Japan is probably the most beautiful place on earth. The land of the rising sun is world-famous for its culture, traditions, serene natural beauty, heritage sites, and a lot more. You can’t experience Japan in words or pictures alone; you’ve to see it with your own eyes.
If you ever get an opportunity to visit Japan, you should definitely go. However, if it’s your first trip to the country, you should remember a few things before departing. So to help you with that, here’s a quick (but informative) guide to visiting Japan.
When to visit
Japan is blessed with four seasons – spring, summer, autumn, and winter – and each season gives the country a different look.
Spring is undoubtedly the best possible time to visit Japan. It’s when the country is shrouded with beautiful pink cherry blossoms (known as Sakura in Japan). The best time to experience these gorgeous trees is from late March to early April.
If you’re visiting in Summer, you’ve to be prepared for the extreme heat. There are occasional rainfalls as well that drop the temperature a bit and makes the air feel a bit cool. Use a weather app for a real time forecast of the city you’re staying in. Summers in Japan are full of festivals and loads of fireworks. This is the best time of the year to spend your day at the beach in Japan.
You should spend your Autumn in Kyoto, Japan to witness the beautiful autumn leaves complement the hundreds of shrines and temples over there.
Winters are quite cold in Japan. And while there’s not much in terms of events during this time, the whole country is beautifully decorated for Christmas, which is quite the sight.
Communicating with others
Communicating in Japan can be difficult if you can’t speak Japanese. Most of the people there are not that used to English. While you’ll be able to speak English with a few people at certain places in the country, you need to find a way to communicate with the other locals.
For this, most foreigners use a translator. It’s either a handheld device or an app on your phone. Unless it’s for an official visit, you don’t need an interpreter. However, if you are not comfortable with the idea of using an app, you can hire a tour guide to help you.
Commuting between places
For commuting in Japan, you can hire a car or avail their taxi services. For long-distance commutes, you can take the bus or even a plane. Carry a map with you on your commute to keep track of your location (or you could use the one on your phone).
However, the most popular mode of transportation in Japan is the train, especially the Japanese bullet train or Shinkansen. These super-fast trains can get you over a long distance in just a matter of hours. As a foreign tourist, you can get a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) that’ll give you unlimited rides for a fixed number of days. If you’re planning to stay in Japan but move from one place to another a lot, you should purchase this pass. It’s a very viable option for regular commuters and comes at a very reasonable price as well.
The first thing you should realize is that you can’t finish exploring all the magnificent sights in Japan even if you were to spend an eternity here; it’s just endless. However, you can still catch some of the most amazing sights the country has to offer if you’re able to spend a few weeks here.
Start with Tokyo and its bustling urban lifestyle. You’ll mostly do all your shopping here but can also explore places like the Tokyo Tower, Sensoji Temple, Shibuya Crossing, and the open parks during spring.
Go to Kyoto to get a closer look at Japanese culture and some beautiful traditional architecture. The shrines and temples in Kyoto are second to none in Japan. If you enjoy the sights in Kyoto and have some time in hand, you should also consider visiting Nikko.
Besides, you should also visit Hiroshima, Osaka, Lake Kawaguchiko (to get a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji), and Okinawa.
Stay at least 2-3 days at each of these places to get a good experience of life over there.
The list of beautiful places to see in Japan can go on and on. There’s no end to the captivating beauty of this amazing country. So after you’re done visiting the first time, your heart will definitely want to come back for more.