If the United States has the Big Apple, then Asia has the busiest city found in Japan. Japan is known for its big cities dazzled with bright lights and high-tech gadgetry, while in the countryside towns, the age-old Japanese culture have been well-preserved providing good scenic spots for tourists to wander about.
Cherry Blossom Parties
When talking about Japan, there are always going to be people who would expect a picture of cherry blossoms, also known as sakura. From April through May, cherry trees start blossoming across the country, and lively parties are held underneath the pretty blossoms. The most famous are in Ueno Park in Tokyo and Maruyama Park in Kyoto.
Ueno Park is like a classic gallery of natural growing cherry blossoms. Once you step inside the park, you will notice all the pink cherry blossoms adorning the trees offering a good place for rest and relaxation, as well as eye candy photos. Though the park has no grass, many people still hang out underneath the trees due to the hearty atmosphere that it provides.
There is an abundance of natural hot springs in Japan which is ideal since the Japanese love to wade and relax in these hot springs or onsen. Every region of the country has its share of hot springs and resort towns, which come with them. Famous ones include Dogo in Matsuyama, Shikoku, one of the oldest in Japan; and Ibusuki, on the southern tip of Kyushu, renowned for its hot-sand saunas. When there is a need of hot springs and one would need to go and wade in, the Japanese would go look for bath houses which give them the feel of being in a natural hot spring. Most of the bath houses in Japan have saunas included.
Japanese Tea Ceremony
In Japan, preparing tea is an art unlike the usual tea ceremonies in any part of the world. The Japanese tea ceremony is called Chanoyu, Sado, or simply Ocha in Japanese. It is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called Matcha, together with traditional Japanese sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea.
Preparing tea in this ceremony means pouring all one’s attention into the predefined movements. The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one’s heart. The host of the ceremony always considers the guests with every movement and gesture. Even the placement of the tea utensils is considered from the guest’s point of view, especially the main guests called the Shokyaku.
Sapporo Snow Festival
When visiting Japan, it would be a good time to visit during February as it is usually sunny and dry. During this month, the Japanese celebrate the Sapporo Snow Festival where there are huge and elaborate ice and snow sculptures. This ice party usually lasts about 7 days which is befitting because the temperature in Japan in this month is a little bit high. However, outside Hokkaido, other towns celebrate their Snow Festival during the winter season.
Definitely a trademark sport from Japan, sumo wrestling is one of the things a person visiting the country needs to go and see. It is an exciting experience to watch this ancient Japanese tradition with six major tournaments held throughout the year in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.
Geisha, Geiko or Geigi are traditional female Japanese entertainers who have great skills in performing various Japanese arts such as classical music and dance. It would be a great privilege for tourists to get to see a private Geisha dance when in Japan because one could only have the opportunity to see a performance if they have the right connections. In Kyoto, there are public geisha dances that are held on April, May and October. The most prestigious geisha dance is the Miyaka Odori held in Gion.
Japan truly is a city of contrasting worlds. One side of it is the booming modern cities with ground-breaking technologies and electronics while on the other is the soothing and relaxing ancient side of Japan with all the natural beauties preserved from whatever era it was from. It would be a delight to visit a place such as this one.