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Kyoto street with geishas and temple

A-Z of Japan; Everything you need to know

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By Amelia Bristow

Last updated: 12th February 2024

Japan is a thrilling country of contrasts containing endless discoveries. It is full of culture, whether you want to see the older traditional parts or the new and modern ones! Japan is home to one of the world’s most astounding cities - Tokyo. This city is known for its entertainment, shopping districts, cleanliness and the cityscape. Let's prove how impressively packed Japan is with 26 amazing experience sit offers in an alphabetical list from A to Z! 

A - Anime 

Of course, one of the first things you might think of is Anime! Where better to go than Akihabara in Japan. It is an area of Tokyo known for its electronic retailers. There are venues specialising in anime, video games and manga. Immerse yourself in this unique culture that is just fascinating. 

B - Bamboo Forest (Arashiyama)

Arashiyama is a mystical forest of bamboo. It is famously known worldwide for its stunning scenery. There is simply nothing else like it! Take a stroll through the forest and take in the atmosphere of its uniqueness. Why not try out forest bathing? It is a Japanese process of relaxation, simply observe and hear the nature around you. The forest is surreal when hearing the soft rustle of bamboo. Join us on our Japan Intro trip, where you can visit this remarkable forest.

C - Cherry Blossom 

Name a better time of year to visit Japan than spring! Cherry blossoms are iconic in Japanese landscapes. With their beautiful colour and delicate look, cherry blossom transforms Japan into a serene dream. It is considered the national flower of Japan. Secure your chance to witness Japan covered in this beautiful blossom; book your trip around March-April.

D - Dotombori 

The Dotombori district in Osaka is known for its fantastic street food and nightlife. With the famous canal in the middle of the street and illuminating signboards, this district has its own unique character. Book our Japan Intro trip to see these incredible streets yourself and finish the night singing your heart out in a karaoke room.

E - Etiquette 

Japan is big on etiquette! It is a country that is very clean and polite. Everyone takes off their shoes when entering a building, stays quiet on public transport (no phone calls) and doesn’t eat whilst walking. Japan is top-tier in its manners! It is just part of their culture.

F - Fushimi-Inari 

Fancy a serene walk through hundreds of red torii gates? Visit Fushimi-Inari, which has fascinating trails leading into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari. It is known to be one of Kyoto’s oldest shrines. The gate typically symbolises the transition from the mundane to the blessed land. This one is definitely on the bucket list!

G - Geisha 

It is noted in history that geisha performances started back as far as 1730! Geishas are typically known for their performance and entertainment. They can sing, dance and be proficient in conversations and as hosts. The geishas are still treated with a lot of respect nowadays. You’ll be able to spot their beautiful aesthetic amongst the crowds! 

H - Hakone Ropeway 

The Hakone cable car is a must-do in Japan. This 30-minute ride will take you over stunning scenery and ends by Mount Fuji. Whilst in the cable car, you’ll see Owakudani Valley and the hot sulfur springs! It is a fun activity as you ascend a mountain and see Japan’s natural beauty.

I - Itadakimasu

Itadakimasu means ‘I humbly receive’ and is a phrase you might want to learn for your visit! It is a blessing to say before you eat. So it would be respected if you attempted to say the phrase, give it a go!

J - Japanese Macaques (Snow Monkeys)

These cute little creatures are great entertainment! Snow monkeys are native to Japan and live in the mountain landscapes outside of Nagano. These monkeys love bathtime as they climb into the hot springs during winter to stay warm! If you want to see these furry friends, why not check out our Japan group trips?

K - Kyoto

Kyoto just has to be on your list to visit, as it is one of the most preserved cities in Japan. It also contains thousands of shrines and temples. In Kyoto, there are many things to do and see, like visiting traditional tea houses or walking the alleyways filled with wooden shops. You can wander the streets in awe of this city’s beauty. The top three attractions are Kinkakuji Temple, Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Nijo Castle.

L - Lanterns

Watch Japan turn into a mystical lantern-lit setting. They symbolise good luck and happiness! Lanterns are often found as decoration in gardens or placed in Buddhist temples. In summer, there is also the beautiful festival of Toro Nagashi. At the Toro Nagashi festival, people traditionally make wishes and float paper lanterns down a river.

M - Mount Fuji 

Mount Fuji is one of the most iconic features of Japan. It is spectacular to look at as it is the largest mountain in the country. Mount Fuji is an active volcano that erupted in 1707! There are many activities to participate in near Mount Fuji. You can hike up the mountain, visit different shrines and relax in the hot springs. Did you go to Japan if you didn’t explore Mount Fuji?

N - Noodles

Ahhh noodles! They are a staple of Japanese food, from served chilled to served hot in stir-fry or ramen. Japan is typically known for their udon noodles, which are typically thicker. Why not become a noodle-making pro and book our Japan Intro trip to learn all the skills behind making noodles?

 

O - Origami  

Origami is a craft of folding paper to create art. It is an old tradition as origami used to be a gift to Samurais as a symbol of good luck, and in the old folk tale, Sadako’s friend says that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your desired wish will come true. So get folding! 

P - Poetry 

Japan is known for its famous form of poetry - Haiku. It is one of the simplest forms of poetry, consisting of only 3 lines! There are 5 syllables in the first and third lines and 7 in the second. Why not have a try? 

Q - Queuing 

Japanese are on match, if not better than the British at queuing! Japanese are keen for good manners, and queuing is part of it. Be sure to step in line whilst visiting Japan! At least you don’t have to worry about anyone pushing in.

R - Ryokan

Known as a traditional Japanese Inn, people love ryokans for their aesthetics. They typically have tatami rooms, futon beds and Japanese-style baths. Immerse yourself in Japanese culture by spending a cosy night in a ryokan. Just simply kick back and relax. 

S - Samurai 

Samurai translates to ‘warrior or knight’. People respect Samurais due to their military aristocracy. They had a stressed loyalty to their master. These wicked warriors were impressive with their bravery and dedication to their lifestyle. They date back as far back as the year 1185. Check out the Samurai Museum in Kyoto or do a Samurai session with a master. 

T - Temples

Japan is widely known for their temples. These beautiful buildings are stunning to wander around and soak up the scene. Visit the Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto, Kotokuin Temple in Kamakura and Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo! These buildings hold so much culture and history you just have to go.

U - Ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e is a type of artwork that originates from Japan. It is recognisable for its design on woodblocks. One of the most famous paintings is ‘The Great Wave of Kanagawa’! The paintings are often of landscapes, folktales and scenes from history. These woodblock paintings date as far back as the 17th century!

V - Volcanic hot springs

Hot springs are a jaw-dropping experience in Japan. The springs are called Onsens in Japanese. Surrounding Mount Fuji are several volcanic springs full of natural minerals that have health benefits for your skin. Take a visit to Kinosaki Onsen in Hyogo or Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata.

W - Weather

The Amani Islands have a subtropical climate with hot long summer days. The rest of Japan has similar summers where they are hot and have temperatures of 31 degrees. The winters, however, can have heavy snow and freezing temperatures. In North Japan, it snows an average of 7 meters! So, depending on when in the year you explore Japan, you might need to pack coats and jumpers or summer-wear!

X - Xmas 

Christmas in Japan is not traditionally celebrated. However, the fast food franchise KFC has become a Christmas tradition for Japanese families. Who would have thought? KFC has said they sell up to 10 times more at Christmas after a campaign encouraging this tradition.

Y - Yukata

Yukata is a casual version of the Kimono. It is a robe you use after bathing and is also commonly used for the hot springs. The ryokan also offers these robes to their guests. So cosy up in a yukata on your trip! 

Z - Zzzzzz (The Capsule Hotel)

After all that, you must be tired! The Capsule Hotels are commonly known as Pods. It is a unique experience you just have to try! There are compact rows of beds for you to stay in. It is an affordable night stay and lets you get rested after an incredible adventure in Japan. 

 

Japan is a truly unique place to discover. Hopefully, this list has given you more than enough reasons to visit! Explore the beauty of this country, with the traditional and modern aspects. If you are raring to go, then check out our group trips! Our Japan Intro group trip has the perfect itinerary to immerse yourself in Japan. This trip offers the ultimate experiences from a lesson with a Samurai master, to a sushi-making session. Meet mates along your journey in Japan and see all the remarkable sites with them. Why not check out our trips to Japan to book and kickstart your adventure?

 

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