japan matsuri bannerWelcome to the October Japan Blog Matsuri! This month’s topic is Japan Highlights and we asked the brightest Japan Bloggers to tell us what THEY thought was the best Japan has to offer…Japan’s best places, experiences, activities…whatever. The “whatever” is important. This is not your typical Japan “must see list” that tries to speak to everyone. This is not a clumsy “top ten things to do in Japan” post that has been repeated over, and over again. This is a glimpse into what makes Japan special to a bunch of completely different people. There’s something for everyone here, so pour yourself a sake, squeeze out that wasabi and enjoy a guided tour.

Miyajima Japan

Beautiful Miyajima, definitely a Highlight!

Before the tour starts and the train doors close, don’t forget to check out last month’s host Nippon-Ichigo, who rocked out to the theme Japan Music. Awesome!

Weather your just planning your trip, or you’re already there, these articles provide plenty of travel inspiration on all the must sees, dos, experiences, eats, drinks, whatever Japan has to offer. (Hey, click the large bold, underlined titles to be taken magically to the full articles.)

obimatsuri shizuokaReason’s to Visit Shizuoka

Ashely from Surviving in Japan takes us on a whirlwind tour of Shizuoka Prefecture and introduces us to the top 10 reasons to visit. She was on a mission not to be cliche so rest assured you’ll only get meat in this great post, no filling! She also has a project to explore all the other great things about Shizuoka which you can find here.

Japan mixJapan’s Highlights

Abi from Inside the Travel Lab really takes the mission to heart. She offers the best of her recent trip. It’s an eclectic mix ranging from Kyoto’s Old Town to Folding Prayers. A great article that highlight a diverse and wonderful Japan.

Japan Record StoreTokyo: A Music Nerd’s Paradise

Good and Bad Japan looks at Japan in a unique way, through the eyes of niche nerds. While he thinks Tokyo offers up options for any nerd, from the comic book collector to those desperate for the love of  fine ukuleles, it’s music that gets him going.  He enjoys the  great food, great places, great nature, great people, great onsen,  but the one thing he really loves  is trawling the record shops of Tokyo with a bit of spare cash in his pocket.

Japanese squat toiletFlushed Away

We never said this Matsuri was going to be classy! Through Eyes From Afar brings us his Japan Highlight…the Squat Toilet. Not sure how this could possibly be a highlight? We’ll check it out and read about the traditional holes in the ground and their many health benefits. There’s probably a reason the Japanese live for so long!.

Harajuku styleI Wanna do That! To Do List.

Amanda from Whoa…I’m in Japan, has a Top 7 bucket list of things she can’t wait to do in Japan. Amanda covers some of the best things to do and experience in Japan. Funny the squat toilet didn’t make her list, but after reading the Matsuri I’m sure she will manage to squeeze it in…yes, that was potty humor.

Kansai HighlightsNachi no Taki Japan

We’ve heard from the Tokyo dwellers, now it’s time to hear what Kansai has to offer. Of course Kansai is much much more than just Kyoto and Osaka. The Blog Side of Life brings us the best of Kansai. A great mix from the all-female musical theater troupe in Kobe, to the holy waterfall in Nachi, to the sacred grounds of Mount Koya. You’ll love them all!

Sunrise Mount FujiUnforgiving Mount Fuji

What trip to Japan could be complete without hauling yourself up Japan’s most storied, and highest mountain. Fuji-san is one of those trips that will live on in your own personal highlight reel long after you leave Japan. Lonelee Planet gives us the blow by painful blow of what it takes to climb Fuji, but also the wonderful rewards.

japan maneki neko30 Must Have Souvenirs

Last but certainly not least, Muza from Muza-chan’s Gateway to Japan brings us this amazingly comprehensive list of what’s worth buying in Japan. There are now no excuses for not following the Japanese custom of bringing home souvenirs for everyone, family, friends, coworkers, the mailman. What makes this list particularly useful are the travel tips giving you great advice on when and where to pickup these gifts.


Of course what kind of host would I be if I didn’t offer you anything myself. Like all the other bloggers I had a difficult time deciding on non cliche highlights. I have written on Japan a number of times and all contain a highlight or two:

This happy guy could be around any corner!

Sexual Secrets of Japanese Temple

3 Most Dangerous Matsuri

The Backside to Iwayaji Temple on Shikoku

The Hermit in Seclusion

Japanese Food Find: Placenta!

All of these add up to one great highlight of Japan: something new and crazy is around every corner. You’ll never find any of these in a guidebook. They are available and ready only for the adventurous to find, in the winding backstreets of Japan. For me this is the greatest highlight of them all. So make your plans, get a map, follow the advice of everyone above, but don’t forget to leave time for serendipity. I promise you, Japan, and its wonderful people are full of surprises!

Next month’s Matsuri can be found at Surviving in Japan, no Japanese necessary!

Have you been to Japan? Planning a trip? What are your must sees, dos, eats etc?

(Miyajima photo credit: karma-police)

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27 Responses to “Japan Highlights – Japan Blog Matsuri”

  1. Great Post and really enjoyed looking through your Blog.
    Japan Australia´s recent [type] ..Picture of the Week Nijo Castle- Kyoto- Japan

  2. AmyNo Gravatar says:

    Great post – I’m in Japan for the next few months and I found a lot of good Japan related sites I’m now following!
    Amy´s recent [type] ..Australia- A Few Things Oprah Probably Won’t Tell You

  3. Sarah WuNo Gravatar says:

    I have not visited Japan yet and these looks like a great reason to visit. :)

  4. Well done on the matsuri Todd. Wished I could’ve gotten my content in sooner. Thanks for hosting.

  5. AdventureRobNo Gravatar says:

    Awesome post, a good mix up of things to do. I’m in Japan now but haven’t travelled around yet (working) so look forward to diving into some of these blogs ^_^
    AdventureRob´s recent [type] ..Campervan Tips Where to Find a Place to Sleep at Night

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Rob. Where are you in Japan? If you need any advice let me know. Also, I’ll be in Tokyo for a few weeks around the holidays and happy to meet up if your around.

  6. Love that photo of Miyajima, would love it blown up.
    Ayngelina Brogan´s recent [type] ..Where to eat in Santa Marta

  7. reesanNo Gravatar says:

    cool matsuri todd! thanks for hosting!

  8. Jeremy BNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, lot of information on Japan Todd. Good stuff! Never been there and honestly don’t know much about it but this is good information and, as usual, a great perspective for traveling there.
    Jeremy B´s recent [type] ..Travel Tuesday question of the week whats the most underrated destination

  9. JasonNo Gravatar says:


    Great collection of perspectives on Japan. I spent a year in Japan and many of the posts brought back good memories.

    Jason´s recent [type] ..Sunday Morning Pickup Basketball In Cusco

  10. AndreaNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, so much to see all over Japan; we’ve blocked out a month for it but not sure that’s going to be enough. Thanks for this collection of things to do there!
    Andrea´s recent [type] ..Following Your Heart to Freedom

  11. JennyNo Gravatar says:

    Ugh… this makes me want to go to Asia just that much more!

  12. AshleyNo Gravatar says:

    Is it just me, or is my submission not included here? (the Shizuoka one)
    Ashley´s recent [type] ..10 Reasons to Visit or Not Visit Shizuoka

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Ashley, not sure how I did it but I did forget you. Mistake corrected and you are at the top spot now. Very very sorry! Gave your Explore Shizuoka site a plug as a peace offering.

      • AshleyNo Gravatar says:

        Hey Todd, no problem! I read it a few times and I wasn’t sure if for some reason I was just missing something or not seeing it lol… Thank you though, for adding it in, and of course for hosting! Lots of great posts here. And thanks too for the plug… appreciate it. ;)

  13. We visited Narita, Japan during a long layover this year and it made me want to go back to Japan for a long stay. Before our layover, I had not even considered Japan to be a place I would like to visit. I liked how the toilets in the airport bathrooms had fancy buttons. :) Seat warmers are awesome! :) Thanks for all this great info to prepare for my next trip there!
    Christy @ Ordinary Traveler´s recent [type] ..The Gem of Sicily 4

  14. NickNo Gravatar says:

    Great Matsuri, thanks for hosting!

  15. Muza-chanNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you Todd, it was an excellent matsuri subject and it inspired us to write…
    Muza-chan´s recent [type] ..A Japanese Song per Day- AKB48 – Heavy Rotation

  16. The EnvoyNo Gravatar says:

    Todd, I noticed the 1st, 3rd and 4th entries are all linked only to the main site, rather than the entry itself. My post on squat toilets (3rd entry) is http://througheyesfromafar.blogspot.com/2010/10/flushed-away.html
    The Envoy´s recent [type] ..Moo Six Years

  17. FranziNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent job! Thank you for hosting this month’s great matsuri :)
    Franzi´s recent [type] ..Obento feelings

  18. Great post! I’m currently in Tokyo and will be here until the end of November before heading to Kyoto/Osaka for a few weeks. Can’t wait to go through all these posts to help inform the rest of my time here. Thanks!
    A Tramp Abroad´s recent [type] ..How to Maintain a Career and Take on Long Term Travel

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