This past weekend in London it was the 2016 celebration of Japan Matsuri, so to mark the event I compiled my top 8 experiences for your first visit to Japan! I hope you’ll enjoy the captivating culture of this country as much as I do.
1. Visit a Shrine or Temple
There’s no shortage of Shrines and Temples in Japan and the ones I find most exciting are those sitting upon misty magical mountains. Pictured above is Kyoto’s famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, with it’s hundreds of red gates forming the walkway.
2. Shop Harajuku
Your visit to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without a walk down the most famous shopping street in town – Takeshita Dori, in Harajuku.
3. Attend a Tea Ceremony
The perfect activity for a rainy day, or to find your zen post shopping spree. Attending a tea house or ceremony can be made even more tranquil set among the trees.
4. Eat Okonomi-Yaki
Forget Sushi and Sashimi, Okonomi-Yaki literally translated means “how you like it-fried”! These bad ass bites can be described as a savoury pancake, which you then add to the toppings of your choice. Itadakimasu!
5. Walk Dotonbori at Night
Japans equivalent of time square is Osaka’s Dotonbori. Perhaps this is where my obsession with Asahi began… One walk down this street at night will leave you spell bound.
6. Ride the Shinkansen (Bullet Train)
If you take the bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka you can even catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji as you glide past upwards of 200 kms per hour.
7. Walk Gion at dusk
There’s nothing that makes you really feel like you’re in Japan more than a stroll through Gion at dusk. Be transported through time as women dressed in Kimono and Geisha float along the quaintly paved streets.
8. Be immersed in Onsen
If you’re still Overcoming Onsen Anxiety, don’t worry! After half an hour relaxing in an outdoor thermal pool you’ll be feeling just fine. Tokyo’s Ooedo Onsen (pictured above), is actually a full complex including indoor and outdoor baths, restaurants, massage rooms and gift stores.
Start your Japan adventure now with my YouTube series on Backpacking Japan…