Travel Through Japan: A World Apart

02.May 2013

Our Journey

Takayama, Japan

Japan is a world apart – this may sound like a cliché, but it is very true. Japan has a culture that travels through centuries, yet it has some of the world’s most modern cities and technologies. Despite having gone through several ups and downs in the past, it has always managed to fight back and be strong as ever. The streets are full of men and women in western clothing, but there are also women in graceful kimonos and old homes and streets, which seem to have withstood the onset of the modern world. The Land of the Rising Sun is one of the world’s most beautiful and resilient countries. It has withstood the Tsunami and the earthquake with equanimity and grace, and its people reflect the serenity and tranquillity of their nation.

Travel through Japan will never be boring. It can lead to exclamations of delight, as the travellers see a lovely wooden door next to a large skyscraper, or as they look at a cherry blossom tree in full bloom, or when they first glimpse the incredibly beautiful Mt. Fuji. The small ryokans or Japanese inns are amazingly quaint and comfortable, and the food, once you get used to it, is light and full of unique flavours.

Budget

There is a general misconception that Japan is an expensive tourist destination. However, it is easy to find accommodation here that can suit every traveller’s budget. From fabulous five-star luxurious hotels, to hostels for the backpackers, Japan has it all. Reservations need to be made in advance and the schedule should be clearly mapped out before entering the country. Holiday insurance should be taken to prepare for unforeseen events.

Culture

The Japanese are proud of their culture and rightly so. They have incorporated the latest technologies into their homes and offices, but they have retained their traditions and mannerisms in all possible scenarios. As the tourists travel through Japan, they marvel at how well the ancient and the modern mingle in this country; and at how well the offices boast of the best equipment, yet at home many generations live together, and the elders are shown the utmost respect and reverence.

Language

In the urban areas, almost everyone understands and speaks some modicum of English. However, in the rural areas, language can be a problem. In a small rural shop, on seeing a foreigner, the owners may scurry into a corner, but this is only because they are not able to converse with them and are afraid of losing their dignity. Here, a smile and hello followed by sign language will help.

Food

Japanese food is an acquired taste. It does contain some raw ingredients, but that is only a small part of it. It is cooked for a very short while, and is very light on the palate and the stomach. In the towns and cities, there are many restaurants and eat outs. These places cater or serve food that is familiar and is easy to understand, even for a tourist.

To find great stories and books about Japan visit the Japanese book section of The Global Bookshelf.

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