Today I’m heading to Japan, one of the most special travel experiences you can have IMO. And here are seven reasons to go!
- Kitsch, anime and Karaoke
Heading to Japan you will find yourself amazed, at least in the big cities (and especially in say Akihabara) by the love of all things bright, colourful and so forth. I’m not sure if kitsch was the right word, you might consider ‘cheese’ as a better word, but Japan loves stuff that the world looks at and simply says ‘What the?’ Take the Maid Cafes for example, or AKB48 the cheesiest and biggest girl group imaginable. Do your best to ignore the fact that it’s all incredibly sexist and put it down to ‘culture’.
- The Toilets
Seriously, go to Japan for the toilets. No, I don’t mean the squat loos although there are plenty about the place, but you’ll find an unexpected world of amazing lavoratoral splendour in Japan. Toilets with heated seats, two types of bidet functions and a button to make the sound of the thing flushing when you wish to hide the sound of your poop hitting the water in the bowl.
Kyoto has an amazing Manga Museum you can visit and on Sundays people cos-play there and will pose for photos. The detail and work that goes into the costumes is mind boggling. In Tokyo people meet up in certain spots also to pose and display their costumes. Japanese animation and comics is an art form to itself (speaking as an Astroboy fan here) and there are lots of places you can visit to the art. For example, Takarazuka (an easy day trip from Kyoto) has a museum dedicated to Osamu Tezuka, who invented Astroboy amongst many famous Manga characters.
- The Shinkansen
Seriously, even if you don’t love trains (and by the way, what’s wrong with you?) the Shinkansen is an amazing travel experience! Speeds of over 200 km/h, connecting the country with an incredible network, an incredibly smooth ride. Seriously, get yourself a Japan Rail Pass and ride Shinkansens every day. Why not?
- The People
Japanese people can be awfully shy at times, but they always have a smile and ingrained in the culture is a (sometimes overly so) politeness and respect for others even if the understanding of different people and points of view doesn’t always come easily. Never forget that Japan battles the elements every year. I spent two years in Iwate, a region devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, but the people there keep on smiling and living.
2. Hiroshima Remembrance
The A-bomb dome and the nearby museum are poignant reminders of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan to end World War Two. It’s sad, moving and very well done and I think if you go to Japan, to understand the people you need to visit Hiroshima.
Well, you can’t go wrong with this amazing city. My first city in Japan it is full of beauty, temples and more. There are geisha shows and a Geisha district if interested, a bamboo forest, and also a modern city as well. The people are welcoming and warm, and frankly it’s one of my favourite cities in the world.
Thanks for joining me again on Sunday. Take care and May the Journey Never End.