Quick Guide: Be dazzled by the bright lights, bamboo forests and bullet trains of Japan

2019-01-10 15:53
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Beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in early mornin

Beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in early morning light after sunrise. Kyoto, Japan, Asia

**UPDATE**

Japan just rolled out a new departure tax for visitors. You will now have to pay $9 (R126) upon completion of your visits. Skift says this tax will go towards infrastructure enhancements. 

Cherry blossoms, historical shrines, cat cafes and live crabs sold in vending machines - Japan offers tourists unlimited access to nature, culture and quirks.

READ: What you should know about going to the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan 

Here's what South Africans need to know if they want to visit:

6 Guide essentials + things you should know:

Visas: Visa required for South African passport holders. Must apply in person. 

Currency: Japanese Yen 

Airport Hub: Haneda Airport 

Peak Season: Cherry blossom and autumn foliage times (early April and mid-November) 

Language: Japanese 

Time Zone: (GMT+9)  

READ: Cities like Paris, Kyoto and Amsterdam are all becoming less Airbnb-friendly - here's why 

Top cities:

  • Tokyo
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Hiroshima
  • Sapporo

Top attractions: 

  • Fushimi
  • Inari Taisha Shrine
  • Tokyo Imperial Palace
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial
  • Himeji Castle
  • Todaiji Temple

What to do:

  • Check out the cherry blossoms 
  • Explore Tokyo, Mario Kart style 
  • Enjoy an authentic Japanese onsen experience 
  • Zip across the country on a bullet train (shinkansen)
  • Check out some sumo wrestling   

What to eat

  • Ramen
  • Tempura
  • Kare Raisu
  • Sushi / Sashimi 
  • Okonomiyaki

Destination drawcards:

  • Traditional temples 
  • Harujuku style 
  • Tea Ceremonies
  • The art of Bonsai, cherry blossoms and Zen gardens
  • Mount Fuji
  • The Sapporo Snow Festival

Culture highlights: 

  • Martial arts 
  • Sushi
  • Geisha girls 
  • Anime 
  • Shinto and Buddhism  

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