Are you planning a trip to Japan? This wonderful country is a mix of ancient culture and modernity. Before you go, take the time to plan out your trip to make sure you get the most out of your vacation. Follow this guide to help you plan your Japanese adventure.
Pick Your Season
When you arrive in Japan is just as important as how you get there. Each season offers a different experience to try. For example, if you visit in January, you can participate in the festivals marking the first events of the year. These festivals, or matsuri, take place year-round, however, the first one is considered special and often are bigger or with more spectacle. Alternatively, if you book your Japan cruise or flight for the spring you can enjoy the world-famous cherry blossom festivals. In the summer, the skies light up with fireworks throughout the country. By fall, the leaves have changed and can give you unforgettable views of oranges, yellows and reds.
Learn the History
Japan has a rich history and has worked hard at preserving these spots. Take advantage of your time in Japan to visit as many as you can. These historical sites range from ancient landmarks to remnants of recent events. For example, you can see Kyoto, the former capital, and walk down the streets of the historic Higashiyama district. Or learn the history of WW2 and the terrible aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Don’t forget to take the time to stop in some of the smaller regions like Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, to see the early architectural designs and give you a truly unique insight of the past of this amazing country.
Visit the Temples
Japanese temples and shrines are found throughout the country, and it’s easy to spend hours visiting them. When visiting, pay attention to the season as different events or activities take place, and some spots offer a truly unique experience. During the New Year countdown in Tokyo, an estimated 10 million people visit Meiji Temple for the first temple visit of the year or hatsumode. In Kyoto, the Inari Jinja is most notable for its orange torii gates. Up North, the largest lying Buddha waits for you at Butsugaji temple in Hokkaido. On your way out, be sure to pick up an omikuji, or fortune, to see what the future holds for you.
Get Insight in the Future
Recently, Japan made headlines with videos of its robot Gundam moving. You cannot visit Japan without experiencing some of the futuristic sites and getting a glimpse into the future. Unsurprisingly, a majority of these tech sites are in the nation’s capital, Tokyo. Robots have become so common there is even a robot café and hotel staffed by robots. For those seeking to learn more about what the future holds, head to Miraikan and museum dedicated emerging science and innovation. If you are looking to save a little money and still have the experience, consider booking a room at a capsule hotel. Don’t forget to do some shopping to pick up some of the technology available here.
Soak up Nature
No visit to Japan would be complete without taking the time to enjoy some of the natural wonders here. From North to South, the country boasts a multitude of beautiful sites to take your breath away. Starting in Hokkaido, in summer you can go to the Tomamu region to hike above a sea of clouds. As you make your way south, take the time to visit some of the waterfalls that are found around the islands. You can then make your way to Miyajima for some views of the region that will take your breath away. Finally, for those who love the sun, make your way to Okinawa for a perfect time relaxing on the beach.
Before you go, reserve your Japan Rail Pass to help you see the country quickly and easily. You’re going to love it.