Last summer, my family and I booked a 7 day Japan tour with Grand Holiday. We got to visit a couple major parts of Japan in a short amount of time. We started in Tokyo and made our way down to Hakone, Kyoto and ended in Osaka.
Having been to the places and looking back now, I feel we were cheated in their extra “admission” cost. On their website, it stated that there is an extra $250 USD for admission fees to: Ginza + Asakusa KannonTemple + Oshino Hakkai + Mount Fuji + Kiyomizu. But it looks like only Oshino Hakkai has an admission fee and we didn’t even go to Kiyomizu! I emailed them to get some clarification on this but never got a response back. I will most likely not be looking with Grand Holiday again.
But let's focus on the happy things! Out first stop on our tour was to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa (also called: 浅草寺, Sensōji, Asakusa Kannon Temple). This is Tokyo’s oldest temple, which came about when two fishermen fished up a statue of Kannon. The temple was bombed in WWII but has been rebuilt to what it is today.
Little Things To Do in the Temple
Inside, you can throw coins into a kind of wishing well for good luck. According to our tour guide, the kind of coin you threw mattered: 5 or 50 is for destiny, a happy marriage; 10 or 100 is for general luck, good travel, etc.
Outside, there is a big incense burner for those praying. It is said that the smoke from the incense has a healing power so you will see many people fanning the smoke towards themselves.
Do not miss the market!
The temple was cool but right by the temple is Nakamise Street, where you can pick up some souvenirs or try some Japanese snacks. Our tour guide told us that there are some snacks that you can only find here, but we didn’t know which ones so we only tried what looked good. My brother and I didn't find the market until about 15 minutes before we had to leave! Know what that means? Not enough time to try more snacks! (Map below on how to get there!)
We also learned a bit about the Japanese job hunting process when we drove by a few people wearing “cheap” suits. University students who are job hunting all wear the same thing: a cheap suit and white shirt. Everyone is on the same level. You don’t wear an expensive suit until you go up in the ranks and once you have gotten the job, you do not wear the same suit you wore to the interview again.
Another interesting thing he mentioned, that I’ve actually read online before, is the work culture:
I’ve read somewhere that people in Japan get to take naps during their work day. But, I have also read that they get to take naps because of the ridiculous amount of hours they must work. Knowing this, I will skip taking a nap for my regular hours - thank you.
What are your must try local snack recommendations for anywhere in the world?