With everyone stuck indoors and travel bans implemented all over the world, it is difficult for all of us travel junkies not to miss going out and exploring a different place. We have heard that numerous people had to cancel their trips to Japan. So today, we are bringing 12 ways, 12 Japanese things for you to travel virtually to Japan from home to you and help you experience Japan from your home right now.
1. Videos and Live Videos
There are many videos on the Internet that you can watch of Japan. Some of these are even live so you can see what that part of Japan is like right now, unhindered by hordes of tourists blocking your view. These videos show you different areas, sceneries and attractions.
Sensoji Temple is the oldest buddhist temple in Tokyo and one of the most famous in Japan. This video takes you from the entrance of Nakamise Street, a shopping street, all the way to Sensoji Temple at the end. To catch a beautiful sunrise or sunset at the temple, check out this live cam. Make sure to factor in time zone differences so you check in at the right time.
Tsukiji Honwanji also has a daily live cam and it takes you around the shrine and shows you some of their rituals.
If you want to check out different structures in Japan, such as Tokyo Skytree and famous highways, then you can find them here; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt4yRq6qjcZlFXghNR7WE8A
Different museums also have virtual tours. Unko Museum, a museum about poop, has a few poop filters for you to add to your photos. You can also see hilarious poop drawings and paintings drawn by celebrities.
If you want to take a roller coaster ride, why not try out one by doing it virtually? You can virtually ride a roller coaster ride here at the famous Thunder Dolphin Ride at Tokyo Dome City. It starts with an 80-degree incline and you will get to see the view of Tokyo.
For a more thrilling, scarier ride, visit FujiQ Highland, which houses some of the scariest rides in the world! Their YouTube channel will take you on their rides and even through their haunted house which used to be an actual hospital. This video in particular takes you on the fastest roller coaster in the world!
2. Get a VR Headset
If you want a more immersive experience with your travel from home to Japan, try VR! You might think VR headsets are super-expensive but there are actually a handful of affordable options out there. You could get a quality VR headset for less than $50. Here’s a great VR headset that is affordable for you to check out.
After you’ve gotten your VR headset, just head straight to YouTube to look up whichever parts of Japan you want to see. Just look out for the 360 degrees tag on the videos.
The Japan 360 channel has a wide range of videos of Japan in different seasons. Even though it’s May right now, you can still enjoy the cherry blossoms in Japan with a VR headset! They also have videos of different areas of Japan so, theoretically, you could cover more areas of Japan with a VR headset than if you were actually in Japan on a short holiday.
Get an affordable headset here to start travelling virtually now!
3. Make Japanese food
Another great way to travel to Japan from home is to try out different Japanese food. There are many types of Japanese food and while some dishes are difficult to make, take a lot of time to prepare or require hard-to-find ingredients, there’s also many that you can easily recreate in your own kitchen with basic ingredients.
We put together a Japanese cookbook that includes recipes and instructions for Japanese fried rice, omurice (a rice omelette), gyoza, ramen, sushi and more. This cookbook is completely free to download, get it here.
Similar to Japanese food, there are many different types of Japanese alcohol. You’re probably familiar with ‘sake’ that is served in Japanese restaurants overseas, but there’s a lot more than that. There’s also shochu, umeshu, Japanese whiskeys, and more. Apart from liquors, Japanese beers are also distinctly different from beers in other parts of the world. If you can find these Japanese beverages in your local supermarket, or if you can find them online, give them a shot.
5. Japanese movies, TV shows
Japanese movies and TV shows may not be as famous as Hollywood ones, but there are a lot of different options for you to choose from and many of them are worth watching. Most of them are quite dramatic and over the top. From comedy to thriller, mystery, post-apocalyptic, there are many different genres for you to choose from. For a list of movie and TV show recommendations, click here.
6. Japanese books
Reading Japanese books is another amazing way to travel from home to Japan. Japanese literature is mostly dominated by one name right now: Haruki Murakami. But there are loads of other incredible Japanese authors whose novels will show you what everyday life in Japan is like. Some other books will introduce you to Japanese folklore and legends, which will also give you an insight to some Japanese philosophies. For a list of book recommendations, click here.
7. Get in touch with Japanese pop culture
Many people first get interested in Japan through anime and manga. Whether you’re new to this world of Japanese pop culture or you’re already well-versed in it, there are many anime and mangas on the Internet that have been translated into English, Spanish, Chinese and other languages. Netflix has some Japanese animes but they might not come with subtitles so your best bet is to watch them on the World Wide Web. Another big part of Japanese pop culture is video games, and a lot of big names like Final Fantasy or Pokemon are Japanese. For a list of recommended anime, manga and video games, click here.
8. Japanese music
People often say that music transcends language barriers, so even though you may not understand the lyrics, give Japanese music a go. While music genres are universal, there’s a distinctive Japanese sound. From traditional Japanese folk music to modern pop to viral hits like Pen Pineapple Apple Pen, you’ll be entertained for hours.
9. Watch documentaries and learn about the Japanese culture
If you have Netflix, here are some documentaries about Japanese culture that you can find on there, to help you travel from home to Japan.
Sex & Love Around the World with Christiane Amanpour is a docuseries about how sex and love are different in different countries, and the first episode explores these topics in Japan. Specifically, Christiane Amanpour finds out how Japanese women can find emotional and physical intimacy in Japan, and why adultery is more common here than in some other countries.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi revolves around the owner of the first sushi restaurant in the world to receive three Michelin stars. But the documentary is more than just about sushi, it’s also about traditional Japanese philosophies. It provides a good look into how some Japanese people think and behave.
For those who enjoy a good drink, The Birth of Sake is about the artisan way in which Japan’s most traditional alcohol, nihonshu, known as ‘sake’ overseas, is processed. You’ll learn why it’s drunk hot or cold and why some people drink it from wooden boxes.
Tokyo Idols shows you how Japan’s pop idol industry works. This documentary is a little darker as it explores the transactional relationship between a young pop idol and her middle-aged fans, which is a bit of a touchy subject, but if you want to learn about a slightly darker side of Japan, this is a good documentary to start with.
Know Your Enemy: Japan is another controversial documentary. It is a propaganda film produced and released during WWII and was meant to stir up nationalistic sentiments. It shows you how Japan perceived its own history from the 1500s to the 1930s. If you want to know more about Japan during ones of its darkest periods of time, then check this out.
Enter The Anime. A handful of people first become interested in Japanese culture because of its pop culture products like anime or manga. Enter The Anime shows you how competitive and fast-paced this industry is behind the scenes.
10. Learn Japanese
The Japanese language, infamous for having three kinds of writing, might seem like an impossible language to master, but it’s actually quite manageable if you have the right resources. Check out our video here that recommends some materials. By the time this pandemic is over, you’ll be able to visit Japan without a translator.
11. Plan your future travels
Planning a trip to Japan for your Japan travel often takes a lot of time (and numerous tabs on your browser). Start planning now! You can check out some of our other blog entries for travelling tips, area introductions, and more. Take this time to slowly go through everything in Japan so you can visit places that match your interests, budget and time frame more specifically so you don’t lose time just visiting touristy areas.
12. Japanese content
There’s a lot of content about Japan online and on all kinds of platforms: podcasts, videos and blogs. Visiting these options are great things to do at home. Learn more about Japanese culture and society through these platforms is a great way to travel frmo home. For podcast lovers, check out Deep in Japan that gives you the latest news on Japan. There’s also Japan Eats which talks about Japanese food.
For YouTubers, check out Abroad in Japan. His videos aren’t so much about travel as they are about Japanese society. He offers interesting insights into how Japanese society works through the eyes of a foreign resident.
Here are some of the many ways you can travel to Japan from home. If you have any suggestions, let us know in the comment section below! Happy travelling!