Japan is one of the most unique countries in the world, with culture-specific traditions and customs. For this reason, it can be tricky to choose things to do there when visiting. In order to help you out with this, we composed a list of the things you have to do while in Japan.
Many of us think of Onsen as a hotbed of excitement and adventure. In all actuality, however, Onsen is also considered to be a place of great spiritual enlightenment. Onsen is actually a place of transition; it is where people go from one state of mind to another. There are various shrines and other places of worship that can be found throughout the country. Some of the more common activities you can participate in while visiting Onsen include: soaking in hot springs, exploring temples, learning about the history of Kamakura, and taking part in fun festivals and events.
Go to hot spring baths
Hot springs baths are probably the most well-known of the odd things to do in Japan. If you are heading to Onsen for the first time, it is recommended that you rent a room or two so that you can take your time soaking in one of these luxurious hot spring spots. The baths themselves are not particularly unique, but the experience of being surrounded by warm water and bathing in perfection is unlike anything else. There are several highly rated hot spring spots in the city of Kyoto itself, and some of the more popular ones include Watanagashi, and Chichijima. For an even more unusual day trip, you might consider taking a hot spring tour along with a day trip to the cherry blossom trees in Sendai, Japan’s capital city.
There are four types of hot springs across the country, but two of them (Matsumoto and Chuo-en) are considered to be some of the best in the world. While there are dozens more ranging from tame to downright exotic, most of the better ones are located in the Izu islands. Take your pick.
Try the Kobe beef dish
After soaking in your hot spring, you will definitely want to try one of the many delicious Kobe beef dishes being served up in the area. While you can find all of the traditional ingredients in Kobe, the flavors tend to vary quite a bit from region to region. The most popular dish tends to be soy sauce Kobe beef. This dish consists of a beef piece that is marinated in Japanese vinegar for several hours before being steamed gently. Soy sauce and vinegar play a large role in the flavor, but there are also plenty of vegetables to round out the flavor.
Give ropeway a try
Another one of the more unusual things to do in Japan is the occasional visit to one of the numerous ropeway venues throughout the country. The ropeway is a great way to get around since it is a very stable and smooth surface. On a trip to the volcano valley, for example, you can stop at one of the several stations to have your feet cleaned and examined. They will likely have a cute little statue to hold up the stones. This is the perfect opportunity to get a photo with a temple maiden or other local girl. The best part about the entire experience, however, is that you can return to the spot where you got your picture without having to pay a small entrance fee.
Go island hopping
Besides the aforementioned hot springs, one of the more unusual things to do in Japan is to go on an island-hopping trip. Many of the smaller islands, such as a bunny island or To’omja, are actually maintained by Japanese people. You can typically expect to see some pretty expensive western-style lodging and services, but the bottom line is that you are on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. The island experience is probably the best part of this entire trip.
One of the best things to do in Japan is to take a day trip to Nagoya and Shichiya ones, which are two of the most beautiful and culturally distinct art islands in Japan. Nagoya is also the home of the world-renowned cherry blossom tree.
Visit national parks
The third type of unique thing to do in Japan is to visit one of Japan’s national parks. The most popular ones are Onodera, Chuka-san and Kyujima onsen. While on alone, you can also do things such as hot springs and trekking. All in all, these are a must to visit while in Japan.