Top 5 bucket list things to do/ see in Japan.
Hey Gym N Japan Fam! This week we are once again going to buck the trend of what we were doing! This week we are going to dive a little into Japanese culture and sites etc with a list of bucket list items that people should consider when going to Japan. Some of these might not be achievable due to time restraints, time of year and maybe cost? But either way we think that these are some of the coolest things you could do!
We also wanted to be different and go with top 4 instead of your usual top 3,5 or 10. Don’t wanna be basic and gotta try stand out somehow haha!
1. Climb Mount Fuji
We are kicking this list off with basically the symbol of japan, we would say that it would be one of the most recognizable landmarks in the country and possibly the world. This monster of a mountain makes for a spectacular photo (in the right conditions) and is a slack 3,776.24m in height. It is so big that it can be seen on clear days all the way from Tokyo which is around 100km away! WOW! Alright now that I’ve given you an insight to the mountain, you are probably curious and thinking: “Can I actually climb it?” The short answer is yes and the reason we put it on the list.
The climb up Mount Fuji can take between 5-10 hours depending on how quick you climb, the conditions, where you start and which track you choose. The most popular is to start about half way which is the last point you can get to with a paved road called 5th station. Obviously mountain climbing is not for everyone but our adventurous nature makes us want to climb it! Nothing like our 4km runs up Mount lofty… the most popular way to climb the mountain is to leave at around midnight so that you get to the top for a spectacular sunrise. There are other options where you can spread the climb over a few days so you can enjoy the climb a little more and not feel rushed. There are cabins on the mountain that you can stay in for a cost if you choose to spread it out over 2 days. We are a little impatient and would probably go the whole hog and do it in one day…
I (Haydon) went in 2018 so some of the pics are from that trip. Below is Mount Fuji but covered by clouds.
One drawback for this climb is that it is generally only accessible for a few months a year in summer from early July to late august. Outside of these times, it is not impossible to climb but kinda just climb at your own risk and to be undertaken by experienced climbers only. Not sure it would be fun climbing in the middle of winter when the temp could be -30 degrees Celsius and wind chill up to -50…
It can definitely add up cost wise with accommodation, admission fee, food, hiking equipment etc. This is a once in a lifetime thing so do your research on cheap accommodation and look at your options.. Obviously it will cost more the longer you spread out your trek. Just don't be a pussy and do it faster so it becomes cheaper!
Next trip to Japan we will be considering this for sure! Depending on the time of year we go obviously. (Jake) This is definitely up there on my top list of things to do in Japan. The experience and views you would get when at the look outs would be phenomenal. Plus you have to work for the views which makes it so much more rewarding.
2. Go Skiing!
Alright, climbing Mount Fuji and going skiing are not possible on the same trip unfortunately.. Unless you stay for 6 months? But no, we are being realistic here and you are just going to have to plan another trip to Japan. To go skiing in Japan you'll need to make sure that it is winter and there is snow on the slopes. Ski season is said to be from mid January to early April approximately which depends on the weather and where you decide to go.
Things to remember is that you will probably need to stay close to the slopes so it's easy to get to and you’ll probably have to hire some snow gear because realistically, who actually takes snow gear on a holiday?
Honestly for me (Jake) this would have to be my number one, but Haydon started the blog so he got to choose ahaha! I have literally been skiing once and fell in love with it! From what I’ve heard the skiing here is some of the best in the world. The ideal situation would be staying up on the slopes, so you’re able to wake up and go straight onto the slopes! What a dream. The price for this sort of holiday though is super expensive, but to me the price of this trip is not the issue at all.
Snow sounds freezing, but on those sunny snow days in your snow suit, it is actually quite warm and not uncomfortable at all!
We have heard that the best place to go in Japan is Hokkaido where you have a few options for different slopes. Here are the two best:
Don't listen to Haydon, put this as number 1 on your list ;)
3. Visit during cherry blossom season
Anyone who has watched anime will know what a cherry blossom is! Seeing the pink leaves is a great opportunity to take a great photo for the gram and see something unique to Japan. They usually bloom from the end of March to early April so if you book a holiday at this time you are bound to see them! They are such a spectacle that they even have massive festivals to celebrate. We haven't seen them ourselves but it is a must! Pictures aren’t mine but I will hopefully get some one day!
A few places to see them are:
Himeji Castle, Kansai
I think (Jake) being able to witness this would be amazing, mainly because of the fact that this time of the year would feel super relaxing but festive. The colour of the leaves would contrast everything around it. It would be a photographers dream. As well as seeing this on anime, I think picture don't do this justice.
4. Visit Kyoto
I don’t think that any trip to Japan is complete without a trip to Kyoto. In my opinion (Haydon) this was probably my favourite place purely because it wasn’t too busy like Tokyo with lots to see and do. This place is packed with so much history as it was even the capital of Japan for many centuries. There are so many things to do and see in Kyoto and we would recommend doing some decent research so that you don't miss anything when you are there. You may also want to consider a guide for a day who can tell you all about the history while showing you the sites.
I am only going to give you 2 places that I recommend, however there are so many more so do some research.
Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion).
This place had some really nice gardens, ponds and multiple temples. And yes this is a picture I took! You can basically walk around the gardens to shrines and just appreciate the surroundings.
Another photo I (Haydon) took in Japan. A little bit fuzzy but it is the view of Kyoto from Kiyomizu. I was useless and didn't take a photo of the actual temple… There is a lot of history here and it was built a long long long time ago. To get to the temple you have to walk through an old village which was cool as!
Kyoto is full of culture and swarming with people. Visiting this place would allow you immerse yourself into Japan's rich and diverse culture such as food, history, clothing, and so so much more.
5. Fireworks Festival
The Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival is an annual fireworks festival held on the last Saturday in July, over the Sumidagawa near Asakusa. The Sumidagawa Hanabi Taikai follows the Japanese tradition of being a competition between rival pyrotechnic groups.
The fireworks in Japan are nothing you can compare to what we get in Australia. These are honestly supposed to be next level. If you're ever bored, YouTube this and you will be mind blown by the sorts of shapes, faces and designs these pyro maniacs can do with fireworks.
Alright and there you have our post for the week! Hopefully these give you some cool ideas for your next trip to Japan. Honestly there is just so much to see and do there so we will be sure to add to this list with more!
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