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Attractions in Japan: 5 amazing experiences

14 days, a good plan, a Japan Rail Pass, an open mind and a good dose of patience. We loved it from the first and to the last minute. Here are our tips for 5 amazing experiences in Japan.
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Attractions in Japan: 5 amazing experiences af Winnie Sørensen.

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Attractions on your trip to Japan

Japan, Nippon, Kingdom of the Sun - dear country has many names. And the country is not only rich in names, but also in the most amazing experiences you can imagine. Whether you need to Tokyo to experience the Meiji Temple, to Kyoto to walk in bamboo forests or to Hiroshima to see the Miyajima Island Temple, Japan has plenty of sights to explore. We give you 5 of the best here.

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Food - Dessert - Chopsticks-

Food is one of the biggest attractions in Japan

We are some foodies and we were therefore fortunately not disappointed. We have eaten an incredible number of things in Japan, we do not quite know what was, but only very few things we did not like. Japanese have a penchant for mucus.

'Tororo' was probably the worst. In fierce competition with 'natto'. Tororo is yam roots, which are processed in a way so that it becomes something white and very sticky stads. It is completely impossible to swallow. It does not taste ugly so far, however, the consistency is just completely crazy. Natto are fermented soybeans. Do I need to say more?

But other than that, we ate everything. Tiny dried and salted fish. Raw fish for breakfast. Fermented vegetables from all over the world - they love fermentation in Japan - miso soups, tempura, baked meatballs with sour cabbage as an accompaniment, giant rice cakes, strawberries with cream inside, ramen and soba noodles in all shapes and sizes. And tofu - yes, we even ate tofu skins.

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Street food - People

From fancy restaurants to street food

On our trip to Japan we ate at fancy restaurants, at simple lunch places, on streets, markets and food courts filled with street food, and we even bought packed lunches at the local 7/11.

We walked into restaurants without menus outside and we pointed out what we wanted. We tried Google Translate and sometimes got something we did not quite know what was. We ate it now anyway. It also brings me to number two on the list of amazing sights in Japan.

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Japan - WC toilet - travel

The country where everything works

The trains run on time and the public toilets are always both clean and neat. There is always soap, and often also toilet seat alcohol. The toilets also have a million buttons, one of which is of course for making artificial guilt-out sound. On the trip we found out that Japanese ladies apparently also fart - you just prefer not to hear it… 

There is no waste in streets and parks. There are also no rubbish bins, so everyone walks around with a small bag for rubbish, which you throw away at home. The parks close well enough at fifty every day, so evening picnics or a cool drink in the park at sunset are out of the question. But it should be mentioned that the parks are clean and neat and definitely one of those sights in Japan you must experience.

Everywhere there is a very well defined queuing system so no one cheats in front. Boarding and disembarking of both trains and buses is highly optimized and works without any problems. 

In the fruit and vegetable department of the supermarkets, even the tomatoes are arranged by size. So much so that once - no, maybe twice - I moved a large tomato over next to the small ones while no one saw it, and felt very rebellious.

In restaurants you always get a wet wipe for your hands, and in many places you can look directly into the kitchen and see for yourself that the hygiene is top notch. Everything is so well organized and well organized that the idea of ​​poorly prepared food or questionable hygiene simply did not occur to us.

It's really a cool feeling when visiting a new country. The one thing that is not quite optimal is the lack of English. So only a few speak English. But somehow it doesn’t do that much. People are insanely good. And that is why it is the third amazing experience from our trip to Japan.

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Japanese women - Attractions in Japan

The Japanese people is a sight in itself

So they do not speak much English. Then it is probably also said. Oddly enough, it was especially older ladies who wanted to chat in their evening school English. In a train, I fell into conversation with Mariko.

Her one daughter lived in Ireland, so Mariko had taken English courses so she could visit her. At the train station, we fell into conversation with an elderly lady in the 80s who was going to Canada to visit her daughter.

In the shops, the young clerks tried to ask where I came from, all the while giggling as if it was the most vile thing in the world they had asked.

But also the men in the ticket booths at the train stations did what they could. They could not speak English. But with many gestures, Google and an old-fashioned map, they willingly helped buy tickets at the vending machines. Here, of course, everything is also in Japanese.

Many restaurants have English menus, but are translated with Google Translate, which makes no sense at all. If you ask the waiter, you do not get much wiser, but they tried to find someone who could help.

Unfortunately, we did not succeed, and several times we had to give up, but fortunately it was not the will to help that was lacking. It was actually pretty cool, now that we are not exactly familiar with Japanese. 

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City - Attractions in Japan - Tokyo

A land full of contrasts 

The contrasts in Japan are incredible and the contrasting community is also a sight in Japan. On one side of the road is a temple area with a beautiful zen garden, where the gravel is arranged in neat patterns and not a plant is left to chance.

Across the street stands a group of teenagers with blue and pink hair. One of the girls is wearing something that looks like a school uniform, but at the same time just not at all er a school uniform.

In the supermarkets, the vegetables are arranged in order of size, and around the corner was a giant gaming hall with such infernal noise that even the Japanese use earplugs when they boldly move in. Here, grandmothers sit side by side with businessmen in habit, freaking out on a slot machine.

You can walk from a department store where the clerk bends deeply as a thank you for the deal, directly into a karaoke hall where you can become a gold member and in an hour and a half get all the drinks you want. Here you can at the same time shout out loud on 'Suspicious Minds' or 'Stop the little kangaroo'; depending on what you are most in the mood for.

Whether you are fascinated by the most beautiful mountains with snow on top or fascinated by the biggest pedestrian crossings you can imagine, well, Japan has it all.

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Kyoto - Japan Temple Attractions -

Beautiful temples in Kyoto - sights you can not get around

In addition to the food, the nature, the people, the orderliness and the contrasts, there are of course also a large number of quite ordinary tourist things that are worth experiencing. We were even very excited about the city Kyoto. It's all shown. We went on a guided bike ride to the more unknown parts of Kyoto, and we really enjoyed it.

The Gold Pavilion is incredibly beautiful, but unfortunately very touristy. The Silver Pavilion is hardly as popular, but in our opinion at least as much worth a visit. However, it was the completely quiet temples without other tourists that really left their mark on us.

However, we would say that Tokyo is and will be a crazy city in every conceivable way: the food, the people and all the many impressions. There is plenty of it all, and more.

I am also very glad we stayed in Takayama. It is a popular city for day tourists, but by 17pm in the afternoon, tranquility is everywhere.

The old town of Takamaya is very visited, but was for us at least as interesting as Gion in Kyoto. In addition, the train ride to Takayama was beautiful with mountains with snow on top and evergreen rivers.

Good trip to Japan!

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What to see in Japan? Sights and attractions

  1. Tokyo Tower - Tokyo Tower
  2. The Golden Pavilion - Kinkaku-ji
  3. Miyajima Island Temple
  4. Tōdai-ji Temple
  5. Fuji Volcano
  6. Jigokudani Abepark
  7. Himeji Slot
  8. The Imperial Palace in Tokyo
  9. Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan, Hello Kitty Land, Legoland Park and Fuji-Q Highland  
  10. Onsen - hot springs

See much more about how you can travel to Japan yourself here

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About the travel writer

Winnie Sørensen

Winnie Sørensen is a country expert RejsRejsRejs for Australia, to which she lost her heart 20 years ago. She has been back more than 10 times, and has traveled all over most of Australia. Winnie writes on Talesfromaustralia.com, lectures about the country, and generally likes to share her travel experiences with others who have a penchant for marsupials and all the other goodies from downunder. Winnie is an active traveler and works in the travel industry, so she gets to travel a lot, i.a. to Africa.

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