Frequently called the most intriguing destination in the world, it comes to say that Japan does not disappoint in any way. With the perfect mix of old traditions and modern technology, one does not wonder why more and more tourists put Japan on their must-see lists when planning the next vacation. Not only that, but there is an opportunity to discover some of the most breathtaking landscapes on planet earth! If nature is not your cup of tea and you would rather venture into the excitements of city living, then consider taking a cab and exploring the loud city of Tokyo.
However, since the culture and the language are so special and fascinating, it can be difficult to figure out what to do first and see next when visiting the country of Japan. From tasting spectacular authentic dishes to taking snaps of all the famous buildings and sights, the list of things to do in Japan seems to be endless. However, this article is here to help anyone wishing to visit the country and experience it at it’s fullest. Without any more delays here are the best things to do when planning a dream vacation in the country of Japan.
1. Be a fly on the wall and watch the rikishi
The rikishi is a term which denotes sumo wrestlers in Japan. Sumo, the national sport of Japan is said to have originated in ancient times as a performance to entertain the Shinto deities. Nowadays, the competitions are quite rare, and it can be nerve-wracking to get a couple of tickets for the show. Instead, it is advisable to watch the rikishi doing their morning practice in a Keiko (which is the Japanese word for sumo stable). Traditionally, the wrestlers train hard during these sessions and the viewer may get a glimpse of what a true sumo wrestling match looks like. However, one must keep in mind that there are certain rules which still apply when watching a training session. First of all, chatting and flash photography is strictly prohibited. Also, viewers are not allowed to bring in any food items or beverages into the training area. Tourists who are interested in Japan’s traditional sport have the opportunity to get up close and personal with unique athletes of the country.
2. Eat inside a filthy cell at Alcatraz ER
Japan is notorious for its weird and bizarre themed restaurants, and Alcatraz ER is one such. By combining sickening elements of horror movies and mouth-watering dishes, it is no wonder that this restaurant is on the list of things to see when travelling to the country. What sets this place apart from others is that the waitresses appear dressed as nurses as they lead the guests to the cells where their table awaits. Another interesting fact which might scare a lot of people is the idea of the waitresses being summoned by raking the bars of the cells with an iron bar. Giant syringes, bloody mannequin heads and realistic body parts are just some of the frequent additions to the table when it comes to dining out in Alcatraz ER. So, dress up in your fanciest clothes and head to this restaurant. Sounds delicious.
3. Visit the Parasite Museum
The Meguro Parasitological Museum, founded by Dr Satoru Kamegai in 1953 is the next best thing someone in Tokyo should go visit. Since it is devoted to parasites and the science of parasitology, the fascinating museum is not recommended for the faint-hearted. The museum is the proud owner of more than 300 parasite specimens and other related materials. Even though it was opened primarily for educational purposes, more and more tourists from all around the world visit, making it one of Tokyo’s weirdest spots.
4. Save money by sleeping in a capsule hotel room
Low on cash, but you still want to enjoy a good night’s rest in a comfortable room? Well, look no further than one of the many capsule hotels in the city of Tokyo. Reminiscent of sci-fi movies, the hotel provides every visitor with a small capsule to sleep in, fit for one person. Imagine this; you get your very own personal pod, and the only thing that comes with it is a pair of lights. Of course, the style of the capsule hotel rooms may vary, ranging from a country vibe to modern chic with automatic doors. This is certainly an excellent idea for someone touring Japan on a tight budget.
5. Go skiing in Furano
Visitors who are lovers of the winter weather and the spectacular mountain sides will rejoice after finding out all about the gorgeous ski resorts located in Japan. As a matter of fact, there are more than 500 resorts scattered all across the country! Not only that but many ski resorts double as luxurious hot-spring resorts, which make them perfect for people of all ages and interests. One of these resorts is the ever so popular Furano, located in Hokkaido. Ideal for families with small children, it also offers various other winter activities such as dog sledding and snowboarding. However, if it is your very first time visiting Furano, it is advisable to consult with experts. Other ski resorts worth mentioning are Hakuba, Niseko and Rusutsu.
6. Spend a night in a Buddhist temple
Shokubo, or more commonly known as temple lodgings are the perfect choice for travelers who are looking for a bit of excitement when visiting Japan. One of the activities travelers might take part in is staying in one of the sacred temples and participating in group prayer and meditation. Also, temple lodgings offer an excellent opportunity for tourists to get a glimpse of the traditional and simplistic lifestyle of the Buddhist monks. The best place in Japan which offers more than 50 temples as shukubo in Koyasan. It is also important to mention the fact that the typical cost for a stay is somewhere between 9,000 and 15,000 yen per person for a single night.
7. Get squeaky-clean at an ear-cleaning parlor
Out of all the things that exist in Japan, it is certain that the ear-cleaning parlor is the strangest and most attention-catching. If you feel like relaxing after an exhausting day exploring the city, then head to Yamamoto Mimikaki parlor in Akihabara. On a side note, what is mimi-kaki? Actually, it is a term describing the process of ear cleaning. Even though this might not sound too unusual for many, it is worth mentioning that the ears are not simply cleaner with the use of a couple of cotton swabs. In fact, experts use a variety of tools, such as a bamboo stick to get rid of gunk stuck in the ears.
8. Enjoy some romance while wandering through Kitakyushu flower tunnels
In the wooded hills of Kitakyushu lies the breath-taking Kawachi Wisteria Garden, famous for its many magical wisteria flowers. Open during the peak seasons, many tourists from all around the world venture to get a glimpse of the romantic garden. However, the most important features of the garden are the 100 meter long tunnels made entirely out of wisteria trees (which range from white to dark purple). However, it is suggested to arrive well-prepared due to the fact that the area attracts large crowds during the wisteria season. Are you traveling with your significant other? Well, if so, then do not hesitate and plan a truly memorable proposal amongst the stunning flowers in Kawachi Wisteria Garden.
In summary, if it is your very first time visiting the beautiful country of Japan, then you might be confused about where to go and what to do. Just remember to arrive well-prepared and do one thing at a time. Have fun and enjoy!
Cover Image credits: Photo by DSD from Pexels