Places to go to


ImageKinkaku-ji or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion

The most popular tourist attraction in Japan and Kyoto. The pavilion was originally built as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in the late 14th century. Unfortunately, the pavilion was burnt down in 1950 by a young monk who had become obsessed with it. Five years later, the temple was rebuilt as an exact copy of the original. Emphasis is placed on the building and surrounding gardens being in harmony with one another. The pavilion is covered in gold leaf which highlights the reflection of the pavilion in the pond and the pond’s reflection on the building.

ImageMount Fuji

The highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 meters (12,388 ft). The volcano’s exceptionally symmetrical cone is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as a popular tourist attraction for sightseers and climbers. An estimated 200,000 people climb Mount Fuji every year, 30% of whom are foreigners. The ascent can take anywhere between three and eight hours while the descent can take from two to five hours.

ImageTokyo Imperial Palace

The Emperor of Japan makes his home at the Tokyo Imperial Palace. It also functions as an administration center and museum to showcase Japanese art and history. The palace is set on the ruins of older castles that were destroyed by fire or war, and architects have honored the past by incorporating design elements of the different eras into the modern palace. The new palace is surrounded by traditional Japanese gardens and has many reception and function rooms to receive guests and welcome the public.

ImageTokyo Tower

The Tokyo Tower is a testament to the advancement of technology and modern life. Inspired by the Eiffel tower design, it is the second tallest man-made structure in Japan and functions as a communications and observation tower. Visitors can climb the tower for unparalleled views of Tokyo and the surrounding areas as well as visit shops and restaurants.

ImageTodaiji Temple

The Todaiji Temple in Nara is a feat of engineering. It is not only the world’s largest wooden building, it is home to the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and wildlife, the Kegon school of Buddhism is centered here and the grounds hold many artifacts of Japanese and Buddhist history. Deer are allowed to freely roam the grounds as messengers of the Shinto gods.

Idiomatic Expressions of Japan

  1. あいかわらず
    [あいかわらず, aikawarazu] same as ever; just like always
  2. 挨拶回り
    [あいさつまわり, aisatsu-mawari] process of visiting all of one’s colleagues or coworkers to say hello
  3. 足を出す
    [あしをだす, ashi o dasu] reveal a secret; let the cat out of the bag
  4. 蟻の這い出る隙もない
    [ありのはいでるすきもない, ari no haideru sukima mo nai] there isn’t even space for an ant to go through
  5. 油を乗る
    [あぶらをのる, abura o noru] warm up to a subject; be interested
  6. 後の祭り
    [あとのまつり, ato no matsuri] it’s too late; a day late and a dollar short
  7. 後を絶たない
    [あとをたたない, ato o tatanai] endless
  8. 頭が悪い
    [あたまがわるい, atama ga warui] be dumb; be slow
  9. 頭にくる
    [あたまにくる, atama ni kuru] be angry; become angry; get pissed
  10. 頭がいい
    [あたまがいい, atama ga ii] be smart; be quick

Japan’s Culture and Traditions

Celebration of Festivals 

There are countless local festivals (matsuri) in Japan because almost every shrine celebrates one of its own. Most festivals are held annually and celebrate the shrine’s deity or a seasonal or historical event. Some festival are held over several days.

An important element of Japanese festivals are processions, in which the local shrine’s kami (Shinto deity) is carried through the town in mikoshi (palanquins). It is the only time of the year when the kami leaves the shrine to be carried around town.

ImageSapporo Snow Festival – Sapporo, Hokkaido

Large snow and ice sculptures are built in the city’s centrally located Odori Park during the Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri)


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ImageYokote Kamakura Festival – Yokote, Akita Prefecture

Many igloo-like snow houses, called kamakura, and hundreds of mini kamakura are built at various locations across the city during this Yokote Kamakura Festival in one of Japan’s snow-richest regions

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Omizutori – Nara

Omizutori is a Buddhist religious service rather than a festival, held every year at the Nigatsudo Hall of Todaiji Temple. The most spectacular among its many ceremonies, is the nightly burning of torches on the balcony of the wooden temple hall.

ImageTakayama Matsuri – Takayama, Gifu

Large and elaborately decorated floats are pulled through the old town of Takayama. Held in spring and autumn.

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Aoi Matsuri – Kyoto

The Aoi Masturi’s main attraction is a large parade of over 500 people dressed in the aristocratic style of the Heian Period (794-1185) that leads from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to the Kamo Shrines, the festival’s host shrines.

History of Music in Japan

Gagaku is elegant classical music of the Japanese Imperial Court, which was derived from Chinese models. It flourished between the 8th and 12th centuries, then declined for several centuries until a revival of interest in national traditions in during the Meiji Period . Court orchestras were divided into two sections, with formally prescribed functions. The orchestra of the “right” played Korean music. The orchestra of the “left” played Chinese, Indian or Japanese music. The repertoire of an orchestra included kangen (instrumental) pieces and  bugaku (dance) pieces. 

Today, a gagaku ensemble usually consists of 16 player performing on drums and kettle drums, string instruments such as the biwa (lute) and koto (plucked zither) and wind instruments such as the hichikiri (Japanese oboe) and various types of flute.

What do they eat?

Ramen – is a Japanese noodle dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, kamaboko, green onions, and occasionally corn. Almost every locality in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.

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Katsudon – is a popular Japanese food, a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet, egg, and condiments. Variations include sauce katsudon (with Worcestershire sauce), demi katsudon (with demi-glace and often green peas, a specialty of Okayama), shio-katsudon (with salt, another Okayama variety), shōyu-dare katsudon (with soy sauce, Niigata style), and miso-katsudon (a favorite in Nagoya). Beef and chicken can substitute for the pork.The dish takes its name from the Japanese words tonkatsu (for pork cutlet) and donburi (for rice bowl dish).It has become a modern ritual tradition for Japanese students to eat katsudon the night before taking a major test or school entrance exam. This is because “katsu” is a homophone of the verb katsu, meaning “to win” or “to be victorious”.

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Tempura – is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried.

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Sake – is an alcoholic beverage of Japanese origin that is made from fermented rice. Sake is sometimes called “rice wine” but the brewing process is more akin to beer, converting starch to sugar for the fermentation process. In the Japanese language, the word “sake” (“liquor”, also pronounced shu) generally refers to any alcoholic drink, while the beverage called “sake” in English is usually termed nihonshu (“Japanese liquor”). Under Japanese liquor laws, sake is labelled with the word “seishu” (“clear liquor”), a synonym less commonly used colloquially.

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Soba – is the Japanese name for buckwheat. It is synonymous with a type of thin noodle made from buckwheat flour, and in Japan can refer to any thin noodle (unlike thick wheat noodles, known as udon). Soba noodles are served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as anoodle soup. It takes three months for buckwheat to be ready for harvest, so it can be harvested four times a year, mainly in spring, summer, and autumn. In Japan, buckwheat is produced mainly in Hokkaido. Soba that is made with newly harvested buckwheat is called “shin-soba”. It is sweeter and more flavorful than regular soba. In Japan, soba noodles are served in a variety of settings: they are a popular inexpensive fast food at railway stations throughout Japan, but are also served by expensive specialty restaurants. Markets sell dried noodles and men-tsuyu, or instant noodle broth, to make home preparation easy. Some establishments, especially cheaper and more casual ones, may serve both soba and udon as they are often served in a similar manner. Soba is the traditional noodle of choice for Tokyoites. This tradition originates from the Tokugawa period, when the population of Edo (Tokyo), being considerably wealthier than the rural poor, were more susceptible to beri beri due to their high consumption of white rice, which is low in thiamine. It was discovered that beri beri could be prevented by regularly eating thiamine-rich soba. In the Tokugawa era, every neighborhood had one or two soba establishments, many also serving sake, which functioned much like modern cafes where locals would stop for a casual meal.

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Udon – is a type of thick wheat flour noodle of Japanese cuisine. Udon is often served hot as a noodle soup in its simplest form, as kake udon, in a mildly flavoured broth called kakejiru, which is made of dashi, soy sauce (shōyu), and mirin. It is usually topped with thinly chopped scallions. Other common toppings include tempura, often prawn or kakiage (a type of mixed tempura fritter), or aburaage, a type of deep-fried tofu pockets seasoned with sugar, mirin, and soy sauce. A thin slice of kamaboko, a halfmoon-shaped fish cake, is often added. Shichimi can be added to taste. The flavor of broth and topping vary from region to region. Usually, dark brown broth, made from dark soy sauce (koikuchi shōyu), is used in easternJapan, and light brown broth, made from light soy sauce (usukuchi shōyu), is used in western Japan. This is even noticeable in packaged instant noodles, which are often sold in two different versions for east and west.

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What do they wear?

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“Yukata”                                              “Kimono”

Kimono – As the kimono has another name, gofuku ( literally “clothes of Wu “), the earliest kimonos were heavily influenced by traditional Han Chinese Clothing, known today as hanfu (kanfuku in Japanese), through Japanese embassies to China which resulted in extensive Chinese Culture adoptions by Japan, as early as the 5th century AD. It was during the 8th century, however, that Chinese fashions came into style among the Japanese, and the overlapping collar became particularly women’s fashion. During Japan’s Heian period (794–1192 AD), the kimono became increasingly stylized, though one still wore a half-apron, called a mo, over it. During the Muromachi Age (1392–1573 AD), the Kosode, a single kimono formerly considered underwear, began to be worn without the hakama (trousers, divided skirt) over it, and thus began to be held closed by an obi “belt”. During the Edo period (1603–1867 AD), the sleeves began to grow in length, especially among unmarried women, and the Obi became wider, with various styles of tying coming into fashion. Since then, the basic shape of both the men’s and women’s kimono has remained essentially unchanged. Kimonos made with exceptional skill from fine materials have been regarded as great works of art.

Yukata – A yukata is a Japanese garment, a casual summer kimono usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric, and unlined. Yukata are worn by both men and women. Like other forms of traditional Japanese clothing, yukata are made with straight seams and wide sleeves. Men’s yukata are distinguished by the shorter sleeve extension of approximately 10cm from the armpit seam, compared to the longer 20cm sleeve extension in women’s yukata. A standard yukata ensemble consists of a cotton undergarment (juban), yukata, obi, bare feet, sandals (geta), a foldable or fixed hand fan, and a carry bag (kinchaku). Kinchaku are used by both men and women to carry cellphones, sunglasses, wallets and tissue. For men, an optional hat or derby may also be worn to protect the head from the sun. Yukata literally means bath(ing) clothes, although their use is not limited to after-bath wear. Yukata are a common sight in Japan during the hot summer months (starting in July).

What is Japan?

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“Land Of The Rising Sun”, it is what Japan is known for because they call their country Nippon o Nihon. According to legend, the archipelago of Japan is made by God Izanagi and their Goddess Izanami. They have a daughter named Amaterasu-the Goddess of Sun. The Japanese believes that their first emperor Jimmu Tenno is the descendant of Amaterasu. This is the reason why they have respect to their emperor.

Japan is an archipelago that composes 6 852 islands. The mountainous islands of it are in the shape of the Moon on the eastern side of Asia. The East Sea is separating it from the Mainland Asia. The four main islands of it are Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu at Hokkaido. The biggest is the Honshu Island, it is where Tokyo is, the capital of Japan.

73% of Japan is mountainous. It has many scattered plains. It has many intermontane basin (A basin between mountain ranges) that 25% of Japan is covered with it. It has a population of 128 056 026 peoples. It has an area of 377 944 km2