November 28, 2021

Japan Travel Guide | Asia

Japan is truly timeless, a place where ancient traditions merge with modern life as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Traditional culture

At first glance, Japan seems extremely modern, but traveling around it offers plenty of opportunities to connect with the country’s traditional culture. Spend the night in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), sleep on futons and tatami mats, and walk through worn-out wooden hallways to the public baths (or take a step closer and sleep in an old farmhouse). Meditate with monks or learn to whip bitter matcha (powdered green tea) into a foam. From the splendor of a Kyoto geisha dance to the understated beauty of a Zen stone garden, Japan has the power to fascinate even the most jaded traveler.

Food

No matter where you are in Japan, it seems, you are never far from a good meal. Restaurants often specialize in a single dish – perhaps after spending generations perfecting it – and pay close attention every step of the way, from finding the freshest local ingredients to assembling the dish in an appealing way. And as you will quickly discover, Japanese cuisine has great regional variations. The hearty stews of the mountains, for example, are radically different from the delicate sushi for which the coast is famous. It’s also intensely seasonal, which means you can visit at a different time of the year and experience whole new tastes.

Outside

Japan is a long, thin, highly volcanic archipelago. It’s over two-thirds of the mountains, with hot springs bubbling up at every turn. During the warmer months there are excellent hikes, through cedar groves and fields of wildflowers, to soaring peaks and ancient shrines (the latter founded by wandering ascetics). In the winter it is all covered in snow and the skiing is world class. (And if you’ve never paired hiking or skiing with an onsen swim, you don’t know what you’ve been missing out on.) Meanwhile, in the south, there are tropical beaches for sunbathing, sunbathing, swimming. snorkelling and diving.

Ease of travel

Getting around Japan is incredibly easy: you can take a whole trip using only its crisp and efficient public transport. The shinkansen The network (bullet train) now stretches from the southern tip of Kyūshū (the southernmost of Japan’s large islands) to Hokkaidō (the northernmost), and reasonably priced rail packages make it affordable . Big cities have metro networks marked in English and these days we see and hear more and more English. But if you’re looking to think outside the box and step out of your comfort zone, you can have that experience as well.


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