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Must Do's in Japan

Must Do's in Japan
Known for its reserved people, top-form hygiene practices, efficient public transport and obsession with high quality food at all hours of the day, Japan is truly breathtaking in magnitude, diversity and beauty. Create your own authentic Japanese-inspired recipes with our miso soup and curry range while you browse through a range of activities we've compiled to take part in when you make your way over to this stunningly multifaceted country.

Soak your daily stresses away in an onsen 
No place on earth has perfected the art of the hot spa quite like the Japanese. Rich in history, a Japanese onsen - or hot spring - is a naturally heated indoor or outdoor communal bath where you can go to socialise and relax. And get this - in the nude! Yes, that's right, the majority of onsen are used without any form of clothing. Don't worry though, you get a small towel to cover up if you're a little embarrassed, and the fun is well worth it.

A renowned onsen not too far from Tokyo's centre is the Hakone Onsen which is situated along the Hayakawa and Sukumogawa rivers, overlooking bubbling volcanoes. Another popular option is the Noboribetsu Onsen in Hokkaido, which is famed for its skin-softening and fatigue-eliminating properties. 

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Dine in a themed café
A cultural specialty you won't find anywhere else but in Japan are a vast range of themed cafés, ranging from kiddie Hello Kitty-inspired fit-outs to cafés dedicated to hardcore anime fans. Designed for those after an unconventional and novelty dining experience, these cafés are guaranteed to create a memorable experience on a day out in one of the big cities. You may have heard of Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo - with its loud J-pop beats, fluoro lighting and robots battling before your very eyes - this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so make the most of it. 

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Stay the night in a capsule hotel
Thinking about where to stay the night on a budget? Amid overcrowded Tokyo, architects have put their thinking caps on and designed tiny capsule hotels where you can stay the night in extremely minimalistic fashion. These miniscule spaces make the most out of limited space, and include basic amenities like a television and Wi-Fi as well as a pull-down shutter for privacy. From budget to more luxury options, if you're willing to pay a little extra you should check out First Cabin Tsukiji for the ultimate capsule experience. 

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Wear a traditional handmade kimono
The quintessential Japanese garment, a beautiful kimono can make you feel a little pampered for a day wandering the streets of Tokyo, Osaka or any Japanese city where you can rent one for an affordable price point. Once worn as everyday attire, kimonos are now worn exclusively to special occasions like weddings and tea ceremonies. Available in a variety of colours, sizes and unique patterns, take the chance to wear one in a culturally appropriate manner on your travels.

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Eat ramen
We know what you are thinking, why would I get ramen when I can eat it in my home country anyway? Well, to that we'd say, you haven't experienced the tantalising flavour of authentic Japanese ramen yet and why wouldn't you when in a country of over millions of local ramen vendors in every precinct? Ordering ramen can be a very casual lonesome affair, with some restaurants catering to the single crowd with individual seating arrangements to a more elaborate do-it-yourself experience with a group of friends. The flavour combinations - of the soup base, vegetable and meat toppings, different types of ramen noodles (most places even ask what level of hardness you'd like!) - combine to create a hearty, history-rich meal that takes a master to create the perfect bowl. Tonkotsu (pork broth) is the most common and richest tare (seasoning) option, but there's also shio (salt broth), shoyu (soy sauce) and miso options depending on your specific tastes.

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Image credit: @fi_ha, @robotrestaurant, @biteorange, Kyoto Kimono Rental, Blue Apron
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