5 Awesome Things to Do in Japan

The country that gave us sushi, karate and Pokemon has much to offer, from bustling cities and high-tech marvels, to breathtaking landscapes and delicious eats. Here are 5 things to do while visiting the Land of the Rising Sun.

Peace Memorial Park

Hiroshima is known worldwide as the site where the first atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945. In order to commemorate this devastating event in the Japan’s history, Peace Memorial Park was created in the centre of the city, in the area that was most gravely affected by the explosion. There are several monuments and symbols around the park, like the A-Bomb Dome, which was the building closest to wear the nuclear bomb dropped. The Peace Memorial Museum makes for an interesting visit if you want to learn more about the bomb and its effects. It also houses plenty of pictures and memorabilia.

Japanese Food (Other Than Sushi)

Of course, you should try to eat some sushi while you’re in Japan. It’ll probably be the best you’ve ever had. There are even fun fast-food style sushi shops where you can pick plates of sushi off a conveyor belt. But Japanese cuisine has so much more delicious food to offer. Don’t miss the opportunity to try real ramen noodles, tonkatsu (tasty breaded deep-friend pork cutlets), Japanese curry, yakitori (yummy grilled chicken on skewers), tempura (deep-fried seafood and veggies coated in batter), soba and udon noodles (which can be enjoyed hot or cold), okonomiyaki (a type of Japanese pancake), and much more.

A Stay at a Traditional Japanese Inn

Even if only for one night, try staying at a traditional Japanese inn, known as a ryokan. You’ll get to sleep in a futon bed on a tatami floor-one of the most comfortable sleeping arrangements known to man. Ryokan are found all over Japan, especially near natural hot springs, which are also not to be missed. Typically, you can reserve one night in a ryokan, which includes a meal of kaiseki ryori (multiple courses of traditional Japanese cuisine), access to the hotel’s hot spring baths, and breakfast the next morning. Although the nude policy at the onsen may make certain people hesitant, once your robe is off, you’ll see that it’s all well worth it. The ultimate way to relax and take in Japanese culture at the same time.

A Picnic Under the Cherry Blossoms

When these breathtakingly lovely pale pink flowers blossom, all of Japan comes out to see (and snap pics) of them. A lot of symbolism is attached to these trees, which have been around for hundreds of years; the Japanese celebrate the arrival of cherry blossom season by organizing hanami, which is essentially a picnic under the trees with friends and family. There are several spots around the country to enjoy these beauties. If you’re visiting at the right time of year, they’re impossible to miss!

Temples and Shrines in Kyoto

In Japan’s former capital, you’ll find thousands of temples and shrines, each more beautiful than the next. The most famous include Kiyomizudera, Ginkakuji, and Kinkakuji, which is covered in gold. You can also stroll around Higashiyama, a beautiful historic district near Kiyomizudera, and Gion, which is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a maiko, an apprentice geisha. For a nice walk through nature, head to nearby Arashiyama, where you can take in some lovely sights and even see hundreds of monkeys roaming free at the top of Monkey Park Iwatayama.

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