or with a short phone call.
- If you’re coming from a different part of the globe, you can make arrangements for an airport shuttle to meet you at the airport. After a long journey, you’ll probably be tired and probably not in the mood to take a look at the frenzied Japanese trains. There’s plenty of time to utilize it in your stay in Japan.
Here are YOUR Japan Travel Questions Answered
Travel Planning Resources In 2022
Are you planning to book your next excursion? Use these sources that have been tested and tried by myself.
Flights: Begin planning your trip by locating the best deals on flights on Skyscanner
Tours package: When we say tour package, it means a pre-arrangement, prepaid trip that combines two or more travel components like airfare, airport transfer, accommodation, sightseeing and other services. Best start with famous Japan tour package company in Australia: Inspiring Vacations Japan
Make reservations for your hotel: Get the most affordable rates for hotels by using these two companies. If you’re located in Europe Use Booking.com and if you’re in another location, you can take advantage of TripAdvisor
Get Travel Insurance. Don’t leave your home without it. Here’s what we would recommend:
World Nomads – Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
Allianz – Occasional Travelers.
NRMA – Travel Insurance issued to residents of NSW, QLD, ACT or TAS
Do you need assistance planning your travel plans? Be sure to visit the Resources Page where we highlight all the amazing companies we can trust when traveling.