15 Things that Make Japan Great: Why You should Visit Japan
Japan – the land of the rising sun and always smiling people. There are endless reasons to love this country. Where else do you find a perfect mix of tradition, culture, history blended with modernity and futuristic designs. The scenery is breathtaking, no matter when you visit and where you are. But the best part about Japan is its uniqueness. Because only in Japan you can enjoy experiences that you will never find anywhere else. Not many places in the world can compare with it.
Whether you’re dying to explore the variety of UNESCO world heritage sites, or travel in super-fast bullet trains called Shinkansen, fangirl over Manga and anime, or looking forward to indulging in Japan’s diverse yet delectable cuisine, the country promises surprises at every corner.
But if you are still not convinced why Japan is the best country to travel to for your solo female trip, let me give you reasons why I love Japan and why you will fall in love with this country too.
1. One of the safest countries in the world
As solo female travellers, the one thing we always worry about before booking tickets to a country is its safety. And in this department, Japan scores very high points. It is a country where the crime rate is low, and it is one of the safest countries for female solo travellers. Even though there are some tourist traps you want to steer clear of, you can travel far and wide in this country without having to worry about safety.
2. The perfect blend of old and new
Japan has a fascinating and multifaceted culture. A country that is, on the one hand, steeped in tradition, which will take you back thousands of years in a blink of an eye. On the other Japan pushes its own boundaries with technological development. And ‘present Japan’ is the perfect mix. You can be walking along the glitzy streets of Tokyo and find ancient temples and shrines.
3. The people of Japan
A country is all but just land without its people. And the other reason why I love Japan is it’s always smiling and extremely polite people. Although you might think that the language barrier will be a hindrance, but you will be pleasantly surprised. The Japanese are warm, welcoming, and extremely helpful.
Before travelling to Japan, I would advise you to learn a few basic words and phrases in Japanese and see their faces glow up when you make an effort to speak in their language. The people are one of the main reasons why you should visit Japan.
4. Flipping through the pages of history
Ancient Japanese history is fascinating, to say the least. And it’s not just confined to the castles, temples, and shrines. But it is prevalent in its structures, its cuisine, its clothing, and definitely its culture. So, if you are a history buff like me, there’s no doubt you will love Japan as much I do because everything in this country tells a story. Also, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, which commemorates the victims of the atomic bomb during World War II. It reminds you that peace is what we need in today’s world.
5. Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines
Before I visited Japan, I don’t know why but I thought all temples and shrines in Japan must look similar to each other. But boy, was I wrong. Every one of them has its very own essence, and you can never have enough of it. You don’t even have to be a believer to enjoy the Zen experience here.
What makes these temples and shrines so unique? Well, almost all of them are included as UNESCO sites. And fun fact: Japan boasts of a total of 21 World Heritage sites! Beat that any other country.
6. A touch of modernity
Like I said before, Japan is a land of juxtaposition. So, while you have historical temples and shrines on one hand, modern and high-technology is sure to steal your breath. Do you want to see what the future holds? Why not make a visit to Miraikan, The Future Museum, located on the man-made island of Odaiba in Tokyo. And you can absolutely not leave the country without multi-sensory experience at the teamLab Borderless museum in Tokyo.
But it isn’t just the museums and the LEDs and computers. You find technology in every minute detail of life in Japan. The best example of this is Japan’s world-renowned futuristic toilets.
7. Bullet trains
One of the best and easiest ways to get around when in Japan is the Shinkansen bullet trains. This is again something that is unique to the country. Watching the world whooshing you by as you sit in a train that can reach a speed up to 300km/hour is a different experience altogether. But before you board the bullet train, be sure to purchase your Japan Rail Pass to save money on tickets.
8. Incredible natural landscape
Japan cities have plenty to offer, no doubt about that at all. It is said that you can spend a decade in Tokyo and not run out of things to do. But if you ask me, the Japanese countryside supersedes everything else. From artistic Hakone to walking around deers in Nara Park, Japan is a sight to behold even beyond country limits.
Often during our female solo trips, we forget to explore beyond the main cities in Japan, but if you look out of the box, you will fall in love with Japan all over again.
Let me give you a list of some places you should absolutely include in your trip to Japan.
For a small country, Japan has some striking diverse landscape, and one of the best among them is Hida-Takayama. Also known as ‘Little Kyoto,’ Hida-Takayama is nestled in the Hida mountains and oozes old Japan charm. This town is also known for its excellent sake, so don’t forget to taste some of the best from the best breweries. This is another reason why I loved visiting this small town.
Your trip to Hida-Takayama will be richer if you get a chance to stay at a lovely hostel here called Cup of Tea. The minimal yet cozy hotel also boasts of a beautiful garden that you can spend hours looking at the surrounding mountains.
This place is highland Japan at its most perfect. This is one of the best places you can visit if you are travelling to Japan during the summers. Even when the cities buckle under the sweltering heat, you can still see specks of snow on the mountain tops.
Just a day trip from Tokyo that you cannot miss, Hakone, is also one of the best places from where you can see stunning views of Mount Fuji. As long as it’s not raining, this getaway from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo is a must-visit.
d. Mount Aso
Kumamoto made headlines a few years back after being rocked by a severe earthquake. But the beautiful town has bounced back and is eager to welcome visitors with open arms. The Kumamoto castle, which is being rebuilt after the disaster, is beautiful, no doubt. But for me, the main attraction is Mount Aso, which is an active volcano in this area. The constantly billowing clouds of smoke coming out from its moon-like crater top is something that is both fascinating and scary at the same time.
e. Kabira bay
When we think of Japan, we think of brightly lit cities or spring and the pink hues of cherry blossoms. But in reality, Japan is so much more. The country is actually an archipelago of 6,852 islands, and if you are craving some clear aqua water and white sand, Kabira bay is the place you must visit. One of the reasons that I love Japan is because of the country’s diversity, and this beautiful beach is far from Japan that people are aware of. While you are not allowed to swim here, you can always take a bottom glass boat to see the coral reef from up close.
9. Super clean country
The Japanese people pride themselves on their cleanliness, and once you visit the country, you will realise how they have almost elevated it to the level of art. I kid you not. It seems that the whole country has OCD. You will be taken by surprise at how clean and sparkling the streets are in Japan. Hotels and restaurants are absolutely spotless, and it fills you with so much joy. This is another reason why I love Japan so much.
One of the best times to visit Japan is during the spring when cherry blossoms bloom, and the country turns a shade pink. Yes, it is a little crowded then, but the beautiful scenery makes up for it.
Cherry blossoms or sakura are the national flowers of Japan, and the springtime spectacle of the small delicate pink flowers is lavish but remarkably brief. So, plan your trip while keeping an eye on the sakura forecast.
If you are planning to visit Japan during the spring, hanami or flower viewing should be on the top of your list. While the flowers are the same, seeing them against different backdrops in Japan will take your breath away every time. Sakura is defintely one of the most important reasons why I love Japan, and trust me, it will be yours too.
The backlash that trips to Japan always faces is because of its expenses. All of us have at some point wanted to visit Japan but then cancelled our plans after thinking about how expensive it is going to be. But in reality, that is far from the truth.
Yes, there are ways in which a trip to Japan can burn a hole in your pocket. But on the other hand, there are also ways in which you can make sure that you can enjoy the beauty of Japan while on a budget. Choose options like staying in a hostel or a capsule hotel and eat the various delicacies that the streets of Japan have to offer. Don’t miss the vending machines as well. Many tourist attractions in Japan are actually free! Read thisto know more about travelling through Japan on a budget.
12. Best time to bring out your inner child
Japan has the ability to make you feel like a kid all over again. Be it a trip to Disneyworld or riding the Mario Cart on the road! Japan gives a taste of your childhood like no other country ever can.
Add to that the option of gaming in arcades and buying toys and nobody judging you. Isn’t that a reason to love Japan now? Also, if you have grown up on a fair share of anime and Manga, you will love it in Japan.
There are many unexpected aspects of Japanese culture, and geishas are one of them. I am sure we have all either read and or seen Memoirs of a Geisha, and our curiosity about Japan grew. The experience of seeing a geisha or a performance is an attraction for many. But it is just not the geishas, but rather the whole culture that it brings. And the whole thing is fascinating.
If you are travelling to the historical city of Kyoto, the Gion district is the perfect place to experience the geisha culture. Though Japan and geisha are synonymous, today, only a handful remain. And so, spotting a geisha makes it all the more exciting.
14. Hot springs (Onsens)
Japan is a country prone to volcanic eruptions. While this is indeed a sad phenomenon, the good thing is the presence of natural hot springs that is called onsens. An onsen experience in Japan is something that is completely different from what you have done before.
Yes, I agree that the first time may feel awkward. You have to, after all, take off your clothes and get in the hot spring, naked. But once you soak yourself in the onsen, you realise that getting past that awkwardness was so worth it. We all live a fast life, and sometimes we do need to slow down. Dip in an onsen to wash away some of the anxiety and stress from your life. Taking a bath in an onsen is an incredibly relaxing experience, and I promise you will be eager to come back for it again.
I have saved the best reason why I love Japan for the last. It’s no secret that Japan has some of the best food but what I realised after visiting the country is that it isn’t just ramen and sushis and sashimis. Food is an integral part of Japanese culture, and don’t be afraid to try out all the delicious delicacies Japan has to offer.
And the best part is that the food and taste changes depending on where you travel. So do try out the okonomiyaki, tamagoyaki, takoyaki, soba noodles, and so much more.
The list can go on and on because Japan is one of the best countries out there to experience. But it is now time for you to visit Japan and find out how you fall in love with the country.
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.