Japan is my ultimate dream destination. My interest in Japan started when I was watching “Cardcaptor Sakura”. I had seen a handful of animated movies produced in Japan, but only the series “Cardcaptor Sakura” compelled me to appreciate the splendor of Japan. From then on, I started visualizing myself standing in a middle of a pavement, watching the cherry trees in full bloom and as the wind blows, cherry blossoms floated on the air, circling around me. It was a kind of dream that I do not want to wake up.
An Overview of Japan’s Economy
Japan is a country of rich tradition, history and a unique culture. In terms of land area, Japan is relatively smaller than California. But the size of Japan was not an impediment to its resilient economy, which currently has the biggest nominal GDP. Economic growth and development skyrocketed in the face of war, calamities and its insufficient resources.
The economic history of Japan is one of the most studied economies for its spectacular growth in three different periods. First was the foundation of Edo (in 1603) to whole inland economical developments, second was the Meiji Restoration (in 1868) to be the first non-European power, third was after the defeat of World War II (in 1945) when the island nation rose to become the world's second largest economy. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Japan)
Japan in Edo Period had a booming economy in general, attributed to spiralling growth in commerce and infrastructure. Rice played a major role in the economy as this was considered as a valuable commodity in this period. It was at this time that Japan was open to learning the Western sciences. The pre-war period growth was made possible with government intervention geared to aid businesses. The post-war period was characterized by deep-rooted economic immobilism. Japan recovered through constant revamping of their economic policies during the period. Currently, Japan is considered to be one of the leading economies, fortified by its law-abiding citizens.
What to expect in Japan?
You might be probably thinking the floating cherry blossoms, but Japan is more than that. A tourist can explore Mt. Fuji, visit temples and ancient sites, encounter a Geisha and experience a Japanese tea ceremony, drink sake, ride on bullet trains, enjoy sushis created by Michelin-star chefs, bought weird stuffs or inventions as a souvenir and soak in one of Japan’s hot springs located in Dogo. In other words, Japan is a perfect blend of a traditional and yet an advance country.
As a history fanatic, I would probably go first and explore Japan’s temples and ancient sites and get a customary accommodation. In Kyoto, the country’s imperial past can be seen through Kinkakuji. Kinkakuji, once a shogun’s retirement villa and now a Zen Buddhist temple. Perched on the bank of a serene pond, Kinkakuji casts a famed golden reflection in the water. (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/things-to-do-in-japan/)
In all, Kyoto boasts 17 World Heritage sites (Kinkakuji and Ryoanji included), but with some 2,000 temples and shrines across the city, not to mention numerous gardens, they represent a fraction of Kyoto’s alluring heritage.( http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/things-to-do-in-japan/)
As an art enthusiast, I would hop on the galleries in Naoshima, and make sure not to miss Benesse House, which is considered as the best art gallery.
The iconic geishas are renowned with their distinctive appearance. Meeting a geisha is one for the books. If my budget will not permit me to watch geisha perform, and have an exclusive tea ceremony with them, I’ll try my luck by going to Gion Area. Gion is where Maiko and Geiko live, so you may come across a Geisha moving from one banquet to another by chance. Hanami-koji, the street in front of Gion Corner, would be good place to wait and see. (http://us.jnto.go.jp/blog/how-to-meet-with-a-geisha-in-kyoto/)
One on my list is visiting Niseko, which is surely pleasurable and at the same time relaxing. In winter, ski boarding is a perfect activity to do with a travelling buddy. Kayaking and mountain climbing, on the other hand, are perfect summer activities.
How about you,readers? Have you considered doing the same thing?
Yong Kuan Leong from Singapore on August 21, 2017:
Agreed! Japan is so fascinating because there's just so much to see and do. Past, present and future truly exist in harmony there.