7 Reasons to Travel to Japan

I’m about to tell you what “when dreams come true” feels like. There are some people for whom traveling is a way of life. I am one of those people. I traveled back and forth, all around the world. Somehow, there was one place I missed every time. Visiting Japan had always been my dream, but recently it finally became a reality. Now that I went there, all I could think about is going back. But first, let me tell you why it’s probably one of the best places in the world and why I fell in love with Japan.

7 Reasons to Travel to Japan

The People

7 Reasons to Travel to Japan: Pedestrian crossing in Shinjuku, Tokyo
Pedestrian crossing in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Now, traveling might be my biggest passion, but I’m also a people person. Wherever I go, the first thing I notice are the people there. Japan was special. The Japanese have a special sort of kindness to them that I’ve never seen before. I haven’t met a person in Japan who wasn’t friendly. You’ve probably heard how Japanese are honor-based culture, that take great pride when it comes to their heritage. From that notion, you might take that they are intolerant to people not speaking Japanese. You would be wrong. I’ve talked to many of them and not a single one made a problem out me not speaking their language. One person actually sat down with me and put a lot of effort to explain some directions, all with a smile on his face.

Sushi

7 Reasons to Travel to Japan,Sushi with chopsticks
Sushi with chopsticks

I arrived in Japan hungry, so I wanted to eat straight away. Of course, I ordered the thing Japan is most famous for: sushi. Now, I’ve eaten sushi before, and probably so have you, right? Wrong. Sushi outside of Japan is not sushi. I don’t mean to sound pretentious, but even the worst sushi I had there was no match for good ones in the west world. When it comes to eating sushi, you should learn the proper table manners. Table manners are one of the many cultural norms of Japan you should get yourself familiar with.

Bullet Trains

7 Reasons to Travel to Japan: Bullet Train
Bullet Train

I never knew speed until I got into one of these. Also, the design. Stepping into one of these was like stepping into a Star Wars spaceship. The inside was so clean you could probably eat off the floor. They might look small from the outside, but once you step in, you can see that there’s more space than you might actually need.

Toilets

If there’s one thing that the western world hasn’t improved upon for centuries it’s the toilet. Well, Japan wasn’t stagnating there. Their toilets have buttons for options, light, sound… It made me, a 21st-century person with a smartphone in hand, feel like an uncivilized barbarian.

The Fashion

7 Reasons to Travel to Japan: Shopping in Shibuya
Shopping in Shibuya: Photo on Flickr by Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

Not something I noticed straight when I arrived, but something that hit me as soon as I got outside: crazy fashion. Japanese dress in these crazy outfits that are a mixture of everything I’ve seen around the world.  I don’t think I saw two people dressed the same, maybe not even two people wearing the same colors. It felt like I was in a big costume convention and everyone was participating.

Vending Machines

You might think “well, we have those here as well, nothing special”. Well, the rest of the world might have vending machines, but Japanese mastered them. They have them at every corner, selling everything. Do you want a soda? No problem. Do you want pizza? No problem. Do you want a magazine or a comic book? You guessed it: no problem. Really, anything useful you might need, there’s a vending machine for it.

Onsens

7 Reasons to Travel to Japan: Uramikataki Onsen in Hachiko, Tokyo
Uramikataki Onsen in Hachiko, Tokyo

“What are those?” you might ask. That’s how the Japanese call their bathhouses. It’s a unique experience because they put a lot of detail and effort into it. There are many of course, but they are all equal when it come to high quality. The water temperature can only be described as “perfect”. Most of them have a natural feel: with rough, unworked stone, bamboo, plants… It was the most relaxing experience I could find there or anywhere to be truthful.

There are many more things to talk about and experience in Japan, like visiting Mt. Fuji; tasting sake; being there when sakura petals fall… It really takes going there for yourself to fully appreciate the place and the culture. You won’t regret it, I promise.

About Alex Morgan

I'm an economics graduate currently living in the UK. I love to travel and learn about new cultures and customs, and later blog about my experiences.

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