It is no secret among my friends that I love Japan! Sometimes people ask me why it is that I love visiting Japan so much, and it is something I have been wondering too. Here are a few things which amaze me about Japan, you may be amazed too!
If you ask anybody about Japan they’ll probably come up with these two aspects: Geisha and technology. This truly amazes me about Japan, the juxtaposition between the ancient and the cutting edge. For example, you can be walking through Tokyo, one of the most populated and urban areas in the world, and stumble across a small shrine sandwiched between two buildings. Nowhere else that I have visited in the world has the modern world built around the ancient and traditional. The beauty of Japan is the protection of their cultural assets, be it Geisha, temples and shrines or their cuisine. Many aspects of Japan are cultural assets and have been recognised and protected for the future. On the other hand, Japan is also at the cutting edge of technological advances in robotics and prosthetics. I am constantly stunned by the merging of the new and old in Japan, take a walk anywhere and see, witnessed people planting rice in a traditional way outside their modern complex. Amazing?
One thing people often don’t realise is how large Japan is, and how much of it is still covered in forests and is untouched. Although development roars ahead in Japan, there are massive areas which have been the same for hundreds of years. The climate in Japan is quite unique, warm wet summers and cold winters which allows for a plethora of plants to grow. Not only traditional rice for food and sake but beautiful flowering plants coveted for their blooms and for viewing. A few examples are of sakura, the phenomenon that is hanami, chrysanthemum or hydrangea. Yet again Japan is brilliant for being in an urban area and finding plant boxes on railing along the side of a road, or an untouched area. Visit a bamboo forest, hike in the mountains or come for hanami to be amazed by the flora. But that is not all, the natural landscape of Japan is truly breath-taking, a mountainous country with pristine beaches and clear waters. Mt Fuji is easily the most iconic aspect of Japanese scenery, but isn’t the only either, there are many beautiful and famous mountains throughout Japan, making it a great place for hiking or skiing (depending on the season).
One of the things you will notice as soon as you get to Japan is how polite and courteous everyone is. When you enter a shop you will be welcomed in a loud voice and anything you buy will be gratefully wrapped by the shop assistant. Language is polite, there is even a whole sub-set of Japanese which is to be polite. People will bow when you meet and apologise for the smallest thing. And it is safe! Nowhere else have I seen someone leave their bag on a train set to go and use the bathroom, where I live the bag would be long gone when you return, but not in Japan! Other interesting aspects of culture is the mix of Shinto and Buddhism, and the beautiful architecture that these religions have produced. Omiyage is a brilliant aspect of Japan, rather than souvenirs Omiyage is given in Japan, these gifts are usually beautifully packaged and unique to the different history of cities in Japan! Japanese cuisine is now a cultural asset, and for a good reason. The variety of foods available in Japan is staggering, and that is true of only Japanese food. Using the best ingredients and with the utmost care Japanese food is made, and it is truly Oishii!
Although these are just three things they do truly amaze me! Japan is a country like no other, go there to be amazed!