Japan Country Information
In Japan, you can successfully combine many types of recreation: a breathtaking “excursion”, a beach holiday on the island of Okinawa, business tours (trips to numerous exhibitions and seminars), holidays in ski and thermal resorts, trips to study martial arts. Many are attracted by the unique architecture of the country – the world-famous “Golden Pavilion” in Kyoto, the Imperial Palace, a great many unique temples. The best amusement parks are open for children in Japan: Disneyland, Disney Sea, Universal Studio and others. A diverse, but invariably well-to-do contingent travels to the country: mostly tourists who have already visited many countries, as well as businessmen.
According to DIGOPAUL.COM, the climate in Japan, with the exception of Hokkaido, is temperate, with four distinct seasons and two rainy seasons, spring and autumn. In winter (December-February), the temperature in the plains along the coast is usually above zero, the weather is sunny, with dry air. Spring (March-May) begins with plum blossoms, and cherry blossoms from late March to early April mean the height of spring. Summer (June-August) begins with the “bayou” (“plum rain”) rainy season, which lasts 3-4 weeks. In southern Okinawa, the rainy season begins in mid-May, and in the Tohoku region in the north of Honshu, in mid-June, and ends in mid-June and July, respectively. From July comes the real summer heat. Autumn (September-November) brings fresh breeze and comfortable temperatures.
Any hotel in Japan, from 2* (Tourist class) to 5* (Deluxe class) is an example of a high level of service. The classification of hotels directly depends on the size of the territory, the number of restaurants and shops in it. Rooms in 2-3 * hotels are, as a rule, small in size, but at the same time they are always equipped with everything you need, including electric kettles. In Japan, both European and national ryokan hotels, furnished in Japanese style, are common. European hotels mainly work on the basis of breakfast (or no meals at all), the cuisine is varied. “Ryokans” usually offer half board, the cuisine in them is only national. Most hotels in resort towns have their own onsen and o-furo: Japanese baths, special hot mineral baths. In Tokyo and the eastern part of the country, the mains voltage is 100 V, 50 Hz. In the western regions – 220 V, 60 Hz. Outlets are different from Western ones, so an adapter may be required.
Shopping and stores
The most expensive stores are located in the Shinjuku quarter, on Aoyama-Dori Street, Tokyo’s Champs Elysees. Young people prefer to dress in the Shibuya area, where there are many inexpensive trendy stores. Department stores in Japan are called “depato” (from the English department store) – they are truly huge here, much larger than the Parisian Gallerie Lafayette and Printemps. The most important Japanese department stores – Mitsukoshi, Matsuzakaya, Matsuya, Isetan, Keio and some others are located in the Ginza and Shinjuku districts.
Characteristic Japanese souvenirs are samurai and geisha dolls, painted fans depicting sakura and landscapes, panels with hieroglyphs, national costume items, ceramics and porcelain. A real expanse is here for fans of anime and manga: a bunch of magazines, books, CDs, posters and T-shirts. What is definitely worth buying in Tokyo is jewelry and bijouterie. Their prices, however, are not lower than European ones, but quite reasonable, but the design is amazing. It makes sense to buy pearl masterpieces in the Tasaki gallery. Check out the various accessories. There are so many of them. Nowhere in the world, you will not find such a choice – gloves, hats, scarves, socks, knee socks, etc. The Japanese are the biggest lovers and connoisseurs of accessories in the world. Popular are 100% natural Japanese cosmetics based on pearls, algae and shellfish extracts. And finally, not souvenirs, but worthwhile goods that can be advised to bring from Japan – all kinds of electronics, gadgets and computer games. New collections of many European designers appear first of all in Tokyo. You can also buy souvenirs at the airport before departure: prices there will not differ from souvenir shops in cities.
In Japan, it is not customary to bargain either in the markets or in shops.
Cuisine and restaurants
In Japanese cuisine, fresh or raw foods are widely used, its “three pillars”: rice, fish and seaweed. The most popular dishes are: “sushi” (or, in Russian, “sushi”) – more than 200 types, “sashimi” (“sashimi”) – slices of raw fish, which, like sushi, are served with soy sauce and green horseradish ” wasabi”, as well as “sukiyaki” (fried beef), vegetables and bean curd “tofu”. In general, there are a lot of soy-based dishes here: the second bread, to be sure! Even in Japan, you can try the “marble meat” of the bull and taste the warmed rice wine “sake” with a strength of 16-19 °. The number one national soup is “miso” made from fermented soybean mass and fish broth with the addition of seaweed, mushrooms, tofu, meat and fish. It is worth enjoying “tempura” – pieces of fish or meat fried in batter in boiling oil.
Sushi in Japan
Perhaps the most famous culinary “masterpiece” of Japan are sushi and sashimi. These seemingly simple dishes are actually quite difficult to prepare properly: sushi masters spend years learning how to make rice the right way before mastering the art of choosing the best fish and removing all the bones from it. Sushi terminology is extensive, but the most common types in Japan are:
- nigiri – an oblong ball of rice and a piece of fish covering the rice;
- maki – fish and rice wrapped in nori and cut into tiny pieces;
- temaki – fish and rice wrapped conically in nori;
- gunkan – oval-shaped sushi, framed by a strip of nori;
- shirashi – rice mixed with seafood.
Almost anything that swims or lives in the sea can turn into sushi, which is why most Japanese restaurants have a handy multilingual list hanging on the wall somewhere with a description of a particular fish. The most common ingredients guaranteed to be featured in any restaurant are maguro (tuna), shake (salmon), ika (squid), tako (octopus) and tamago (Japanese omelet). And more exotic options are uni (sea urchin caviar), toro (tuna fish oil) and shirako (fish milk). In Japan, fish oil comes in two varieties: o-toro (very fatty and expensive) and chu-toro (less fatty and cheaper). Even in Japan, sushi is considered a delicacy, and the bill for “chef sushi” at the most expensive restaurants can reach tens of thousands of yen. Otherwise, you can order the so-called “moriawase” – assorted sushi and sashimi, the prices are much lower. Even cheaper sushi can be bought at the ubiquitous kaiten, where plates of sushi “ride” on a conveyor belt and cost about 100 yen. While kaiten sushi is generally good quality in Hokkaido, in major cities (especially Tokyo and Kyoto) the quality varies greatly from restaurant to restaurant. In Japan, it’s perfectly acceptable to pick up sushi with your fingers while dipping the pieces in soy sauce; wasabi is usually already present in sushi, but it can also be used additionally, adding to taste; and pieces of pickled ginger (gari) and green tea are always available for free.