A snow monkey in a hot spring in Japan.

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7 Reasons We Heart Japan

Published July 21st, 2016

Manga, Godzilla, emojis and Harajuku – there are so many reasons we heart Japan. Here are 7…

1. Sushi + sake

Japanese food’s intricate creation, fresh ingredients and combination of flavours is enough to lure you here (maybe not the whale sashimi or cat cafes – where you get to cuddle a cat while you have a snack- IMHO). Think fresh sushi at food stalls by Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market (or yakitori skewers at Piss Alley) or ramen noodles with marinated pork belly and batter-based okonomiyaki pancakes in Osaka washed down with a sake or beer-ru.


 

A photo posted by @widiaira on


2. Pow pow

Japan is renowned for it’s abundant supply of soft-on-your-butt powder snow (#japow) with 10 to 18 metres of the stuff dumped from December to April. There’s snow many reasons to choose Japan for your ski holiday – but mainly thanks to so many choices when it comes to cheap package tours to a range of resorts across Hokkaido (where you can hike the Japan Alps!) and Honshu.


 

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3. Hot springs

Somehow getting naked for a dip with strangers feels A-OK in Japan’s traditional onsens (hot springs). Japan is full of weird-but-awesome stuff like eating raw food on the floor … in a robe, robot cabaret and having Christmas dinner at KFC. Some Japanese spas even let you bathe in your favourite drink like coffee or green tea. I wonder if they have Milo. And then there's the hot springs with snow monkeys - just for looking. 


 

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4. Cherry blossoms

When the pale-pink cherry blossoms (sakura) bloom you know it is time for the Japanese to party, picnic under the stars and light the night sky with colourful lanterns. For one to two weeks there’s dedicated spring and cherry blossom parties (o-hanami and yozakura), camping is allowed in Tokyo’s Ueno Park and you will even see nightly cherry blossom forecasts on the news. Yoshino in Nara Prefecture is said to be the best cherry blossom place ever.


 

A photo posted by Colin gordon (@colin_gordon7021) on



More Japan inspo right here:

Where to hit the slopes in Japan

Epic street scenes straight out of Japan

5 must-have moments in Tokyo


5. Art + fashion

Backed by centuries of creativity and uniqueness, Japan oozes art from your traditional wooden Ukiyo-e paintings, silk calligraphy and origami (or is that kirigami?) to your bonsai trees, sculpture parks, flower arrangements and well-loved manga. Oh yeah, and Godzilla! Fashion is forever unique with snaggle teeth (ouch), neon hair, mega goths and Cosplay fashions on display with districts like Harajuku (girls you got wicked style) in a league of their own.


 

#harajukufashionwalk is fun

A photo posted by @junnyan69 on


6. Efficiency

A Japan Rail Pass is your ticket to the world’s ultimate efficient transportation system including a bullet train travelling up to 300-kilometres-per-hour to and from Tokyo. Now that’s efficient use of your precious holiday time. And as efficient as the rest of the country when it comes to energy consumption, their economy, space (think capsule/pod accommodation), politeness and helpfulness, the creation of emojis and even making sure you can buy undies/fruit/live lobsters from vending machines.

7. Nightlife

The 24-hour karaoke dens, tiny bars in the hundreds at Golden Gai in Shinjuku and Lost In Translation moments at Park Hyatt in Tokyo. The dotonburi small bars (+ large crab signs) and themed nights like ‘Global Kiss’ at gay bar Explosion in Osaka. That’s the tip of the Japan’s weird, wild and wonderful nightlife iceberg where you can visit a local pub (izakaya) in every neighbourhood, dive into the country’s pop/club/subculture scenes at a whim or settle in a hipster playpen/bar-come-libary every night of the week.


 

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Heart the sound of Japan too? Get Japan on sale now, until 31 July. Get sweet deals on flights, tours, rail and ski packages.


 

Jolee Wakefield

A seasoned backpacker and travel writer, Jolee has spent the past decade wandering the globe in pursuit of good vibes, unusual conversations and unforgettable adventures like cave diving in Mexico, mountain climbing in Borneo and learning (failing at) local dances in the Pacific nation of Kiribati.