It’s been a long time coming, but one year later and I finally decided to compile a concise list of tips and suggestions for traveling to Japan – so welcome to my first blog post! Being the crazy, Japanese enthusiast that I am, I did tons and tons of research for Japan travel, so here’s my personal take on travel tips so YOU don’t have to spend hours researching yourself.
Japan isn’t just about their sushi and ramen. Be adventurous and go outside the typical Japanese dishes you see (but I won’t hate you if you went to Ichiran Ramen more than once). Vegans, be warned– the “craziest” thing that I ate in Japan was an uncooked horse dish… I’m not telling you to straight up order a platter of raw horse meat once you hop off the plane, but just don’t be the basic tourist that just eats 2 or 3 different things. You might want to try okonomiyaki, yakitori, omurice, and if you have an extra penny or two, wagyu beef.
Their cafes are a huge culture shock. Whether you’re an animal lover, an otaku for anime, or a robot fanatic, there will most likely be a cafe for you! I was able to fit in not one, not two, but three different cafes during my stay in Japan – the hedgehog cafe, the robot restaurant, and a maid cafe. The Robot Restaurant definitely screamed tourist trap but it was surely a unique experience. There is an endless selection of cafes in Japan, like vampires, owls, gundams, etc., so be sure to add the best one that fits your interests to your schedule.
You need to go to Tokyo Disney. No, no I’m not suggesting you go, I’m actually TELLING you to go. You’ll understand when you see the prices. You can purchase a 1-day pass to Disneyland for what is roughly equivalent to $74 USD. Yeah, that’s about $100 cheaper than the overpriced park hopper ticket for a single day at the Anaheim location. Need I say more?
Japan doesn’t play with their seafood. I’ll keep this part short, since the Tsukiji Fish Market is actually scheduled to change locations, but I’d say paying a visit to the largest seafood market in the world is a must. I took a tour (not recommended, you’re better off on your own) that gave me access to the restricted inner wholesale market, and it really opened my eyes to not only the culinary arts of seafood but also the hard work and dedication that is put into this business. There’s also lots of free samples, can’t say no to that!
Don Quijote will probably take most your money. Alright, I’m exaggerating but let me tell you, this discounted chain store will do your wallet some damage. Being the shopaholic that I am, I paid multiple visits to Don Quijote and you’d understand too once you walk in there! It’s basically a one stop shop to find your snacks, toiletries, clothes, souvenirs, home goods, and Waldo (joking- but I wouldn’t be surprised if they had something of the sort). Wish we had one of these in Cali, but target will do for now!
Google images do not do their gardens and shrines justice. Heck, this blog post won’t do them justice so here’s a couple of my favorite ones – Kasuga Grand Shrine, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Hama Rikyu Garden, and Kiyomizudera Temple.
Their festivals do not disappoint. Depending on the date of your travel, you may get a chance to check out some really cool events! Luckily for me, I went during the Obon season, which is basically their annual celebration to honor the spirits of those who have passed. These festivals were probably my favorite part of my visit to Japan so here are the ones I attended – Asakusa Lantern Festival and Mantoro Lantern Lighting. Make sure to check an event calendar before you go!
Now, if you wanted to completely ignore all these tips and suggestions for your vacation or if you were just too lazy to read, why are you even on this post? Just kidding. If you’re more of a visual person, you can watch my little video compilation of my 10 day trip to Japan last August here!
Feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram if you wanted me to share my way-too-detailed-it’s-almost-unnecessary itinerary sheet with you! It’s complete with addresses and prices for food and transportation.