Who doesn’t dream even once of being in the Land of the Rising Sun? Japan has always had a good reputation for travelers from around the globe. No doubt, after visiting this wonderful country and experiencing great moments in it, I can honestly say that Japan is almost perfect with everything. 

It is busy yet organized and well-planned; simple yet expensive; and modern yet still traditional in so many ways. This country is filled with ordinary yet each with a fullness of meaning that makes you want to come back for more. It has a different vibe that you can only experience there. Even though packed with thousands of tourists and locals combined, it still maintains the natural beauty of the country wherever you go.

What makes Japan really interesting to me is how well-kept every city is. Aside from the fact that it has the cleanest cities I’ve visited, it made me realize how Japanese people are some of the kindest and hardworking you will ever meet in your life. I wondered one time why the Philippines can’t be the same. 

Above all the visual treats you will see here, it also a shopping mecca and land of parties and traditions. Truly, Japan makes my experiences in the country worth remembering. Lastly, getting lost sometimes in my travels here also added excitement and exhilaration. Who doesn’t want to get off-track in a well-organized city right? 

When planning a Japan visit, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto always come to mind. I opted to change the usual sites from everyone’s itinerary and traveled north first to Sapporo in Hokkaido before visiting Kyoto and the capital. No regrets at all as I really enjoyed this route. Just be prepared with your budget, Japan is enormously expensive and might just break your bank!  But I know Filipinos have a lot of ways to tighten their budget during travel. 

Related post: Discover Hokkaido

I’m going to show some of my favorites in Tokyo and Kyoto. Let’s jump into it. 

Ascend to the tallest broadcasting tower in the world – Tokyo Skytree. I’ve been to the top of some of the tallest buildings in the world like Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Taipei 101. This visit to the observatory deck of Tokyo Skytree is another checked off from my list. This is the world’s highest free-standing broadcasting tower built with special technology supports for safety. It has two different observation decks that you can visit designed with connecting spiral corridor. It also has a restaurant and a café if you want to dine up in the air. 

Cross the famous Shibuya Crossing and enjoy the sights of Shinjuku. One great experience and remembrance you can have when you visit Tokyo is to have a picture in the center of the busiest crossing in the world they say: the Shibuya crossing. I don’t have one because I didn’t have the guts to do it! Sounds easy if you think of it but really hard when you are crossing already together with hundreds of people with you. I was able to record a video though, and that’s fine for me. Take a good sip of Starbucks coffee on the shop’s second floor while watching people crossing the intersection. Such a great view, as people who been to Shibuya already know.

Shinjuku, on the other hand, is very famous for its nightlife and shopping. I didn’t shop a lot, but I honestly enjoyed the walk around the area and saw people from all around the world. I was also fascinated by it during the nighttime with all the lights, and everything tends to be busy with nightlife. It’s perfect for the night owl people out there to fulfill all the needs. 

Marvel around the gaming district of Akihabara, and Ginza for fancy cravings. Aside from enjoying Tokyo’s famous attractions and wonderful sites, wandering around Akihabara and Ginza would be perfect for tourists’ shopping needs and nightlife hunger.  With so many things to do, it’s easy to understand why a lot of travelers add this lively district to their Tokyo itinerary. Finding the exit through its busiest train station is really a struggle, will make your trip more memorable! Street food is also the best way to feels its vibes. Robot cafes and other out of this world themed-restaurant is a must-try.

On the other hand, Ginza district is for travelers who really and afford to splurge a lot. I call this area the branded district lined with all branded names such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci among others. Shopping addicts will really enjoy this district.

Meet your favorite Disney character at Tokyo DisneySea. This brings out our kid heart for a moment to enjoy all of the rides at Tokyo DisneySea. Enjoy and ready to get your heart out through extreme rides and watch the Disney character show parade in the late afternoon. I chose to visit DisneySea since I have been to HK Disneyland already and thought it can be just the same. I was amazed by this massive attraction that attracts tourists from around the world – whether young or old. 

Wander around Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Geographically, Kyoto and Tokyo are way too far from each other but because of the Shinkansen bullet train, you can visit both regions in a limited time. One thing I loved during my visit to Kyoto was this forest area filled with bamboo. It can be touristy though, but you can do a lot besides just visit the forest. I didn’t have any arranged itinerary during my whole Japan trip but enjoyed and was able to visit most of the tourist attractions in the area. By the way, don’t miss traveling to these two regions by Shinkansen. I had a great time trying it and it’s really fast and convenient. You can also either travel by coach or book a flight from Osaka to Tokyo if you want to splurge more.

Immerse yourself to see the traditional side of Kyoto. The best thing to do when you visit Kyoto is to take your time as it is packed with magnificent temples and holy gates. The Golden Pavilion in Kinkaku-Ji really struck me the most because of its beauty. This whole complex contains the main golden house and has pathways lined with trees. This can be one great option to dive closer to Japanese culture and tradition. It can be touristy as it is really famous so a walking tour might be struggling for some with kids. But the local people guiding the area are well organized. 

Final thoughts

Japan is very clean and well-ordered to the extent that you will be shy for yourself. In the three major cities – Hokkaido, Kyoto and Tokyo, everyone I met was so gracious and cultured. Standing on the one side of the escalator is really a must and should be followed at all times, so be responsible! If I had to choose which I liked best, I would choose Sapporo in Hokkaido because of my introverted nature. I loved the chirping stoplights of Sapporo more than the bustling lights and sounds of Tokyo. But, anywhere in Japan you go, it can be totally good and enjoyable. Oops, I also enjoyed all the vending machines as they are really reliable and convenient. I’m a coffee addict, so just one click and you can get cold iced coffee right in a second while walking along the street. 

These are just my preferences, and I am sure you might have others. As long as you are having fun with your itinerary, then it can be good. 

Just a warning, traveling to Japan can break your bank. Lastly, the train and subway system is disorienting and confusing. I lost myself many times, and it could happen to you as well. 

Google maps were my best friend during the entire trip since I didn’t have any guide.  But it can be messed up as well. I once walked for an hour to get to my hotel in Kyoto after getting off the bus from the airport. What an experience right? Anyway, that’s where you learn and change from it. 

Have you been to Japan? What are your favorites? Give me your thoughts! Until next time.

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