Japan’s reopening is a long-awaited event that is sure to invite an influx of international travelers to return to Japan or visit for the first time. The official date the nation is accepting tourists without restrictions is October 11th, 2022, giving travelers enough time to book a flight and pack their backs for the much-anticipated opportunity to experience Japan’s vibrant cities and tranquil natural landscapes.
When planning a trip to Japan, these are the top ten things to work into the itinerary.
10 Tea Ceremony In Kyoto
When visiting Japan, a trip to the former capital is something that travelers cannot miss.
Kyoto is a smaller city than Toyko and has a different atmosphere; there is a rich history there and many shrines and temples to explore. One of the best ways to learn about and appreciate Japanese culture while in Kyoto is to participate in a traditional tea ceremony at Maikoya.
The ceremony is in English and is a meditative experience where travelers learn bout the nuances of making the tea and the cultural significance behind it.
9 Eat Street Food At Dotonbori
Osaka is another critical stop on a visit to Japan. It’s easy to visit by train from Kyoto and has one of the best food scenes in the country.
Local delicacies include Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. Some of the best street food can be found at Dotonbori, a lively street lined with shops, izakayas, and food stalls.
8 See Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is the tallest peak in Japan and is an impressive presence that is worth visiting or seeing. There are multiple places where travelers can experience the magnitude of Fuji while on their trip.
One option is to simply take a train from Tokyo to Fuji Fifth Station, allowing travelers to stand on the mountain itself.
For photographers and nature lovers, a better choice may be visiting Hakone or Fujikawaguchiko, both quaint towns that offer beautiful views of the mountain at a distance.
7 Bow To The Deer Of Nara
Nara is another charming Japanese city close to Kyoto and Osaka. Travelers can take a train here on a day trip for a chance to see the unique deer at Nara Deer Park.
These deer have learned to bow to humans, making them a popular attraction.
Within the park, it’s possible to purchase treats for the deer, who will eagerly bow to you in hopes of receiving a tasty reward.
When traveling to Japan, travelers may want to consider packing light, so there’s room in their suitcase to purchase coveted clothing items at the many upscale shops in Tokyo.
Shibuya and Harajuku are two of the wards with incredible clothing and shoe stores. The style and trends are sure to impress anyone with a flair for fashion.
5 Bathe In An Onsen In Hakone
A memorable experience for any traveler to Japan is bathing in an onsen, which is a hot bath. The hot mineral water is good for the skin and is believed to offer many health benefits.
There are public and private onsen in Japan, so travelers can bathe with others if they feel comfortable doing so, or they can have a private experience alone or with their traveler partners.
4 Visit The Snow Monkeys In Nagano
For those who have the time to venture beyond Tokyo and Kyoto, it’s a wonderful experience to take the train to Nagano prefecture and see the snow monkeys in their natural habitat.
At Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture, travelers can see the wild macaques bathing and drinking from the onsens in the park.
These monkeys live in the mountains around the park and come down to the viewing areas during the day, by choice, due to the food the park puts out which entices them.
3 Sleep In A Ryokan In Takayama
No trip to Japan is complete without sleeping in a traditional style accommodation called a Ryokan. These traditional hotels feature the architecture and amenities of historic Japan with tatami floor mats, robes, and slippers to wear around the Ryokan, and futons to sleep on.
Venturing into the small village of Takayama for this experience means waking up to views of the mountains in the distance and enjoying a peaceful morning dip in a private onsen.
2 Eat A Kaiseki Meal
While in Japan, travelers should try to sit down for a traditional kaiseki dinner. If they choose to stay at a Ryokan, many of these boutique hotels offer the option to have dinner on site, serving the kaiseki style meal for a set price.
Kaiseki is essentially a multi-course dinner of small dishes, so travelers have a chance to sample many food items throughout the meal.
1 Ride The Bullet Train
Japan is an easy country to explore by rail and this is largely due to the bullet trains, called Shinkensan, that efficiently transport passengers between cities at high speeds.
The Japan Rail (JR) network is extensive and compromises multiple lines branching out from Tokyo across the nation.
These trains are comfortable and on time, traveling at speeds of up to 320 km per hour.