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Yamamiya Sengen Shrine

5 Common Experiences to Try When in Japan

As the known adage goes, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans Do’. This refers to adapting to the customs of the people of a certain place and behave as they do. Travelling allows us to get to see the many beautiful sights around the world as well as to experience the various traditions of other cultures. Doing what the locals do gives a wonderful firsthand understanding of what everyday life is like in a particular place.

Check out some of the usual things to experience when in Japan!

Visit a shrine or temple

Japan contains a plethora of religious architectural structures. Most Japanese shrines and temples are set in beautiful gardens and are often connected to local festivals. Fora long time throughout Japan’s history, Shinto and Buddhism had one belief system. Shinto being a pantheistic religion worshipped many different gods. Upon the introduction of Buddhism, the new gods fit effortlessly into the pantheon of Shinto philosophies. The only difference in essence was that Shinto deities were local, while Buddhist were not. There are numerous temples and shrines in Japan give visitors a glimpse of the unique culture and rich history of Japan and its people.

Izakaya customersHave a drink or two or more at an izakaya

Your trip to Japan would simply be incomplete without an izakaya experience. An izakaya is a type of casual Japanese bar that serves alcoholic beverages and snacks. It’s a go-to place for after-work drinking. It can be likened to a Spanish tapas bar, Irish pub, or an American tavern.

An izakaya setting can be lively and fun. It’s a great way to get to know the Japanese culture and mingle with the locals when visiting Japan. Kanpai!

Get everything you need at a konbini

Many visitors to Japan always seem to gravitate towards convenience stores or konbini, for their needs. Whether it’s for toiletries, a beverage or a snack, they all seem to be amazed with the selections and services offered in a konbini.

With more than 50,000 convenience stores located across Japan that constantly offer novel products and services, and are open 24/7, it really makes konbini truly convenient place to get whatever you need, anytime, and it has gained cultural significance for these reasons.

Array of vending machinesBuy something from a vending machine

It’s puzzling how such an array of vending machines exists in Japan. It seems like you can purchase almost anything from them. Of course, you might expect to get hot meals, cold and hot drinks, and train tickets. Some other practical and eco-friendly vending machines offer you charges on electric cars and a good selection of ebooks. But it approaches the realm of the bizarre to see vending machines for the unthinkable, such as live lobsters!

Cooking eggs at an onsenTake a relaxing dip in an onsen

Japan, being an island nation, has literally thousands of hot spring resorts or onsen scattered all over the country. There are also communal public bath houses called sentō. A sentō varies from an onsen, which uses hot water from a natural hot spring. At an onsen, the bathing facility has at least one bath filled with natural hot spring water. The natural spring waters of Japan are highly prized for its mineral content and is one of the most popular attractions in the country. A dip in an onsen is a relaxing way to enjoy the one of the oldest Japanese traditions.

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Read all about Japanese immersion learning and studying abroad. Check out our eZasshi archives for more articles!