| Contact & Business Hours | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | CST 2114860-40, a city much larger and more populous than New York, kids can walk and take the subway by themselves to school, Japanese police searching for things to do, Japan is such a family-friendly destination, Planning a Trip to Japan in the Time of Covid, Japan’s Best Boutique and Luxury Hotels & Ryokans. You can also contact us at +1-619-272-6978 or travel [at] boutiquejapan [dot com]. I had one friend accidentally leave a very expensive camera on the Tokyo Metro, which he successfully recovered by contacting the Metro’s lost and found. I once had the chance to ride with the conductor of a shinkansen (bullet train) as part of a Japanese television program. And many other practicalities of the modern traveler to Nippon. From out of nowhere he unveiled a spare umbrella, and compelled me to take it. Hanami basically describes appreciating the beauty of nature and the seasons, and many people like to host a picnic in the park under the sakura. Tea ceremonies are a common part of Japanese culture. A Japanese can say that he is both Shintoist and Buddhist. It does. Different people think of different things when mentioning Japan or Japanese culture. At this point — thanks to Jiro’s fame, and countless celebrity chefs having extolled their obsession with Japanese cuisine — it is widely known that Japan has some of the best, if not the best, food on earth. Experiences like this first led me to fall in love with Japan, and thrill me to this day, even after all these years. Similarly, an overnight guest is offered the best sleeping arrangements even if it greatly inconveniences the rest of the family. Going for a nice long soak at the onsen or sento has numerous health benefits as well, from relieving stress to alleviating medical conditions, depending on the type of water used. As night fell and the early spring chill began to envelop us, we packed up and retreated to a cozy neighborhood izakaya to warm up over sake and small dishes of vegetables, seafood and grilled meats. Japan is the 10th most populous country in the world with a population of over 127 million people.. Japan has over 100 active volcanoes with over 70% of the country being mountainous.. Melons are very expensive in Japan. In an ancient city like Kyoto, it is still easy to find generations-old shops with hundreds of years of history (many of which are featured in the excellent Old Kyoto), where traditional crafts — or in the case of cuisine, dishes — have been steadily perfected for longer than the United States has been a country. On the whole, Japan is so safe that it’s commonplace to hear stories from travelers of lost items returned unharmed. The Japanese are known for their expertise in various fields, and their example sets a high bar for the rest of us. It’s here that the idea of forest bathing or shinrin-yoku came about. But considering the number of people, the clean and tidy state of the streets is almost miraculous. Planning to stay a year, I ended up staying several, and now spend several months of every year traveling through Japan. A lot of restaurants have started to implement vending machines as … Apart from its amazing record of safety (zero fatalities since its inception in 1964), one of the shinkansen conductor’s responsibilities is to depart and arrive within 15 seconds of the scheduled time – and, as you might expect, their success rate is astronomically high. Use 7-Bank. Western whiskeys are popular, same as beer is the traditional spirit of Japan. It permeates every aspect of life in Japan, and even short-term visitors come away with an overwhelming sense that respect — both given and received — is huge part of the Japanese experience. In such a country, it’s little surprise that a key function of police officers, stationed in their ever-present koban (police boxes) in cities around the country, is to provide directions to lost tourists and locals alike (the Economist reports on Japanese police searching for things to do). Japanese Gardens. Also, a must-see if looking for movies about Japanese culture in general. Baths and hot springs alike are viewed as a relaxation tool rather than a way to get clean. She didn’t realize until later (and hadn’t noted any details about the taxi in which she left it), but — very thankfully — the taxi driver spent hours researching how to find her, and through the local police department my friend and her passport were reunited soon after. I never planned on dedicating my life to Japan. If you wake up very early on a weekend morning and head to the iconic Shibuya crossing, you may come across an army of locals cleaning up the previous night’s detritus. How is that so? An enduring cliché about Japan is that the old and traditional coexist harmoniously with the modern and futuristic. Japan’s art, architecture, design, film, dance, and crafts — not to mention pop culture (including anime, manga, and video games — are reason enough to visit Japan, and are today as much a part of the “real” Japan as its traditional culture. And thus, with his kindness, the first Japanese person I ever met in Japan had set a tone that would continue to this very day. Arts, Humanities & Popular Culture: The arts are an important part of Japanese life. Never pat a Japanese man on the back or shoulder. Japanese trains are among the most punctual in the world. While tea ceremonies are organized according to traditional conventions and aesthetics, it’s a process that can never be perfected, so practitioners are always trying to improve their technique. Not that long ago, visiting the public baths or sento used to be a daily part of life for people living in Japan, and today, you never have to go far to find one. As I described above, Japanese people are among the kindest and most helpful people with whom I have ever interacted, and once you have traveled around Japan chances are you will agree that the honesty and kindness of the local people is a huge factor in what makes Japan such a wonderful place to visit. Japanese people are extremely gracious hosts, and – famously – will often go out of their way to ensure that you have a wonderful experience during your visit. A US-educated Japanese professor once noted that a survey of Japan citizens revealed that 80% are Shintoists and 70% are Buddhists, which account for 150%! Throughout Japan, age-old traditions remain alive in contemporary culture, and while many travelers are drawn primarily to the romance of ancient Japan, for many others (ourselves included) contemporary Japan is just as fascinating. Trains are expected to be so punctual that if a train is five minutes late, the railway company may issue official delay certificates, to provide proof for employers and appointments. One of the best things about Japan – and an unexpected highlight for so many travelers – is how beautifully and efficiently everything works. It is seen as a sign of hard work and commitment. The more you explore about it, the interesting it gets. 19. It’s the kind of country where kids can walk and take the subway by themselves to school. The good news is that there is no need to choose one or the other, as you will experience Japan’s rich and complex traditional and modern culture throughout the country (see a sampling of our favorite places throughout Japan)! The Japanese population, half that of the US, lives in an area smaller than California. 6. The winter chill had just begun to give way to the first tinges of spring warmth, and I got off the train at Shibuya Station. Whether you’re planning a trip, or just daydreaming for the moment, we’ve compiled essential information about traveling to Japan in…, The best hotels and ryokans in Japan range from charming traditional inns in the countryside, to stylish design hotels and…, Japan has more matsuri (festivals) than almost any other country in the world, and Japanese festivals – in all their…. To be fair, most people in most countries would probably love to help you, but there’s no denying that in some countries a few people make a living by taking advantage of unsuspecting tourists. On my very first visit to Japan, I arrived in Tokyo on a stormy August night. Tokyo is full of wonderful depachika (department store food halls), and Shibuya’s offerings are no exception. An experienced host will guide you through each step, as you sample a traditional sweet and one or more kinds of tea. Having picked up some lovely seasonal items, along with a bottle of sake from snowy Niigata Prefecture, I began walking towards the charming Naka-Meguro neighborhood. The culture of Japan has changed greatly over the millennia, from the country's prehistoric Jōmon Period, to its contemporary modern culture, which absorbs influences from Asia and other regions of the world.. Japan's indigenous culture originates primarily from the Yayoi people who settled in Japan between 1000 BCE and 300 CE. Some talk about ancient Samurai warriors with their swords, while others feel fascinated by the pictures of a Geisha, serving sushi to customers. ... the Japanese head out of the house for Ohanami, or flower sightseeing. This article list 25 interesting facts about Japan and its culture that you might not be aware of. One of the things you will notice when traveling to Japan is the huge amount of vending machines. Take note though, that some of these establishments have a … They host festivals, markets, weddings and other social activities that help bring their communities together. “Inemuri,” as it is known, is a quick cat-nap meant to recharge the batteries. Things to know about Japanese culture – The Japanese nation is a nation that is very polite and courteous, so the ethics are an integral part of daily life. They’re simply doing their job. https://japanology.org/2019/04/20-facts-on-japanese-culture After almost eleven years of travelling the world, I finally had the time to learn some Japanese and visit this unique country.. Learn how to behave on certain occasions and to respect the local Japanese culture. Having moved from the United States (New York City no less) to Japan, it took me a few weeks to adjust to the wonderful fact that, unlike in the US, I didn’t need to constantly have my guard up. It teaches us to be fully present in the moment, to be humble and to always strive to improve. Temples and shrines bring communities together While Japan is mainly a secular society, the country’s – The American ‘OK’ sign (thumb and forefinger shaped like an ‘O’) means ‘money’ in Japan. https://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/.../japanese-culture-for-foreigners It is common to see two religious altars in Japanese homes: one is called Kamidana (Shintoism) and the other B… The first thing to do when you get to Japan is to have authentic Ramen at a good outlet. Japanese culture is quite complex and full of mysteries. This formal yet stylised custom is taken quite seriously. The most popular time for hanami is spring when the sakura blossoms. This pride in caring for surroundings is contagious, and chances are you’ll find yourself doing your part to keep Japan clean for others, too! I’ll never forget, a few weeks after I first moved to Japan, one day I spotted some litter in a park and found it so noteworthy that I felt impelled to photograph it. Worshipping of these two religions is commonly practiced in Japan. Take a Close Look at Japanese Culture and its Intriguing Customs. In Japan, it’s not an exaggeration to say that almost everyone is out to help you. At the time I couldn’t afford the bullet train, so I took an overnight bus from Tokyo. It is common to have your sake poured so that it flows into a saucer beneath the cup. Whether you’re going for a simple, casual meal — or splurging on an exquisite once-in-a-lifetime meal at the counter of a shokunin (master) — you can almost always count on thoughtful and considerate service, and painstakingly prepared food. There are no rules when it comes to kaiseki, but it’s meant to be a feast for all five senses. Copyright © 2021 Boutique Japan Travel Company LLC. Another common concern while traveling in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language is the fear of being taken advantage of. The trains run on time, drivers arrive on time or early, and nearly everywhere you go efficiency and order reign. Public transportation is super efficient. This could mean a taxi driver offering you an umbrella in the rain, a stranger offering to help when you’re lost (and walking you well out of their way until they’ve made sure you’ve reached your destination), or another touching surprise along the way. The Japanese tea ceremony is the art of preparing, serving and appreciating tea. There are over 100,000 shrines and 80,000 temples in Japan, and Buddhism and Shintoism—along with many other faiths—coexist peacefully. I found my friends under the trees with all the requisite hanami supplies: tarp, grill, beer, snacks, guitar. Kodokushi. If you like cleanliness and organization, prepare to love traveling around Japan, where people take great pride in taking loving care of their surroundings. I have one friend who had her wallet stolen while on a crowded subway in Tokyo, and you can read reports in the news of other crime in Tokyo and beyond. Particularly since the Edo Period, Japan has undergone incredible transformations — with major events including the Meiji Restoration and World War II — and, despite the post-bubble economic stagnation, remains an economic and cultural powerhouse. Not that I ever felt real danger in New York, but it turned out that I had never fully grasped just how on alert my default way of being had been until, a few weeks after my move to Tokyo (a city much larger and more populous than New York), I felt my “guard” dissipating, apparently having received sufficient evidence in the lack of threats that it was no longer necessary. We reached our destination and I paid the white-gloved taxi driver. Japan is a land of wonders and surprises at every step. It shows the growing differences in Japanese culture between the old and the young. The idea is to enjoy the short lived cherry blossom bloom while it lasts, and the Japanese do there best to take full advantage of it. Traveler stories like this abound. I had my first experience of punctuality in Japan during my first visit to Kyoto. But, thankfully, crime rates are far lower in Japan than in almost anywhere else on earth (it’s one of, if not the safest large countries in the world), and you can tangibly sense it after spending a bit of time here. (Read my story.). Another friend left her passport in a taxi in Kobe. Thinking of using the Japan Rail Pass during your Japan trip? The Ministry of Education is protective of Japan’s great works of art which include paintings, sculptures and architecture. Japanese culinary professionals are so passionate about their craft, and Japanese ingredients are so good, that you will find some of the world’s best pastries, pizzas, curries, cocktails, coffee, and more! It’s a place where quality is prized above quantity, and variety is the spice of life. This is certainly not to say that crime in Japan doesn’t exist. During the cherry blossom season – the duration of which varies from year to year – the streets along the canal exist in an almost-constant state of celebration. Of course, this is only a small sampling, and there are countless other things we love about Japan, from traditional ryokans with onsen (hot springs) in the countryside, to the lack of tipping, Japan’s famously fantastic toilets, and so much more. Kaiseki is Japan’s fine, elevated cuisine and the specialty of the country’s cultural capital, Kyoto. Even in an ultra-modern metropolis like Tokyo, it’s easy to slip into the past with a walk in the backstreets of the old-fashioned shitamachi district (notably in the well-preserved Yanaka and greater Yanesen area), or by decompressing at one of the city’s countless Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, stroll gardens, or neighborhood sento (bathhouses). Granted, Japan is not the only country where things almost always work as they should (Germany, Switzerland, and Singapore are also great examples of highly efficient countries), but it’s far and away one of the most impressive, particularly considering its size. The Japanese business culture values an employee who naps on the job. When the Japanese visit other countries on tours, the tour company educates the group about local manners and customs on the way. This slightly paranoid worry often prevents travelers from asking strangers for assistance, and also has the unfortunate side effect of preventing travelers from more immersive and unscripted interactions with local people. Japanese people never fail to move me with their kindness and, most of all, thoughtfulness and consideration. And it’s in no way limited to high-end or fine dining. It seems silly now, but I continue to be amazed that, even in a densely populated metropolis like Tokyo, litter can be so rare – especially considering the noticeable lack of trash cans (a perennial pet peeve of travelers to Japan). That case is a difficult point for Westerners in Japan, who usually have to taught to be polite by refusing accommodations that inconvenience others. The level of love and respect that goes into food preparation in Japan is nothing short of awe-inspiring. I first moved from New York City to Tokyo with a desire to master the Japanese language. In case you are planning a trip to Japan or would just like to increase your knowledge about Japanese culture and customs, here's a glimpse into the amazing world where traditional culture and … This isolation lasted about 250 years, and allowed the unique Japanese culture, traditions and arts to develop without western influence. https://questionjapan.com/blog/things-to-do/japanese-culture-facts To explain what I feel are the best things about Japan, I’ll begin with a brief story from an early spring day in Tokyo. One of the best Japanese drama movies and a great movie about Japanese history in Tokyo after WW2. From the health benefits of, The world has a lot to learn from Japan | © Yuki Yoshida / Unsplash, Torii mark the entrance to Shinto shrines, Kaiseki is meant to appeal to all five senses, Japanese gardens are a way to appreciate nature, Japan’s service industry is the best in the world. After the flight and a train ride from the airport into the city, I hopped into a taxi from the station for the last leg of my journey. I was exhausted following the flight from New York, and a little overwhelmed by my new surroundings. Over the years, our clients have told us they’ve fallen in love with Japan for the very same reasons – so without further ado, I’m thrilled to share a few of my absolute favorite things about Japan. Almost without fail, when friends from the United States return to the US aftervisiting Japan, I receive ex… Before walking to meet my friends, I visited a shopping area nearby. The ceremony is a microcosm of traditional Japanese aesthetics and ideals, making it one of the best ways to experience Japanese culture. Spending time in nature is known to have numerous health benefits. How to move around efficiently. Its safety is a major reason Japan is such a family-friendly destination, as is the fact that it’s such a surprisingly easy country to navigate, which brings me to…. It’s typically made with fresh seasonal ingredients, and color, taste, presentation, and health are all carefully considered. While Japan is mainly a secular society, the country’s Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines still play a role in everyday life. But he was having none of it. The majestic cherry blossom trees sway luxuriously sway over the canal, and small groups of friends gather to eat and drink amid the sea of pink. I had a whirlwind adventure over several weeks, and am right now in as opposite a culture as I can imagine, in Texas (to launch my book Fluent in 3 months when it gets published in just a few days!. https://bucketlistjourney.net/japanese-culture-tradition-facts Not realizing that taxi doors open automatically in Japan, I committed my first etiquette faux pas – a very common one indeed, and typically laughed at. Hanami or flower gazing is a national pastime in Japan, and it has been going on since the Heian Period. Sake, a wine made from fermented rice is considered a traditional alcoholic drink here. Naturally, this efficiency is by no means limited to transport. Is both Shintoist and Buddhist offerings are no exception area nearby, sculptures and architecture ’. //Questionjapan.Com/Blog/Things-To-Do/Japanese-Culture-Facts Japanese culture in a taxi in Kobe it teaches us to be a for... With fresh seasonal ingredients, and they are often designed according to time-honored principles! 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