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// OCTOBER 2014
To Tokyo and even further...

In general (Smile & Say Hello, Keep in touch, Don’t be afraid, Eat local food, Take many photos)

In general (Smile & Say Hello, Keep in touch, Don’t be afraid, Eat local food, Take many photos)


Hotels

Traditional, don’t loose it!
A typical  ryokan, is a traditional lodging of Japanese Rhythm and it is the ideal solution, if someone wants to get acquainted with the Japanese customs and the local cuisine.

A night in a Ryokan offers relaxation, rest, local cuisine and pampering baths usually in therapeutic waters. The buildings are usually very traditional, they have beautiful gardens and dreamy views to the surrounding areas.

The central idea is to offer a special, traditional atmosphere to the visitor, regardless of the modern facilities.

It is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed by anyone, while in Japan.  

 

Food

The Japanese cuisine is a strange, fancy combination of odd ingredients that certainly do not…fit together. They eat literally everything and since they do not use salt they accompany these… odd culinary creations with pickles!

Could you imagine damask with…pickles?...
A dish without salt, without oil, or some other kind of fat and without spices and aromatic herbs is impossible to eat. We felt sorry for them. It looks as if  they are not sufficient enough, when it comes to food...

On the contrary, in South Korea, food satisfied practically all our senses. Amazing barbeques with tender pieces of pork or beef, along with fish and soups and salads, whatever one may imagine is everywhere: in restaurants, in markets, in shops, even in the streets…Korea is a culinary… paradise in comparison to Japan.


General

Respect the queues. It is culture in Japan to keep a queue to everything.
Forget the sneaky “cleverness” of the kind: We are at the crossing point, so we may as well go first!

 

Must Do

Akihabara: If you love gadgets and electronics, you'll love this place in the country's capital. Brand-new as well as used goods are on offer, and prices may well be more attractive than what you'll find back home. Many electronic items never make it out of Japan, so you might see some flashy new contraptions on display — even if you're not sure what they actually do.

 

Shinkansen: With 12,400 miles of track, high-speed bullet trains called Shinkansen can take you pretty much anywhere you want in Japan at speeds close to 186 mph (300 km/h). The trip between Kyoto and Tokyo takes a mere two hours.
The trains are operated by the Japan Railways Group, which offers seven-day, 14-day, and 21-day rail passes for unlimited travel on all JR lines throughout Japan.
It’s a great value if your itinerary includes a lot of destinations.
A pass is also convenient, and does away with the hassle of figuring out how to purchase tickets. Simply show your pass to the station attendant and you’re good to go.
This is especially handy as the passes work for JR’s city metro lines as well.
The only hitch is you must purchase a rail pass before arriving in Japan, so plan accordingly. Also note that you can organize a Mt Fuji day trip from Tokyo by bullet train over on the Viator site, including the popular Mt Fuji & Hakone from Tokyo (return by Bullet Train) trip.

Temples: A visit to Japan is not complete without visiting a temple. Kyoto alone has several thousand of them. Built with wood and simple in design, Japanese temples are quietly beautiful, usually set in the peaceful grounds of a garden. Kyoto is the place to go.

Spared destruction during WWII for its historical importance, today the city is home to countless temples and shrines considered national treasures. The nearby temple-laden city of Nara makes a great day trip from Kyoto, if only to visit the famous Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building.

Mount Fudgi: The iconic Mount Fuji has to be Japan’s most famous and recognizable attraction. The active volcano is located about 100 km southwest of Tokyo and is the country’s tallest peak at 3,776 meters. Fuji-san as it is referred to by the locals has been a pilgrimage site for centuries as well as an inspiration for Japanese artists and poets. It was added to UNESCO World Heritage List as a Cultural Site in 2013.

Kabuki

One of the three major classical theaters of Japan, with noh drama and bunraku  puppet theater. Unlike noh drama, which is solemn and ritualized, kabuki is designed to entertain an audience with dramatic, often spectacular, effects. Try to get a ticket in advance and do not miss a show at the Kabukiza or at the National theatre in  Tokyo, which provide earphone guides in English

Tsukiji

If you’re going to Tokyo, you’ve probably heard of Tsukiji, the fish market. If you’re ever up early in the morning due to jet lag, head on over and treat yourself to a sushi breakfast. The most popular places are Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi, but the lines are notoriously long. 

 

Μentality

Table Manners

If you’re with a dinner party and receive drinks, wait before raising the glass to your lips.
Everyone will be served, and someone will take the lead, make a speech, raise his drink, and yell “kampai!” (cheers).

You will receive a small wet cloth at most Japanese restaurants. Use this to wash your hands before eating, then carefully fold it and set it aside on the table.
Do not use it as a napkin, or to touch any part of your face.

Slurping noodles or making loud noises while eating is OK! In fact, slurping hot food like ramen is polite, to show you are enjoying it.

You may raise bowls to your mouth to make it easier to eat with chopsticks, especially bowls of rice.

Just before digging in, whether it be a seven-course dinner or a sample at a supermarket, it’s polite to say “itadakimasu” (I will receive).

No Tipping

There is no tipping in any situation in Japan — cabs, restaurants, personal care. To tip someone is actually a little insulting; the services you’ve asked for are covered by the price given, so why pay more?

If you are in a large area like Tokyo and can’t speak any Japanese, a waiter or waitress might take the extra money you happen to leave rather than force themselves to deal with the awkward situation of explaining the concept of no tipping in broken English.

Chopsticks

Depending on the restaurant you decide upon for that evening, you may be required to use chopsticks. If for some reason you aren’t too adept with chopsticks, try to learn before passing through immigration. It’s really not that hard.

Thresholds

Take off your shoes at the entrance to all homes, and most businesses and hotels.
Usually, a rack will be provided to store your shoes, and pair of guest slippers will be sitting nearby; many Japanese bring a pair of indoor slippers just in case, though.
Never wear slippers when you need to step onto a tatami mat (used in most Japanese homes and hotels; the standard unit of measurement for area even today), and be careful to remove the toilet slippers waiting for you in the bathroom.
It is extremely bad form, for example, to reenter the main room of a house wearing slippers that have been running across dirty linoleum.

Masks

Sterilized masks, like the ones you’d see in the emergency room, are commonly used by salary men, office ladies, and municipal workers to protect other people from their germs. Rather sensible when you think about it, as masks do not protect the wearer so much as the ones around him.
The reason could be anything from a slight cold to simply being worried about exposing other people; don’t let it concern you on your Japanese vacation.

Conformity

When groups of high school students in Japan were asked to identify the dangers facing children today, the majority agreed on the number one threat: individualism.

Japanese society is focused on the group. Western cultures are focused on the individual.
Does this mean that the Japanese are nothing more that worker bees in a vast hive of steel and concrete?
Certainly not, but their presentation of such individual qualities are carefully calculated and given in doses.

Drawing attention to yourself as an individual is a huge no-no: don’t blow your nose in public, try to avoid eating while on the go, and don’t speak on your cell phone in crowded public areas like trains or buses.

Bathing

Public bathhouses are alive and well in Japan.

Sento, or neighborhood bathhouses, can be found from the largest area in Shinjuku to a small town on the island of Shikoku
Onsen
, or hot springs, are very popular as weekend excursion resorts.

 

 

 

Country: Japan
Date: 2014
Route: Japan - S. Korea
Cities: Narita, Nikko, Nagoya, Ise, Hiroshima, Yoshino, Koya, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Tokyo, Nara, Kamakura, Seoul, Tokyo
Duration: 15
Cost:
Population: 126.311.000
Rating:
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Country: Japan
Date: 2014
Route: Japan - S. Korea
Cities: Narita, Nikko, Nagoya, Ise, Hiroshima, Yoshino, Koya, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Tokyo, Nara, Kamakura, Seoul, Tokyo
Duration: 15
Cost:
Population: 126.311.000
Rating:
comments
VIEW
Country: Japan
Date: 2014
Route: Japan - S. Korea
Cities: Narita, Nikko, Nagoya, Ise, Hiroshima, Yoshino, Koya, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Tokyo, Nara, Kamakura, Seoul, Tokyo
Duration: 15 days
Cost:
Population: 126.311.000
Rating:
comments
VIEW