5 Ways to Spice Up Your Japan Travel Itinerary
By KL Yong
The world's foremost crossroad of the East and West, and a pop culture powerhouse, there's never any shortage of enjoyable things to do in Japan.
The following are 5 unique ways to spice up your Japan travel itinerary if you're still unsure of how to enjoy yourself when there.
Yokai is the generic Japanese name for "supernatural aberrations," with such otherworldly creatures widely feared in the past. Thanks to popular manga series like Gegege no Kitaro, though, many Yokai are today widely regarded as "kawaii" (i.e., cute). The most popular ones have even received new life as tourism mascots.
Which means you can go about the whole of Japan hunting for them! At Kyoto's Ichijo-Dori street, there's an entire street adorned with quirky statues of them. Elsewhere, Yokai are frequently used to decorate souvenirs, travel attractions, and even transportation facilities such as train stations.
As long as you don't mind their "unusual" appearances, a Yokai hunt will definitely bring you many laughs and great photo opportunities each day.
Japanese Shinto shrines count amongst the country's most unique architectures. The problem though, unlike Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines are typically rustic, with no elaborate statues or carvings. Simply put, they could all start to look the same after a while. On the other hand, all but the smallest Shinto shrines sell Ema, these being small wooden prayer plaques for visitors to write wishes on. While most are similar in shape, all feature different illustrations representation of the shrines they are sold at.
At popular shrines, they could even be sold as iconic objects. For example, Kyushu's Dazaifu Tenmangu has Ema in the shape of gourds. Kyoto's Fushimi-Inari Shrine, famed for its red torii tunnels, presents its ema in the shape of mini red torii. In summary, a Japan travel itinerary based on going about Japan checking these out could be great fun.
Video Game Tourist
If you're a gamer, you'd surely know that Japan is one of the world's leading producers of video games.
Many Japanese video games also feature astonishing virtual reproductions of actual Japanese cities, historical or modern. Keen to learn about the best attractions in Tokyo? Atlus' Persona 5 is practically a travel guide. Undecided on whether to stop by Fukuoka or Nagoya? Sega's Yakuza 5 painstakingly depicts the downtown area of these leading cities.
Vice versa, visiting the locations these games are based on could be delightful, positively a thrill if you are a fan. The pictures taken at these spots will also be much celebrated by the international gaming community. In other words, you could be a star in related social media communities overnight.
Japan is well-known for its Bento, these being elaborate and beautiful meal boxes. Widely sold throughout Japanese cities big and small, the Bento that'd delight travelers most are also undoubtedly Ekiben. These being meal boxes sold at train stations for consumption during long-distance train rides.
As dreary as the description might be, Japanese Ekiben are gorgeously presented and meant to showcase the seasons, nearby travel attractions, or culinary specialties of the cities they are sold at. Affordable and with a wide variety to choose from, they could even be described as the best choice for visitors new to Japanese regional cuisine. Needless to say, Japan's high standard of food preparation ensures that even the cheapest Ekiben will be a satisfying meal.
Ferris Wheel Adventure
Few other countries love Ferris Wheels as much as Japan. Huge, gorgeously illuminated ones perfect for romantic evening rides are found throughout the country.
For visitors who prefer shorter rides, many larger cities also have smaller Ferris Wheels right in the heart of downtown, some of which are part of retail complexes. Nagoya's Sunshine Sakae and Osaka's HEP FIVE are the most famous examples of this.
A Japan travel itinerary centered on such atmospheric rides will thus ensure many beautiful moments, as well as the opportunity for lovely cityscape photographs.
First published on ArticleBiz.com 13 January 2021. KL Yong is a writer and photographer from Singapore. Read his adventure as a video game tourist in Tokyo and a look at typical Autumn Ekiben sold in Japan.
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