Japan Vacations, Discount Vacation Packages and Travel Deals #travel #extras

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From sublime vistas of snowcapped volcanoes to some of the globe’s most utterly modern cities, this island country offers a whole universe of exploration!

Japan’s a fascinating destination, defined by a venerable culture that’s elegantly sophisticated and yet also genuinely warmhearted and fun-loving. Explore ancient landmarks and some of the most technologized entertainment hubs you’ve ever seen in Japan’s great cities, which include Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. Take in Tokyo’s colossal cityscape from the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower and enjoy a clear-day view of Mount Fuji, one of the most recognizable (and revered) summits on Earth. Among Kyoto’s incomparable heritage sites, explore Japan’s immensely rich spiritual traditions at landmarks such as the Saiho-ji Zen temple and the Shinto shrine of Kamigamo. Relish the country’s cherished blooms of cherry blossoms, celebrated in art and culture for centuries. Meanwhile, start a lifelong investigation of Japanese cuisine—among the world’s most refined—in Osaka’s spirited Dotonbori district, a great place for ramen, sushi, udon, and other delectable specialties.


Japan has a strong arts tradition. During the years known as the Edo period, the Japanese developed a style of wood block printing known as ukiyo-e. Prints by the artist Hiroshige have become iconic of this style and continue to be popular in museum exhibits today. The roots of origami date back centuries. Origami is a fascinating art whereby paper is folded into animals, flowers and other objects.

The Japanese love of nature can be seen in the arts of bonsai and ikebana. Bonsai practitioners take young trees, typically pine, and through careful pruning and fertilizing create miniature trees. Developed in the 16th century, ikebana is the practice of arranging flowers in an artistically pleasing and harmonious way.

A Japanese form of theatre, known as Kabuki, developed in the Edo period. Visitors to Japan who are able to attend a performance will enjoy the traditional rotating stage as well as the footbridge, or hanamichi, which extends into the audience making attendees feel like part of the action. In a Kabuki play, all the actors are men, some of whom play the female roles, and the plays are typically about historical events or love relationships. Another event that visitors to the country will find interesting is the Japanese tea ceremony, which is a highly ritualized practice of preparing and drinking tea.

When foreigners think of Japanese sports, sumo wrestling is one of the traditional sports that instantly spring to mind. This national sport originated in ancient times as a performance for the Shinto gods. In this unique style of wrestling two competitors fight within a 15 foot circle. The match is lost when one competitor goes outside the ring, or if any part of his body, other than the soles of the feet, touches the ground. Both sumo bouts and training are highly ritualized and fighters wear the mawashi, a type of belt made of silk. The other type of sport that people think of when they think about Japan is the martial arts which include karate, judo, kendo and more. Most of these are focused on technique over power and disciplined training is a hallmark of them.

Baseball is likely the most popular sport in Japan today; it was introduced to Japan by the United States around the 1870’s. There are two professional leagues in Japan, and many players have had success outside the country playing for American baseball clubs.

Food and Drink

Early in its history Japan developed rice agriculture and rice remains a central part of Japanese cuisine today. Popular dishes with rice include domburi and curry rice (kare raisu). Rice not only plays a role in many Japanese entrees, but it serves as an ingredient in rice crackers, rice cakes and even rice wine.

While rice is an integral part of the food culture in Japan, noodle dishes are very common too, the most common being udon, soba or ramen. Udon noodles are made from wheat flour and are boiled in a broth with ingredients added as toppings. In contrast, soba noodles are made from buckwheat, and are thinner and darker and typically served cold. Usually, soba is eaten with sliced green onions and a dipping sauce and often other toppings. Finally, ramen are thin egg noodles served hot in a flavored broth.

Tofu, derived from soybeans, is a popular protein. Often fried, it is also regularly added to soups, such as Miso, a typical Japanese broth soup, which might be served at any of the three mealtimes. Japanese food is overall a very healthy diet which doesn’t put a lot of emphasis on meat, though dishes like grilled chicken, yakitori, and deep fried pork cutlets, tonkatsu, developed in the late 19th century.

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