Old World vs. New World: Exploring the Many Wonders of Japan

Touchdown in Tokyo and try a tasty treat—crepes.

As you get settled in to the new time zone (Tokyo is a good 13 hours ahead of the East Coast), grab a street snack—crepes. Not sure which stand to stop at? The best ones are found in Harajuku. Once you’re there, scope out the ramen stand with the longest line—that’s how you know it’s a great pick. 

Need something to do while you wait in line? Japan is phenomenal for people-watching. Take in the fashion of the Harajuku district. You may have even spot teenagers in outrageous cosplay! 

Tokyo may be known for its lights and technologically advanced buildings, but there’s also beautiful gardens in which to escape.

Japan’s famous cherry blossom trees (in full bloom around March-April) are the perfect backdrop for a mini-photo sesh while wandering Shinjuku Gyo-en, a national park with three different styles of garden: French formal, English landscape, and Japanese traditional. 

Flora isn’t the only beauty to be seen within the garden. A Japanese tea house also sits amongst the park. Take part in an informal tea as the Japanese have been doing for over a millennia.

Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

Travel to Kyoto on one of the fastest trains in the world—the bullet train.

One of the many perks of having the best technology in the world is having the fastest transportation on land. Leave the bright lights of Tokyo behind for the temples and tranquility of Kyoto, aka Japan’s Old World. And the best way to get there? The Shinkansen, or as the English call it, the bullet train. You’ll travel at about 200 miles per hour to get to Kyoto in a flash.

In Kyoto, Geisha culture is still in existence. Women with painted faces and dressed in intricate silk kimonos perform traditional dances for their audience to the music of the shamisen. But the Geisha experience doesn’t have to end there. Feel free to rent a kimono and immerse yourself in this cultural delight & don’t forget to pack smart yourself.

Relax in the waters of the onsen, a natural hot spring bath.

If you’ve ever watched an anime series, chances are the characters have taken a vacation to an onsen at some point. These natural hot springs are a luxurious getaway for the Japanese and usually have a historic inn attached. 

Nearby, you may also be able to continue peace and meditation at a temple. Even if you aren’t a practicing Buddhist, you will find a stillness allowing you to get in touch with yourself and reflect. Bring a journal to record your revelations and take some time to focus on where you’ve been, where you are, and where you want to go.

No vacation is complete without trying the local cuisine, and Japan’s is to die for.

Forget Japanese steakhouses—you’ve never had great Japanese food until you’ve been to Japan. The obvious must-have is sushi, but beyond that, make sure to have a hot bowl of ramen served tsukemen style. This is a way of dipping the ramen noodles into the soup instead of having them served mixed together. Just remember to take a good long walk or even hike after; ramen is super good but super not-good-for-you… 

Interestingly enough, another place to find fantastic Japanese cuisine are the shopping malls. These fashion meccas are also known for their large basement dining halls where you can sample a variety of typical dishes plus learn other things to know about Japan.

Mouth already watering? Book your trip today.

Ready to see and taste the wonders of Japan for yourself? Click here to reserve your spot for a trip to Japan. And if you book by October 31st, you’ll receive a FREE Mario Kart excursion in Tokyo. 

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