Japan … a country full of craziness, beauty, and uniqueness. I have been to a few Asian countries before, but I’ve always been told that Japan is different. In previous Asian countries such as India and China, everything is always chaotic, it’s hard to navigate around and not many people can help due to them not speaking English. Japan was very different, it was organised, efficient and cute. Japan has it all! Here are my top 10 reasons why you should visit Japan!
Japan is full of great places to eat. From traditional Japanese to McDonald’s – it has it all! Throughout my time in Japan, I ate extremely well. All the restaurants are clean and tidy which gives me confidence that I won’t be spending my holiday on the toilet. The food is reasonably priced, but it all depends on where you are going. If you are traveling Japan on a budget, you can get Ramen (Traditional Japanese Dishes) and a beer for £4-5. You can also grab snacks from 7/11, Lawson’s and Family Mart throughout the day for really cheap prices such as chicken bites, fries, and skewers.
For those of you who don’t mind spending a bit more money on food, there are fantastic beef restaurants all over Japan. Japan is well known for its good quality beef, from Kobe. There are lots of traditional Korean style BBQ restaurants where you can cook your own beef to perfection or you can go to more traditional restaurants. My TripPal recommendation is to visit Bulls in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo and the Steak and Wine chain of restaurants in Kyoto.
Japan is extremely well connected. Japanese people often tend to spend their holidays in different parts of Japan, so it’s understandable they have one of the best rail networks in the world! If you are planning to travel around Japan, its definitely worth getting a Japan Rail Pass. It’s a rail pass designed for tourists by the Japanese government to attract tourists to the country. Speak to one of us here at TripPal to find out more about how it works.
The trains in Japan are seconds to none. They are very different from trains in the UK, and by that I mean they are clean, on time and fast! The Shinkansen (Japanese bullet trains) are included in the Japan Rail Pass. The majority of metro lines in Tokyo and other various cities are not included, but they are extremely cheap! The bus network around Japan is also very good! Our recommendation is to have a working Sim Card or a Portable Wifi Network (you can buy these in shops throughout Japan) as you will need google maps to help you navigate around Japan! It was so useful to find good bars and restaurants.
When it comes to hospitality, the Japanese know what they are doing! From the moment I stepped off the plane, I knew I felt welcome. Greeted by big smiles and happy faces everywhere. The Japanese are very delicate people, they don’t snatch, ignore you or take your tourism for granted. They go above and beyond to help you. If they can’t help you, they will find someone who can.
The majority of people I came across spoke English and was very well mannered. From my time in Japan, I got the feeling that everyone was happy and content with life. I felt safe at all times and never felt embarrassed asking for help – what a great feeling to have!
From wacky clothes to fridge magnets, to Kit Kats to Hello Kitty teddies – Japan has fantastic shops! In Tokyo, you can visit the fashion district which is a 1-minute walk from Harajuku Station. It is hustling and bustling with lot’s of Japanese hipsters as-well as many interesting and funky shops that sell clothes and souvenirs. It’s also full of places that do amazing snacks and teas.
Japan welcomes people from all countries of all backgrounds all over the world. Just by walking the streets through the main cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka – there are people from all walks of life roaming the streets. Tokyo has a gay district where the LGBTQ+ community hangs out, but everyone is welcome anywhere in Tokyo. The main tourists we came across were Australians, Americans, and Chinese.
Japan’s nightlife is as wild as you want it to be. The 3 main cities that I visited had great nightlife, but it was mainly down to me how my nights panned out. Several times I went for dinner and cocktails in some amazing bars. Some bars were very chilled out, some were a bit more lively. In Kyoto, there are some fantastic cocktail bars near the Kamo river. It’s lovely at night to relax and have a view of a fantastic city. In Tokyo, there is a crazy nightclub called Warp where you can let your hair down until the early hours.
Lot’s of Japanese people love drinking in British Pubs. They will always approach British people for a chat and a drink – they are very friendly! If you can survive until 6 am in Tokyo, jump in a taxi to Japan’s famous fish market where you can see people bidding on giant tunas! On a Friday night, it’s great walking through Shinjuku at around 9 pm as you get to see all the businessmen in their suits drunk out of their minds – the Japanese love a drink!
Don’t you just love it when the streets are clean?! Well, Japan is spotless. What ‘so interesting is that you always struggle to find a bin in Japan, but everywhere is so clean. Several times, I spotted locals picking up a Rubbish fro. The floor. That’s a great sign that people in Japan are proud of their country and want to keep it clean. I did not feel the pollution in Japan as much as China, India or Thailand. You will, however, find plenary of bins at train stations that recycle bottles, cans etc.
In Japan, trains run on time pretty much most of the time. If your train is delayed by more than 2 minutes, you get a full refund! Also, if there’s one thing the Japanese love more than the British, it’s queueing. They love a queue! So there is no pushing in, everyone always gets served in turn and everything is always well staffed – so you are not in queues for long!
Japan is a great place if you are a culture vulture. Japan has lots of interesting history. There are some fantastic experiences you can do to get a good understanding of Japan’s history. I highly recommend Saki tasting. Saki is a rice wine that is a massive part of Japanese culture. By doing a Saki tasting class, you get a chance to understand the different varieties of Saki, how it’s made and more importantly how good it tastes!
Japan is the only place where a nuclear weapon has been dropped. In the city of Hiroshima, you can see the damage and the impact of the nuclear bomb for yourself. It’s a heart-wrenching experience, but something I strongly recommend you go and see. I also highly recommend doing a samurai experience in Kyoto. This is where you can get up, close and personal with Samurai fighters. You get the chance to draw a samurai sword, learn how to use it and see Samurai fighters in action. Speak to one of us at TripPal to find out more information on these activities.
10.) Because you can!
Yes, that’s right. No visa is required for Japan if you have a UK passport. If you are not sure whether you can enter Japan on your passport, get in touch with one of our TripPal travel experts and they will be more than happy to help. Japan is one of my favorite countries, I fell in love with the place, the people and the culture. I definitely recommend you visit this stunning, beautiful and crazy country. If you would like some help planning your trip to Japan, get in touch with us at a TripPal on the link below and we will help you out.