12 Things related to Japanese Lifestyle you shouldn’t miss

If you visit the land of the rising sun, you are in for a treat. A visit to Japan is an experience of a lifetime. People generally think that Japan is all about culture, heritage and tradition. However, there is so much more to Japan than just that. Japan is an amalgamation of the old and the new. When you visit Japan, there are certain places you must visit and certain things you must do. Here is a list of experiences you must try out while you are in the country.

Spot Geishas in Kyoto

If you want to see real life Geishas, then a visit to the Gion region of Kyoto is a must. If you are in luck then you will catch a glimpse a real life Geisha all decked up in their finery and dolled up with extravagant make-up. However, you must be extremely alert if you want to spot them.

Image Courtesy: bit.ly/1mut11U

Image Courtesy: bit.ly/1mut11U

The Bullet Train

The Japanese bullets train or shinkansen in Japan is a very popular and much loved mode of transportation in Japan. The bullet train has now become a part of the lifestyle in Japan. These trains practically fly from one centre to another. The trains hit the speed of 300 kmph and this makes commuting really convenient for people who travel long distances. As centres are well connected, and the service is frequent, the bullet train is every travellers delight. If you are in Japan, you must take a ride on it.

The Shibuya Crossing

This crossing is one of the world’s busiest crossings. Made famous by the movie ‘Tokyo Drift’, this crossing is a must see during rush hour. You can actually see a gigantic ‘flood’ of people at this crossing.

Try Teppanyaki Cooking

This type of cuisine is cooked on a hot grill right in front of you. At diners, you get to sit at a common table with other diners as the chef rustles up your food right in front of you.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

You will find around 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan and each one of them is worth a visit. Don’t miss them for anything.

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Image Courtesy: bit.ly/1fQKTDJ

Vending Machine Meal

Eat a hot Japanese lunch from a vending machine. Vending machines are a huge part of the lifestyle in Japan and it’s something you won’t get elsewhere.

Capsule Hotel

A capsule hotel is worth checking into. These zero frill hotels put you up in a capsule each. Again, this is something that is novel.

Tokyo Pushers

‘People Pushers’ help people get onto a train during rush hour so that they don’t miss it in the crowd. They wear blazers and gloves, another unique experience.

Picnic under Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms are something that native to Japan and during the cherry blossom season, it would be criminal if you don’t picnic under one.

Image Courtesy: bit.ly/1e4aOnm

Image Courtesy: bit.ly/1e4aOnm

Play Pachinko

Gaming is huge in Japan. You must try out a game of Pachinko at a gaming parlour. It’s pretty much like pinball.

Robots at Work

Watching robots work in an assembly line is something that we have seen on in movies but if you go to Nagoya and take a visit to the Toyota Kaikan Museum and Plant, then you can actually see this sight.

Black Eggs

At Hakone, you can catch a wonderful sight of Mount Fuji, take a relaxing bath at an Onsen and taste delicious and world renowned black eggs.

Image Courtesy: bit.ly/1jhN83o

Image Courtesy: bit.ly/1jhN83o

If you go to Japan, you must give these 12 things a try. They are fun and will help you soak in the essence of the real Japan.

Travel Reservations in Japan Experience a Rise

Image Credit: bit.ly/1foy3bF

Image Credit: bit.ly/1foy3bF

Japan’s tourism sector is booming and the evidence is clear. According to the trains of Japan Railways Group and some of the country’s major airlines, seat reservations for the festive season have increased since last year. The data of the companies, which was presented on Friday, showed these results visibly.

According to six JR group firms, till Thursday, the seats reserved on express train and on Shinkansen trains from the dates 27 December till 5 January, 2013 has grown by six percent to a staggering 3.43 million. Seats reserved for domestic flights were also seen to go up by 17 percent to a colossal 4.13 million and reservations on international flights were seen to go up by seven percent to 790,000 for the time between 20 December and 8 January. The calendar dates have affected these figures as both 28 December and 5 January are weekends. This will allow workers to take a long break which will include the three day New Year holiday from 1 January.

Image Credit: bit.ly/18AcINg

Image Credit: bit.ly/18AcINg

According to an official of Japan Railway Co. The train reservations have increased because of the rise in tourism and the fact that people are usually go back to their hometowns during this time of the year. The official also mentioned that the number of tourists going skiing has increased over the year. The Company have also claimed that reservations of seats have increased in bullet and other trains going to the Nagano Prefecture and Tohoku region. 

Image Credit: bit.ly/1hngABv

Image Credit: bit.ly/1hngABv

However, Hokkaido Railway Co. have suffered a drop in seat reservation as the company, that was already targeted for shoddy rail checks, has reduced its number of restricted express trains, losing out on customers to a variety of buses.

Image Credit: bit.ly/J708Jh

Image Credit: bit.ly/J708Jh

Flights to Chinese destinations have drawn more customers after the Senkaku Islands issue lessened the demands earlier this year. All Nippon Airways returned to their 2011 figures with the rise in reservations and Japan Airlines enjoyed a fabulous six percent growth. Comparatively, flight reservations to South Korea dropped 12 percent at JAL because of the decline of the South Korean pop culture that was growing in popularity in Japan.

Therefore, Japan has experienced a massive growth in holiday travel reservations this year due to locals and tourists.

Tokyo Presenting Smarter Mobility, while Toyota is ready to Steal the Show!

Image Courtesy: dailym.ai/19tlsCr

Image Courtesy: dailym.ai/19tlsCr

Rewarded with a smile by exceeding your expectations – says the signature statement of Toyota’s Global Vision. This clearly declares that Toyota’s sole ambition is to deliver better customer satisfaction by exploiting the creative potentials of technological advancement. It endeavours to inspire smart Transport Systems (ITS) that needs combined methodologies for vehicles, traffic environment and people.

Humane Approach is in Demand

The world around us is changing rapidly. Revolving perspective of developed societies, increasing populations, urbanization of developing countries and various energy sources provoke more innovations in technological sectors. Automobiles these days are merely commuting devices but are important to people in search of progressive lifestyle. So, expectations regarding new ideas in automobile industry are raising; people want car, want blended innovations combining technology with sensibility. Creating better cars, therefore, has always been their prime intention as an automaker. To reach the goal the company keeps experimenting with various mobile vehicle technologies with a purpose to offer a safer, comfier, and more ecological mobility to the customers.

Toyota in Smart Mobility Show, 2013

Since inception, Toyota has always struggled to discover the safest and the most responsible methods of transportation, and enrich the lives of the people all over the world. Their honest efforts to meet those increasing expectations and stay ahead have been appreciated by the customers time and again.

According to a recent announcement, Toyota Motor Corp. will be having a stall in the “Smart Mobility City 2013” section; it is the 43rd year of Tokyo Motor Show that has been making a big buzz in the automobile industry over the years. Their intention is to show how vehicles in everyday lives can play bigger roles and how users and the society will benefit from it. Toyota aims to present a glance of future, where transportation blends societal and lifestyle interests.

The Company Gears Up with its Latest Editions:

To carry on with their mission of introducing more environmental vehicles to the society Toyota is planning to present five fresh concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show this year. The list of debutant vehicles also includes FCV, Fuel Cell Vehicle their latest concept of transport. Comprising a number of exciting offers for the car riders, Toyota’s booth in Smart Mobility show is already under wide speculation. And the options on display are:

• Toyota i-Road, a personal mobility vehicle offering a unique riding experience. According to the company it will be making its debut in the Ha:mo urban traffic system.

• Toyota in Motor Show this year will be unveiling “T•COM”, a two-seater developed by the company.

• The “Winglet” is one more attraction of the event to focus on. It is a robot offering ultra-compact personal conveyance assistance to the riders.

The development in information and communication technology has been commendable. The creators’ effort to introduce more comfortable, environmental and hi-tech products are helping human race to move faster than ever. Thanks to the companies like Toyota, who are working hard toward the success of this mission; including vehicles with some superbly advanced technologies like Big Data Traffic Information Service, Voice Recognition Agent, and Smart G-Book,the event will showcase some amazing results of their genuine effort. Some other important exhibits will cover technologies like IPA – Intelligent Parking Assist and ICS – Intelligent Clearance Sonar.

Article Source: bit.ly/1aVfKJN

Find a Holy Mystery in your Tour to Japan

If you ever go to Japan you can experience all your money not really going away from you, which you spend shopping. It may sound ambiguous, but this is a belief that has its roots deep into the peoples’ mind in Japan. But, to witness such marvel, you have to visit Kamakura, and pay your respect to Goddess Benzai at the shrine of Zeniarai Bentzaiten Ugafuku Jinja, to turn the supernatural soliciting on your favour. Goddess Benzai is one of the seven Gods of good fortune, and revered as the goddess of art, beauty, music, knowledge and anything that is believed to flow.

Kamakura-Money-Washing-Shrine-Tunnel

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Flow of money tends more to get away from you than towards you. It is a common phenomenon we have always witnessed in life. But, the miracle of this place can prove the fact reversed. Performing some specific rituals, according to the systematic worshipping process of this place you are said to get all your money, spent on shopping, back to you by the holy blessing of Goddess Benzai. This belief secured its place in the legends of Japan with the tale of Minamito Yoritimo who received a visionary massage from the God of Ugajin to go a valley to the northwest where a spring is gushing out of the rocks. He was instructed to go there, and worship the god with the holy water to bring peace to the people there.

Natural Beauty of the Place

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Image Source: bit.ly/l4eT2

The panoramic view of this shrine is serene enough to invite one to immerse into a peaceful ambience of meditation. Located in a beautiful vale to be accessed through a short tunnel burrowed through the hills of Kamakura, the shrine has an entrance embellished with a large stone and tori. Out of the dim tunnel you will find slopes or rocky terrain standing gravely with verdurous growth and acoustic pleasure of water-flow around, perfecting the charm. You cannot resist yourself from wandering about, and there you will find the small alter inset in to the rocks, surrounded by still ponds and a small waterfall.

At the Holy Cave

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Image Source: bit.ly/l4eT2

On your way to the holy cave you receive a bamboo basket, a packet of incense and two candles against a donation of 100 Yen. After lighting the candles and the incense you are now to enter the main cave where the holy shrine is housed. An unusual coolness of the place will be wrapping you up, and you cannot stop witnessing the beauty of the cave. Golden gourds and origami cranes hanging from the ceiling upon a rocky ledge, resting row upon row of wooden tori, with the rocky walls reflecting the natural rays lit with paper lantern will be enough to transport you to a world of fantasy.

Image Source: bit.ly/l4eT2

Image Source: bit.ly/l4eT2

As the bubbling sound of water attracts your attention to be nearing towards it, you will find a beautiful wooden alter where you have to empty your wallet on the bamboo basket and scoop up some holy spring water to pour over your money and pray. The performance is expected to bring back the money you will be spending on your bills, miraculously again in your treasury. You will have to complete a 25 minute walk from Kamakura station (about 1 hour from Tokyo station by train) to arrive at Zeniarai Bentzaiten Ugafuku Jinja. You can explore the scenic beauty of this place with a rental bike ride after you perform your prayer to the holy shrine.

The Kyushu Seven Stars: Aiming to Rival the World’s Most Luxurious Train Journeys

Japan’s first all-new high-tech luxury sleeper train was launched recently. The Kyushu Seven Stars coasts through the beautiful landscapes of southern Japanese island of Kyushu.

Picture Source : bit.ly/19DglMF

Picture Source : bit.ly/19DglMF

Aimed to rival the world’s best luxury train journeys like the Ghan and the Orient Express, the Kyushu Seven Stars has been built with precise perfection and aesthetics. The hand-crafted woodwork and fine art throughout the train give a luxurious and timeless feel to the passengers on board. The musician, magicians and train staffs have been given the pre-launch training for almost a year. Everything comes at a cost of three billion yen, around £20 million.

The Japanese national media lined up at the platform on the morning of departure to film the first journey of train and the fortunate foreigners on board. The luxury train does not accept the registration for the next six months, as it is completely booked. A bunch of European journalists also experienced the launch trip of the luxury train.

Picture Source: bit.ly/1gNaOKi

Picture Source: bit.ly/1gNaOKi

The president of Kyushu Railway Company, Koji Karaike was quite enthusiastic over the launch trip and the features of trains. The train features ceramic sinks influenced from Satsuma porcelain, showers inspired by aromatic hinoki cypress wood, shoji and bamboo blinds and Japanese paper screens.

It was on the insistence of Eiji Mitooka, the designer of train, that such details were given to the train to make each coach seem different. Mr Mitooka was present on the platform while the Seven Stars pulled out.

The Seven Stars features with two luxury suites and 12 en-suite rooms. The occupancy of the suites was decided amid the tense moments through a lottery.

While on the journey on board, travellers were stunned with the sight of splendid green light of rice paddy fields, the volcanic landscape from the ornately-carved bed with Japanese maple.

Kyushu is an exotic place to excite you and if you are on the train’s itinerary, there is a lot packed in. The Seven Stars cover two different routes, the short and the long one. You are offered numerous outings on both the trips. In one of the outings, you are offered a walk on the largest volcanic caldera in the world near the green and fertile terrain of Aso.

Picture Source: bit.ly/17vkW35

Picture Source: bit.ly/17vkW35

On the longer route, you are offered to spend a night in a traditional Japanese inn or ryokan. The real magic of Kyushu comes alive at the ryokan. The stone paths leading to the wooden houses have a humble vibe. Inside the ryokan, floor is covered with traditional tatami mats and yukata cotton robe offered to all.

The foods in Kyushu are dainty and often decorated with flowers and twigs of maple. Besides taste, texture and appearance are equally elegant. One can taste the some of the best beef and fish at this place.

Overall, the experience at Kyushu Seven Stars is wonderful. The island of Kyushu is itself a wonderful place with abundant volcanoes and bubbling with greeneries.

Flower Parks in Japan are worth a visit

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Image Source : bit.ly/1a6zhFJ

When you visit Japan it is not necessary that you wait for the cherry blossom season to observe the beauty of nature captured in flowers. Even if you plan your vacation after the cherry blossom or ‘sakura’ season you will be able to view wonderful fields of colourful flowers. These fields of blossoming flowers, namely, moss pink or phlox moss and shibazakura, and wisteria or fuji, in the northern Kanto region are extremely popular and have parks full of them.

If you want to soak in the beauty of these flowers then you can check out the following parks:

  • Ota Hokubu Sports Park
  • Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park
  • Ashikaga Flower Park
  • The Treasure Garden Tatebayashi
  • Takasaki Misato Shibazakura Park

Ota Hokubu Sports Park

Image Source : bit.ly/1a6zhFJ

Image Source : bit.ly/1a6zhFJ

This public park overlooks the Ota City and can be reached by a train from Tokyo. Many sports fields are built on the hillside and the slopes are covered with Moss Pink or Shibazakura. These flowers blossom in spring and look like blankets of pink, white and lavender on the slopes. On the eastern slopes you will spot baby blue eyes and crimson clovers. A yearly Shibazakura Matsuri is held in this park that carries on till the mid of May.

Ashikaga Flower Park

 

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Image Source : bit.ly/1a6zhFJ

This park is in the Tochigi Prefecture. This park is famous for hanging wisterias. These flowers bloom early in May and form clusters of pink and purple. This park is crowded at all times, even on weekends.

Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park

 

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Image Source : bit.ly/1a6zhFJ

Chichibu is at the Saitama Prefecture, and is 90 minutes from Tokyo. The park is famous for its moss pink fields. The flowers are planted in way that they form designs of pink, white and lavender. Entry to the park is open from eight in the morning to five in the evening for an entry fee.

The Treasure Garden Tatebayashi

 

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Image Source : bit.ly/1a6zhFJ

This garden displays seasonal flowers along with nemophila, shibazakura, and poppies. This park also has an exquisite rose garden. The park is quite far from Tokyo as is takes over an hour to reach the place even by train.

Takasaki Misato Shibazakura Park

 

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Image Source : bit.ly/1a6zhFJ

The shibazakura fields that cover the slopes are the main attraction of this park. However, the only downside is that very few public transports go directly to the park. The slopes are beautiful and extremely colourful.

So, if you want to visit Japan to view its picturesque side, you must visit these flower parks to experience the wonders of nature.

Plan Your Trip to Japan Before Visiting

If Japan is the next holiday destination high up in your agenda, keep in mind a few things to avoid embarrassment on your part. Here are a handful of tips which can prove handy during your stay in the land of rising sun and make your trip pleasurable.

Behaviour of Japanese People

Respect the People

It is very important that you show respect to people in Japan. They generally greet and apologise to each other by bowing heads. This is an intrinsic value of theirs. Since the childhood, Japanese people are taught to respect their elders and guests. Talking to people politely and behaving in courteous manner is important to show respect to the people.

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Photo Source : bit.ly/17FxndW

Table Manners

Japanese people follow particular and meticulous table manners and etiquettes. It is important to know that do not pour the beverage in your glass and start gulping down straight away at the parties. They always raise a toast before sipping their drinks. So, after taking a seat, let the waiters or waitresses do their job. They will give you an osdhibori, a small wet towel, to wipe your hands. It is imperative that you are aware of all the table manners before dining with Japanese people.

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Photo Source : bit.ly/1bld8aZ

Tipping is a strict no in Japan

Tipping the attendants at bar, restaurant, hotel or taxi is considered bad manner in Japanese society. You should keep in mind that your ignorance can cause embarrassment to the person before you.

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Photo Source : bit.ly/145enZl

Using Chopsticks

Whether you go to any restaurant or have been invited at someone’s home for dining, you will notice that food is served with chopsticks. However, if you do not know how to use chopsticks, you can ask for silverware at the restaurants.

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Photo Source : bit.ly/171RrVE

Entering a House

Taking off shoes and other footwear at the entrance of house is an age old custom in Japan. Almost every house keeps a vestibule, where footwear is kept, at the entrance. You may be given home slippers to wear inside the house but remember to take off the home slippers before entering the tatami room or dining area. There are still some old companies and offices where you have to take off shoes before entering.

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Photo Source : bit.ly/137u67w

Order and Harmony

Japanese people are very much strict in maintaining the order and harmony of society. Individualism does not find a favour in the Japanese society. You will be impressed by seeing people refraining from the usages of cell phones at public places. They avoid eating while commuting and do not blow their nose before others. There are many other habits considered as ill manners by the Japanese people.

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Photo Source : bit.ly/166JGkg

So, before you catch a flight to Japan it is important to go through a few blog about Japan. Some of the blogs from Japan provide you complete information on the Japanese culture, their lifestyle, places to visit, Japanese foods, etc. By reading these blogs, you will be able to plan a pleasurable trip to Japan.