Top 11 reasons to visit Japan

Top 11 Reasons to Visit Japan

With ancient temples, refreshing onsens and an incredible food culture, it’s little wonder that Japan is high on any traveller’s must see list.
Here are just 11 of the top reasons why you should visit Japan today.

1. Food

Whet your appetite with the gastronomical delights that abound in Japanese cuisine. Besides superbly fresh sushi that will leave you salivating for more, try traditional Kaiseki, a traditional multi-course dinner, known for its fresh seasonal ingredients, meticulous preparation and beautiful artistic presentation or Yakitori BBQ (delicious grilled chicken skewers cooked over charcoal) and Okonomiyaki, a popular pan-fried dish comprising of batter and cabbage, popular in Osaka and Hiroshima. You can of course find Italian, French Fusion and western dishes during your visit to Japan, if you’re craving a taste of home.
Sample the delicious Japanese cuisine

2. Onsen Culture and Ryokans

Japan is known for its refreshing onsen and ryokan culture. Onsens are natural hot springs full of minerals to help relax the body and the mind, perfect after a day of exploration. They can be indoor or outdoor and gender separated or mixed. Traditionally, many onsens belong to a ryokan, a Japanese style inn, but today most hotels have their own onsen. After indulging in the mineral rich onsen waters, experience the traditional lifestyle and hospitality at a ryokan, which includes tatami mat flooring, futons and dining on cuisine, specific to the local area. Enjoy a stay in a traditional ryokan at Kanazawa during the 18 day Allure of Japan tour or in Kyoto on the 14 day Japan in Focus tour.
Relax your body and mind in an onsen, Japan

3. Old vs New

Japan is a country of contrasts and in particular between the old and new. Besides the towering Tokyo skyscrapers and the quieter Asakusa district, home to Sensoji, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple, you can discover the old postal towns in the Kiso Valley and Hiroshima’s Mazda Car Factory. Dating back to the Edo Period, Tsumago Juku is the 42nd postal town on the popular Nakasendo route between Kyoto and Edo. Today it is the best preserved postal town, lined with small restaurants and restricted car access during the day. In contrast, the Mazda Car Factory manufactures over one million cars every year. A visit includes an overview of the history, technology and future car developments as well as a look at the fascinating assembly line.
Explore the old postal town of Tusmago Juku, Japan

4. Graceful Geishas

Geishas, are professional entertainers, trained in dance and the arts who serve and entertain guests during meals and formal parties, however spotting one can often be tricky. One of the best places to experience geisha culture is in the ancient capital of Kyoto and Kanazawa. As part of Scenic Enrich, enjoy an exclusive dinner served by a Maiko, an apprentice Geisha, learn what it takes to become a Geisha, and discover the art of Japanese hospitality.
Look out for the graceful Geishas in Kyoto, Japan

5. Cherry Blossom & Red Leaf Season

Some of the prettiest times of the year to discover Japan are during the cherry blossom season in spring, and the red leaf season during autumn. Admire the pink cherry blossoms, known as sakura as you stroll and sit under the shade of the leafy boughs and drink it all in – literally, with the cherry blossom drinks made just for the season. Alternatively, time your visit to autumn for Kōyō, red leaf season and adore the dazzling rosy reds and burnt oranges of the maple leaves within the lush forests and beautiful parks.
Admire the cherry blossoms at Matsumoto Castle, Japan

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6. Mount Fuji

Rising 3,776 metres, Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest and most prominent mountain. For the best views, arrive early in the morning or late evening. Better still, time your visit to the colder seasons of the year when the air is crisp. The countryside resort of Hakone, famous for its hot springs and outstanding natural beauty, also offers prime views of Mount Fuji. It is also possible to climb Mount Fuji during the summer season between July and September, with more than 300,000 climbers taking the challenge every year.
Admire the majestic Mount Fuji, Japan

7. Hiroshima

The first atomic bomb occurred 6 August 1945 and caused terrible destruction and loss of life in Hiroshima. The A-Bomb Dome is a symbolic building which marks the position of the first atomic bomb and is now a World Heritage-listed site. Pay your respects at the Peace Memorial Park and the Children’s Peace Monument which commemorates thousands of innocent children including Sadako Sasaki who died from the effects of the atom bombing. The colourful folded paper cranes found here symbolise the pursuit of peace and you can make your own special origami crane offering as part of Scenic Enrich.
Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome Hiroshima, Japan

8. Ancient Architecture

From grand imperial palaces to thousand year old Shinto shrines, Japan is home to remarkable examples of iconic and ancient architecture. In Asuka, explore the ancient tombs of the first Japanese emperors, whilst in Nara, experience Todaiji Temple, first constructed in 752, housing one of Japan’s largest bronze buddhas standing 15 metres tall. Matsumoto Castle, designated a ‘National Treasure of Japan’, is one of Japan’s most beautiful and original castles. Constructed from 1592, it features a unique ‘hirajiro’ style, built on plains rather than on a mountain. Fushimi Inari Shrine, featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha, is the most important Shinto shrine in Japan, dedicated to Inari and is famous for its thousands of Vermilion torri gates leading to the sacred forest of Mount Inari. 
Todaiji Temple, Nara, Japan

9. Sumo Wrestling

Dating back more than 2,000 years, Sumo is considered Japan’s national sport. First watched by the Imperial family as a form of entertainment, Sumo evolved over the centuries with the first professional Sumo wrestlers appearing in the Edo period (1603 – 1868). According to Japan’s oldest historical record, the first Sumo was held in Katsuragi City, Nara. As part of an exclusive Scenic Enrich experience, you can learn about the history, life and training routine of a sumo wrestler during a private visit to a Sumo Museum in Kahayaza. After the welcome ceremony, see a demonstration of Jinku and the wrestlers in action in the dohyo. 
Watch Sumo Wrestling in Japan

10. Samurai

The Samurai were great warriors with origins to the Heian Period of 710 to 1185. They later became the highest ranking social caste and military nobility of the Edo Period (1603 – 1867) with their main weapon being the sword, ‘katana’. Living by bushido, ‘the way of the warrior’, Samurai pledged loyalty to their master, were self-disciplined, respectful and behaved ethically. Explore the former Kaga Clan samurai houses, earthen walls and narrow laneways in Nagamachi, a samurai district at the foot of Kanazawa Castle. In Kyoto, be captivated by the samurai spirit during a Kembu show (sword dance) over dinner, and learn the basics of Japanese swordmanship from a noted sword master.
Stroll through Nagamachi and admire the Samurai Houses, Japan

11. Bullet Trains

One of the best and most efficient ways to travel through Japan is by the iconic Bullet Train, known as the Shinkansen Bullet Train, reaching speeds of up to 320 km/h. For even more comfort and peace and quiet, travel in Green Class with spacious 2 x 2 seating arrangements, featuring electric reclining and in-seat reading lights. Travel along numerous lines from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the west. The Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo - Nagoya - Kyoto - Osaka) is the oldest and most popular route.
Travel by the Shinkansen Bullet Train in Japan

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