Welcome to Japan- the country of the Rising Sun!
Welcome to Japan- the country of the Rising sun!
By Lilya Koganov
Japan is an archipelago, or string of islands on the eastern edge of Asia.
There are four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushi. There are also over 4,000 smaller islands.
Japan is known worldwide for its traditional arts, tea ceremonies, calligraphy and beautiful flower arranging. The country has a legacy of distinctive gardens, sculptures and poetry. Japan is the grower of the most beautiful species of cherry blossom trees - Sakura, juicy giants of Fuji apples, the birthplace of Sushi and the long history of Japans own hot springs culture - Onsen.
Japan is truly endless discovery. You could spend a lifetime exploring this country and barely scratch its extraordinary expanse.
To give you a full tour of Japan is practically impossible, in a short version.
We encourage you to explore and research more on your own, even if its mean getting lost along the way. With so many shrines, temples, Zen gardens, and castles, strewn across the islands of Japan, where do you start?
We have handpicked one of the interesting destinations, and in our view, with the most traditional aspects of Japanese culture.
Every traveller always interested in traditional foods of the country they visit. In Japan the tradition of dining and the variety of foods is definitely worth your attention.
Just few examples - must to try!!!
Sushi– is without doubt, one of the most famous foods in Japan. A dish that was born in ancient times and originated from the process of preserving fish and fermented rice. Today it’s made with all available ingredients and presented in a number of ways and shapes.
Miso soup– it is believed that miso was introduced to the Japanese by Chinese Buddhist monks in the 6th Century. In its most basic from, nowadays Japanese miso soup is combination of dashi (dried fermented tuna or dried sheets of seaweed) soup stock and miso paste (fermented soybeans with salt) with different toppings.
Tempura– is a Japanese dish usually consists of seafood and vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. The name “Tempura” originated from the Latin phrase “guatuor anni tempura” which refers to the Ember days, during which no meat is consumed.
How do you traditionally eat Japanese food? Chopsticks!!!
In their early history, Japanese chopsticks provided a bridge between the human and the divine. Rather than for taking ordinary meals, they were used, at first, for sharing food with the gods.
Most Japanese restaurants will offer wooden, disposable chopsticks, and if you lucky – some cutlery. Japanese food is well balanced and the varieties are available for every taste. Just make sure that the restaurant menu is available in English or at least with some good-looking images of food on offer.
Places to visit:
Japan is a year-round destination with many fascinated and beautiful places to visit.
We decided to tell you about one of a really wonderful places, where you will find lots of Japanese culture, culinary satisfaction, majestic mountains and centuries old temples.
Nagano- is the capital and the largest city of Nagano prefecture, located in the Nagano Basin in the Chubu region of Japan. Nagano is categorised as a core city of Japan and the highest prefectural capital city with an altitude of 371.4 meter’s above the sea levels
The best way to get from Tokyo to Nagano is to train which takes 1h 25min. The train journey in Japan is a separate adventure of its own. Japans train stations are very crowded but well organised. There is a bit of struggle for the tourists who have never been in Japan or in fact ever travelled in Japan by train. But don’t panic if you feel lost. The younger generation of Japan are very proud to show their knowledge of English and will direct you to your destination train.
In culinary terms, Nagano is best known for its soba (buckwheat noodles), also known as Shinano soba or Shinshu soba.
Another of Nagano’s famous local dishes is Oyaki, a type of filled dumplings made with wheat and buckwheat flour, roasted on an iron pan. Fillings are rich in variety and include nozawama mustard leaves, azuki, pumpkin and many more.
And, the most enjoyable is to try Japanese sweets made from apples. Mouth watering apple deserts will stay in your memory for a very long time, if not forever
Lest us move to the very fascinated place in Nagano – Kogen National Park.
The monteys. Snow monkeys park will always be one of your best memories. The only place in the world where monkeys bathe in the hot spring “Onsen”. The park is inhabited by Japanese Macagues, which also known as Snow Monkeys. Don’t forget your cameras to take some picks with those amazing and very cute little creatures.
Tip: Keep your clothes on, this famous Snow Monkeys Onsen is for viewing only.
Discover the spiritual heart of Nagano:
Zenkoji Temple – the temple is unique in not being affiliated with a specific religious sect. Zenkoji dates back to the 7th Century. A visit to the Temple is said to guarantee you happy rebirth in your next life. Don’t miss the early morning prayer service to experience the true magic of the temple and make sure you go underground in search of the “special key” to the gateway to paradise.
And, after you tried the famous Japanese Sake, on the top of list - Karaoke!!!
Because, well… You’re in Japan….