What are the best things about Japan? Well, Japan is an incredible country for many reasons. I had read stories, watched videos and heard about fellow travelers experiences while in Japan. But I wasn’t expecting it to be as amazing as it turned out to be. If you’re looking for your next travel destination, but can’t narrow down your choices, add Japan to the top of your list. After reading through this post, you’ll be booking your flights in no time, trust me!
Here are, in my opinion, the 10 best things about Japan, and what I loved and miss the most!
1. The people
Japanese people are very, very polite and friendly. I don’t think Russell and I came across an unfriendly or rude Japanese person throughout our entire month long visit. Everyone is more than willing to help, offering their assistance when they saw that we needed it. Quite a few times in train stations, we had strangers come up to us and ask if we needed any help. We even had a young girl walk over to us and direct us to an elevator when she saw we were struggling with our luggage! If you need anything while in Japan, don’t be afraid to ask.
2. Japan is one of the safest places I’ve ever visited
Japan is definitely the safest country I have ever visited. Russell and I traveled together, but even if I had traveled alone, I would have felt perfectly safe walking down the street by myself at night. I’m sure there are parts of Japan which aren’t as safe, just like anywhere else in the world. But for the most part, I felt very at ease exploring Japan. Even the train and Subway stations are super safe, which is a bonus! If you’re a solo traveler and concerned about your safety in a foreign country, I’m happy to report that Japan is one of the safest places to visit. As always, have common sense and stay alert, but you will feel very at ease exploring the country – even crazy Tokyo!
3. The convenience stores are epic
The convenience stores in Japan are life changing. I’m not even being dramatic. If I could choose one overall stand-out thing from our time in Japan, it would be the convenience stores. That probably sounds really sad, but it’s true! These stores literally have everything you could possibly need. Hence, convenience stores! You’ll find healthy meals, umbrellas, alcohol, water, snacks, personal hygiene products, newspapers, cigarettes, baked goods – the list is endless! What makes Japanese convenience stores even better, is they’re everywhere. You’ll usually find one on almost every street, and the products are super cheap too! You can also withdraw money, pay bills and purchase tickets for various attractions within the city you’re visiting!
Australia doesn’t have anything like these wonderful stores, so it was a fascinating and enjoyable experience for us!
4. The train services are super efficient
I think we underestimated just how amazing Japan’s train services are. Before arriving in Japan, we knew that as a general rule, it’s a very punctual and well-run country. Everything is on time, everything has a system in place and the convenience is world class. But the train services in particular, run so smoothly! The stations are super easy to navigate (even though a lot of the signs and directions are in Japanese!) and the trains run so frequently, you’ll never have to wait longer than 5 minutes for one, no matter where you’re heading.
I’m from South Australia, and we have the horrid Adelaide Metro bus and train service. I hate to be blunt, but Japan’s train service shits all over good ol’ Adelaide’s. Sorry Adelaide. I love you, but it’s true. Let’s be real.
5. Vending machines are literally everywhere
If there’s one thing I can guarantee anyone who has an upcoming visit to Japan, it’s that you’ll never go thirsty. There are vending machines on every corner. In winter they sell hot and cold drinks. In summer they generally only sell cold drinks. They are usually placed in high-traffic areas, and can be found on almost every corner, no matter which part of Japan you’re in.
6. The alcohol
If you’ve been a reader for a while now, you’ll know that Russell and I love our alcohol. He’s a big supporter of the whisky industry, and I keep Australia’s wineries in business. Alcohol in Japan is not only super cheap, it’s also legal to consume on the streets!
Australia has very strict alcohol laws, especially in the part of Australia where we are currently living. So it was strange going to a place where the laws are so different, and I was able to drink a bottle of Smirnoff on the street.
I won’t lie, that’s probably one of the main reasons I would move to Japan. That’s not sad, right? 😉
7. Heated toilet seats
This is something that I truly miss. Being able to sit on a warm toilet seat, in the middle of winter, when getting up during the night to pee? Amazing. I don’t know how I survived 25 years of my life without heated toilet seats, but now that I’m home in Australia, I miss them dearly.
8. The combination of big cities and beautiful nature
Even if you are spending a week in Tokyo, you will still be able to experience and explore tons of beautiful parks and gardens around the city. There is such a wide variety of scenery within Japan, whether you’re in the big cities or the countryside. You will always be able to find a relaxing place to spend the morning or afternoon, that you’ve never seen before. Not to mention to large array of temples and shrines, for that little bit of beautiful Japanese history, to break up the craziness of Japan’s big cities.
9. Japanese snacks and cup noodles
I’ll be honest, I personally don’t think that anything can beat the range of snacks that you’ll find in Australia. We have some pretty delicious, totally unhealthy foods. Maybe it’s the convenience, or the super cheap prices, but Japan’s snack foods are awesome. There is such a large variety, and half the time, you won’t know what you’re eating. But that’s half the fun! The chocolates in particular, are delicious!
And cup noodles – well, what else would you expect?! Convenience stores stock a ton of different varieties of cup noodles, for super cheap. Towards the end of our trip, when we had hardly any money, I ate cup noodles for almost every meal. But hey, why not. They’re delicious, and I got pretty good at using chopsticks!
Tip: Yokohama even has a Cup Noodle Museum! 😱 Read all about that, here!
10. The shopping
No matter what your interests are, there is something for everyone in Japan. Tokyo’s Akihabara is the gaming hub of Japan. Harajuku is where you should go for a more fun and crazy style of clothing. Osaka’s Dotonbori is absolutely insane, and you’ll be bumping shoulders with people no matter what time of day you go, but the shopping is awesome. Japan was one of the best shopping experiences I have ever had. There’s something for everyone, of all ages. So if you love to shop up a storm, you’ll love Japan!
So there you have it. The 10 best things about Japan (in my opinion, anyway). There’s so much to love about Japan. It’s an amazing country, with incredible people and a ton to see and do. If you’ve visited before, tell me in the comments what you think the best things about Japan are! I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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