Although the Japanese population has been declining since 2011, the Japanese archipelago can at least count on foreign tourists to occupy its territory. In 2019, no less than 31 million visitors went there to discover more closely what this country full of nature and tradition has to offer. But although from a cultural point of view Japan has a strong reputation and even a strong influence on Western countries, its tourist sites are not that well known within French-speaking countries for those who have never been there. or who have no particular affinities with the country. Furthermore, before going to Japan or to another country that is unknown to you, we strongly recommend that you take the time to read the reviews given by recent travelers or travel stories about the said country in order to make up your own mind. notice. You will easily find some, for example on Adelaide's blog which shares her personal feelings through stories from the four corners of the world. But in order to give you an idea of an itinerary to follow for Japan in particular, today we suggest that you review some of the unmissable things to see during your stay in Japan.
Visit the castles of the feudal era
When we associate Japan with the medieval era we immediately tend to think of the samurai. Indeed, they alone illustrate this warlike era well with their Japanese mask ready to scare local folk monsters as well as their sharp katana. But unfortunately we are not part of an era that will have the chance, or not, to cross their path because the last true samurai date from the Meiji Restoration of 1868. However, although they naturally did not survive until At present this is not the case for many traditional castles which are well worth visiting. In addition to diving directly into the universe in which many of them evolved, you will be able to enjoy a magnificent view of the surrounding territories.
Among the most popular is Himeji Castle, resplendent with its white hue reflected in the rays of the Sun. That of Osaka which reflects a real desire for resistance following the multiple assaults it has had to endure since its construction in 1597. But also that of Matsumoto which, smaller, is no less impressive with its integral black color which has also earned him the nickname “the raven”.
Discover traditional arts
Beyond its castles that we have just mentioned, if there is something that defines Japan and its culture it is its traditional arts. It would be too numerous to see them all one by one but nevertheless the main ones remain the tea ceremony (chanoyu) , ikebana ( floral art), yabusame (horseback archery) but also calligraphy and prints. All of them, beyond their practical aspect, are in reality practices which have allowed and still allow their practitioner today to achieve personal fulfillment in the path of Zen. Since medieval times and even well before, they have allowed the Japanese people to develop unique traditions as well as a culture very respectful of individuals on a collective and individual scale but also a deep respect for nature itself which is found in many of these arts.
If you want to have a glimpse of these same traditional arts during your stay in Japan, the easiest way to access is certainly the tea ceremony. You can easily find tea houses all over Japan and enjoy discovering what a codified practice that reveals traditional Japanese culture looks like while enjoying excellent matcha tea. As for ikebana, if you are in Kyoto you will be lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to the dedicated ikebana museum and thus see a wide range of different floral arrangements. If necessary, you can always, for the most motivated, take a private lesson from a master in the subject who this time will immerse you even more deeply in this universe because you will become an actor and no longer a spectator.