The one country I suggest you to definitely visit is Japan. Maybe I am biased, but after living in Tokyo for more than three years it shouldn’t be a surprise that I am in love with the country.
There is so much to see and do in Japan, that you can literally spend years there and not run out of things to do. Trust me, I tried. As a result I have a lot to share about Japan. Find the best travel itineraries for different parts of Japan, great experiences, especially food I want you to try and other local travel tips for Japan you might find useful.
For Japan I wrote a couple of itineraries from my extensive travel experience. You can’t really find such perfect itineraries anywhere else, because I wrote them after visiting a place multiple times and experiencing a wide variety of activities. Let’s dive into how to best spend your time in Japan:
The Perfect Itinerary for 2 Weeks in Japan: If you visit Japan for the first time, and you have 2 weeks to get to know the country, I suggest you follow this itinerary. It will give you the best Japan has to offer and you will get to know all the famous amazing places Japan is so popular for.
Here are two posts on what you can do in Tokyo. While I believe 5 days aren’t enough to get to know Tokyo, for a good overview you can follow my 5 Days in Tokyo itinerary. If you are looking for an off the beaten path destination in Tokyo, I suggest a visit to Ningyocho where I used to live.
Here are some other itineraries for other cities in Japan:
You can experience Japan in so many different ways. In my opinion the greatest way to experience Japan is through its food, but there are some other unique experiences you shouldn’t miss while you are there. And if you happen to be in Japan during one of the holidays or special events like Valentine’s Day, Halloween or Christmas how about celebrating them Japan style.
If you are looking for amazing food experiences, Japan is the place to go. When I go traveling, I really crave some good Japanese food, and even though there are Japanese restaurants everywhere in the world, nothing comes close to the original in Japan.
My recommendations for food in Tokyo are Udon at Taniya in Ningyocho and Tonkatsu Teishoku at Suzuki at Tokyo Station. If you have the time, you should really try them both. This is real Japanese food at its best.
If you make it to Nagoya try the local eel dish called Hitsumabushi. While it is a little bit expensive, don’t miss out on an amazing once in a lifetime experience. For me its a once every time I am in Nagoya experience.
Lastly, let’s talk about things you get everywhere, no matter where you go in Japan. Just visit the next supermarket or convenience store (called konbini in Japanese) and try some of the weird popular Japanese snacks. And wash them down with one of the unique non-alcoholic drinks you can find. Also did you know that many soda and other drinks now look just like water but taste like anything from peach water over coke to coffee? Have a try, trust me you don’t want to miss this.
When I go traveling within Japan I always have a soft serve ice cream, because usually there are regional flavors that I don’t want to miss.
Aside from food there are other experiences and activities not to miss. Visit an Onsen in Tokyo, do a day trip to view Mount Fuji, maybe do a homestay and stay with a Japanese host family.
If you like flowers and visit Japan in May (after the cherry blossom season is over) you might want to head to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival.
Here are some things you can only experience if you are in Japan at the right time. Holidays like Halloween and Christmas are increasingly popular and Valentine’s Day is a commercial hit year after year. Find out what’s special about these events in Japan, and why you shouldn’t miss them.
If you are ever invited to a Japanese wedding, I encourage you to go. Here is all you need to know about Japanese wedding traditions.
The one thing almost all people visiting Japan ask about is the Japan Rail Pass. It is the train ticket that lets you explore Japan for a fixed price. You can find all the information about the Japan Rail Pass by reading the post Where to Buy the Japan Rail Pass and Everything Else You Need to Know.
If you are planning on flying within Japan, there are now a couple of LLC available. I have flown with Peach and Vanilla Air, and can recommend both. Have a look at my review post about Vanilla Air to convince yourself of the service.
One of the experiences I think you shouldn’t miss while in Japan is a visit to an Onsen, the Japanese hot springs. It’s not as easy as it sounds though. So, you should have a look at my post about the Japanese Onsen Etiquette to learn how to take a bath in Japan.
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been paid for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
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For our weekend trip to Hokkaido, we booked the Tokyo-based LCC (Low-Cost Carrier) Vanilla Air. The company is in operation since 2013 and not only connects destinations within Japan conveniently but also east-Asian countries like Taiwan and Vietnam, and also Australia. The name Vanilla Air describes appropriately exactly what to expect. If you consult the online […]
Like many other “western” holidays, for example Valentines Day and Christmas, Halloween in Japan is an experience unique to the country with its own traditions, style and events. Halloween is actually a very recent development in Japan. It probably started with amusement parks like Disney World in Tokyo and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, that […]
The Japanese are a weird people. Everybody knows that. There are literally thousands of blog posts about all the crazy things you can find in this country. From inventions that make you shake your head and think “Who would need something like this?”, but also weird fashion choices and disturbing game shows. But when it […]
The summers in Japan get incredibly hot and humid. You can’t step out of the door without being drenched in sweat within minutes. What you really need in that kind of heat is something refreshing and sweet. The Japanese have something they call “Soft Cream” in English it is called soft serve ice cream. Planning […]
For a little over one year, I have been living in Tokyo’s Nihombashi Ningyocho district now. It is the center of Tokyo, but not the center of attention.Nihombashi, literally translates to Japan Bridge, being the historical central point of Tokyo. It is located conveniently close to Tokyo Station and also Otemachi, the business district where I […]
I have been living in Japan for over two years now and was invited to a beautiful wedding by one of my work colleagues last year. It was a beautiful ceremony, but I couldn’t help but compare it to the only other wedding I had been invited to, in Germany. So, I decided to write […]
You have been invited to a wedding in Japan. If you go, expecting it to be similar to weddings in your own country you will in one way or another make a fool of yourself (most likely not even realizing it). So, here are the important points on wedding traditions in Japan and everything you […]
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Although you can get eel everywhere in Japan (on sushi or in chain restaurants it is especially cheap) the best place to enjoy eel is in Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture on the main island of Japan. There it is traditionally served in the same way since the end of the Edo Period (1603-1868). So if you want to enjoy […]