Have you got a trip to Japan coming up? If so, we imagine that your to-do list is already getting quite long, with iconic must-see sites, selfie points and unique experiences which promise to create a spectacular holiday that you can look back on fondly for years to come. If you’re anything like us, then one of the most exciting things about visiting a new place, is learning about the different culture, and how traditions differ from our own. This is by far the best way to get to know a country, as how can you expect to know something without understanding the heritage? Well, Japan has an incredibly rich heritage, and a culture which is largely built up from traditions which date back thousands of years. There are a plethora of ways you can take part in traditional activities during your stay in Japan. Read on to discover what you should include to have a traditional experience in Japan.
A Ryokan Stay
The first on our list is an absolutely fantastic opportunity which is available to you in Japan. Ryokans are traditional Inns which have been operating since the Edo Period, welcoming in weary travellers who were making the journey between Tokyo and Kyoto. These traditional Japanese hotels are still in operation today, and provide valuable insight into traditions and cultural practices which are unique to this wonderful country. Tatami floors, delicate and intricately designed walls and beautifully laid out accommodation should be expected from your stay, but be sure to remove your shoes before entering. You will be given slippers or clogs to wear throughout the Inn, as well as traditional dress which you will be expected to wear during tea ceremonies and other meals.
An Onsen Bath
Onsen is the Japanese term for natural hot springs. Although these are located across the globe, the Onsens of Japan are more of a cultural experience than anywhere else. These volcanically heated waters contain many health benefits, which have been recognised in Japan for thousands of years. Today, you can enjoy a traditional bathing experience in many different establishments, including traditional Japanese hotels and independant spas. There are a few things that you should be aware of before you soak. First of all, you are required to bathe naked, and you will only be given a small towel to cover your bits when getting in. The other thing that you should be aware of, is that no matter how big the bath is, you should not swim, splash or mess around in the Onsen. It is intended for you to relax and allow your body to absorb the healing properties of the water, and is not a water play area.
There are plenty of traditional dining experiences available to you in Japan, and the way that we recommend you sample them, is to try something new every time. When you book into a Tokyo Japanese restaurant, it can be tempting to order your favourite sushi dish, but you should try something new! Whether it’s ramen, tempura, sashimi, sushi or okonomiyaki, try it to discover the amazing flavours of Japan.