Things I love about traveling in Japan

View of Mount Fuji

The unobstructed view of Mount Fuji I took during a shinkansen travel from Tokyo to Kobe, Japan. | Carl Lorenciana

If there’s one country that I always love coming back, it would always be Japan. And for good reason. Since the first time I visited Japan, I’ve been impressed with how anything seems to be so convenient and orderly in this country.

It’s not only just the attractions that draw travelers like me back to the Land of the Rising Sun time and time again; it’s the intangible allure of Japan itself.

For those who have been to Japan, you’d probably agree with me that its allure is undeniable – the food, diverse attractions, efficient mass transport, modernity, cleanliness, and kawaii (Japan’s obsession with cuteness).

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It’s a destination that leaves a lasting impression. As a traveler, I’ve admired certain things about Japan.

Essence of Zen

Amidst its bustling landscape of modernity, Japan holds a serene secret: a stillness that fills its neighborhoods – even in huge cities like Tokyo, its capital. This essence of Zen, deeply ingrained in the Japanese way of life, has always captivated me as someone who finds comfort in solitude and seeks moments of tranquility amidst the chaos of urban life.

Torii gate

A torii gate along the forested approach to Meiji Shrine. Meiji Shrine and the adjacent Yoyogi Park make up a large forested area within the densely built-up city of Tokyo and offer walking paths for a relaxing stroll away from the hustle and bustle. | Carl Lorenciana

One can witness this tranquility firsthand when taking Japan’s public transport. Amidst the crowded trains and bustling stations, there’s a remarkable sense of order as Japanese commuters mind their own business, enveloped in their thoughts or immersed in a book or their mobile phones.

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Timeless beauty of Mt. Fuji

There’s something inherently captivating about the grandeur of Mount Fuji – the way its snow-capped summit seems to touch the sky, the way its rugged slopes command respect from all who gaze upon them.

A view of Mount Fuji from a train station in Kawaguchiko, a scenic town located near the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi in the Fuji Five Lakes region, at the base of mountain in Yamanashi Prefecture. | Carl Lorenciana

Whether viewed from afar or up close, the sight of this iconic landmark never fails to evoke awe and wonder. And even if I get to see it countless times, I won’t get tired of getting charmed by its timeless appeal. Whenever I look at its beauty, I’m always reminded of the timeless wonder that awaits those who dare to explore the wonders of our world.

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Japan’s allure extends beyond its iconic landscapes; it’s also found in the convenience stores (it’s called ‘konbini’ in Japanese) that dot its streets. 7-11, Lawson, Family Mart—these widespread establishments offer a treasure trove of delights, from freshly prepared bento and onigiri to everyday necessities. For travelers like me exploring Japan’s fast-paced environment, these stores become indispensable havens for quick and tasty culinary delights.

Food from convenience store

My favorite items to buy at Japanese convenience stores: bento, their iconic strawberry sandwich, bottled green tea, and instant ramen. | Carl Lorenciana

Ramen and matcha

And speaking of culinary delights, Japan’s food scene is a gastronomic adventure waiting to be savored! From the rich, comforting flavors of ramen to the delicate bitterness of matcha, each city and prefecture offers an enticing array of dishes to explore.

From bustling ramen shops to humble street vendors, the quest for the perfect bowl of ramen in Japan is an adventure in itself. Each region boasts its own unique take on this beloved dish, whether it’s the rich tonkotsu broth of Fukuoka or the hearty miso ramen of Hokkaido.

Miso ramen is a popular variation of ramen noodles that originated in Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. | Carl Lorenciana

Convenient to explore

Perhaps one of Japan’s greatest marvels is its seamless connectivity. Navigating this massive country is a breeze, thanks to its extensive network of subways, buses, and the famous shinkansen (bullet train). Clean, orderly cities give way to sprawling countryside, all interconnected by a transportation system that signifies efficiency and convenience and is one of the best in the world!

A shinkansen at Morioka Station, a major railway station located in Morioka City, the capital of Iwate Prefecture in the Tohoku region of Japan. | Carl Lorenciana

In my experience, it took me only about 2 hours and 50 minutes to travel via shinkansen from Tokyo to Kobe (approximately 500 kms), a city located in the Hyogo Prefecture on the southern coast of Honshu.

Kobe beef

Kobe beef meal that I tried in Kobe, Japan. Kobe beef is a highly prized and luxurious type of wagyu beef that originates from the Tajima strain of Japanese black cattle. | Carl Lorenciana


From adorable mascots and whimsical characters to quirky fashion trends and charming merchandise, the fascination with all things cute permeates every aspect of daily life in Japan.

Men in colorful costume in Takeshita Street, a bustling pedestrian street located in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, Japan. It is famous for its vibrant atmosphere, trendy fashion boutiques, quirky shops, and delicious street food. Takeshita Street is a hub of youth culture. | Carl Lorenciana

But what lies beneath this seemingly harmless obsession with cuteness? The truth is, kawaii is big business in Japan, and its economic impact is far-reaching. From Hello Kitty to Pikachu, iconic characters have become global symbols of Japanese pop culture. In essence, being cute is not just a trend in Japan – it’s a way of life, a cultural phenomenon that has captured the hearts and minds of people around the world.

In Japan, modernity and tradition coexist in perfect harmony, offering travelers a multifaceted journey filled with moments of stillness, majesty, and unparalleled convenience.

A freshly catched king crab at the Sapporo Crab Market, a bustling seafood market located in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Japan’s northernmost island is renowned for its wide variety of fresh seafood, particularly its selection of crabs caught in the waters surrounding Hokkaido. | Carl Lorenciana

As one explores its cities and indulges in its diverse cuisine, the essence of Japan reveals itself – a land of quiet beauty, awe-inspiring wonders, and boundless opportunities for exploration.


TAGS: destinations, Japan, Lifestyle, Travel, traveler
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