Japan is a wonderful country filled with lots of cultural experiences – but if you’ve never been before, you might be overwhelmed trying to work out what you should do and see. Thankfully we’ve narrowed down some of the most unique, memorable experiences that travellers should try if they visit Japan.
Here are five of the best things you can do in Japan.
Stay in a traditional Ryokan
If you want to immerse yourself in Japanese culture during your trip, we strongly suggest that you stay in a Ryokan (a traditional Japanese style of accommodation) for at least a few nights. Ryokans have been at the heart of Japanese culture for hundreds of years, and they are more than just a place to get some shut-eye; they also allow you to experience Japanese culture even when you are just sat in your room.
The rooms are normally relaxing and minimalistic, and guests are often provided with a comfortable robe and warm tea. Many ryokans also have access to hot springs, which is definitely an added bonus!
Eat at an Izakaya
When most people think about Japanese food, they imagine eating sushi in a restaurant – but Izakayas are also a big part of Japanese food culture. An Izakaya is a Japanese-style pub for relaxed eating, and they are often very casual. Sit down and try a variety of dishes, including fried food, tofu, sashimi and vegetables, and wash the food down with a tasty Japanese beer. Do you want to visit an Izakaya? If so, click here to view a selection of affordable Japan vacation packages.
Go on a private market tour
Japanese markets are famous around the world for their unique sights, sounds and smells – but if you really want to get the most out of your experience, you might want to consider arranging a private market tour. It is possible to hire a local expert at most Japanese markets (including Kyoto’s Nishiki Market and Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market), and this gives you direct access to some of the most popular food stalls (as well as an explanation about what you are eating, which is very handy when it comes to some of the fried delicacies!).
Go to a Japanese Matsuri
Finally, we suggest that you check out a Japanese Matsuri at some point during your trip. A Matsui is a Japanese festival, and there are lots to choose from – but one thing they all have in common is the colour, the culture and the liveliness! Many of the festivals also include professional dancers, stunning omikishi (large shrines that are carried around) and lots of tasty Japanese food. This is also a great way to meet Japanese people and other travellers if you are travelling alone.
You could even visit the seven day Sapporo Snow Festival, which features stunning snow and ice structures. This may seem like a strange idea for a festival, but the displays are truly stunning, and it is definitely unique and cool idea!