Last updated: November 2018
Japan has always been a dream since I was a kid, when I was watching the super robots of Japanese cartoon on television. It was not planned to visit here as I have always been a little frightened by the costs of a trip in Japan, but by paying a little attention and preparing the tour a little you do not spend that much.
Japan is an interesting country: looks like it’s pulled from one side towards the past and from the other towards the future, something that probably resents the psyche of the population, which I did not think was the happiest I have ever seen, but for sure super kind.
Magnificent and modern historical cities, rural, mountain and sea landscapes as unique as the culture of the country, truly unique!
Some of the activities I suggest you plan during a trip to Japan:
- If you are passionate about anime or manga, there are entire buildings where you can get lost in the shops that sell everything related to your favorite Japanese character. Akihabara is a district in Tokyo full of this!
- Go for a walk through the temples and deer (which are brought closer) that populate the streets of Nara Park.
- There are 1:1 scale reconstructions of Japanese cartoon super robots, such as the Tetsujin 28-go in Kobe or the fantastic Gundam Unicorn in Tokyo on the island of Odaiba.
- Japanese food is famous all over the world … do not miss it!
- Take a visit to the Studio Ghibli museum, where you will find all the wonders come out from the mind of the famous director Miyazaki.
- In Tokyo there is the Tsukiji fish market, one of the most famous in the world, to watch the famous tuna auction you will have to wake up very soon!
- Try a night in a ryokan!
- Hike at Miyajima island (or also called Itsukushima) with a day trip from Hiroshima, climb the main mountain (about a couple of hours to get to the top and back) and enjoy the breathtaking view of the islands!
- Visit the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, the museum that describes the atrocities related to the atomic bomb dropped on Japan.
- Take a trip on a Shinkansen, the super-fast bullet train that goes over 200 kilometers per hour.
- Kyoto is a city to explore from top to bottom, rent a kimono and go around the city to take a couple of photos, or shoot them to other tourists dressed with the traditional Japanese clothes.
- Take a train from Osaka or Kyoto and head to some Japanese countryside village, a unique experience! Especially because there are fewer tourists around …
- Mount Fuji is an icon of the village, you can climb it in the summer months or observe it from the nearby Kawaguchiko lake or the iconic Chureito pagoda.
- Climb the tower (which is also the tallest building in Japan) in the Asakusa district, the skytree for a sweeping view of the city of Tokyo.
- Do not miss the “scramble” in Shibuya, one of the busiest intersections of the planet, during rush hour hundreds of people wait for the green light to cross the road all together.
- Spend an evening in one of the typical izakaya.
- The Tokyo Tower is another icon of the country and it is wonderful to see it illuminated at night, reminiscent of a burning Eiffel tower.
- Enter a karaoke and show off your singing skills!
- Unique architectures of temples, pagodas and castles everywhere, visit them!
Some info about Japan:
Capital of Japan: Tokyo.
Population: 126,7 millions
Official Language: Japanese
Calling Code for Japan: +81
Japan Visa: for most of the passports you get it easily on arrival in the country, it’s 90 days in duration and it’s free. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into the country.
N.B. Always check before leaving that the rules for obtaining the visa have not changed recently!
Phone and Internet: It is easy to buy a sim card, you can use the wifi service in many hotels and some restaurants. The line is fast!
The main tourist destinations of Japan:
Tokyo, the capital. Much quieter than I expected, it is still an interesting and quite lively megalopolis. Many attractions to visit and things to do that will keep you busy all day.
Hiroshima, famous for its tragic history that we all know, is today a peaceful and pleasant city. Visit nearby attractions such as the beautiful Miyajima Island.
Kyoto, historical city full of charm, culture, gardens, palaces and temples … really a lot of temples!! Some of the sacred structures and classical Japanese architectures present here are unique and highly photogenic. Kyoto is an unmissable destination for a trip to Japan.
Nara, a beautiful town also rich in treasures of Japanese history, many beautiful temples set in green and beautiful nature. Famous for its deer that roam free for the park and who are easily approached and caressed … more than anything else looking for food.
Osaka, famous for its food and nightlife, is another huge city in Japan. The castle and the picturesque streets of the city center full of neon signs with Japanese characters are worth a visit.
Fukuoka, what I remember most about this modern, relaxed and big city is food. Famous for its Hakata Ramen, if you are here try it!
Kobe, famous for its delicious (and expensive …) beef, is a serene city built on the shores of the sea at the foot of Mount Rokko.
Himeji, you come here for one reason: to observe the most famous and beautiful castle in Japan!
Japan, when to go?
The country has hot summers and rather cold winters, depending on the area you visit.
The best time to visit Japan is spring March to May and autumn September to November.
In spring you can witness the blooming of cherry trees, it is also super high season!
N.B. Lately the weather conditions are changing a lot, so sometimes the seasons are not always as expected!