Japan is the land of 6852 islands, shrines and temples, earthquake-proof skyscrapers in densely populated cities, imperial palaces and magnificent national parks. Some stories about Japanese idiosyncrasies may leave a curious and entertaining impression. The land of the rising sun is often interesting and exotic for beginners, but also a little strange.

How long should you travel to Japan?

If you are planning a round trip, you should plan two to three weeks. The country is large and stretches from the subtropics to Siberia.

Which itinerary should I choose?

Since Japan is very large and offers many possible routes and interesting places, this question is not easy to answer. If you don't have a lot of time or if you don't like to prepare yourself, there are plenty of planned routes. For preparation, it is advisable to consult professional literature (commonly known as tourist guides).

If you want to get a quick overview, you can do this with Wikitravel or Google on a rainy Sunday afternoon. There are travel guides like sand at the sea, from Lonely Planet to Marco Polo to fat cell avoidance aids. The best thing to do is to ask your trusted bookseller for advice (but at least buy in there). Of course, you can also order online on your own, which has a certain disappointment potential.


An overnight stay in a traditional Japanese guesthouse is a highlight of every trip to Japan. Prices are usually between 8,000 yen and 20,000 yen per night and person. An overnight stay without meals costs from 4,000 yen per night and person. Single rooms are the exception rather than the rule. Sleeping is on futons. However, the rooms are flexible in terms of occupancy and, thanks to the sliding doors, can usually be quickly and easily converted.

The rooms are traditionally decorated. The floor is covered with tatami mats and the sliding doors are covered with Japanese paper. On the Tokonoma, a slightly elevated area, there is often a flower arrangement or calligraphy.

Only slippers may be worn in the Ryokan. The shoes are taken off at the hotel entrance, usually an employee receives and hands them over again. In the Ryokan, the slippers provided by the hotel are worn.


Many Ryokans have a spacious communal swimming pool, an onsen. Visiting an onsen is mandatory for a trip to Japan. Please note that there are many unwritten rules for your visit, which you should follow. Fortunately, many Japanese don't necessarily expect a foreigner to follow all the rules and are often lenient.

It is essential to inform yourself about the correct "clothing" and the washing ritual at the beginning, as well as about the behaviour in the onsen before a visit. Tattoos should be covered with a plaster if possible, as they can be considered indecent.

Most of the time a Yukata (literally:"bathing gown", traditional Japanese cotton garment) is made available to the guests.

Martial Arts

If you learn a japanese martial art and your school has a japanese master like ours, we recommend a visit to your japanese master. You should always make sure that you never ask directly.

First clarify with the sensei of your school whether a visit is possible and how the contact should be established. Japanese people pay great attention to hierarchies. A disregard for the "official channels" can also be perceived as an affront. If the visit takes place, it is always very informative and refreshingly close to the spring.

Japanese food

Entire shelves of books can be filled with literature on Japanese food culture. But if you are travelling through Japan and want to satisfy your hunger quickly and cheaply, there are restaurants offering ramen in all smaller and bigger cities.

Ramen, the Japanese type of noodle soup, is sold in special restaurants called "Ramen-ya", of which there are said to be more than 200,000. Most of the time you don't have to search long to find a ramen shop that offers a cheap bowl of noodles. In Japan, ramen is a kind of fast food that can be eaten whenever you feel a bit hungry.

Those who aspire to higher things will also find restaurants offering Ramen Otaku. These "ramen-ya" take their pasta extremely seriously and compete for the best noodle soup with unmistakable flavours.