7 things you need to do when you visit Japan

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As many of you may know, Japan’s COVID restrictions have been lifted, with travelers no longer being required COVID testing and quarantine after arriving. What is more, the Japanese Yen has been the worst performing major currency, with the Japanese Yen’s value dropping over 30% in comparison to pre-COVID period. While hotel prices maybe somewhat higher due to surge in tourists visiting Japan from East Asia, it is undoubtedly one of the best time to visit Japan as everything would feel very cheap (especially for Americans where prices of everyday goods are shooting up due to inflation). If you are considering or already decided upon visiting Japan, here is a list of what you should not miss out on when you come and visit.

1.Try different kinds of Japanese food

This is a website concerning Japanese food so this is bound to come up first on the list but this is definitely one of the most important reasons why people come to visit Japan in the first place. While in many other countries, the types of cuisine may not differ too much, there are so many different varieties of Japanese food and taste very different depending on the region. For example, people outside Japan might categorize Ramen as one type of dish, the Ramen is completely different depending on the region. Furthermore, what’s great about Japan is the fact that you do not necessarily have to spend a fortune to get great food. We believe that you can get good food in any country if you pay a hefty price, but in Japan, even a 5-dollar lunch would be the best Japanese food you probably have had in the US. While our team has lived in multiple countries, we can 100% say that Japan is the best country in terms of food.

2. Visit Tokyo

Obviously, this is one of the first things that comes to your mind. Personally, from a perspective of a Japanese person, Tokyo is great but there are so many different other places that I would rather prefer, it is definitely worth spending a few days there. From a visitor of a foreign country’s perspective, many of our friends say they enjoyed how different Japanese culture, especially the youth culture, in comparison to western culture. Go for a stroll in Shibuya to simply observe the surrounding or go to a Maid Café in Akihabara to experience the difference first hand.

3. Visit Old Kyoto

From a Japanese point of view, I personally prefer Kyoto over Tokyo. Kyoto used to be the former capital of Japan and much of the historical sites are well preserved. (Tokyo was heavily bombarded in the Second World War which is why there are not too many historical sites) Similar to how there are countless churches in Italy, Kyoto is most likely the city with the most Japanese temple. Furthermore, Kyoto is a very charming city situated by the Kamogawa river, with restaurants built alongside it, as well as many people chilling and having a good time with family and friends. If you prefer a more historical and laid-back vibes, I am sure Kyoto will be a very good place to visit.

4. Drive to the country side

I personally feel that if you are capable of driving and if you have the time, I recommend that you rent a car and drive to the countryside. Tokyo is a very modern city so people tend to forget that Japan is a country which is filled with nature. The landscape is very stunning with beautiful nature, both in the mountainous region and the coast. Each prefecture tends to have a local product which it is famous for (e.g. Wasabi in Shizuoka and different kinds of seafood if it’s a prefecture along the coast) as well as a famous dish or cuisine so make sure you do your research so you can give it a try. Another thing I would recommend is stopping by different Michi-no-Eki (which literally means Station on the road). They are stop-by places where you can take a break from driving but they also have shops that sell different the produces and the dishes that they are famous for, so it is a very good place to try different kinds of things, as well as being a good place to buy souvenirs. However, while the road signs are written in the English, they tend to be in small letters making it hard to drive. If you are not 100% comfortable, I recommend that you do not risk it and in case you do decide to drive, learn about basic road signs prior to driving.

5. Visit an Onsen

As a Japanese person, this is one of the things I miss the most while living abroad. Onsen is a natural hot spring where you can take a hot bath. The Onsen is usually communal, while there are baths which that can be privately rented out. The Onsen is also divided between sexes, while there are some that are for both. If you are visiting sometime in between autumn and winter, it generally gets fairly cold which makes the Onsen experience even better. Make sure that you wash your body prior to going into the Onsen so as to keep it clean for everyone to use.

6. Go to a Kaiten Sushi (Conveyor Belt Sushi)

Kaiten Sushi literally means rotating Sushi, which is due to how it is served. Once you order your sushi from your tablet, your orders will then come to you on a conveyor belt. These Kaiten Sushi restaurants tend to be cheaper than the ones you sit at a counter in front of the ones who makes the sushi so it is friendly for your wallet as well. The sushi tends to start from around 1 dollar for 2 pieces and the price will be higher for kinds of sushi topping which are considered rarer delicacies. Even the sushi at these cheap restaurants is much, much better than the so-called sushi found in the US so make sure that you try different kinds of sushi.

7. Go shopping (100 Yen shops and Don Quijote)

As mentioned before, now is the best time to visit in terms of getting more out your budget due to the decline in the Japanese Yen. Go shopping for your favorite brand but we recommend that you visit a 100-yen shop at one point. As the name suggests, many of the products sold are priced at 100 yen plus tax (There are some products which are over 100-yen but the prices are clearly stated in the tag so make sure you check). One might think that if the product is below a single dollar, the quality is might not be too good but we guarantee that you will be surprised. Prior to moving abroad, I bought many equipment and utensils that would have otherwise have cost more than 10 times had I bought it abroad. Don Quijote is also a shop that is very interesting to shop in as well so make sure to have a look.

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