JAPAN IS KNOWN ACROSS THE WORLD FOR MANY THINGS, ITS FASCINATING CULTURE, ITS UNIQUE CUISINE AND, TO THOSE PEOPLE IN THE KNOW, ITS MAGNIFICENT NATURAL ENVIRONMENT. THE ‘LAND OF THE RISING SUN’ IS ONE OF THOSE PLACES THAT MUST BE EXPERIENCED AT LEAST ONCE IN A LIFETIME
Japan is an extraordinary place to visit, a mezmerising culture in which ancient noble tradition rubs up against with the world’s most advanced technologies, technologies that have been exported all over the world and become incorporated into the everyday lives of ordinary people. When we consider a place with such a wealth of appealing experiences it is difficult to know where to start.
This wonderful country is famous for its Cherry Blossom and one of Japan’s most fascinating traditions is Hanami, literally translated as ‘flower viewing’. Every year, from the end of March to early May, the sakura flower is in bloom all over Japan and throughout this period, the people of Japan hold outdoor parties beneath the sakura tree during both day and nighttime to enjoy the cherry blossom with their
family and friends. It is a time of bonding together and cherishing special memories. One of the best places to see the cherry blossom is on the central lawn area of the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo.
Famous for its ancient buildings many of which are steeped in history, a starting point might be the Kinkaku-Ji Zen Buddhist Temple. Widely known as the Golden Pavilion, this beautiful temple is surrounded by green trees set in front of a clear lake and is visited by
thousands of tourists every year who come to enjoy its splendour. From winter to summer the landscape and its colours may change with the seasons but the temple always retains its beauty with its golden reflection shimmering across the rippled surface of the pond before it. The Golden Pavilion temple is a three-story building in the grounds of the Rokuon-ji temple complex and the upper two stories of the pavilion are covered with pure gold leaf. This is one of seventeen sites that make up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which are listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
For food lovers visiting Japan and looking for something unusual you can learn about one of the country’s best known indigenous comfort foods at the Shin- Yokohama Ramen Museum. Founded in 1994 as the world’s first food-themed
amusement park, the museum is devoted to showcasing different versions of Japanese ramen noodle soup and features a recreation of Tokyo back in the year 1958 (that was the year instant noodles were invented). The museum includes branches of famous ramen restaurants from Kyushu to Hokkaido. This is a one-stop place you can sample Japan’s stable dish from renowned restaurants all across the country without all the inconvenience of travelling large distances.