With 2016 almost coming to a close, backpackers must now begin planning trip(s) for 2017, and although exciting destinations like Morocco, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and Bolivia are all expected to get big increases in tourism, it is the perennial old favourite – Japan – that is bouncing back to the top after a small dip in interest from travellers. Why should YOU visit Japan in 2017? Here are 7 main reasons we should all be able to agree on!
Bright Lights, Big Cities
With cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka in the country, you cannot go far without finding the famous bright lights of Japan. At night, Osaka is especially beautiful, but at any time of the day you cannot go wrong when in Tokyo – a city so big it takes a long time just to find your feet!
If the big cities aren’t your thing, then fear not, as Japan has some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Asia. From sleepy woodlands to mist-shrouded lakes and from active volcanoes to sandy beaches, you will find a bit of nature here to suit every backpacker!
Don’t worry about getting to and from places in Japan, as the country has one of the best transport systems anywhere in the world. While travel in Japan is not exactly cheap, it is certainly not as expensive as it used to be, and travellers should take advantage of the Japan Rail Pass to maximise travel plans.
You may already know about Ramen and Sushi, but when you take a long, hard look at Japanese food, you will uncover more hidden gems, such as okonomiyaki, yakitori, yaki imo, and ichigo daifuku. There is no need to eat at fancy restaurants either, as in Japan, cheap and fresh food is readily available on every street corner!
Japan has a rich history. So rich in fact that you will need to spend months in the country to learn about it all. Still, even a whirlwind tour, it is necessary to visit the important Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, especially in Kyoto, Nara, and Nikko. They are unlike anything you would have seen before!
One thing everybody knows about Japan is its love of modern technology! It was the first country in Asia to embrace the modern age, and everywhere you look there are reminders of this. Robots can be seen doing tasks such as cleaning toilets and serving you drinks (though not in all bars, obviously).
Finally, one thing every backpacker will remember from his/her trip to the Land of the Rising Sun is the sheer friendliness of the people you met. From geisha to taxi drivers, everybody here will go a long way to making your travels as pleasant as possible, and while Japanese locals seem a little shy at first, why not greet them with a few lines of Japanese. Maybe then, they will reciprocate and show their English skills!