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Come to Japan! There’s No Reason Why You Should Not!

September 20, 2011

I’m proud that A Modern Girl invited me to contribute something to this month’s Blog Matsuri which she’s hosting on the topic “Reasons to Visit Japan” 🙂 I just peeped at the contributions she already received and have to say there’s already a great collection of reasons to visit Japan ranging from delicious food and interesting places to mountains and sports. You could add hundreds more reasons to visit Japan as there really is something for everyone. Needless to say that Japan is the counrty for all you anime and manga lovers or those interested in Japanese traditions, but even if you’re not into these things, Japan offers whatever you want – be it modern architecture, shopping paradises, beaches, art exhibitions… You name it.

But despite all these reasons to visit Japan is struggeling with a lack of tourists and there are several arguments which hinder tourists from coming. But I want to show you that there’s NO reason why you shouldn’t visit Japan.

Argument No 1: Japan is too far away.

Yes, unless you’re from Asia Japan is very far away, so most tourists have to travel around the globe to come here. But this can also be an argument for a visit to Japan. Since it is far away from your country you can be sure to experience a different culture. While being a developed, post-modern country many things developed differently in Japan than what you may be used to and Japan managed to preserve much of its traditions which can be seen for example in the vast amount of festivals all around the year as well as in everyday life. So why don’t you pluck up your courage and try a big jump overseas? (No, fear of flying is not an accepted argument either. Grab some Valium or alcohol or whatever makes you relax. Just don’t take too much 😉 )

Argument No 2: I don’t speak Japanese.

Wherever you go speaking some words in the language of your host country opens many doors. The same holds true for Japan and here even more so. Foreigners who have been to Japan agree that as soon as you open your mouth to utter a word in Japanese the prompt reaction will be Jouzu!!!!! (上手!!!!) or something similar meaning you’re Japanese is good. Also speaking fluent Japanese without saying a word is very easy as the following video demonstrates:

Argument No 3: Now! Seriously, how am I supposed to get along without any Japanese?

Don’t worry! Most place names are written in English, too, and virtually all touristic spots provide descriptions in English. Though it is often not clear from the beginning, many places also offer audio guides in different languages, so it’s worth to ask for those. Also when you eat out it is easy to order by pointing to pictures in the menu or the real looking meals made of wax. By the way, many Japanese do understand English or other languages but they are often too shy to speak as they are afraid of making mistakes. But if you’re in need you can be assured that the Japanese will try their best to lend you a helping hand.

Argument No 4: Japan is too expensive.

Well, yes, it is expensive but there are still ways to travel Japan on a budget. The internet is full of tips how to save money in Japan. If you’re not too picky you can find cheap but good food anywhere as well as hostels. Couchsurfing is pretty popular in Japan as well and offers not only an opportunity to sleep but also to meet interesting people. (I know a guy who met his girlfriend through couchsurfing in Japan 😉 ) Concerning travelling, I saw a hitchhiker going to Hiroshima just around the corner the other day so this is a doable way of getting around. You can find information on hitchhiking in Japan here.

Argument No 5: Okay, but what’s with radiation?

Now this is a serious problem not only to the people living in the affected areas in Tohoku but to all people living in Japan as long as we can’t be sure how much contaminated food reaches the supermarkets throughout the country… But beside food you don’t need to worry about radiation unless you really go close to certain areas near the Fukushima plant. If you want to make sure radiation levels you can find a map here and many cities publish current radiation levels on their websites. I notices this when I went to Karuizawa a few weeks ago. Located in Nagano Karuizawa is much nearer to Fukushima than Osaka where I use to live, but still radiation levels are not the least elevated.

Nevertheless the fear that radioactivity is lingering everywhere prevents many tourists from coming to Japan and is causing hard times for tourism. In fact, they are so hard that a travel agency in Kansai organised several day trips all over Kansai with foreign students to support tourism in the area. My recent trip to Uji in Kyoto was one of these and I took part in a trip to Nara – which I still have to post about – as well. So if you’re still concerned about radiation why don’t you visit Kansai, Shikoku or Kyushu –  or even Okinawa? There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t 😉

PS: Read the other entries for the September Japan Blog Matsuri and find more reasons to go to Japan!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. toranosuke permalink
    September 20, 2011 19:30

    Great post 🙂 Most people have been addressing reasons you should go to Japan, but I really like the approach of addressing people’s arguments why not.

    That Japan is expensive is one of the ones I hear the most, and, frankly, I just don’t get it. Everywhere I go, in fact, people complain that it’s an expensive place to live. But, let me tell you, living in Japan is no more expensive than anywhere else I’ve lived – New York, Hawaii – and a hell of a lot cheaper than the UK (esp. London) and many parts of Europe. … When people make these kinds of comments, it really makes me wonder what the cost of living is in other parts of the US, wherever it is these people are coming from that they think it’s more expensive in Japan. Because, again, everywhere I’ve been – DC, Boston, SF – it’s been no cheaper than in most parts of Japan.

    Exchange rates are kind of suck right now, but a few years ago, when the exchange rate was closer to 120 yen to the dollar, I found things quite affordable. Is a $3 bowl of soba too expensive for you? Is 180 yen for a drink from the vending machine going to absolutely ruin you, as compared to the $1.50 you’re spending in vending machines back in the US? Yes, the transportation is expensive, that it costs 360 yen or whatever to get from one part of Tokyo to another. But, that said, I like that I can spend 2000 or 3000 or 4000 yen to just take the trains anywhere I want to go, because the trains go everywhere, unlike in many parts of the US, where there simply aren’t these kinds of train networks, and your only option is to spend hundreds of dollars on Greyhound or Amtrak.

    • franeymoon permalink*
      September 21, 2011 03:58

      Hey, thanks for the kind words 🙂 Glad you like my approach!

      I totally agree with the you about trains and except for JR lines trains are extremely punctual here, too! I really appreciate it.
      For me, too, Japan isn’t more expensive as Germany. I guess it depends on your preferences and flexibility how much money you need. When I hear how much some people can spend here in a month I really wonder about their lifestyle… Of course, if you have to live in an exclusive, big appartment or go for dinner etc everyday it’s getting expensive. Also if I tried to cook German food all the time, I’d need a lot of money, but if you adapt your habits to the Japanese it’s really not more expensive than at home.

  2. manur alam permalink
    September 21, 2011 19:04

    Interesting post and thanks for sharing. Some things in here I have not thought about before.Thanks for making such a cool post which is really very well written.will be referring a lot of friends about this.Keep bloggingTribal culture of Bangladesh
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    • franeymoon permalink*
      September 22, 2011 02:12

      I’m glad to hear that and will do my best to blog as often as I can 🙂
      Thanks for sharing!

  3. A Modern Girl permalink
    September 30, 2011 17:42

    The results of the September Japan Blog Matsuri are now up! Check out your post and others at:

    http://wp.me/pDEya-ow

    If you’d like to share this link on your blog, Twitter, etc., I’m sure all of your fellow contributors would appreciate it. Thanks for participating!

  4. May 23, 2012 00:07

    A little late, but great post! There are too many good reasons to count why people should visit Japan. 🙂

    • franeymoon permalink*
      May 23, 2012 03:10

      Thanks so much for the comment 🙂 You’re absolutely right about the too many reasons. It’s impossible to list them all.

  5. March 8, 2014 07:27

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    the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or
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    • franeymoon permalink*
      March 9, 2014 06:17

      Thanks for your kind comment! The layout is just one of the many wordpress offers for free. You can customize the layout and add different boxes or pages as you like.
      And thanks for your encouragement. I’ll try to write more ^^

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