36 Reasons Why Everyone Should Visit Japan

Photo: Courtesy of Kate Titus.
On 24th May 2014, my fiancé, Andy, and I got married in New York City. A week later, we hopped on a plane with two carry-on suitcases and two one-way tickets to Paris. We had just pressed pause on our careers, sublet our apartment, and moved all of our things into storage. The only plan was to have no plans at all — and we ended up traveling for 394 days through 25 countries, stopping in nearly 100 destinations. Over the next few weeks, come along on this crazy journey to learn more about how we did it — packing, plotting, budgeting — and see some of the tens of thousands of photos we took along the way.
After five months of travel, we finally got to see some familiar faces again. Our dear friends from home had planned to take a vacation in December and wanted to meet up with us on our journey. We were able to align schedules and land on Japan as a meeting ground. I was over the moon because Japan had been at the top of my must-see list for years. By the time our three weeks together had concluded, we’d traversed the dizzying streets of Tokyo, swam naked in the scalding hot springs near Nagano, and appreciated the rich history and beauty of Kyoto.
No other country embodies beauty to me more than Japan. Every aspect of life and culture feels like an art form — from its efficient, meticulous trains to the elegant, courteous nature of its people. Its customs and crafts are executed in painstaking detail — patterned kimonos, painted geishas, bonsai trees, tea ceremonies, and Zen gardens. This approach is carried into the cuisine, as well. It’s hard to beat the quality of seafood in Japan or the complexity of flavours in their noodle dishes and broths. You won’t find a more thoughtful, beautiful presentation of food in the world.
Everything feels considered in Japan. As a designer, minimalist, and perfectionist, I thought it would be heaven. And it did not disappoint.
We got to experience the storybook version of Japan in Kyoto, a city that feels frozen in time, and contrasted that with the ever-evolving, forward-moving Tokyo. And in between, we got a peek at the untouched natural beauty surrounding this island country. Like many places we visited, Japan manages to be absolutely ancient and mindblowingly futuristic at the same time. I can’t wait to go back and uncover more of this mysterious culture, this mash-up of eras and this style that is so uniquely their own.

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