If you are planning an international trip anytime soon, then Japan is the destination to visit! Not only is Japan a beautiful and picturesque country, but it is also quite affordable these days. Yen, the currency of Japan, is weak at the moment, making it the perfect time to visit this island nation.
Checking the exchange rate is essential, no matter where you are travelling. The past year has seen drastic highs and lows in the exchange rate of some of the most powerful currencies. The Indian rupee has faced difficulties competing with other currencies. The American Dollar and the British Pound are the dominant currencies and often set as a bar of comparison for the rest. This year, USD 1 was equivalent to SGD 1.34 and GBP 1 was equivalent to SGD 1.4. With such high exchange rates, travelling to certain international countries has gotten more expensive than usual.
But at the same time, some countries have been ranking lower than India on many currency indexes. The Japanese Yen has been weak over the year, with JPY 1 being equivalent to SGD 0.01. The reason behind this is that Japan’s central bank is keeping interest rates at rock-bottom levels while other central banks have been increasing their interest rates. This just makes Japan an affordable country for an exciting international trip! With Yen at an all-time low, this makes for a great time to visit Japan. The lower exchange rate of the Yen to the Rupee makes it a smart destination for Indians to have a joyous vacation.
Home to bullet trains, sakura blossom, karaoke machines and anime, Japan is a mysterious wonderland that has something for everyone! The archipelagic nation is famous for bringing the serenity of nature with modern-day architecture. Japan is located off the east coast of Asia and consists of many islands. The country has four major islands – Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Japan is a beautiful country, making it on the bucket list of almost every traveller.
Best time to visit Japan:
If you want to witness the cherry blossom bloom across Japan, then the spring season is the best time to visit Japan! Also known as Sakura and Japanese blossom, the months of April and May are when the flowers are in full bloom. The temperature in Spring ranges from 2 degrees to 24 degrees Celsius. Otherwise, the autumn season is also a good time to visit Japan as the weather is pleasant and the temperature ranges from 10 degrees to 21 degrees Celsius.
How to reach Japan from Singapore:
Japan has many International Airports. However, all these international airports may not necessarily be having flights from Singapore. Most flights connecting Singapore and Japan go to places such as Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Sapporo and Okinawa. Tokyo has two international airports – Narita International Airport and Haneda International Airport.
What to see in Japan:
Start your journey with the capital city and explore the iconic streets of Tokyo that we have seen in so many movies! Explore the Shibuya Crossing, the famous junction that will give you the best way to experience Tokyo’s city vibe. It is located in front of Shibuya Station Hachiko exit, from the Hollywood tear-jerker Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. Witness the tallest building in Japan – Tokyo Skytree. Explore the culture and traditional architecture by visiting the beautiful temples and shrines of Meiji Jingu, Sensoji Temple and Imperial Palace. The best place to see Sakura (cherry blossoms) in Tokyo is Ueno Park.
A trip to Japan is incomplete without visiting the great Mount Fuji! Also known as Fuji-san, this active volcano is the tallest peak in Japan, 3,776 metres above sea level. It is considered a pilgrimage site for centuries as it is known to be one of Japan’s sacred mountains. The volcano is about 130 kilometres away from Tokyo.
The second-largest metropolitan city, after Tokyo, Osaka is famous for its street food and outgoing culture. Check out the 16-century Osaka Castle, the main historical landmark of the city. Enjoy thrilling rides and have all kinds of fun at Universal Studios. Learn about the heritage of Japan by checking out one of Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines, the Sumiyoshi- Taisha. Try out famous Japanese street food like Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, Kushikatsu, Kitsune Udon and Teppanyaki.
Did you know that Kyoto was once the capital of Japan?! Kyoto has many exciting places to see and explore! You can witness the traditional side of Japan in Kyoto as it has many classical Buddhist temples, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. Visit Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kinkaku-ji, Kiyomizy-Dera and Higashiyama Jisho-ji.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Forever etched in history, the two cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed in WWII. The event is memorialised at the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park. Learn more about the aftermath of the incident and how it impacted the two cities by exploring Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
What to eat in Japan:
A big part of travelling to any country is indulging in the local cuisine! Japanese cuisine is considered to be quite healthy. Traditional Japanese food is heavily influenced by rice, miso soup, fish and vegetables. Seafood is mostly grilled, or eaten raw as sashimi or in sushi. Noodles are also a big part of Japanese cuisine, such as soba and udon. You should try ramen, donburi, sashimi, sushi, oden, natto, tonkatsu and tempura.
Hero and image credit: Courtesy of David Edelstein from Unsplash
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Home to bullet trains, sakura blossom, karaoke machines and anime, Japan is a mysterious wonderland that has something for everyone!
Answer: It is the difference between the low-interest rates offered by Japan in comparison to other countries that make the value of the yen low.
Answer: At the moment, JPY 1 is equal to INR 0.62
Answer: Every year, a calendar is issued for the cherry blossom. Usually, the sakura blooms at the end of March.
Answer: Yes! Japanese people are very polite and welcoming.