Musings of a Little Girl in the Big City

10 Reasons to Go to Japan

I can’t believe it but I’m going to Japan in a month and a half. It feels surreal. This time I am going with Tak for the first time together so I am super excited for us to experience a place together that is so close to my heart! 

For those that have never been, Japan can be quirky and cute, modern and historical, bewildering and enchanting, all at the same time. 

Keep reading to find out top 10 reasons why you need to put Japan on your go-to list (like, yesterday!) 

  1. It’s remarkably clean

Good thing is, in Japan, you will probably not find rats carrying pizza in the subway!

In fact, Japan will be one of the cleanest countries you’ve been to.

Part of the reason why it is so clean is a. thanks to wonderful maintenance people that keep the streets, subways and facilities clean, and b. cleaning up after yourself is viewed as a matter of common courtesy and respect. And this shows on the streets in cities of Japan!

  1.  The food will change your life

 

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If you are a self-proclaimed Foodie, Japan is a must on your travel list.  

If you have the resources to enjoy fine dining, all the more power to ya, but personally, I love that I can go to affordable hole-in-the-wall type places and be over the moon because it would literally be the best food I’ve ever had.  

But don’t just take my word for it. Tokyo and Kyoto are two cities awarded with the most number of Michelin star restaurants in the world (Osaka is 4th after Paris), because when you’re in Japan, good food is all around you.

  1.  It’s technologically advanced in weird and wonderful ways

I love how Japan has gadgets, machines and home appliances that aren’t quite like anything I have ever seen. Every time I visit my parents’ home, I always find it funny and amusing that the toilet cover opens on its own when I open the door thanks to a motion sensor. Or that the washing machine plays a little melody when it’s done washing. Or that the floors are heated, or that the AC doesn’t need a window outlet to be installed. Some things I really wish we had here!

Outside the home, one of the things I find really interesting is the conveyor belt sushi restaurants (kaitenzushi in Japanese, kaiten meaning to go around, zushi is the modified word for sushi). First off, you don’t order from a server, you order from a touch screen monitor. Minutes later, the food you ordered comes on a conveyor belt at lightning speed and stops exactly at the counter or table you’re sitting at with amazing accuracy. It’s kind of weird in the best way possible! But then again, that’s how a lot of things in Japan are. #onlyinJapan

  1.  Everything is so darn cute 

 

Japan cute kawaii
In Japan, even plants are adorable

Japan is a country that knows how to make cute things. After all, they brought into the world Hello Kitty and Pikachu, and even Disney characters (which by the way Japanese people love), look cuter in Japan!

Sociologists say the Japanese infatuation with anything cute has to do with trying to escape everyday life and finding joy in something that is adorable. Whatever the reason, Japan knows how to do cute, and it is getting cuter by the minute.

  1. The endless shopping

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I love shopping in Japan because everything from the clothes, food, cosmetics and other goods are so interesting and have a different aesthetics to them that I enjoy.

Several places in major cities will even offer tax-free shopping to international tourists. Just show them your passport to save some extra yen.

One of the places I must stop at every time I go to Japan is the 100 yen store, which is like a dollar store, but it’s brightly-lit, spacious, and has tons of again, cute and practical goods. I always wish I had a big enough suitcase to fit everything I want to buy!

  1. You can feel as if you’ve traveled back in time

The Historical Quarter at Okayama
The Historical Quarter at Okayama Prefecture

Whenever traveling to the traditional streets of Japan, there is an air of old world beauty that make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. It feels peaceful and romantic at the same time. On our upcoming trip to Japan, Tak and I are going to Kyoto together, and I’m so excited to visit places like Gion to experience traditional Japan!

  1. Public transportation is a breeze and lightning fast

Trains in Japan are extremely convenient, efficient, and it can pretty much take you anywhere.

If you are traveling outside of Tokyo, in most cases, I recommend taking the bullet train, a high-speed railway service that is similar to Eurostar in Europe. See if the JR Rail Pass is worth it – for a 7 day pass, it costs only $252, so depending on how much you plan to travel, this could be a huge money saver. 

  1.  The Japanese Gardens and Temples

Korakuen Garden in Okayama Prefecture

Sure, Tokyo can get as hectic as any other city but perhaps that is why many locals, not just tourists, appreciate the country’s numerous gardens and temples. Peaceful, refined, and elegant, Japanese gardens and temples are the perfect places for self-reflection and meditation. These are the birth places of Japanese minimalism. I can’t help but try to see what people hundreds or even a thousand years ago saw in the same landscape, and be in awe and enjoy time peacefully passing by at the same time.

  1. It’s Perfect for Nature Lovers

Unkai Niigata 雲海 新潟
The ethereal view from Unkai in Niigata Prefecture

When you think of Japan, you might think of neon lights, karaoke, anime and game shows, but what isn’t as known is that Japan has numerous hiking trails and a spectacular natural landscape. I love visiting Niigata where my dad is from, a beautiful mountainous, northern region of Japan filled with breathtaking scenery. When Tak and I go next month, we are very excited to visit the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto and hopefully waking up super early to avoid the tourists!

10. It’s ridiculously safe

Japan is one of the safest countries, with street crimes almost unheard of. This makes it an ideal place if you’re a female traveler or even better, a solo traveler.

It’s also good to know that people there are nice, and will try to help you out even if their English isn’t perfect. But that is all part of the experience!

And there you have it. Did I leave anything out on this list? Let me know in the comments below if I did!

10 reasons to visit Japan

 

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