A fascinating blend of tradition and modernity, Japan has a unique way of respecting the old and welcoming the new. The quirky Harajuku culture and high-tech gadgets of Tokyo sit peacefully alongside the spiritual serenity of monasteries, temples and shrines, the lasting traditions of the delicate Geishas, ritualistic tea ceremonies and onsen bathing. Japan lives in the moment with a respectful nod to the past.
At a glance
Best time to visit Japan
Culture and customs
Eating and drinking
Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you re sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.
Things to try in Japan
Consumed for centuries, this fermented rice wine is usually served in small cups or saucers, and is drunk at restaurants and bars as well as during ceremonial rituals and special occasions. Sake has quite a high alcohol content – you ve been warned.
2. Sushi & sashimi
Being an island nation, Japan has a bounty of seafood to sample. Try fresh sushi and sashimi made with tuna, salmon, squid, eel or octopus, served with soy, ginger and wasabi, prepared carefully by a sushi chef.
The Japanese love a lager, with beer being the most consumed alcoholic drink in Japan. Asahi, Sapporo and Kirin are the most popular Japanese brands – look out for special seasonal varieties.
4. Green tea
Cleansing, refreshing and packed with antioxidants, green tea is simply known as tea or ocha in Japan. A traditional Japanese tea ceremony is an experience not to be missed and a great way to try some of the many varieties of green tea available.
This tasty, salty broth of noodles and meat comes in many different flavours and regional varieties. Sit and indulge at a Ramen restaurant or slurp down a bowl at a market or karaoke hall.