The Top 20 Best Things About Japan

There are so many reasons to visit Japan. We didn’t know much about the country before visiting for the first time back in March 2017, but after doing a ton of research before we arrived, we knew it would be an incredible adventure. It’s hard to narrow down the best things about Japan, because there are simply so many of them. But once we arrived in the country, we quickly learned what we would miss once we returned home to Australia.

We did so much research before arriving in Japan, reading dozens of blog posts and watching hundreds of videos, but we still weren’t expecting Japan to be as incredible as it was. If you’re looking for your next travel destination, read the top 20 best things about Japan. One of the most beautiful, traditional, modern, unique, safe, friendly and foodie heaven countries in the world!

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

1. The people

These 20 reasons to visit Japan aren’t in any particular order, but we feel as though this one should be mentioned first. Japanese locals are definitely the nicest group of people we’ve ever met. At no point during our month long stay in Japan, did we come across a Japanese local that didn’t go out of their way to help us – whether we asked for it or not.

Everybody that we met was incredibly friendly, helpful and a joy to be around. There was more than one occasion during our four weeks in Japan, where we must have looked totally confused and/or lost. We know this because we had people offer their help, purely out of the goodness of their hearts.

One woman stopped us on a street in Osaka, while we were heading to the train station on our way to Hiroshima, to ask if we needed directions. Another young woman noticed that we were struggling with our luggage in Tokyo Station, and pointed us in the direction of an elevator we didn’t know was there.

If you ever need help while in Japan, don’t be afraid to ask. You’ll be shocked to experience such a widely friendly and genuinely kind group of people.

2. The convenience stores

There’s only one word for Japanese convenience stores: epic.

If we could choose one overall, stand-out thing about our time in Japan, it would absolutely be the convenience stores. That probably sounds like an incredibly weird thing to admit, but we don’t have anything like them in Australia. At least not in Adelaide where we are from! So it was quite a fun novelty during our time in Japan.

Japan convenience stores sell a huge variety of snacks, hot and cold drinks, hot food, alcohol, toiletries, cigarettes, everyday household items and so much more. Plus, everything is incredibly cheap. So if you’re ever in a jam and need an emergency umbrella or a quick bite to eat, visit one of Japan’s millions of convenience stores.

3. Vending machines

We can guarantee one thing to anyone who is visiting Japan for the first time: you will never go thirsty. There are literally vending machines on every single corner. Some even have more than one vending machine. In winter, you’ll find a combination of hot and cold beverages. During summer, there are generally only cold drinks available.

In bigger cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, you’ll find even more vending machines almost everywhere you go. Some even sell unique items that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

Here’s a fun game: every time you come across a vending machine, buy something that you haven’t tried before. Most items are around 100 yen, so it’s a super cheap and fun way to experience Japan’s quirky food and beverages!

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

4. It’s a very safe country

Japan is definitely the safest country we have ever visited. We traveled together, but even if I had traveled alone, I would have felt perfectly safe walking down any street by myself at night. Just like everywhere in the world, there are going to be parts of Japan that aren’t entirely safe. But generally speaking, we both felt very comfortable exploring even the overwhelmingly busy streets of Tokyo.

Even the train stations are incredibly safe, which is great news for solo travelers. If you decide to explore Japan alone, we’re happy to confirm that it is one of the safest places in the world to visit. That being said, it’s always best to have common sense and remain alert, especially when traveling alone.

5. Japan’s train system

One of the things we underestimated most about Japan, is their public transport system. Before arriving in Japan, we knew that it is a very punctual and smoothly run country. Everything and everyone is on time, and there is a system in place for absolutely everything. Not to mention the pure convenience of having almost everything you need, at super easy access.

The public transport system in particular though, runs more smoothly than anything else we’ve ever experienced. Given the fact that we were Westerners in an Asian country, we expected to see little to no English. Well, that wasn’t the case at all! The signage in almost every train station is written in both English and Japanese. This is great for travelers, as it means you won’t need to stop and ask for directions as often as you would somewhere else.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

Other than the trains being precisely on time (if you’re 10 seconds late to the station, too bad, you’ve missed the train), trains run as frequently as every two minutes in most major Japanese cities during day-time hours. This came in handy many times, when we were a bit hesitant to catch a particular train incase it took us in the wrong direction. We simply made sure we were in the right place, and hopped on the next one a few minutes later!

6. The Shinkansen Bullet Train

This is one of the coolest experiences we have ever had. If you’re not familiar with the Shinkansen Bullet Train, it’s a super high-speed train that takes Japanese locals and international visitors between cities across the country.

We used the Shinkansen five times during our month long visit to Japan, and never got sick of it. It’s essentially an airplane on the ground, and is an awesome way to travel around Japan. We have an entire seperate post about the Shinkansen Bullet Train and the Japan Rail Pass, which you can check out here.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

7. Heated toilet seats

Funnily enough, this is probably one of the things we miss the most. Being able to sit on a warm toilet seat in the middle of winter, is definitely one of the best things about Japan. Although we only had this experience for one month, it was hard going back to living a life without heated toilet seats when we arrived home to Australia. They’re a game changer, especially during winter. Come on, Australia. Hop on the heated toilet seat bandwagon already!

If for no other reason, please visit Japan to experience their heated toilet seats. You won’t regret it. we promise!

8. Japan’s snacks and Cup of Noodles

Maybe it’s the convenience or the wildly cheap prices, but Japanese snacks are awesome. There is such a huge variety, and half the time, you won’t even know what on Earth you’re eating. But that’s half the fun! Not to mention the Cup of Noodles. You’ll find a huge variety in convenience stores and vending machine across the country, for super low prices.

Towards the end of our trip when we had barely any money left, I ate cup noodles for almost every meal. They were delicious, and I got pretty good at using chopsticks, too.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

9. Combination of modern and beautifully traditional 

You’ll notice that there is a wonderful combination of incredibly modern and beautifully traditional all over Japan. Even in the capital city of Tokyo, you can be shopping for quirky fashion one minute, and strolling through a beautiful garden up to a shrine or temple the next.

You will always be able to find a relaxing place to spend the morning or afternoon. Not to mention the large array of temples and shrines, for that little bit of beautiful Japanese history and to break up the craziness of Japan’s big cities.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon TravelsThe Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

10. There are so many things to see and do in Japan

It would literally take an entire lifetime to experience everything there is to see and do in Japan. We visited for one month, and didn’t even scratch the surface. Not only are there hundreds of incredible cities and prefectures to explore, there are tons of small towns and off-the-beaten-path experiences to be had.

We have a seperate post with our month long itinerary, sharing everything we did during our four weeks in Japan. This should give you a good insight into just how huge Japan really is, and how many incredible things there are to see and do all over the country!

11. Japanese cuisine

I’m not a foodie, in fact I’m quite the opposite. I’m a picky eater and always have been, so I tend to stick to what I know. But Russell had a blast trying all sorts of crazy Japanese cuisine. Whether you love meat, seafood or crazy snacks and desserts – Japan will feel like heaven. Dotonbori in Osaka is one of the best places to go to experience some of Japan’s best food, so be sure to add Osaka to your bucket list.

Other than Japanese cuisine, you’ll find a ton of western options available if you’re like me and stick to the basics. From McDonalds to Subway, KFC and plenty more – there’s a wide variety of options to choose from.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

12. Japan’s love of gaming

Now, although I don’t technically play video games, I do enjoy watching Russell play them. There are certain areas within Japan that are a gaming lovers heaven.

Akihabara in Tokyo is one of the brightest, bustling, exciting and unique places we’ve ever been. There are an endless array of stores to browse until you run out of money or the store itself closes – whichever comes first. So bring along plenty of cash, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to leave with a suitcase filled with gaming goodies.

13. Cherry Blossom Season (Sakura)

We visited Japan at the beginning of Cherry Blossom season, which begins in April. This is one of the busiest times of the year in Japan, and it’s easy to see why.

For a few weeks at the end of March to middle of April, Cherry Blossom trees (or Sakura) bring beautiful, breathtaking colour to streets and gardens all over Japan. It’s quite an incredible sight, and if you plan your trip perfectly, you might be able to experience the falling petals.

We had unfortunately already returned to Australia when the petals began to fall, but it was still an amazing experience seeing the gradual blossoming of the trees and Sakura petals during our last week or so in Japan.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

14. Japan’s gardens and parks

Japan has an endless amount of beautiful gardens and parks to explore. Some have a small entry cost and some are entirely free to wander around. Our favourite two gardens were Shukkeien Garden in Hiroshima, and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo. These are both incredible gardens, and although they cost around 300 yen to enter, we definitely think it’s worth the price.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

15. The shopping in Japan

No matter what your interests are, there is something for everyone in Japan. Tokyo’s Akihabara is the gaming hub of Japan. Takeshita Street in Harajuku is perfect for experiencing Tokyo’s quirky fashion scene. Osaka’s Dotonbori is absolutely insane, and you’ll be bumping shoulders with people no matter which time of day you go (but the shopping is totally worth it).

Japan was one of the best shopping experiences I’ve ever had. There’s something for everyone, and if I didn’t run out of money, I would have definitely needed a second suitcase. Even Russell who isn’t normally one for shopping, had a blast browsing the stores and scoring some fun clothes!

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

16. How easy it is to buy alcohol

We both love alcohol. Not in any negative way. We don’t drink it all day, every day. But we do appreciate a good glass of wine or Scotch. Not only is alcohol in Japan incredibly cheap, it’s also legal to consume on the streets. You can bet your bottom dollar we took full advantage of this.

We live in Australia, where takeaway alcohol can only be purchased from a bottle shop, so it was pretty fun buying Vodka from a convenience store and strolling around the streets of Tokyo drinking it. Honestly, that’s probably the second reason we miss Japan so much!

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

17. Japan’s convenience and punctuality 

If you thought the fact that there’s a vending machine on every corner is convenient, wait until you experience things like using an elevator. Other than the trains running precisely on time and being able to drink alcohol while exploring the streets of Japan, there is even a system in place for using an elevator.

In all cities except Osaka, it’s customary for people to stand on the left side of the elevator, leaving the right side free for people who want to walk up or down. This was so strange to us, but it was incredibly helpful and convenient. I even find myself getting annoyed at people in Australia who don’t do this.

18. Hiroshima

We eel the need to mention Hiroshima separately, because we adored it that much. For a city with such a devastating history, it’s one of the most beautiful and peaceful places we’ve ever visited.

From the beautiful Hiroshima Peace Park and Memorial to the incredible Shukkeien Garden, there are plenty of things to see and do. We spent two full days in Hiroshima, and to this day, we still wish we stayed longer. The people are some of the kindest we’ve ever met, the streets are 100% clear of any rubbish and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been.

If you get the chance, please visit Hiroshima and see for yourself, just how wonderful the city truly is.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

19. Japan’s countryside

We spent a couple of days in Nagano, which is a town in the Northern Japan Alps. We visited at the end of the snow season, which is the main reason we decided to detour north on our way to Tokyo, and we’re so glad we did! Japan’s countryside is absolutely stunning, and although we can only share our experience about a snow covered countryside, we’re almost positive it’s just as beautiful during the rest of the year.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

20. The options are endless

There are so many things to see and do in Japan. Whatever your interests are, whether you would prefer to spend the entire time shopping, or visiting as many shrines and temples as you can, the sky is the limit. Since it’s impossible to cross off everything from your Japan bucket list, that gives you the perfect excuse to go back again and again!

We hope you found this post on the best things about Japan helpful. There is so much to love about Japan. It’s an amazing country with incredible people and a ton of things to see and do.

Have you visited Japan before? Tell us in the comments below what you think are the best reasons to visit Japan! We would love to hear your thoughts. 

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!



  1. March 24, 2018 / 2:36 pm

    A useful list for everyone travelling to Japan! I visited Tokyo a couple years ago during the winter time. It was less touristy so that was definitely a good thing. Next time, though, I want to experience the parks and flowers blossoming and not having to put all those layers of clothing!

  2. March 24, 2018 / 5:02 pm

    I’ve been dying to visit Japan for so long! After reading this I’m even more desperate to go! Even the countryside looks stunning!

  3. March 25, 2018 / 7:49 am

    Ughhh, thanks for making Japan just go higher on my bucket list 😉 I’m so hoping to make it there next year!

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