It’s easy to fall in love with Japan from the first visit to this beautiful country. The country does not disappoint and in fact, it exceeds expectations. There is so much to explore, and things keep changing so there is always something new to explore. Japan is a country that you can keep going back.
Reasons Why I Fall In Love With Japan
1. Convenience Stores
Japan is one country where I could happily shop at convenience stores. There are so many things to buy – freshly prepared meals, snacks, drinks, and ice creams are aplenty that you will be spoiled for choice. The sandwiches in 7-Eleven are amazing. The bread is soft with plenty of fillings and more importantly as tasty as those found in a cafe or deli.
There are even stores like Lawson 100 which has packaged food, fruits, vegetables, household items, stationery in addition to snack and drinks with most items only costing 100-yen (MYR3.50). You can really shop till you drop!
In large cities, you can find convenience stores at every street corner. Even in smaller towns, there is at least one or two. Convenience stores are part of Japanese lifestyle and they are awesome!
2. Shrines, Temples & Gardens
There are plenty of shrines and temples all over Japan. While some have similar structures, there are some that are unique. Lucky charms, known as omamori, are sold in the shape of a amulet in a small bag. The aim is to protect you and bring you good luck.
Originally paper amulets were distributed in temples and shrines. Over time, the size of the amulets became smaller and more attractive to carry around. The charm must be kept close to keep the power inside with some exceptions.
There are lots of tasty food in Japan. Ramen is one dish that I ate a lot during my trip in Japan. The slow cooked pork rib ramen is to die for, especially in the chilly weather. The soup is so good that I finished the entire bowl of soup.
It’s hard to find bad sushi in Japan. Even the sushi found at Family Mart is as good as conveyor belt sushi restaurants in Malaysia.
Other great eats include Yakiniku (Grilled meat), Kobe beef, fresh Uni (Sea urchins), Tonkatsu (breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet), Shabu-Shabu & Sukiyaki (hotpot dish) and Kushikatsu (Deep-fried skewered seafood, meat and vegetables).
4. Vending Machines
Vending machines are found everywhere in Japan. Even in places where you least expect like back alleys or car parks. Many of these machines sell drinks (hot drinks in the winter, cold drinks in the summer), but there are some that sell cigarettes and can soups too!
5. No Tipping
In Japan, it is considered rude and insulting to tip because they value dignity and respect much more than tipping. The Japanese believe you are already paying for good service, therefore there is no need to pay extra by tipping. This is a complete change as compared to many countries around the world. They clearly count the change before returning to you.
6. Fall In Love With Japan – Shopping!
There is so many things that you can buy in Japan. Japanese products are very popular among tourist who seek trustworthy Made-in-Japan quality. Many products are sold much cheaper in Japan and tourist can buy them tax-free at larger stores. Also look out for Japan exclusive merchandise or brand collaborations which you cannot buy outside of the country.
Things to buy in Japan
- Japanese cosmetics – From high-end brands like Shiseido, KOSE and SK-Ⅱ to inexpensive brands like CANMAKE and KATE.
- Clothing – Uniqlo, and GU and WEGO are Japan’s top fast fashion retailers.
- Starbucks Tumbler – Limited edition Cherry Blossom, Christmas & New Year theme tumblers and mugs are always in high demand.
- Electronics – Japan is known as the world-leading high-tech country producing cutting edge products including electronic gadgets. Popular electronic products are cameras, electronic toilet seats, headphones and even Apple products.
- Health Care – popular products are eye drops, supplements, sunscreens, hair & body care and more.
- Sneakers – Shoe stores like ABC Mart offer sneakers at bargain prices and also Japan-Limited models including popular brands such as Adidas, Nike and Onitsuka Tiger. A friend managed to buy limited edition Puma X One Piece collaboration sneakers.
- Unique products – If you are an anime, manga or gaming lover, Akihabara is one of the best place to find rare items such as figures, toys, games, manga and more. To hunt cool and quality Japanese products, recommended shops are LOFT, Tokyu Hands and MUJI with a numbers of branches across the country. For discounted products, Don Quijote and DAISO are the best place to shop.
7. Multi-Purpose Train Stations
Large train stations like Osaka Namba, Osaka Station City or Tokyo Shinjuku are not just train stations. They have supermarkets, department stores, shops, cafes, restaurants and more in the same building.
8. You Will Love Japan’s Cleanliness
There is no other country when it comes to cleanliness like Japan. Everything is spotless and makes you wonder how the Japanese manage to do it when rubbish bins are difficult to find. Japanese are thought to bring their trash home to dispose or recycle. One other thing that amazes me are the clean toilets, even if it is the public toilet in a bus or train station.
The taxis in Japan are spotless. They are mostly driven by old men proud of their jobs as taxi drivers. I had great taxi driver who spoke perfect English when he met us at Chitose airport, which I later found out that he previously worked in the US. During the trip, he keeps us updated on how long more the journey would take and if we the car temperature was comfortable.
10. High Tech Toilet Seats
The Japanese toilet seats are a technological marvel. The toilet seats warm your butt when you sit on them. It feels so good that you want to stay there a little longer especially on chilly winter days. The toilet seats also have other functions including water sounds to mask embarrassing sounds and jets of water to wash from the front or back.
11. Punctual Trains
You will love Japan’s trains as they are extremely punctual! They arrive and depart on time. It’s a wonder how the Japanese keep everything on time like clockwork.
12. Bullet Trains
Bullet trains significantly cut travel times. A bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka is only 2.5 hours as compared to normal trains which takes more than 9 hours. The trains are spacious, clean, and fast. You can even buy food to eat onboard the train. If only they could add in Wi-Fi and electrical outlets, then it will be perfect.
13. It’s Safe To Walk Alone
Japan is one of the few countries where you feel safe walking alone at night. Crime still happens, you still need to take precautions, but I have never been approached by anyone while walking alone at night.
14. Fall In Love with Japan Because of its People
One of the main reasons to fall in love with Japan, is the people. They make you want to visit Japan repeatedly. Japanese are honest, polite, courteous, and well mannered. Even if there is a language barrier, they will find some way to overcome the challenge and go all out to solve your problem.
The Japanese are exceptionally cultured and always proud to portray such positive traits in everyday lives. There’s so much that we can learn from them. When it comes to travel it’s all about meeting the travelers needs and going the extra mile. Japan has nailed this perfectly and that’s one reason I love Japan.
Fall in love with Japan yet? Whether you are planning your first trip or a repeated trip, reach out us and let us help you arrange your trip. You might also want to check out Club Med Tomamu or Club Med Sahoro for all-inclusive ski holiday in Japan.