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PLANNING A BUCKET LIST HOLIDAY TO JAPAN


If you’ve been following my trip around this fascinating country, you’ll have seen that we’ve visited many different places that showcase Japan’s variety and contrasts. From traditional temples and shrines to uber-modern Tokyo and its technology. Of course, an itinerary here can be just about visiting places, but I’d wholly recommend including a few experiences into your trip to add another dimension to your holiday.


There are plenty of things to choose from…you can take a flower arranging class, create your own chopsticks using gold leaf, take a street food tour, drive around Tokyo on a Super Mario experience in a converted go kart. It’s all up for grabs. We participated in a few things that we thoroughly enjoyed, and which added significantly to our enjoyment of the trip.

On the spiritual side, when we were in Mount Koya, we attended a morning Buddhist fire ritual where you write a wish on a sliver of wood which then gets burned amid much chanting and bellringing. We were also blessed in another traditional ceremony where the head monk recited a variety of sutras (no pics unfortunately).

We had great fun in a Taiko drumming class where we learned about the importance of the drums for the samurai before battle and how the drums were used to communicate between villages. We had a delightful instructor who was massively enthusiastic and made the experience extremely enjoyable.

We went on a walking tour around an old part of Tokyo called Yanesen – a complete contrast from the hustle and bustle of central Tokyo and we really enjoyed exploring the narrow streets and historic shrines. We also visited Cat Street and a special café where we decorated our own Manekimeko cats. Again, this was really enjoyable, and something a bit different from the normal type of tour.

Finally, we got to make our own fake food from wax and silicone. Food models are to be found outside the majority of Japanese restaurants, so we tried our hand at creating bowl of ramen, a parfait and a cupcake. Again, this was great fun and we were quite proud of the results!

So, if you’re thinking of a Bucket List holiday to Japan, I’d urge you to consider incorporating experiences over and above the normal tourist sights. None of the things we did may be of interest to you. But whether you’d like to learn about traditional crafts or want to participate in something a bit more funky, there will definitely be something to reflect your interests.

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