A plethora of names comes to mind when saying Japan. Manga and anime, kimonos, geishas, Buddhist temples, the stock market, technology, the old samurai, the ancient art of kabuki, pachinko, sushi, cherry blossoms, karaoke or J-pop only scratch the surface of Japanese culture. With a wide range of attractions, every street corner, landscape or building seem to wear a special meaning. Festivals are an explosion of colors and traditions and an unforgettable experience for tourists.
Kiyomizudera, Rokuon-ji (Golden Pavilion), the Great Buddha of Takamura and Todai-ji provide a great start if you want to learn more about Buddhism. Himeji-jo, Meiji Jingu or Tokyo’s Imperial Palace will help you find about more about its history. Temples and museums abound in Japan, so take your pick. The action in Memoirs of a Geisha takes place in Gion, a hanamachi (geisha district). The Tokyo Tower is an orange and white construction strikingly resembling to the Eiffel Tower. Mount Fuji offers breathtaking landscapes. However, it is more known due to Hokusai’s prints. The most known picture is one with great waves crashing at the shore and Mount Fuji, painted in blue, barely distinguishable in the background. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park reminds visitors of the atomic bombings.
Japanese people are indirect communicators, so they’ll express their discontentment subtly, through non-verbal communication. You should bow to your seniors and learn a few things about etiquette. Always ask for a gift to be wrapped. The way one presents itself is extremely important. There are many curious things about Japanese society. For once, sex is a taboo, but the sex industry is blooming, with ‘soap-land’ areas and a developed adult entertainment industry. Gyaru, Lolita and Visual Kei subcultures are famous worldwide. Many misconceptions about Japanese people circle around — such as the strict working environment, the tireless workers, submissive women, insects and whales as food, perfecting the art of imitation –, but these are just ignorant stereotypes.