Japan –The Land of the Rising Sun has it all. From beautiful beaches which offer ideal sunbathing options to mountains for skiing to white water rafting on rivers along with natural wonders, a trip to Japan can pack an endless joyride. On the flip side, Japan has a futuristic mix too—capsule hotels, wasabi flavoured Kit-Kats and anime which the world has lapped up with open arms. With so much going on, on a small land mass, there are at least 8 reasons to visit this island in 2017...
Timing is in your favour
 

Timing is in your favour

The best time to visit this country full of juxtaposed elements is between September and November and between March and May. It is at this time that the rain gods are kindest, the skies are generally clear and the temperatures are mild – perfect for window shopping and sunbathing. March to May is the perfect time to enjoy Cherry Blossom season.

Return reborn and cleansed

Here is your chance to know what it’s like to be buried alive. Visit Ibusuki, on the southern island of Kushu for this unique experience. The volcanic sands on this seaside village are kept warm by geothermal activity just below the surface. You get to wrap yourself in a thin cloth and line up for your turn to be covered by sand in a shallow pit. Sand is poured over you until you cannot move a muscle. The heat from the sand then encapsulates you and you can sweat out about half your body weight as you get cleansed for impurities. Refreshing and an eye-opening experience!

Take a ride on the wild side with authentic Japanese cuisine
 

Take a ride on the wild side with authentic Japanese cuisine

If you enjoy different tastes, new aromas and exploring new cuisines, Japan offers great options. While the traditional food of Japan is washoka which consists of rice with miso soup, there is much to choose from the seasonal ingredients which play an important role in everyday food. For an exciting experience, take the informal Wanko Soba noodle challenge at Iwate. The bite sized noodles are served in small bowls and the idea is to finish the most number of bowls. This fun contest can get pretty intense as the number consumed moves north of 50, with the waitress ready to top-up your bowl as you finish. The only way to get her to stop is to cover your bowl!

Sumo wrestling to Baseball

To really understand Japan, you should attend both, a Sumo wrestling match as well as a baseball game. The Japanese multifaceted culture is steeped in tradition much like our own and society continues to adapt the modern lifestyle. Catch this unique mix of tradition to modern as you experience both these sports from a Japanese point of view. Meet tradition and then see how the Japanese have modified a modern game to suit themselves!

Don’t walk away before you visit a Japanese garden
 

Don’t walk away before you visit a Japanese garden

Japanese gardens can be found all over Japan however, Kyoto has emerged as the city with the most fascinating gardens. These are traditional gardens which are designed with Japanese aesthetics in mind, avoiding artificial ornamentation and largely highlighting the natural landscape. Kyoto also known as the ‘Moss Garden’ dates back to 1339! Check out the stroll gardens such as Kenroku-en in Kanazawa or get mesmerised by the gorgeous beauty of the gardens at the Adachi Museum of Art.

Heaven for the Skiers and Snow-boarders

From Japan’s very own Alps—Nagano—to the legendary soft powder of Niesko in Hokkaido, Japan is a snow lover’s delight. It offers the best experience for skiers and snow-boarders, with warm and fuzzy food to rejuvenate after spending time on the slopes.

Take in your share of Buddhism
 

Take in your share of Buddhism

Enamoured by the mild Buddhist religion and the culture that surrounds, here is your chance to live it! Stay at a Buddhist temple lodge, at Mount Koya or at Zenko-ji Temple. Enjoy delicious vegetarian meals and live the Buddhist life by attending the morning prayers!

Visit the unique Japanese castles

While many have been reconstructed, it is worthwhile to find the few which have been preserved through the centuries such as the famous Himeji Castle and the Matsumoto Castle. Showcasing castle architecture and advanced defence systems, it is a must while you visit the once strong Japanese fortresses.