If you’re coming to Japan for the first time, you might want to forget everything you think you know about the country. Never mind the things you’ve seen in movies or heard of from people, after all, it’s your own experience that matters.
You can already be living in Japan for years and still find something new, or still be in awe of certain things you can only find here. We’ll leave the deep search to you, but here’s a short list of observations we’ve gathered about the land of the rising sun that might be of interest, especially if you’re just starting to settle in, or about to move here.
Rare local produce
Due to varying conditions such as climate and water source in different locations, almost all the cities and towns in Japan has something unique only to that locale. If you go from town to town, you’ll perhaps find unique or seasonal agricultural produce and signature delicacies that don’t always become mainstream.
Take the kabosu fruit from Oita, basashi (horse meat) in Kumamoto, or the many different types of alcoholic beverages - they don’t all hit the shelves of a major supermarket.
Life-changing vending machines
The common dispenser of hot and cold beverages, vending machines are taken to a whole new level in Japan. You can get (almost) everything you need, from hot meals like ramen, rice, and soup, to perishables like vegetables and fruits; clothing and undergarments, personal hygiene products and items of a more intimate nature can also be obtained with some loose change. There are also gifts, flowers, costumes (yes, costumes), and for those in need of a prayer – charms and amulets.
Bonus: You can get toys and collectibles in capsule machines too; they have shops dedicated for this entirely.
It’s no wonder there are so many vending machines in Japan, it’s a convenient source for those in a rush. During the day, the working crowd is always in a hurried pace (a sight you won’t miss when you’re going through Tokyo CBDs), no doubt returning to their long-hour jobs and tight desks after a short break.
Japan may embrace more traditional work values, but they are diversifying in terms of how they work, and small to larger corporations are opening up to more relaxed workspaces to promote employee morale and work-life balance. Workspaces such as the Compass Offices serviced offices in Tokyo and Osaka are becoming popular. The habitat is a Balinese inspired coworking space designed to mix business and leisure, mixed in with café facilities, gym, as well as a rest and recreation area.
Eat on your feet
Adding to the list of no-fuss resources are the standing restaurants and bars you can find everywhere (plenty in Tokyo) that can serve anything from sushi, noodles, to skewered meats. These outlets are ideal for those who has to be on their toes but doesn’t want to compromise on food quality. Not only are the meals good and convenient to have, they’re also a more economical choice for savvy spenders. Hence, they’re very popular with the working crowd and travelers alike.
Making room for more
The conventional type of lodging solutions in Japan tend to be pricier and small in size and that’s why many travelers are more compelled to look up hostels, capsule hotels, ryokans (traditional inns), minshukus (bread and breakfast lodgings) and the likes. But if you’re an expatriate in Japan staying for the long term, you may want to make more space in another way.
Instead of digging around for a bigger place to combine both home and work, which can set you back in cost, you can opt for a moderate place to stay and choose to rent out a flexible or temporary workspace from serviced office providers.
Companies from local and abroad are also making use of this service for individual or team of people to run off-base seasonal or project work. Popular for this purpose, Compass Offices’s Toranomon 40 MT Building, Ichigo Ebisu Green Glass and INOGATE OSAKA serve locals and business travelers well with its access over the city and landmark locations, with an excess of food, retail, and lodging options nearby.
There is so much more than meets the eye in Japan. As you settle in, don’t forget to do as much discovery as you can, who knows you might stumble upon hidden gems.