by Alex Bruni on 01 24 13

Japan is notably one of the best destinations in Asia, if not one of the better know. Japanese culture has found its way throughout the world and common cultural items are recognized just about everywhere. Getting to vacation where these popular trends came from is like a dream come true. The wealth of cultural diversity is almost dizzying and its not hard to find something for every type of traveler.

 

Tokyo is the capital of Japan. Most tours of Japan start or end in Tokyo if they ever leave. Tokyo is a very large, and very expensive city but well worth the time. There are many great sites to be visited among its crowded streets. Among the must-visit wonders are Akihabara, Tsukiji, and the Imperial Palace. Akihabara is the electronic gadget lover’s paradise. Many goodies are found here in the wall to wall electronic shops, and may never see the mass market. Tsukiji is the world’s largest open air fish market. It reportedly sells hundreds of different types of fish each day. The Imperial Palace is not generally open to the public except twice a year, and then only the outer areas.

The gardens and grounds around the palace are open and a wonderful place to get glimpses of the Palace. The Tokyo National Museum is also a great stop to view a large suppository of Japanese antiques and artifacts.Some other things to take into account while traveling in Tokyo is the transit system during peak times might be a little uncomfortable to the average traveler who isn’t use to packing into a subway car like a sardine.

Another city of interest is Hiroshima. Hiroshima is the site of the world’s first atom bond detonation used in war. The Peace Memorial Museum is located here which houses a large collection that includes artifacts from its militaristic past, the events leading to the dropping of the bomb as well as the fallout afterward and Hiroshima’s anti-nuclear movement. Living in the shadow of great tragedy has allowed a great place for wisdom to flourish.

Another great city is Kyoto and its famous geisha houses. You can easily tour some lovely historic structures as many made it through the war, and the basic grid structure makes it easy to navigate. There are numerous walking tours, including one by a native English speaker, Peter Macintosh, who helps the crew of Memoirs of a Geisha scout locations. There are plenty of Japanese cultural events you can participate in no matter what city you are in. What trip to Japan would be complete without attending a Traditional Tea Ceremony? While it is usually not in English, several hotels in Tokyo offer it in English to accommodate tourists. Attending a sumo match is also great cultural events.

Even if you can’t actually attend one, they are highly televised during the tournaments. After a long day of touring the wonders of Japan, a shiatsu massage is a great treat. They are available at most first class hotels and many others as well. If massage isn’t your thing you can also go to a hot springs. While not very common in some countries they are incredibly popular and can be found in all parts of the country.

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