Exploring 101: 10 simple things to find when exploring Japan

If you’re a first timer in Japan then you’re in for a treat! This East Asian metropolis is known worldwide for the bizarre and interesting things you’ll find. But if this is your first time here, it can be a bit intimidating. What should you do?! What should see?! What should you eat?! While the bigger cities are always fast paced and bustling, the smaller cities are filled with endless history, making it pretty difficult to come up with a simple Japan bucket list.

For your first time here, you might want to keep it simple and start with some easy exploring. Here are 10 simple things to find when exploring Japan for the first time.

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You simply can’t visit Japan without going in search of a Pokémon center! They can be found all around Japan and sell some of the cutest Pokémon goodies. From Pikachu socks to nail art to mugs, some of these centers even host Pokémon themed events!  Finding all things Pokémon is the perfect way to start off your Japanese exploring adventure.

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Hidden forests

While most people head to the Bamboo Groves, little do they know that just off the main street of Arashiyama lies a magical Kimono Forest. Wander off the beaten path and see what you find.


Bizarre snacks

Japanese stores and markets are filled with some of the most delicious, yet bizarre snacks. From strange Kit Kat flavors to unique Oreo’s to famous Japanese teas to Tokyo banana (a sponge cake filled with banana cream) – you should just eat aaaaaaaaall the snacks.


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Find a pond to grant your wishes

Wander through the Kimono Forest and find the Pond of Dragons. Then immerse your hands in its waters. It is said that the pond guards the nearby train station as well as all trips made to and from there. It is also believed that if you dip your hands in the water of the Pond of Dragons then your heart will be filled with peace and happiness.


Secret alleyways

No adventure is complete until you wander down quaint little alleyways and explore the hidden streets. Japan is no different.


Endless history

Every city in Japan has a beautiful history that will leave you wanting to learn more and more. From World Heritage sites to temples to remnants from the first atomic bomb blast, Japan is filled with history.


Delicious local foods

Japan is a culinary haven with every city holing their own specialty dishes. From basic ramen to takoyaki to okonomiyaki to gyoza (dumplings), you could basically eat your way through Japan.


Street art in Tokyo

Wander through the popular districts of Hajuku and Shibuya while taking in some of the interesting street art and graffiti.


Arcade games on the street

Explore Akihabara in Tokyo and take in everything anime, manga and gaming! Walk down the little alleyways and try the street side arcade games.

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Shibuya Crossing

Known as the busiest intersection in the world, Shibuya Crossing is located right in front of the Hachiko exit. Thousands of people cross here every day and while it may be a little intimidating to cross here at first, it really is an experience to be had when in Japan.


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I'm Shalinee - a Geminian scientist who loves to travel, write, draw and eat chocolate. I've visited over twenty countries, published a Environmental Science encyclopaedia and somewhere along the way started a science communication company to help students and corporates translate that hard-to-read data generated in a lab. Other than that, I'm just searching for the magic still hidden in the world.

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