Insider Tips for Japan
Here we have gathered together tips and suggestions from our Japan team on ways to help you make the most of your time in this fascinating country, experience the new, the old and the quirky. And for those that aren’t visiting Japan, we have a selection of our favourite books, films and artists that we think will give you a real flavour of the nations life, culture and traditions.
Favourite Dishes and Drinks
A savoury wheat flour pancake topped with shredded cabbage, meat, fish or other toppings. Okonomiyaki literally means 'grilled as you like it'.
Noodles served in a meat or fish based broth, flavoured with soy or miso, and topped with meat fish, nori, or tofu.
It consists of a donburi type large bowl filled with steamed white rice, and topped with fillets of eel grilled in a style known as kabayaki, similar to teriyaki. The fillets are glazed with a sweetened soy-based sauce, called tare and caramelized, preferably over a charcoal fire.
A ball-shaped snack or appetizer made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special molded pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion
Pork Katsu Curry
Pork cutlets covered in panko breadcrumbs and fried, served with a curry sauce and sticky rice.
A refreshing, non-fat milk drink with a sweet and tangy, yogurt taste, available in a variety of fruity flavours.
Kirin Brewery sells two of the most popular beers in Japan: Kirin Lager, one of the country's oldest beer brands, which has been brewed since 1888; and Ichiban Shibori.
Manga illustrated books are extremely popular in Japan and also have a massive following worldwide. Our favourites are Dragon Ball and Arale Norimaki.
Crying Out Love in the Center of the World
After his fiancee runs away, a man reminisces about the true love of his life. It's a very sad film, so we suggest you have a box of tissues on standby for the inevitable tears.
50 First Kisses
A Japanese adaptation of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s tale of a woman with short-term memory loss and the man who has to woo her every day
Memoirs of a Geisha
A 2005 American epic drama film based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Golden
Known in Japan as Kozure Ōkami. A medieval samurai known as Lone Wolf wanders the countryside with his young son to seek revenge against those who murdered his wife.
A veteran samurai gathers six samurais to protect a village from the cruel bandits. As the samurais teach the natives how to defend themselves, the village is attacked by a pack of 40 bandits.
A Japanese dystopian thriller directed by Kinji Fukasaku and written by Kenta Fukasaku, based on the 1999 novel by Koushun Takami.
An animated coming-of-age fantasy film.
Pokemon Centre, Pokemon Café
In Japan and especially in Tokyo, Pokémon Centers (stores selling Pokémon goods) are everywhere, as well as various pop-up cafes dedicated to the Nintendo franchise.
A rechargeable contactless smart card, electronic money used as a fare card on train lines in Japan, makes travelling around cities really easy.
Certain things are considered ill-mannered in Japan, such as talking loudly in public places, talking on the phone on the train, eating while walking amongst others. The Japanese are very considerate, they do not like to ‘bother’ or cause inconvenience to others. Things like taking a large suitcase onto the train, that can cause a bit of ‘inconvenience’ for your fellow travellers, will be considered ill-mannered and you might get given an unfriendly look. Therefore a luggage service is highly recommended.
If visiting Tokyo, stay somewhere off the beaten track, rather than in (Shinjuku) central Tokyo. This way you can explore the city as the trains are reliable and you get to see a different side to Japan.
The Henn na Hotel in Tokyo has no human staff with robots doing all the work. Plus, they’re not just in Tokyo, there are similar robot hotels in other cities too.
The hostels in Japan are not like the typical European ones, they are very clean and almost hotel-like with their facilities. Some have private rooms with their own toilet and shower, perfect for families or friends. And of course, the total price will be much cheaper!
Avid skiers will find the best snow conditions are up in the northern island of Hokkaido. Furano & Rusutsu are fantastic ski resorts with diamond dust quality snow. Both have great après ski too!
Some of Our Favourite Places in Japan
Tokyo, Japan’s busy capital, mixes the ultramodern and the traditionalLearn more
Hakone, just a few hours from Tokyo, is an ideal location when looking for a bre...Learn more
Kyoto, Japan's former capital, is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sitesLearn more
Hiroshima and Miyajima, Japan
Hiroshima, rebuilt after World War II, and stunning Miyajima island, are among t...Learn more
Osaka is known for its modern architecture, vibrant nightlife and tasty street f...Learn more
Shirakawago & Gokayama, Japan
The historic UNESCO-listed villages of Shirakawago and Gokayama are home to Gass...Learn more
Yudanaka is a hot spring resort famous for some 200 Snow Monkeys that live in th...Learn more
Takayama, has a riverside setting and is surrounded by natureLearn more
Hokkaido, in the north, is an ideal location for winter sports and mild summersLearn more
Sub-tropical islands with white-sand beachesLearn more