If you haven’t been to Japan, I’m just gonna be straight up with you and say that you’re missing out. It is probably my favourite country (you might of heard me say that a few times), and if you happen to need a bit of convincing as to why you should get there right now, then you have obviously come to the right place! Read on and I am quite sure you will be wanting to book a ticket and get on the next plane to Japan at the end of this post!
The cherry blossoms are simply magical
I thought I would start with one of the main reasons tourists flock to Japan – the Cherry Blossoms or Sakura as they are known in Japanese. Around the end of March and the start of April, at various dates across the country, parks, streets and backyards are covered in a blanket of pink flowers. People gather in local parks, pack picnics and drinks and sit under the Sakura and have ‘hanami’, which is basically translated to ‘flower viewing’. They are undeniably beautiful, and seeing them in full bloom all over Japan is something that needs to be right at the top of your bucket list!
It is home to some of the most interesting culture and history
I am extremely interested in different cultures and history, and Japan’s is like no other. From some of the world’s most spectacular and well-preserved pagodas, castles and temples to the sight of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you won’t be short on historical spots in Japan. Kyoto alone is home to about 2,000 shrines and temples, most notably the Golden Pavilion, but you really need to go and see it for yourself!
The food and drinks are tasty and cheap
Does this even surprise you?! One of the most popular cuisines, and my favourite by far, Japanese food is something my taste buds will never tire from. From ramen and udon to sushi and sashimi; you can find it all over the place at all hours of the day and night. Even little hole in the wall restaurants that seat just several people will serve you some damn tasty ramen and gyoza. 7/11’s, Family Marts and Lawson shops (all convenience stores) are found on every street and are filled with cheap sushi, ice-creams, hot food and cheap alcohol. Oh, just take me back to Japan for the food and drink alone!
You will always feel safe
By far, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world and the safest in Asia. I would have no problem wandering streets at night alone or catching a train. You could honestly even leave a suitcase or bag on the ground in the streets and come back hours later to find it untouched; the Japanese are very against stealing! Obviously, you need to use your common sense and not trust everybody, but the crime rate is so low and many tourists will tell you how safe they felt travelling here, especially solo travellers.
Transport is some of the most efficient in the world
One of the main reasons I am head over heels for Japan really is how efficient and amazing their transport systems are! You could catch a train to just about anywhere for a very cheap price, too. Not only this, but they are always on time, always. As a tourist, you can’t skimp out on a Japan Rail Pass that will give you an unlimited amount of train travel on the Shinkansens (bullet trains) between main cities as well as many trains in each city. If you haven’t ridden on the Shinkansen, you are in for a real treat. They will get you to your next destination unbelievably quick and are super comfortable – can Australia get their public transport together already?!
It’s home to some of the friendliest people you will ever meet
Japanese people are so friendly, welcoming, sweet, polite and hilarious – the best kinds of people! The majority of Japanese will know a little bit of English, which is always handy and despite any language barriers, they will always be down to help you with things like directions, trains and will even take you to the best clubs and bars. Many Japanese people I have met have left an everlasting impression on me and made my experiences visiting much more special.
It’s more affordable than you think
When most people think about travelling to Japan, they tend to use the excuse that it is super expensive. Yes, it can be, but if you budget correctly, then it can be quite affordable, hence why I have visited three times already. For cheap accommodation, seek out Airbnbs and capsule hotels that can actually be cheaper than hostels and hotels! Don’t forget to purchase a rail pass for cheaper transport within the country! Food is incredibly cheap, too, as I mentioned before. If you live in Australia like I do, you can snag flights for as cheap as $350 return like I did in the cherry blossom season!
The shopping is so good, you’ll find it hard to refrain
Don’t bother buying anything at home before your trip, save every cent for the shopping in Japan. From cool vintage stores to wacky boutiques, you’ll find some of the best clothes, shoes, accessories and technology on offer here!
Everything is super kawaii
Who doesn’t love cute things?! Japan is home to everything kawaii; things you never thought could be cute are here! From Thomas the Tank Engine themed trains and cartoon characters to cat cafes and trendy Japanese girls, you will constantly be saying ‘awwww’ as you wander the streets.
You could probably eat off the sidewalk, it’s that clean
Okay, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but honestly, how can a whole country be that damn clean with a lack of bins?! Another reason to love the Japanese culture is how clean the streets, bathrooms, restaurants and hotels can be. I think this comes down to a basic respect the people have for their cities and towns.
It’s beautiful every season
Japan, the beauty and diversity in each of your seasons just kills me! Spring blossoms, bright red autumn leaves and winter snow, just about any time of the year is wonderful in Japan. Maybe steer clear of the rainy season in Summer, but even then, Japan is always a good idea any time you can get there!
Technology is more advanced
Scary looking toilets, robots and electronic vending machines are real things in Japan. It is a real shock to your senses seeing how far the Japanese have come technology-wise. You will also leave wishing your home country was just as advanced!
Weirdly wonderful themed cafes are a thing
Japan is home to the OG cat cafes as well as wacky themed food cafes like the bunny café I visited in Harajuku. Visit animals who have their own cafes such as rabbits, hedgehogs and owls, where you can sit down at a table, have a cuppa and feed them! Now the trend is spreading all around the world, but I’m pretty sure Japan kicked off this crazy trend that you cannot help but want to take part in!