Japan At A Glance: What To Know Before Visiting Tokyo
The first thing that comes to many of our minds when we hear Japan is sushi, samurai and sumo. While being culturally correct, it’s probably quite narrow considering Japan has so much to offer. The country in East Asia has one of the most culturally diverse traditions. It is also home to great cultures and their tattoos are more common than they are given credit for.
Over the past few years, Japan fame has risen making it a very popular destination for many people all over the world. Their food and ever changing climate are just a few things that make it a must visit place. The prevalence of open air markets, modern Japanese fashion trends and unique artifacts and souvenirs are more factors that would take anyone there.
In order to ensure you are totally sold out to the idea of visiting Japan, here are a few interesting facts about Japanese culture
1. Sumo is their national sport. It was initially a prayer to ask God for a bountiful harvest. With time however, it became an event geared more towards entertainment. It involves two men fighting in a circular ring. The winner has to throw their opponent out.
2. Young sumo wrestlers are supposed to clean and bathe the veteran sumo wrestlers before a match.
3. The literacy level in Japan is basically 100% with the lowest unemployment at 4%
4. Crooked and discolored teeth are viewed as beautiful according to Japanese culture
5. Known mostly for sushi, japan people also love horse meat which is sliced thin and served In soy sauce
6. Employees who take naps, or as they are known in japan” recharge breaks” are considered more valuable and hardworking.
7. Tsukuji fish market, located in Tokyo has two sections unknown to most foreigners. The less known “inner section” sells and auctions sea products at a cheaper price.
8. Slurping is an encouraged act, it is seen as a compliment to the chef, woe on you however, if you blow your nose in public.
9. The most acceptable form of greeting is a bow. You should however ask to be introduced rather than to do it yourself. Foreigners are however, allowed to shake hands instead.
10. Table manners include: sitting only when you are told to and where you are told to. Do not point using your chopsticks or pierce your food with them, whatever you do, do not mix rice with any other food!
When therefore, should you visit Tokyo?
Keeping in mind the most important factors such as temperature, climate and tourist load, the best months to be in Tokyo are March, April, October and November.
March brings with it the hope of spring. It may get a bit warmer with frequent rains. If you are arriving in early march, it is important to pack a few jackets. Late march is basically the beginning of sakura which means plenty of sunshine and cherry blossoms in the air. The weather is warm enough for shorts and tank tops.
• St Patrick’s Day. This is a great event that is marked by street parades, people adorning Japanese traditional wear. There is also plenty free beer being handed out.
• Fire walking festival have priests come down the famous mountains to entertain curious onlookers. The day is concluded by a spectacular scene of monks walking on hot fire.
• Rikugien garden illumination
Also described as the best time to be in Tokyo, this is the peak of Sakura season. The temperatures hit a high of 18 degrees. This means you only need to dress warmly for the cool, damp mornings before you pave way for sun hats and short sleeves.
• Kanamara festival involves the parade of 32 foot tall pink penis taken through the street as people offer prayers for conception and general reproductive health.
• Annual spring festival – involves traditional dances and martial arts performances.
Is generally warm, temperatures range between 15 and 30 degrees? This is coupled with warm and dark days with rain. Pack warm clothes.
• Tokyo yosakoi contest- is a dance competition featuring over a hundred teams which all perform different kinds of yosakoi dances
• Tokyo international film festival- brings together millions of people from all over Asia and japan.
Is characterized by cool, dry autumn. There is little precipitation and the sky is generally blue. There is so much life and happiness in the air.
• Tori-no-ichi. Marked every 12 days in November. The event is marked as a national prayer day to ask god for success in business and prosperity. The large crowds bring with them large stalls around the shrines.
If you plan on shopping, while the climate over the above months is favorable, the large number of tourists will probably attract higher prices. January is the best month for shopping. It is however very cold, so for that period you’ll need to plan for some warm attire.