I grew up with all things Japanese from Hello Kitty to Doraemon at a young age, then Jdramas and Jpop when I was a teenager. I even worked for two Japanese companies when I was older. I don’t really know why, but my life has always seemed to have a tie with Japan in many ways. I went to Japan many times and never got tired of it. I have a passion for travel and love to see different things around the world. I spent more than 10 years living around the world and moved back to Canada 5 years ago. I decided to put two of my passions together and start a travel agency. I focus on sending Canadian travellers to Japan and help them truly experience this place.
My clients always ask me, “what is so special about Japan that makes you want to go back again and again?” I honestly think Japan is the only place which has preserved their history well, while also being able to see the latest technology and everything trendy all in one place. You also need to see different cities in this country because they each have their own specialty and uniqueness. You can feel the difference when you are in Tokyo in comparison to being in Kyoto, Kanazawa, Sapporo or Okinawa.
Japan is very different from the western world. My clients often tell me it truly opened their eyes to such a unique culture after they’ve gone to Japan. The most feedback I got is that Japanese people are so willing to help and their hospitality given to tourists is awesome. Although this country has many rules to follow, after a while you will see that this place works extremely well because everyone follows them. I had once heard a little story my client told me when they returned. They were taking a train ride and saw two siblings aged 6-9 taking the train on their own as they were heading to school together. They felt so shocked because these two young kids were alone, and this shows Japan is truly a safe place even parents won’t be worried about letting their children be on their own. I’ve enjoyed hearing stories like this from my clients. I believe that everyone will have different experiences and they will encounter different things in this beautiful place.
I’ve also been to Japan in each of the four seasons and they all have different beauties that you can see. Spring is definitely for flowers, where plums and cherry blossoms bring happiness after the long winter. People love to see sakura in full bloom but I love to see them fall to the ground. It’s one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life. It’s like snow but with flower petals and you know it’ll end soon so you’ll have to wait for another year. Summer in Japan is hot but it’s the best time to hike up a mountain, attend one of the many festivals or watch some fireworks by the river. Fall in Japan is the most beautiful time in my opinion. We see a lot of fall foliage at home but the one in Japan is even more stunning. I’m sure you’ll admire the beautiful scenes at Arashiyama or Ueno Park. Winter in Japan is also beautiful. There are many ski resorts up in Hokkaido to have fun at. Japan is also one of my favourite places to spend Christmas at, as it’s a fun and very festive time of the year. It’s not seen as a religious holiday there but they decorate everywhere and the Christmas spirit is high. Winter illumination is also a must see. Beautiful twinkling lights will be lit up every winter in many places in Japan .
There are also unique experiences that you can find throughout the year, like wearing a kimono while walking through the charming historical district; watch a sumo wrestling game or a baseball game; have a beer or sake brewery tour; stay at a Japanese ryokan, relax in the onsen and have a traditional Japanese Kaiseki meal; visit a rice or tea field to see how Japanese people cultivate; explore many unique art and architecture; stay at a Buddist temple and find your inner peace; visit the many technology showrooms to see what’s new; and walk through pedestrian street to see the Japanese pop culture.
Japan has something for everyone, whether you’re a foodie, an artist, a geek for the latest gadget, an anime lover, a cultural experience seeker, a shopping queen; or if you want go solo, with your best friends or family, I’m sure Japan won’t let you down.
Japan upgraded many things to welcome foreign tourists before the Olympics. I can’t wait to see more Canadian travellers visit Japan in the future and would love to help more people to explore their once in a lifetime holiday.
Written by Ivy Lam of travel gaga ( http://travelgaga.ca/ )
The opinions expressed in the above article do not reflect the views of JNTO. All content and images are property of the writer unless otherwise specified.
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