Are you currently planning a holiday to Japan? Are you looking up different cities and countries around the world, trying to find the perfect spot for your long, overdue holiday? We’re here to make our case for your travel to Japan! It is a country that boasts a rich history dating back to thousands of years ago, a unique and beautiful culture, delicious food, creative fashion, an exciting nightlife, incredible hospitality, and efficiency and cleanliness. In this post, we’ll be going expanding on all the reasons to visit Japan. By the end of this post, you’ll be booking your flight here!
Let’s start off with food. It is one of the main reasons why you should travel to Japan? Who doesn’t love a mouth-watering, orgasmic food-porn style meal? Everyone knows the classic sushi and ramen of Japan, but let’s go beyond the obvious. A meal isn’t just a meal here; it’s an experience.
There are countless types of Japanese food. From sweet to savoury, from noodles to rice, from traditional to fusion, Japanese food can surprise you at every turn. Each region in Japan has its own signature dish, signature fruit and/or vegetables. On top of that, each region also has its own take and twist to the same meals and it’s quite frankly near impossible to try everything.
Staff and establishments are dedicated to providing the most comfortable and enjoyable experience for you, from the moment you step through their doors. You won’t find many restaurants that do takeaways, nor will you see many people eating while walking in the streets or riding on public transportation. That’s because, when you have a meal in Japan, you want to sit down and take your time with it so you can enjoy it to the fullest.
It is difficult to find a bad restaurant in Japan, and we challenge you to try; Even the worst restaurants in Japan serve food that is passable and tasty. Most restaurants, regardless of size or price, serve delicious food. You may even find yourself wondering how some establishments can afford to remain in business with how affordably they price their top-quality dishes—I know I have.
Another big aspect of food in your Japan in travel is the traditional bento box, a lunch box that is designed to be well-rounded, healthy and appealing to the eye. There are the simple bento boxes that people take to work or school, found in all convenience stores; bento boxes meant for passengers on trains during long commutes; and special bento boxes for special occasions.
There are also character-themed bento boxes that feature fan favourite characters such as Hello Kitty or Mickey Mouse. Try out a bento box, or you make one of your own! There are plenty of recipes and YouTube videos that will show you how.
You may be familiar with the term ‘sake’, which is often used to refer to the Japanese alcohol nihonshu overseas, but there is more to Japanese beverages than that. There is shochu, umeshu, and more. Additionally, there are breweries and distilleries all over the country and the same alcohol may taste different, region to region. Some regions even produce their own alcohol that are not commonly found in other regions. Just as an example, Okinawa, an island to the south of Japan, produces its own liquor, awamori, that is hard to find on mainland Japan.
Recently, Japanese craft beers and Japanese wines have gained a lot of popularity though they lack the same long history behind the traditional Japanese drinks. However, these new, modern beverages are produced by creative and adventurous breweries and distilleries, resulting in unique and interesting flavours.
If you enjoy a good drink, Japan is home to loads of it and you’ll have a fun time exploring all the amazing beverage options during your travel in Japan.
Unlike in other countries where bars may close at 1 or 2am, many bars in Tokyo are open till 4 or 5am. This means you can literally drink the night away. Nightlife in Tokyo is oftentimes spontaneous and exciting, where you can be drinking in a bar one moment, then bowling or singing karaoke with new friends the next, and then perhaps drinking in Yoyogi Park (open at all hours) when the sun is rising.
As a popular holiday destination, Tokyo welcomes many foreigners. Although getting to know the locals and drinking with them should be an experience you aspire for, very rarely will the experiences written above be with a local. Instead, it’s more common to make fast friends with other tourists exploring the same city you are. Nightlife is definitely one of the reasons why you should travel to Japan!
If you prefer a relaxed night of drinks, Tokyo caters to that as well. There are many lesser-known neighbourhoods with lesser-known bars that are both figuratively and literally outshined by the more famous party neighbourhoods of Shibuya and Shinjuku. Koenji and Nakano, for example, are small neighbourhoods with small bars where the clientele is made up of mostly the locals living in the area. These bars are more laid-back and are more for slowly soaking in the vibe and atmosphere while enjoying a well-crafted cocktail.
In Japan, every restaurant, hotel and establishment takes pride in the way they prepare their products and how they treat each customer, and rightfully so. Japan is famous for its hospitality and efficiency, and it is all due to the philosophy of omotenashi.
There is no English translation for omotenashi. It is the philosophy of providing services to the best of your ability, going beyond the basic standards and requirements of customer service, maybe even acting before asked. Once you enter a store or restaurant, the staff will strive to ensure you have a most splendid time there.
Omotenashi is not restricted to businesses but extends to Japanese society as well. The stereotype of Japanese people being polite and helpful is not just a stereotype; it’s a general fact. The Japanese language itself is gentle and, paired with omotenashi, you have a society that is courteous and respectful. It is a society that adheres to the unspoken agreement of walking on the left side of the street and standing on the left on the escalators, to make way for others who may be in a rush; of waiting till every single person has alighted the train carriage before boarding; of knowing not to talk loudly on public transportations or to not talk at all. Japanese people are mindful of those around them and they subscribe to the philosophy of maintaining peace in society.
Omotenashi is probably one of the many things that make people fall in love with Japan, one of the many things why you should travel to Japan. If approached, Japanese people will attempt conversing with you even if there’s a language barrier, and they are almost always willing to help and assist you. They may even thank you for visiting their country.
Japan is a very safe country. People can generally walk around at all hours of the day, in small streets or random parts of town and not have to fear for their safety. According to the Safe Cities Index 2019, created by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Tokyo has the highest overall safety score in the world; Osaka, another major city, isn’t far behind in 3rd place.
If you lose your phone, wallet or bag somewhere in Japan, there is a very high chance that you will get it back. Japanese people are likely to turn in lost items rather than keep or ignore them. Even during the March 11th, 2011 disaster, Japanese citizens refused to loot convenience stores or supermarkets to help themselves. This is a society that takes pride in their honesty and integrity, so much so that you could pass out on the streets and wake up with your phone and wallet still in your pockets.
People sleep on public transportation, in restaurants, cafes and all kinds of places both during the day and night. You will often see people with their bags lying around, phones and wallets hanging out of their pockets. Their carefreeness is a testament to how much they trust their society.
Obviously, you shouldn’t leave your belongings hanging around or sleep just anywhere if you can help it, but if you had to, Japan is the safest place to do it. There are some areas that are more dangerous, so if you’re worried, feel free to ask us via our Facebook or Instagram. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have!
Japan mixes the new and old. You could walk down a street in a bustling city and then stumble across an old, tranquil shrine. Conversely, you could visit an ancient temple and find skyscrapers right behind it. This is due to Japan choosing to preserve heritage sites, so despite the various economic and industrialization booms it has experienced, Japan has retained much of its tradition and culture that you can easily experience right in the heart of its metropolitan city.
Traditional customs are still practised today. Matsuri’s—traditional Japanese festivals—are held everyday in various neighbourhoods, especially in summer. At these festivals you will see both young and senior Japanese people performing traditional dances in traditional clothing, and practising traditional rituals.
Traditional Japanese music, dance, theater, tea ceremonies, kimono-crafting, pottery and, of course, the famous geisha’s, are still well and alive in modern-day Tokyo for everyone to enjoy and experience.
You can’t talk about Japanese culture without talking about Japanese animation and comic books, known as “anime” and “manga” respectively. Anime and manga have made its way overseas and you may have even heard of some of them. The famous ones are One Piece, Naruto, Death Note, Attack on Titans, and more. If you’re a fan of anime and manga, or if you want to experience this culture firsthand, Japan, or more specifically Tokyo, is one of the reasons why you should travel to Japan.
During your holiday in Japan, it’s impossible to get through a day without coming across anime and manga in one form or another. There are advertisements for upcoming animes on public transportation, they decorate the walls of arcades, there are even trucks with anime on them riding around town advertising them. If you’re a fan, there are also plenty of shops that sell anime figurines, most of them in Akihabara and Nakano.
Another huge part of Japanese pop culture are idols. Idols are singers (though some are actors or actresses as well) who are mostly well-known for their cute, kawaii looks and personalities. They establish close ties with their audiences, holding meet-and-greets and chatting with their fans on social media, creating a sense of intimacy. To maintain that illusion of intimacy, idols are usually disallowed by their contracts to have boyfriends or girlfriends in their personal lives. You may come across idol groups performing in public but chances are you’ll probably just catch them on billboards or on advertisement trucks.
Similar to idols are maids in maid cafes. The whole schtick of maid cafes are that the waitresses are dressed up like maids and they are meant to treat you like you’re their master. Just like idols, they are known for their attractiveness and bubbly personalities. Like waitresses in other establishments, they will lead you to your table and serve you your food and drinks, but maid cafes go one step further; the maids will engage you in song and dance during your stay there. If you’re lucky, they may even put on a performance. Maid cafes usually charge by the half-hour or hour, so don’t lose track of time in there when you come during your holiday in Japan!
Another staple of Japan, more specifically Tokyo, is the variety of styles and fashion trends. Harajuku fashion in particular is very unique. It involves loud colours, lace and frills, jewellery and revolves around the concept of freely expressing yourself. Harajuku fashion is more than a fashion trend; it’s part of Tokyo’s subculture. No matter what comes and goes, Harajuku fashion remains popular, a great stop during your holiday in Japan and is a great reason why you should travel to Japan!
Aside from the kawaii fashion that is very popular in Harajuku, gothic fashion and lolita fasion are also huge in Japan. One of the most wonderful things about Japan is that it is very accepting of all fashion trends. You can walk around in the boldest outfits and not have bypassers judge you negatively. In fact, people may even ask to take photos with you if they really like your fashion.
The best place to check out this style during your holiday in Japan is, of course, in Harajuku. Takeshita Street, the main street in Harajuku, is home to clothing and shoes stores that cater to Harajuku fashion. If you’re planning on making a stop in Tokyo, we suggest you take some time to shop in Harajuku and see what it’s all about!
While being on time holds universal importance, it’s on an entirely different level in Japan, where even showing up on time can be deemed unacceptable in work situations. If the meeting time is 9am, every Japanese businessman knows to arrive by 8:45am. To accommodate such a culture, Japan’s transportation is designed to be punctual and efficient. If a train is scheduled to leave at 12:52, it will leave at 12:52, no earlier, no later. You will get to experience this on your holiday in Japan.
More importantly, the trains run all over the city, making your holiday in Japan significantly easier than in other countries. Whether you plan on hitting multiple regions of Japan in a short amount of time with the shinkansen—the “bullet train”—or if you plan on covering all the major attractions within a city with the quick and punctual subways, we can guarantee you will have a smooth experience.
In conclusion, Japan is a safe, efficient and fun destination for your holiday in Japan. Here during your holiday in Japan, you will experience thousands-years-old tradition and culture, as well as observe and/or engage in modern-day pop culture, nightlife activities, and a society that has often been described as upside-down to the rest of the world.
We hope this guide has given you enough reasons to visit Japan and helped you seal the deal and book that flight! Whether you’re a food connoisseur, history-lover, partier, or just someone who wants to be in a completely different society, Japan has something for you. If you need any help for your holiday in Japan, recommendations or advice, feel free to message us; we are more than happy to help ensure your trip to Japan is an unforgettable one. See you all soon!