11 things for doctors to see and do in Japan while on an official trip
M3 India Newsdesk Jul 12, 2019
If work takes you to Japan, you know you may not be able to do all the popular, touristy things in your free time. But if you knew exactly what you could do in and around Japan’s metros, you might just be able to make the most of your free time.
Through this quick read, we list 11 such places of interest and fun things to do in and around Japan’s big cities.
Hike up Mt. Fuji
The picturesque Mt. Fuji is just 3 hours away from Tokyo. So if you have a day to spare and got really good stamina (which you must), then you must consider hiking up Mt. Fuji. It can be accessed through any of its four trails, which are open between July and the first week of September.
If you manage to reach the peak, you would have made it to the highest point in Japan. At the summit, you can view its large crater and even the rising run, if you plan your hike to reach before sunrise. It is advised to get all the necessary information about the hike and prepare yourself physically, days in advance.
Watch Sumo wrestling
Sumo wrestling tournaments are held all year round and watching them live can be super fun. If you decide to attend one, you will get the hang of the rules just a few minutes into the wrestling match.
Better known as Basho, these matches are grand tournaments held in different seasons, in different cities. Book a ticket for an afternoon match to enjoy some energetic matches between high-ranking wrestlers. During off-season (as per tournament seasons), you can also book yourself a tour to watch a practice match or a non-tournament match in your city.
Witness the spectacular fireworks festivals
A visit to Japan during summers (July and August) would be incomplete without witnessing one of their fireworks festivals. The variety, shapes, colours, the number of fireworks and the sheer scale of the events can blow your mind!
If you are in or around Niigata, Tokai, Tokyo or Osaka, you must take some time off to head to the spot where you can see the fireworks. Even the regular fireworks here are designed like cartoon characters and emojis. With the use of pyrotechnics, the organisers often recreate landmarks like the Niagara Falls, which is a sight to behold.
Ride a Shinkansen
Decades ago, Japan had gained limelight for introducing bullet trains, which ran at a speed of up to 320 kmph. Yes, we may have them in India soon, but why not try them first-hand in Japan?
Known as Shinkansen, a bullet train facilitates high-speed transit across most cities. Make sure you board the right train and also, arrive before time, the Shinkansens are always punctual.
Shop for Japanese electronics and souvenirs
Akihabara in Tokyo and Den Den town in Osaka were once, two of the best places to buy Japanese electronics. However, the online shopping boom changed these markets; they now attract Otaku enthusiasts, with anime and manga merchandise on display. But go looking and you will still find some amazing variety of quality appliances.
For cosmetics and other souvenirs, locate a 100 Yen store in any city. These sell all items by popular brands at a 100 Yen plus consumption tax, which is a great deal for any tourist.
Try a bowl of Ramen
You simply cannot leave the country without slurping up a bowlful of Ramen! Ramen soup is considered tastier due to the umami flavour of the (non-vegetarian) broth used.
However, getting a bowl of Ramen in a restaurant here is not as easy as you think. Most locals head out for a Ramen lunch, so the wait time can easily be up to 2 hours. Hence, it is recommended you go for your share of this delicacy sometime in the afternoon or evenings on weekdays.
Attend a Hanami
Hanami is Japanese for viewing Cherry Blossoms or Sakura in full bloom. Nothing short of a festival, Hanami can be enjoyed between March end and April. Hanami picnics or parties are a real thing in Japan. You gather with friends over food and drinks at a place, where you can enjoy the scenery with gorgeous flowers.
Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima, Hakodate, Nagoya, Okinawa and Hokkaido are some places with Hanami spots. There are also guided Hanami tours that take you to landmark places, so you can experience the beautiful Sakura in all its glory.
Visit a Japanese castle
Japan’s history is as intriguing as any of its futuristic cities. Its castles, for example, not only represent its rich heritage, but also speak of the dynasties and their customs. To understand more about the history of Japan’s castles, it is best to take a local guide with you.
Some must-visit castles include the Edo Castle and the Matsumoto Castle in Tokyo, Himeji castle near Kyoto and Osaka, the Nagoya castle in Nagoya, the Osaka castle in Osaka, and the Nijo Castle in Kyoto, among others.
Practice Ninja skills
If you have been a frequent visitor to Japan and can’t think of anything new to do, here’s our recommendation. Join a class to become a Ninja by learning meditation and defence techniques in just about 2 hours. You can find these Ninja classes in most big cities of Japan. Look up a city events website to sign up.
Zazen is a Buddhist technique of learning to maintain concentration. A form of meditation, Zazen not only helps improve focus, but also helps you calm your physical and mental state of being.
Zazen is taught at Buddhist temples in big cities like Kyoto and Tokyo and even meditation retreats. Sign up for any of these to experience and learn Zazen practice (because stress affects you, too).
Explore possibilities at Miraikan
Tokyo houses the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, better known as just Miraikan. Miraikan is known for its superbly designed and well-researched exhibits on science, technology, space, machinery and more. It allows you to explore their researched concepts and innovations meant for use in different fields, such as engineering and medicine.
Bookmark this page if you intend to visit Japan anytime soon. Also, share with us and the readers, if you enjoyed any of the experiences given above or anything else, apart from them.
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