Japan is a fascinating destination. It is as pure as magic. A bucket lister’s paradise, Japan is where the traditional meets modern. There are experience here that cannot be had anywhere across the globe. You need to come prepared in order to ensure that you do not miss out. Here are the best places to visit in Japan to get a cultural experience.
1. Bathe in an Onsen: Japan attracts tourists with variety of interests. The best way to start and end your day is with a bath in the hot springs. Japan is famous for Onsen which are communal baths with natural spring water and the water is said to have healing properties. Enjoy a relaxing bath with your friends and family at the Onsen.
2. Head to the themed café of your dream: When it comes to themed cafes, Japan is in a different league. They have restaurants and cafes for every niche interest. Whatever your interest maybe, you will be able to find a café that meets the same. Whether you want to eat while being surrounded by your favorite anime character or hold a pet cat, you will get it all here.
3. Sleep in a shrine: To soak in a cultural experience in Japan, you need to experience what it is like to live as a monk by staying at a shrine overnight. There will be a comfortable but minimalist room and eating vegetarian cuisine. You will also be attending early morning prayers with the monks. You can find temple lodging in Nara and Kyoto.
4. Don a kimono: Kimonos are elegant pieces of clothing that are passed down through generations. Tourists can find more and more rental shops across traditional districts like Gion in Kyoto and Asakusa in Tokyo. They offer overnight and one day rental for men and women.
5. Attend a fan convention: Have you heard of anime and manga? How about attending a convention in the exact place where it all started? The conventions are the apex of a fan culture and Comiket is held annually in August and December and is very different from the other anime cons held in other countries.
6. Participate in a tea ceremony: A tea ceremony in Japan is a lot more than just drinking a cup of tea. It is a traditional Japanese ritual and is the best way to experience Japanese culture. There will be a host to guide you through each step and will sample different kinds of tea. Kyoto is a popular spot to participate in a tea ceremony.
7. Watch a sumo match: No cultural experience in Japan can be complete without watching a match of sumo. It is Japan’s oldest sport and is a martial art like no other. Even if you are not a sports fan, you will thoroughly enjoy the match. The matches are accompanied by traditional ceremonies and they are held across different locations throughout the year.
8. Stay at a ryokan: There are a lot of different and interesting places to spend a night in Japan. You can experience the pinnacle of Japanese hospitality with a stay in ryokan. It is a traditional inn that includes multi course dinner and a comfortable futon.
9. Have a hanami: If you visit Japan during cherry blossoms, hanami is a must. It is an act of setting up a picnic blanket under the cherry trees in order to appreciate the view with your family and friends. Tourists as well as locals flock at the blossom spots but hanami can also be enjoyed anywhere.
10. Participate in a festival: You have not experience Japanese culture if you have not participated in any festival. The Nebuta is a major festival you can get involved in. It has organized teams of musicians and float bearers and haneto dancers who jump and shout in front of the floats. Every festival in Japan has a traditional ritual and a strong importance in its culture.