Though located in the Asian continent, culturally, Japan is unlike
any of its neighboring countries.
The Japanese may share some common practices as the Chinese in the
use of chopsticks, manner of writing, and religion but there’s where
the similarity ends. The Japanese spoken language does not sound at
all Chinese or any other language for that matter. Japanese cuisine
is different from Chinese cuisine though there are some similarities,
especially with the use of noodles, but that’s about it.
Japan offers visitors a whole new experience of Asia. A major
manufacturer of just about everything considered necessary to live
comfortably in the modern world, one can hardly move a step without
coming across a gadget made in Japan.
There was a time when Japanese made goods were considered inferior and
were a lot cheaper than the U.S. and European brands. Now, everything
made in Japan is of the best quality and is considered on par with
products made from Germany and the U.S.
A first world country, visitors can expect only the finest things in
life when you visits Japan. Be aware though that cost of living in Japan
is high compared to its Asian neighbors. Shopping and food costs are
quite high and you may need to pay top dollar for them. But it will be
worth it to taste and see what Japan has to offer culturally.
What is there to see and do in Japan? Well for starters, it really
depends on what interests you.
If you’re into martial arts, there are plenty of opportunities to see
sumo wrestling and judo matches. Karatedo and Kendo are also very
popular in the country and are part of the curriculum in all schools.
Since Japan has snow during the winter season, you might go skiing on
the slopes of the Japanese Alps, the Gokase Highland Ski, and Hokkaido.
These resorts normally have their own natural hot springs which Japan is
For a lively nightlife, Hokkaido’s capital, Sapporo, is famous for its
Snow Festival wherein huge and extraordinary snow and ice sculptures are
erected. The festival lasts for seven days in February.
Whale and dolphin watching is also another
great attraction in the country between the months of January and March.
For drinking parties, you might want to
join one of the cheery blossom parties held while these flowers are in
bloom from April to May. These drinking bouts occur spontaneously under
the blossoms and everyone tends to drink too much. Check out the more
popular ones in Tokyo’s Ueno Park, and Kyoto’s Maruyama Park.
Traditional forms of theatre arts are the Kabuki and Noh plays. The
Bunkaru, another traditional Japanese art form has puppets as its
principal players. One can book a seat to see any of these attractions
and see something that is truly Japanese.
Tech buyers may think their in heaven when they go shopping at Tokyo’s
Ginza shopping mall.
All the latest gizmos from leading brands
such as Sony can be acquired at these shops.
See the “Samurai Percussionists” (Kodo Drummers) on Sado Island with its
rural, unspoilt beauty.
Be part of the Gion Festival in Kyoto in
mid-July with its portable shrines and costumed participants.
Akasaka and Roponggi in Tokyo offer a
lively and vibrant nightlife. Fine dining establishments complete with
teahouse geishas, clubs, and bars are just some of the attractions. The
younger set prefers to go to Shibuya and Harajuku.
For a taste of the famous Japanese
traditional tea ceremony, coordinate with the tourist info centers in
Tokyo and Kyoto. You can even dress up in traditional Japanese costume
and have your picture taken.There are many ancient temples you can visit
in Tokyo, Nara, and Kyoto. The tranquillity and peace these temples
offer is unlike any other tourist spot in the world.
Zen gardens, or rock gardens, are exactly that. They are made up of
sand, gravel, and rocks with the occasional greenery (but not much).
These gardens were constructed to relieve stress from the busy
Don’t forget those cute, miniature trees called bonsai that the
Japanese are also famous for. These can be found in almost all homes
in Japan and you can take lessons in how to make your own. While
you’re at it, you might also want to take in an origami (paper
sculpture) or an Ikebana (flower arrangement) class to complete the
Japan is really unlike any other country in the world. Its customs
and traditions make a visit to this country a truly rewarding