Japan 02.03.2015 Transindus
Japan is a fascinating country with lots to explore, but most people have a pre-existing idea of what to expect before they arrive. Some of what you imagine will be true, while other parts will stun and enchant you, so the best way to find out what Japan is really like is to visit. Here are the top five reasons to make Japan your next destination.
Where extreme modernity meets tradition
Japan is ostensibly made up of two contrasting elements - up-to-date modernity and centuries of tradition. It is the juxtaposition of these two factors that makes the country so interesting. While you can travel on highly efficient public transport networks and have a reliable internet connection for the entire time, fine temples, delicate calligraphy and ornamental gardens still exist too.
There are a wide selection of festivals held in Japan every year and planning a trip to coincide with one of these will make for a truly memorable experience. One of the nicest things about a number of these occasions is that they celebrate natural phenomena.
Take the Cherry Blossom Festival, for example, which recognises how beautiful the landscape becomes when it is covered in light pink flowers. Others include the snow and ice festivals held in Sapporo to the north of the country, where the air is cooler.
It is important to get some rest and relaxation while on holiday and for this many people think of the beach, but in Japan they have something much better - onsen. These natural hot springs provide the perfect place to relax weary bones after a few days in the city or trekking in national parks.
Onsen can be found in various locations across the country, but the oldest is thought to be the Yunomine Onsen. Here the water is said to change colour seven times a day and purification rituals are undertaken in the mineral-rich pools.
Japan is a land of castles, with many fine specimens to be explored. Each one has its own distinct character and claim to fame. These include Himeji Castle, which was constructed in the 17th century and is instantly recognisable by its impressive white walls. In contrast, Matsumoto Castle is entirely black and has therefore been nicknamed the Crow Castle. It is where the oldest keep in the whole country can be found.
Alternatively, visit Okinawa Island where Shuri Castle Park is situated. Here you will find ruins associated with the Ryukyuan culture, which thrived in the region between the 12th and the 17th centuries.
Japanese food is so good it has been exported all over the world, but there is no better place to get an authentic taste of this delicious cuisine than in its home country. While sushi and sashimi are fantastic staples, go native with a bento box for lunch. These include rice, pickles and vegetables, with a choice of either fish or meat.
For those wishing to go a little upmarket, there is the kaiseki meal, which involves dining on a series of specially prepared dishes. These traditional occasions often involve between six and 15 courses with everything from sake, soup and sashimi to fish, rice and Japanese hot pot included.
Anyone tempted to try blowfish, or fugu is it is known in Japanese, should ensure they seek out a government licensed chef. This is vital, as if the delicacy is incorrectly prepared it can be fatal when eaten.
If you have inspired by the 5 reasons to visit Japan, contact our team of experts to start planning your trip.