Why Should Japan Top Your Travel Bucket List?
Japan is topping the charts of places to travel in 2023. After dropping all their indoor mask mandates in March and opening their borders to travelers without any complicated visa requirements, Japanese tourism is seeing a huge increase. There are so many great reasons why you should visit Japan, but we have narrowed it down to a few of our favorite reasons Japan should be on your travel bucket list.
While your first thought of Japan might be its large cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto, the country has some of the world's most beautiful and vast natural scenery. Japan's landscape is remarkably diverse in that you can explore volcanic Mount Fuji and the white sandy beaches of Okinawa within a few hours of one another.
World-famous Mount Fuji is Japan's highest mountain. It is famous for its near-perfect conical shape and is a stunning sight to see or even climb for the most adventurous. It is estimated that roughly 400,000 people attempt to summit Mount Fuji every year. The best time to try the climb is early July through early September (and don't forget your adventure travel insurance plan to protect you and your climbing gear!). Even if you don't want to make the trek up the mountain, Mount Fuji is still a sight to check off your bucket list, as it is sacred in Japanese culture. Many temples and shrines can be found around and on the volcano.
If relaxing is more your style, the beaches of Okinawa do not disappoint. They are very similar to what you would see in any tropical vacation destination. White sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue water surround the islands in southern Japan. Okinawa is popular year-round for visitors, but the best times to go are usually in spring or autumn to avoid the summer rainy seasons.
Of course, we cannot talk about Japan's incredible scenery without mentioning the cherry blossoms. The delicate pink blooms bring millions of tourists to the country yearly, and festivals celebrate the magical flowers. The peak blooming season for cherry blossoms in Japan is generally from late March to April, but the entire blooming period covers around four months, depending on what part of the country you are in. If you can visit Japan during this season, it will be the trip of a lifetime!
Temples, Shrines & Zen Gardens
You absolutely cannot make a trip to Japan without visiting a temple. There are over 80,000 temples and shrines of all sizes within Japan, some dating back over 1,000 years.
One of the most famous shrines is the Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, dedicated to the Japanese Shinto god of rice, Inari. It is one of the most photographed shrines – even if you did not realize it, you have likely seen photos of its iconic red columns.
Even if you can't make it to Kyoto during your stay, there are many shrines and temples to visit, even right in the heart of Tokyo. All Japan Tours offers a list of the best shrines and gives essential information about each so you can decide which ones you would like to see during your visit.
The food! You knew this would be one of the top reasons to visit Japan. Japanese food is loved by many around the world, but nothing compares to having it while in Japan. Kaiseki is Japanese haute cuisine, and not to be missed. This traditional cuisine uses many ingredients hardly found in other parts of the world, making it even more special to try while visiting. And, more than the food itself, is the experience of Kaiseki. According to Inside Kyoto, the freshest seasonal dishes are served on "carefully chosen tableware like lacquerware trays and priceless ceramic bowls, and tremendous thought goes into how each dish is presented so that every course resembles an edible work of art."
Many tourists love to check out the restaurants that offer the sushi conveyor belt. This conveyor belt winds through the restaurant carrying plates of sushi and side dishes, allowing customers to choose what they want to try. It is a fun experience for a group and a very "Instagrammable" moment, too! Other typical foods to try while there are things like ramen and tempura. These restaurants can be found nationwide, but do your research before heading into the city to find the one you want to try, and grab a reservation where you can as it is getting increasingly difficult to do so with the uptik in tourism! Jpneazy.com can help you decide and make a reservation without having to speak Japanese.
Safety & Friendliness
Japan has been named one of the safest countries in the world, with one of the lowest crime rates per capita. This is something the Japanese people pride themselves on. It is not unusual for Japanese children to be seen traveling the city and subways alone. Japanese people feel a sense of honor to protect and look after the children as someone once looked out for them.
Japan's safety stems from cultural beliefs that the people will always prioritize the common good above their own needs. Many travelers rave about how genuine and helpful locals are with giving directions, suggesting restaurants, and even helping navigate public transportation. Japanese people will take time out of their day to stop and help you get where you need to be.
Last but certainly not least is Japan's cleanliness. Visitors returning from Japan always speak highly of clean streets and public transportation. Even in the heart of Tokyo, the most populated city in the world, it is rare to see trash lying around. Interestingly, you will also not see many garbage cans on the streets.
So, how can the city be so clean? The simple answer is that Japanese people respect their surroundings and take pride in a clean environment. Many people will hold onto their own trash and dispose of it at home rather than throw it on the street or leave it somewhere it is not supposed to be. Japanese culture strongly respects the practice of mottainai, which means they do not like anything to go to waste.
Japan Travel Insurance
If you're heading to Japan, consider getting a travel medical insurance policy, as many traditional health insurance options stop working as soon as you leave your home country. Many of our travel insurance plans offer travel medical coverage and trip cancellation coverage, so you are covered in case of an accidental injury or illness or if something causes you to miss or be delayed during your trip. Learn more about travel insurance for Japan.