We just got back from a 10 day vacation in Japan and it was amazing. I’ve been downloading the photographs from my phone to my computer and categorizing and saving them. And I can’t help going through them again and again and reliving the holiday. I’m so bursting with it all, that I thought I’d share my fave experiences in Japan with you.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Asakusa

What we thought would be a 10 day long holiday was actually a very short holiday. Japanese culture has the best of both worlds. They are one of the most advanced country there is.. right down to their hi-tech WCs. They also have a rich culture and give great importance to respect and putting others before themselves. You ask a Japanese for directions, and if he can’t speak your language, he’ll walk with you all the way and drop you to your destination. We experienced this first hand at one of the railway stations, where the gentleman escorted us right up to the exit we were looking for and then went back in to get his train.

So from riding the Shinkansen to watching a traditional tea ceremony, 10 days is just not enough for it all. But we still packed in quite a bit. I haven’t written these in any order of preference because I loved each one of them! So let’s get started.

My Fave Experiences in Japan:

(1) Tokyo Skytree

Since Japan is all about the latest and most modern, let me start with the Skytree. At more than 2000 ft high, it is the tallest tower in the world.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Sky Tree

At the base they have a huge shopping complex where we could have spent the whole day, but we had to make do with a few hours.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Sky Tree

There are observatories at 2 levels, the higher one being at 450 mt, and the view from both is amazing. We walked the entire circumference and got a view of the whole city.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Sky Tree

We also get a direct downward view from a small glass window on the floor. Looking down it is one thing, walking over it another. It’s a little scary to step over that glass seeing how far down you can fall.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Sky Tree

A pic at the highest point is a must!

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Sky Tree

(2) Asakusa

My fave experiences in Japan were from both ends of the spectrum. Right after visiting the Skytree, we went for lunch to Asakusa. From ultra-modern to old and traditional in a 10 minute train ride. I took this photograph of the Skytree from one of the lanes of Asakusa, and the pic says it all.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Asakusa

I saw ladies going on hand-pulled rickshaws and was reminded of childhood shopping trips in Patiala with my grandmom. Lots of interesting things passed us by while we were waiting for lunch, including this fashionable dog! ๐Ÿ™‚

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Asakusa

We had a delicious tempura lunch with friends at this quaint little restaurant. The restaurant was highly recommended by their 90+ year old grandma. I have no pics of the tempura coz the recommendation was absolutely right and I was too busy devouring it to click it!

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Asakusa

After lunch we went shopping along these streets. We found everything from souvenirs to local sweets being freshly made and served there. Sort of like the halwais in our local markets.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Asakusa

At the end of this street is the Sensoji Buddhist temple.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Asakusa

With the bright red pagodas…

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Asakusa

… and the soft white lanterns, it is picture perfect.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Asakusa

And I loved how we had to take blessings from the fire like we do back home.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Asakusa

(3) Ninja Restaurant

Another of my fave experiences in Japan was dinner at the Ninja Restaurant. It wasn’t just the food… it literally was a whole experience. From the Ninja that greeted us, to the drawbridge that fell for us to enter. To the private magic show and the little dragons hiding in little coves.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Ninja Restaurant

All this in ADDITION to the great food. The meal was served one course at a time. (I forget how many 100 courses there were.) I don’t remember the name of anything I ate (except sushi!) Only that everything was better and more exotic than what they had served last. Check out this video to see what I mean.

They also had this delicious, cute snow frog for dessert.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Ninja Restaurant

And this bonsai which covered a whole lot of matcha ice-cream.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Ninja Restaurant

What was really amazing was this, waiting for us at the exit after dinner. (It was my daughter’s birthday)

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Ninja Restaurant

(4) Shinkansen

How can a Japanese experience be complete without a ride in the Bullet train?

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Shinkansen

We loved it!

(5) Kyoto Station

And while we’re talking about trains, we must talk about their stations too. Especially Kyoto Station. It is a world in itself and you can easily spend a couple of days here. It has the usual, huge shopping area (called the Cube) and so many restaurants.

We lost our way the first time we were trying to cross over from one side to the other, and ended up here, getting a whole new view of the station.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Kyoto Station

It’s a gorgeous structure with a sky-walk about 11 floors above the platforms. We went up one escalator, and then another. And before we knew it, we were here.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Kyoto Station

The city view is amazing, including a view of the Kyoto Tower.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Kyoto Station

And a view of the stairs / escalators that got us to this point.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Kyoto Station

Steps by day… and a full on stage by night!

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Kyoto Station

Check out this video to see a little of the Halloween show they had running there every night.

(6) Halloween

This one comes into this list mostly because of my kids. They experienced Halloween for the first time.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Halloween

We celebrate everything in India, from Diwali to Eid to Christmas. But the malls aren’t decked up for Halloween here and there is no trick-or-treating.

In Japan everywhere from Disneyland..

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Halloween

.. to the Tokyo Skytree was ready for Halloween.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Halloween

So the kids had a blast dressing up..

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Halloween

.. and posing..

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Halloween

.. every opportunity they got!

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Halloween

The kids had zombies chasing after them down the streets of Universal Studio. I didn’t get any pics coz I was keeping myself warm with a cup of hot coffee at the ‘Three Broomsticks‘ at that time. But I haven’t seen the kids this excited and happy in a long time.

(7) Golden Temple

The visit to the Golden Temple was the most beautiful of all my experiences in Japan. It is coated with gold leaf and is as beautiful as our Golden Temple.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Golden Temple

The gardens are gorgeous. (Here we all tried to aim a coin from a distance into the stone bowl in the centre.)

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Golden Temple

And nature is at its best. I got a lesson in the use of primary colours (red-blue-yellow) by the best teacher.. nature. I also had the most delicious black sesame ice-cream which I couldn’t find anywhere else.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Golden Temple

(8) Naraย 

The Todai-ji temple in Nara is beautiful.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Nara

I could keep clicking all the beautiful details all day.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Nara

The Buddha statue is almost 50 ft high.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Nara

There is a hole running through one of the temple pillars, which they say is as wide as the Buddha’s nostril.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Nara

It’s supposed to be lucky if you can go through it!

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Nara

But what made Nara one of our most remembered experiences in Japan was all the deer outside.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Nara

My daughter absolutely loves all animals, and she had an unforgettable day going up to all the deer..

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Nara

.. and petting and feeding them.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Nara

(9) Japanese Food:

Like so many of our other experiences in Japan, the food is not just about the food… it’s a whole experience.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Japanese Food

We ate this traditional meal at the Yumoto Fujiya Hotel, a traditional Japanese ‘ryokan’ style resort. Take a look at the menu…

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Japanese Food

These are the appetizers. Can you guess which one is which? While each one of these was delicious, the salmon roe was my fave!

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Japanese Food

So many little servings, each presented with so much thought and style. Just the plating of these must take them ages!

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Japanese Food

I felt absolutely spoilt and pampered by the time I was done with the dessert.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Japanese Food

We had another traditional Japanese meal experience in Kyoto.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Japanese Food

I can get used to being fed like this every day!

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Japanese Food

(10) Harry Potter

There’s a reason why this one has been listed last. And it’s NOT because it was the least amazing of our experiences in Japan.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Harry Potter

We are a family of Harry Potter fans, so this, at Universal Studio in Osaka, was our absolute favourite day!

In case you’re not a Harry Potter fan, you may think I’m going on a bit. But I would still say you hang on till the end.. coz it was truly a magical world.

We had to walk through the Forbidden Forest to get here, where we saw Ron Weasley’s car stuck in the bushes.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Harry Potter

We saw the Hogwart’s Express as soon as we entered and we knew we’re home!

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Harry Potter

It was really tempting to pick up an owl for ourselves.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Harry Potter

And the kids did manage to get wands for themselves at Ollivander’s.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Harry Potter

They really do have a collection..

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Harry Potter

In fact, a HUGE collection. And the kids had such a blast choosing their own wands.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Harry Potter

The kids used their wands to do magic in various areas of the park. Watch my daughter use her wand to make water jump out of a pot.

There was an awesome 3D ride in the castle.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Harry Potter

After which we had some delicious Butter Beer.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Harry Potter

Next stop was the Triwizard Tournament.

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan - Harry Potter

Watch the Durmstrangs..

… take on the Beauxbatons

And finally, we saw the ‘Expecto Patronum’ show. Watch how the Dementors surround the castle, and Harry Potter’s stag Patronus chases them away.

This was our last day in Japan. So Harry Potter was a great end to a fabulous holiday.

We Will Have To Go Back!

These were my fave experiences in Japan, but there is still so much we couldn’t cover. There was a typhoon passing through while we were there, so a few days were washed away. The day we went to Mt. Fuji was rainy and cloudy and we couldn’t sight the mountain.

10 days is just not enough. I’m looking forward to the next time already.

Until then,

My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan
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8 thoughts on “My Top 10 Amazing Experiences in Japan

  • November 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm
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    Wow tats truly amazing! Thnx for sharing we too got a glimpse of Japan’s beauty & culture : )

    Reply
    • November 5, 2017 at 6:55 pm
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      Thanks Rekha.. yes, it was quite amazing! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • November 3, 2017 at 5:58 pm
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    Superb Rittika. I want to go too!!!! Great description.

    Reply
    • November 5, 2017 at 6:55 pm
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      Haha! Thank you! Yes.. you must ๐Ÿ™‚ I guarantee you a great time!

      Reply
  • November 3, 2017 at 10:23 am
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    Truly awesome!!

    Reply
    • November 3, 2017 at 10:29 am
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      Thanks.. it really was! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
    • November 2, 2017 at 8:57 pm
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      Thanks Brindha… Yes, it was! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

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