Cultural Traditions :
Japan is a prime destination for the cultural traveller as the country loves to showcase its’ heritage and traditions. Within Japan, there are many hotels and locations that will perform the traditional tea ceremonies that are iconic within this culture. The tea ceremony or ‘Sado’ is a method to train your concentration and to learn customary manners (JNTO, 2016d). Kyoto is the place to experience a Geisha dance; they are held in April every year. Geishas are highly skilled entertainers that have been trained from a young age in Japanese arts and traditions (Lonely Planet, 2010). Sumo wrestling is an ancient Japanese sport and is a true cultural experience. Every year the Sumo Basho competition is held 6 times during the year in different locations (JNTO,2016d).
Japan has 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites and only Italy, that has 51, has more sites (UNESCO, 2016). Hiroshima is home to 2 UNESCO sites: Hiroshima Peace Memorial and the Itsukushima Shrine. During World War II, the city was destroyed by an atomic bond and the A-Bomb Dome of the memorial is a symbol of peace. The memorial lies near to the hypocentre of the bomb and aims to abolish nuclear weapons by reminding visitors of the damage it caused (Hiroshima Prefectural Government, 2016). The Itsukushima Shrine was built on the coast of Miyajima and is a popular destination due to its scenery that represents human and natural beauty.
Japanese Alps and Mount Fuji:
As a result of geographical instability, Japan is home to scenic mountainous landscapes such as the iconic Mount Fuji. It is a popular destination for pilgrimage trips as it is considered to be the 'centre of ancient worship'. The foot of the mountain is home to Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine which is considered to be the headquarters to over 1,300 Sengen shrines (JNTO,2016b). The Northern Japanese Alps is extremely popular for winter sports and is home to Hakuba Happoone Ski resort that hosted the 1998 Winter Olympic Games.
The Ogasawara Islands are home to 140 varieties of plants and animals and all of the native animals are protected species (JNTO, 2016c). The islands offer plenty of magnificent beaches and is perfect for active tourists who want to explore the diving sites, go forest hiking and view stunning viewpoints. The only method of transport to the islands are a 2 ½ hour ferry ride from Tokyo and they only run several times during the week (Lonely Planet, 2016b).
Setsubun (Bean Throwing Festival) –
The event is celebrated at the beginning of Spring. Customs on this festival involve the throwing of roasted soybeans whilst chanting rhymes to prevent ‘demons’ from entering houses. The sushi rolls that are traditionally eaten on this day have resulted in the event becoming commercialised and brought a lot of business to stores that sell the rolls (Business,2016).
Tokyo 2020 Olympics –
This upcoming mega event will bring additional tourism to Japan and whilst they stay, they will have the opportunity to explore the rest of the country’s assets. Officials have already recognised the effect this mega event could have on future tourism and therefore investments have been to improve touristic resources. For example, investments are being made into the building and refurbishments of facilities and also improving routes to regional areas so tourists can explore these destinations as well as Tokyo city (Bank of Japan, 2016).
Shogatsu (New Year’s Day) –
One of the biggest events in the Japanese calendar and an opportunity for Japan to showcase its heritage as many traditions are carried out during the day. The event take place between January 1st-3rd and it is customary for families to visit temples and shrines together. It is a very family oriented celebration and therefore there is an increase in transport industries as individuals travel home to their families (Stripes Japan, 2014).