It would be so hard for anyone not to become mesmerized by Japan after spending at least a week traveling in this East Asian nation. From its disciplined citizens, spectacular attractions, to its complicated history and distinct culture; Japan is certainly one of our favorite countries we have visited. For a relatively small island nation, it is packed with natural wonders and unbelievable historic and religious sites.
Japan’s potent culture, and the people who are dedicated to preserving it, are arguably its strongest points – the very reasons why this travel destination will linger in your memory and give you consistent enthusiasm whenever you talk about it. To say that Japan is clean and orderly, is almost an understatement. You could literally eat off the floor in their train stations. Everywhere we went, service workers were quick on their feet and moved in a calculated manner. There’s this certain remarkable pride and integrity that Japanese people exude when they are working, regardless of the job they do. It is something that the rest of the world can learn from and perhaps emulate.
Despite the country’s very corky and comical TV programs, they seemed paradoxical to how normal people behave in public. The older Japanese people choose to act more proper and carry themselves with utmost respect. They can be extremely gracious, especially if you’re patronizing their business. They are also quite creative and enterprising, as evident in the number of small, yet innovative businesses we saw all around. They love their pubs, neon lights, karaoke and their sake. And yet, they do not appear to be too outgoing to the point of being careless and imprudent. We found some of them to be shy and timid. But once we opened our mouth or broke into a smile, they never hesitated to smile back and helped us in any way they could.
There is this one anecdote that I love telling my friends whenever they ask me about Japan:
As we were walking on the icy road in Tokyo in the thick of winter, I, being my usual absent-minded self, dropped my scarf without realizing it. I continued walking and chatting with my companion, when we heard a loud noise of a heavy metal object hitting the ground. As I turned around to find out what it was, I saw a Japanese boy running fast in my direction. He was holding out one of his hands to show me something. It took me a few seconds to realize that he quickly dismounted his bike, and let is slam on the street, so he could return to me the fallen scarf. I almost laughed out loud realizing what he did to return a scarf that cost me less than $2 USD. Recovering from my amazement, I finally mumbled my gratitude. The boy, who had a shy expression on his face, bowed. He then ran back to his bike and went on his way quickly without glancing back. I do not know whether he was really rushed or he just wanted to quickly leave the scene. Either way, the incident, will remain in my memory for a long time. This image of this polite boy, who risked falling and damaging his bike, is just one of the reasons why I have so much respect for this country and its people.
Travel Checklist: Do you have everything you need?
When Chasing Places visited Japan, we were immediately in awe of fashionable Tokyo. We then proceeded to catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji from Lake Kawaguichiko, and tackled a centuries-old trail to end up in magical timber villages. We braved the storm to marvel at thatched-roof houses, saw the many charming bridges of Takayama, and visited as many temples as we could in Kyoto and Nara. We found cascades and a hilltop complex in urban Kobe, spent a day in underrated Kanazawa and welcomed the New Year with a bang in charming Osaka. Follow our adventure, read our stories, and maybe, just maybe we can inspire you to do the same.
How to find the cheapest rooms in Japan?
With Japan being a developed, and rather expensive destination to visit it’s a must to do your research before you arrive. The Japanese prefer their guests to book online opposed to “just showing up” so that they can effectively prepare for your arrival. Using the right booking sites can save you literally hundreds of dollars over the course of a two or three week trip. We used three different sites during our trip to Japan: www.agoda.com, www.hotelscombined.com and www.booking.com.
Top Rated Properties on Tokyo Based on Verified Guest Reviews
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