When you think of Japan, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Samurai, geisha, the beautiful flowering cherry trees, sumo wrestlers, sushi, cutting-edge technology, games, manga, Mount Fuji, sanctuaries… Can you believe that on that little island that is 22,5 times smaller than Brazil, there is so much stuff like this? ? Better yet, can you imagine that all of what we've talked about is just a small percentage of what Japan is all about?
This is a land of incredible contrasts ranging from neon skylines, ancient castles, serene shrines to high-speed bullet trains. A tour of the Land of the Rising Sun never fails to fascinate and amaze. This multifaceted country is undoubtedly a special place with something in store for everyone.
On the other hand, this range of choices brings a dilemma: which cities to visit? We were there recently and we fell in love. Check out some tips about Japan now.
This is one of the most traditional cities in Japan. For more than a millennium, Kyoto was the country's capital and was nicknamed the "City of Samurai". The city is the birthplace of Japanese culture, so admired around the world and highly recommended for those who want to learn more about the country's history.
Amidst the bamboo groves and old houses, you can find temples and sanctuaries, the main sights of the city. Not to mention that a walk around Gion, Kyoto district, will make you meet a real geisha. Japan has a very conservative culture despite being a very modern country, but being openly gay in Kyoto is not a problem. The city welcomes LGBT people very well, including tourists. In fact, there are few places that offer a specific service to gays, because every place is very receptive.
Osaka is one of the most populous cities and is among the largest centers of business and finance on the planet. Shopping paradise awaits you at Dotonburi, a street surrounded by hundreds of stores ranging from junk to arcades and imported brands. Nowadays, the street and its surroundings are full of neon signs and bright signs, demonstrating a super active trade in this region.
Another must-visit is Osaka Castle. Majestic, impressive and one of the most famous in the country. It played a big role in a very important historical moment in Japan. Not to mention that the gardens alone are worth a full day's tour. Osaka is one of those cities where you'll get lost in its beauty for hours and the next thing you know, you'll be in a nameless restaurant, trying the tastiest food you've ever eaten in your life.
Fukushima is located in Tohoku, a Region of Outstanding Natural Beauty found in the north of the country and made up of 6 prefectures (Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Yamagata). The region is full of hot springs, snowy mountains, ancient castles and temples. You will have the amazing experience of bathing in the hot springs while enjoying the snow outside.
If Kyoto is the heart of traditional Japan, Tokyo is its ultra-modern counterpart. This is where you'll find the skyscrapers, the noisy arcades, the busy pedestrian crossings, the eccentric fashions of the young, and plenty of incredibly delicious restaurants. The city is also home to some of the activities that we can call peculiar. From themed cafes involving cats, owls and robots, to dressing up as Mario Bros and taking a virtual go-kart ride.
The city's LGBT area is arguably Shinjuku. The neighborhood has the highest concentration of gay bars and clubs in the world. All very small, but very charming, warm and inviting. The face of Japan.
Tokyo's cultural side is famous for its many attractions, including museums, festivals, professional sports clubs, as well as traditional Japanese activities like sumo wrestling. It is also a city rich in music and theater, with numerous venues featuring everything from Japanese dramas to symphony orchestras and pop and rock concerts. Unmissable.
We can continue here for hours to show you everything that is interesting in this country. Including, we have much more to talk about the LGBT scene that is simply unique. So all these tips and complete Japan guide are available in our app. Download now from your smartphone's app store: iOS: bit.ly/sonderios and Android: bit.ly/sunderdroid
Whichever version of Japan you wish to discover, rest assured that a vacation to this fascinating country will provide inspiring memories to last a lifetime. #GoProud