Traveling is always a great experience, and everyone should try it at least once. If you’re worried about safety, consider going to Japan because it is ranked high on the list of one of the safest countries in the world. Apart from that, there are so many interesting things to see, feel, taste, and experience in the land of the rising sun.
In essence, authentic traveling is the ability to genuinely experience a place, which is something that you should want for every country you travel. It allows you to dig deeper and unlock perspectives other than just simply seeing sights and doing tourist things. There’s nothing wrong with a being a tourist as it can be enjoyable too, but if you crave something more than that, then here are some tips to help you genuinely experience Japan.
Wear a Kimono
One of the most popular national garments is the kimono from Japan and what better way to immerse yourself in the culture than by wearing one? Since the country has four different seasons, the kimono you will wear will vary accordingly. If you happen to go during the summer months, it is recommended you wear a yukata, or thin kimono, as it can be stifling and humid during that time. You can wear woolen kimono in the colder months or even add a fur stole if you want to.
The country has plenty of kimono rental shops because of tourists who would like to try the costume out. The Japanese people are always keen to share the experience with foreigners and hope that appreciation for their traditional wear would spread around the world. Check out the local listings online when you travel to Japan to book your session.
Stay at a Traditional Inn
Commonly known in Japan as ryokan, these inns are as traditional as they come. They’re known to be more expensive than regular hotels, so don’t be shocked when you try to book a room. The price goes even higher for ryokan that are hundreds of years old and are classified high in the rankings.
Ryokan traditionally provide dinner and breakfast, and these meals come with multicourses, with attention to seasonal foods. It’s also a relaxing way to spend your downtime in Japan, away from the hustle and bustle of its energetic cities. One of the biggest features of a ryokan is the hot spring, or onsen, which is a must-try.
There are hundreds of shrines dedicated to various deities all over Japan. No matter where you go, there’s always a big shrine, so visiting them would be accessible and doable for everyone. It doesn’t cost money to visit a shrine, but remember to be on your best behavior as it is a place of worship. If you want to participate in shrine and temple rituals, you can do so, but remember to read up on basic etiquette and customs.
Eat Japanese Food
There are too many to name, but you can’t visit a country and not partake of the delicious foods it has to offer. Some of the more popular ones you can easily eat in Japan include sushi, sashimi, ramen, karaage, soba, curry, and more. Some places there may be known for their special dish, so read up on what those may be, and dedicate some time to check those places out.
Explore at Night
Japan has one of the most colorful and entertaining nightlife scenes in the world. This is more applicable to big cities like Tokyo. You can find various bars, all-night karaoke, and shows that will keep you entertained from dawn to dusk.
Try Capsule Toys
Capsule toys, or gachapon, are just one of the things that make Japan endlessly fascinating. These machines are all over cities, and some can be found in rural areas. These capsules contain tiny items that hold a prize and are most commonly toys, key chains, hats for cats, and many more.
It’s always a fun time to load up a gachapon machine with a few hundred yen and crank it up to see what prize you’d get. If you’re not yet traveling to Japan but want to try gachapon, consider getting a subscription box from Japan. You’ll receive six varied capsule toys every month, and it can range from anime, manga, games, and even items from popular internet figures.
Ride the Bullet Train
Japan is a really big country, but people can seamlessly get from place to place because it has a well-organized transportation system. One of the most popular trains in Japan is the shinkansen or bullet train. You can go from Tokyo to Osaka in a matter of a few hours, comfortably and with no problems. The downside is that it can be pretty expensive, so plan ahead if you want to try it.
Learn a Few Phrases
While most foreigners can get by in Japan with no particular knowledge of the language, it is still a good idea to learn a few helpful phrases. Not everyone can speak English, and knowing some Japanese will help you out a lot if you are looking for something particular. You can use phone apps to help you translate, but nothing beats personally knowing the language.
What are your tips in genuinely experiencing Japan? Share your stories down below.