Japan

Anna Jordan
Oct 24
The merging of eastern and western culture is what makes Japan so fascinating. Take a good two weeks out for this adventure if you can - there's so much to see. Here's a taster of what's on offer.

Okonomiyaki at Chubo

The Japanese mash-up of an omelette and a pizza, okonomiyaki is served on a hot surface in the middle of the table and is often smothered in hoisin sauce and mayonnaise, as you can see here. 

The Instant Ramen Museum

You can learn about the history of ramen noodles here but the main draw is the Noodle Cup Cafe where you can design your own cup and customise a noodle concoction using a variety of dried ingredients, including cheese.

Osaka Castle

This pristine-looking castle is packed full of rich history about WWII, a great fire and the unification of Japan. 

Hello Kitty Cafe

Hello Kitty Cafe has tea, coffee and light bites themed around the cute character. Even the decor and TV playing in the background is themed!

Cat Cafe Calico

Meet an eclectic bunch of felines at Cat Cafe Calico. You can buy treats to feed them as well as tea, coffee and sweets for yourself.

Karaoke

It's similar to karaoke joints which have popped up all over the world, but when you're in Japan, it's got to be done.

See a giant Buddha

You won't struggle to find a giant Buddha, like this one in Kamakura. It's the biggest outdoor Buddha in the country.

Tsukiji Fish Market

If you can bear the smell in the morning, the Tsukiji fish market is a great spot for the freshest seafood, like BBQ scallops.

Temple hopping

Temple-hopping isn't limited to Tokyo : there are thousands dotted around. Some even have notebooks where you can get a stamp unique to the temple, called Goshuin.

Komazawa Olympic Park

Do some running, cycling, basketball, baseball or whatever sport you can think of at Komazawa Olympic Park. It covers a massive 413,537 square metres.  

Yasaka Koshin-do temple

Japan has its fair share of unusual customs to explore and embrace. At Yasaka Koshin-do temple, you can see a shrine with colourful cloth 'hanging monkeys' dangling from the roof. 

A monkey with its hands and feet tied to the back is a symbol of self-control and triumph over desires. if you write your desire inside the monkey, the temple’s patron deity, Koshin (one of the Buddhist guardians) will help you overcome it.

Gekkeikan Ōkura Sake Museum

At the Sake Museum you can learn how the famous Japanese beverage is made and even sample three very different types of sake at the end of the tour.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The pictures don't capture how beautiful the bamboo grove is. You'll just have to go and see it for yourself.

Have a dip in an onsen

Onsens (hot baths) are ingrained in Japanese culture as a place of socialising and relaxation. They're normally split into male and female baths and you'll have to be comfortable au naturale as bathing suits are not allowed.

Yunessun spa and resort

Yunessun is essentially a resort full of onsens. You've got some ordinary baths, and some less ordinary: stew in onsens filled with real red wine, green tea, coffee and sake. 

Not enough entertainment? Have a go on the outdoor slides and let the fish nibble at your toes in a giant foot bath.  

Walk among the wisteria vines 

In the centre of Odawara you'll find off-beat cafes and dainty shops, but it's worth taking some time out to walk through the wisteria vines and enjoy the scenery.

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