WHY TO VISIT JAPAN
A country of extremes, Japan cannot be ignored. You will experience one surprise after another: Tokyo with its shopping district, the fish market (the biggest in the world), diverse museums, the Senso-ji temple, Kabuki representations; Kyoto and its gardens, numerous splendid temples, the Imperial palace and the wonderful Himeji-jo castle, and of course, Mount Fuji with its symmetrical lines and its top surrounded by clouds. You can even climb it in summer!
Visit the Daisetsuzan National Park, and go hiking among the mountains and forests with their peaceful lakes. Many people visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.
Japan will surprise you with its capacity to combine tradition and modernism: Geisha and manga, robots and samurais, Zen gardens and skyscrapers, everything seems paradoxical; however, it all creates a certain symbiosis. The home of bonsai and haiku,
Japan has a connection with time which often disconcerts westerners: You will probably need some patience to learn to enjoy the beauty of the moment, but you will certainly appreciate the countless gadgets conceived using advanced technologies.
WHAT TO SEE IN JAPAN
Top destinations in Japan are:
WHEN TO GO TO JAPAN
Best period to visit Japan is from March to April.
Describing the climate of Japan is not easy: The archipelago, long and covered with mountains, does not has the same climate characteristics in the north as the south. In the north, the summers are short, winters last for months and snow is common, particularly in the West, whereas in the South, the weather is more hot and humid.
At the end of summer, it is not uncommon to suffer the onslaught of typhoons, accompanied by torrential rains. Autumn brings mild temperatures with beautiful colours in the vegetation. This is the ideal season to visit Japan. You will probably prefer this season to spring which, despite the undeniable charm of its flowering cherry trees mentioned by all the poets, sees Japanese tourists invading the most attractive places.
Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Japan.
HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH JAPAN
Various airlines serve Japan on a regular basis. A valid passport is required and a visa is required to stay more than three months.
You can also travel by air within the country, it will not cost you more than by train which is also a comfortable and efficient means of transportation, although a little expensive. Buses are much cheaper but also slower. In large cities, the subway is perfect.
by plane, main airports are:
- Tōkyō (Haneda)
- Tōkyō (Narita)
- Ōsaka (Kansai)
- Ōsaka (Ōsaka Internatioal)
- JAPAN RAIL PASS
- Japan Rail Hokkaido
- Japan Rail East
- Japan Rail Central
- Japan Rail West
- Japan Rail Shikoku
- Japan Rail Kyushu
GENERAL INFORMATION ON JAPAN
country entry requirements: passport + visa (some countries are exempt, check your visa requirements)
health tips & vaccination: none
local currency: Japanese Yen
local time zone: GMT+9
electricity: type A and B (100 V, 50-60 Hz)
mobile phone operators:
WHAT TO DO IN JAPAN
typical food in Japan
- Teriyaki: Beef, chicken or fish marinated in a soy sauce and mirin wine, and seared on a hot plate
- Tempura: Seafood and vegetables deep-fried in a light batter
- Sushi: Slices of raw fish and vegetables placed on cooked vinegared rice
- Sashimi: Thinly sliced fresh fish served uncooked with soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi
- Ramen: Noodles in a meat, fish, soy or miso-based broth with toppings such as sliced pork, spring onions and a boiled egg
- Soba: Buckwheat noodles often served cold with a dipping sauce or in a hot broth
- Kushikatsu: Crumbed fish, meat and vegetables deep-fried on skewers
- Yakitori: Skewers of bite-sized grilled chicken
- Okonomiyaki: A grilled savoury pancake made with shredded cabbage, seafood, pork and noodles
- Champuru: Okinawan style stir-fry featuring goya bitter melon and tofu
- Shojin-ryori: Known for its delicate flavourings, this traditional Buddhist cuisine is made using grains, vegetables, tofu and rice
- Matcha: A bitter green tea used in tea ceremonies
- Sake: Dry or sweet rice wine served hot or cold
- Shochu: A strong vodka-like spirit often mixed with soft drinks
- Asahi and Sapporo: Crisp, dry lagers served in most Japanese bars and restaurants
- Whisky: Japanese distilleries such as Suntory and Nikka are winning plaudits around the world with their fine, Scotch-style malts
souvenirs form Japan
- porcelain objects
- folk toys
- Kyoto silk
- paper lanterns
- rice straw sandals
- religious articles, Shinto and Buddhist artefacts, small bells
- cameras and electronic equipment
Hello: こんにちは (Kon'nichiwa)
Goodbye: さようなら (Sayōnara)
How are you?: お元気ですか？ (Ogenkidesuka?)
Thank you: ありがとうございました (Arigatōgozaimashita)
What is your name?: お名前は何ですか？ (Onamaehanandesuka?)
How much is it?: いくらですか？ (Ikuradesu ka?)
Sorry: ごめんなさい (Gomen'nasai)