Why Japan Should Be Your Next Destination: A Travellers Guide

Why Japan is a Top Destination for Aussie Travellers

If you're itching for a holiday that combines ancient traditions with futuristic vibes, delicious food, and breathtaking landscapes, Japan is calling your name. Aussies have a special affinity for Japan, and it's not hard to see why. Let's dive into the many reasons why Japan should be at the top of your travel bucket list.  So, grab your passport, pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime! Here’s why Japan is a top destination for Aussie travellers, along with some must-do activities and answers to frequently asked questions.

A Blend of Tradition and Modernity

Japan is a country where ancient traditions seamlessly blend with cutting-edge technology. One moment, you’re navigating the neon-lit streets of Shibuya, and the next, you’re meditating in a centuries-old Zen garden. This unique juxtaposition is part of what makes Japan so fascinating. For Australians accustomed to the laid-back lifestyle, Japan offers an exciting contrast with its fast-paced cities and tranquil countryside.

travel Japan traditional tea ceremony

Cultural Riches

From ancient temples and traditional tea ceremonies to sumo wrestling and kabuki theatre, Japan offers a cultural experience like no other. Whether you're wandering through the serene gardens of Kyoto or soaking up the bustling street life of Tokyo, you'll find a unique blend of the old and new at every turn.

travel Japan culinary delights

Culinary Adventures

Sushi, ramen, tempura, oh my! Japan is a food lover's paradise. Whether you're grabbing fresh sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market, slurping noodles at a local ramen shop, or indulging in a kaiseki meal in Kyoto, your taste buds are in for a treat. And let's not forget the quirky cafes – from cat cafes to robot restaurants, dining in Japan is always an adventure.

Japan bullet train Mt Fuji

Efficient Public Transport

Navigating Japan is a breeze thanks to its incredibly efficient public transport system. The Shinkansen (bullet train) is not only fast but also a fun experience in itself. Plus, with the Japan Rail Pass, you can travel across the country with ease, making it convenient to explore multiple cities and regions.

Kyoto bamboo forest

Natural Beauty

Japan's landscapes are nothing short of spectacular. Picture this: cherry blossoms in full bloom, serene bamboo forests, majestic Mount Fuji, and picturesque coastal towns. Whether you're hiking in the Japanese Alps or relaxing in an onsen (hot spring) with a view, nature lovers will find plenty to marvel at.

ski and snowboarding in Japan

Skiing in Japan

Did you know Japan is a winter sports paradise? With world-class ski resorts, some of the best powder snow in the world, and stunning mountain scenery, Japan is a must-visit for ski enthusiasts. Popular destinations include Niseko on Hokkaido Island, known for its abundant snowfall and lively après-ski scene, and Hakuba Valley near Nagano, which hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. Whether you're a seasoned skier or a beginner, Japan's slopes offer something for everyone.

shopping in Tokyo

Shopping Galore

Japan is a shopping haven, from Ginza's high-end boutiques to Harajuku's quirky shops. Tech enthusiasts will love Akihabara, Tokyo's electronic district, while those seeking unique souvenirs can wander through the traditional markets. And don't forget to check out the 100-yen stores for some affordable and interesting finds.

Kyoto tunnel red tori

Top Things to Do in Japan

Now that you're sold on Japan, let's talk about some must-do activities that will make your trip unforgettable.

Explore Tokyo

The capital city, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of modernity and tradition. Visit the historic Senso-ji Temple, shop in the bustling streets of Shibuya and Shinjuku, and enjoy the tranquil gardens of the Imperial Palace. For a unique experience, check out the themed cafes and the Robot Restaurant.

Visit Kyoto’s Temples

Kyoto is the heart of traditional Japan. Wander through the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine with its thousands of red torii gates, take a peaceful stroll in the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and experience a tea ceremony. Don't miss the stunning Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) and the historic Gion district, where you might spot a geisha.

See Mount Fuji

No trip to Japan is complete without a glimpse of its most famous mountain. Whether you're up for the challenge of climbing it or prefer to enjoy the view from the nearby Fuji Five Lakes or Hakone, Mount Fuji is a sight to behold. On a clear day, you can even see it from Tokyo!

Relax in an Onsen

Japan's hot springs, or onsens, are a must-try. Head to an onsen town like Hakone or Beppu, or find a local bathhouse in the city. It's a perfect way to relax and soak in the beauty of the surroundings, especially if you're visiting in winter.

Experience Japanese Festivals

Time your visit to coincide with one of Japan's many festivals for an unforgettable experience. From the cherry blossom (sakura) festivals in spring to the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto in July, and the spectacular firework displays in summer, there's always something to celebrate in Japan.

Discover Hiroshima

A visit to Hiroshima is both sobering and inspiring. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum offer a poignant reminder of the atomic bombing in 1945 and promote a message of peace and hope for the future. Nearby, the island of Miyajima with its famous floating torii gate is a beautiful and serene place to reflect and explore.

Experience Traditional Arts

Attend a kabuki theatre performance, watch a sumo wrestling match, immerse yourself in the kimono experience, or take a calligraphy class. These experiences offer a deeper understanding of Japan’s cultural heritage.

Hokkaido Japan traditional onsen

Top FAQs about Traveling to Japan

Japan is a year-round destination, but the best times to visit are during spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). Spring offers cherry blossoms, while autumn showcases stunning fall foliage.

Australian citizens can enter Japan without a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism purposes. Make sure your passport is valid for the duration of your stay.

The currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY). Carrying some cash is advisable, especially when visiting rural areas, as not all places accept credit cards.

Yes, it's relatively easy. Major train stations, airports, and tourist areas have English signs, and many Japanese people understand basic English. Learning a few simple Japanese phrases can also be very helpful.

Japanese culture values politeness and respect. Remember to bow when greeting, remove your shoes when entering someone’s home, and avoid speaking loudly in public places and on public transport. It’s also customary to say “itadakimasu” before eating and “gochisosama deshita” after finishing your meal.

Pack according to the season you’re visiting. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as you’ll be doing a lot of exploring. Don’t forget to bring a universal power adapter and any necessary medications, as pharmacies might not carry what you need.

Japan can be pricey, but there are ways to save money. Look for affordable accommodation options like hostels and business hotels, and eat at local eateries or convenience stores for budget-friendly meals. Public transportation is efficient and reasonably priced.

In many izakayas (Japanese pubs) and bars, there is a sit-down charge known as "otoshi" or "tsukidashi," which typically includes a small appetizer. This charge can range from a few hundred yen to around 1000 yen. It's a common practice, so don’t be surprised when you see it on your bill.

Wrapping Up Your Japanese Adventure

Japan’s allure lies in its harmonious blend of the old and new, the serene and the bustling. For Aussie travellers, it offers a treasure trove of experiences that are both familiar and refreshingly different. Whether you’re exploring futuristic cities, savouring exquisite cuisine, or immersing yourself in centuries-old traditions, Japan promises a journey that will captivate your senses and leave you yearning for more.

Getting There

Flights from Australia to Japan are frequent and relatively straightforward, with several airlines offering direct routes. Major carriers such as Qantas, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways operate regular flights from cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to Tokyo (Narita and Haneda) and Osaka (Kansai International Airport). Flight times typically range from 9 to 11 hours, making Japan an accessible and convenient destination for a memorable getaway.

So why wait? Embark on your Japanese adventure today, and discover why this enchanting country is a top destination for travellers from Down Under.

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