HellaflushLifeStayfresh Crew

24 must see and do’s in Japan…

There is nothing cooler than getting on a plane, and going somewhere unknown.  So many new experiences await you.  After having lived in Japan for going on 6 years now I enjoyed going through a bunch of my photos and laughing at some of my previous experiences.  So I decided to compile a little ‘list of must do’s’ for anyone headed J-side with added bonus for any automotive gearheads.

1. Kinkakuji temple – ‘The Golden Pavilion’

Yup it’s a building covered in pure gold leaf.  :O

2. Kiyomizudera temple

This place is crazy beautiful in the day, but by night it’s just insane.

3. Visit Kamakura’s buddha

It might just be a big statue to many of us, but these things are pretty amazing works of art!

4. Visit Shibuya’s ‘hachiko’ crossing

You will know this intersection from the movie ‘Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift’.  When the lights go green  enjoy being swept along in a sea of people…

5. Shinjuku Metropolitan Building

Bowl on down to the Shinjuku Metropolitan Buildings and go 40 floors up to see the best views of Tokyo…

6. Go for a ride in a Japanese taxi

No I am not going insane, these things have the most amazingly soft suspension it’s like being whisked around on a plush sofa.  Don’t go too far though or the yen will start mounting up!

8. Go for a fang on the Shinkansen

Being from little ol New Zealand where our trains might hit a maximum speed of 45kph (the old shitboxes) doing 300kph on one of these things is quite cool!

9. Check out Osaka

Get on down and  have a look at the Glico bridge in Shinsaibashi.  Best viewed in the evening, then go get some octopus balls aka ‘takoyaki’.

10. Trip out at the vending machines

I’m not sure about your local vending machines, but Japanese ones have more selection than your local supermarket at times.  If you are a typical male just stay away from them as when we are presented with more than 2 choices we can’t make out minds up, so having 30 is just asking for trouble.  HD touchscreen ones are just too good to not have a play with though…

11. Sample the local brews

Leave ya Budweiser, Heineken, and Coopers alone.  Japanese beer is actually pretty good!

12. Freak out that all the food in the window is indeed plastic…

BUT IT’S SO REAL! If I could have bought one of em to bring home for a laugh I would have!

13. Eat something new everyday.

Do go down those little alleyways to eat in the little random food shops.  You won’t get ill, but you will find some of Japan’s best food available.  Steer clear of those family restaurants if you want proper Japanese food…Russian roulette with the menu is a fun way of eating.

Incase you are wondering this is Hiroshima Okonomiyaki.  One of the best things I have ever eaten in Japan.

14. Eat the weird stuff at the conbini too!

I’m not sure what is is exactly but for 160yen you can’t go too far wrong surely?

15. Find someone wearing a Kimono to snag a photo

It’s the one shot you have to try and get when you go to Japan, and whether it’s the real deal or not it still makes for one hell of a picture!

16. Go and meet your idols in person

I’m a self-professed car addict.  So being able to meet some of Japan’s most influential builders is always awesome.  In this instance it’s Akira Nakai of RAUH-Welt Begriff.

17. Let your hair down a little…

Japan is a serious country yes…but no one knows who the heck you are! Just don’t go getting arrested or anything…

18. Do something you will never forget…

One of those things for me personally is hitting up the Ebisu Drift Matsuri at Ebisu Circuit in Fukushima.  3 days of non-stop drifting.  Some of the best times of my life.  This is my good buddy Alexi from Straya, cheers for taking me for a skid buddy!

19. Racequeens

If you are a car nutter, you have to check out the promo gals aka ‘racequeens’ that are at Japan’s race meets.  They are as much a part of the event as the racing itself…

Friendly, smiley, and always keen for a photo.

Ello ello

20. Go and see ‘Sakura’ 

Nobody does cherry blossom like Japan…simple as that.

21. Bonsai gardens

The gardens in Japan’s temples are usually more than 500 years old and they contain some amazing manicured trees.  Even if you don’t have a green thumb you will appreciate these.

22. Visit the Atomic bomb dome in Hiroshima

This was one of the most moving emotional experiences I have ever had.

I didn’t ever expect to be moved like I was when I visited here.

23. Go for a ride in a drift car

If you can ride on this course – Ebisu South, then it’s gonna be the most memorable ride you will ever have.

Going sideways at crazy speeds, the car filled with smoke, and the engine bouncing off the limiter will leave you speechless.

24. Check out the crazy automotive culture Japan has on offer

There are some awesome cars, and automotive cultures in Japan (far too many to list quickly) although you won’t need to look far to find a good range of them.  In this instance it is drift missiles.  Beaten up old drift cars used for perfecting drifting technique.  If you crash em no worries, it’s just a beater anyway 😉

If it’s the ‘shiny’ cars your prefer there is plenty of them around as well.

I know there is a bunch more that I have totally overlooked but ya can’t do everything in one trip eh…there is always next time. 😉



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Hi ya!
Japan-based Kiwi following all the exciting automotive experiences the world has to offer. From all the crazy tyre smoke of D1GP, to the wide, stanced RAUH-Welt Begriff whips of Nakai-san. I follow it all.


  1. B
    28/09/2013 at 11:19 am

    This is a great write up, i honestly wish i could afford to move to japan and live in the culture. Breathtaking thank you.

    • Aaron
      30/09/2013 at 3:23 am

      Cheers :)
      Japan is certainly one of those places which is worth even a holiday when the funds for travel allow. Nothing better than a teaser eh :)

      • B
        30/09/2013 at 6:51 pm

        The teaser makes the idea of going into debt, the best idea I’ve every come up with.

        • Aaron
          02/10/2013 at 7:46 pm

          It was the best decision I ever made 😉

  2. Vincent D
    28/09/2013 at 5:23 pm

    Man I loved Japan when I went last summer, and there’s an itch in my heart to go back. Not only am I a big fan of JDM cars, I love anime and manga so I guess visiting Japan held more excitement for me than others.
    I was able to visit Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, stay at a ryokan onsen, and I practically tried every single food I possibly can. In terms of number 18 though…..
    I happen to be a magician. I did some magic to some school students who just walked into in an ice cream shop. Their reactions were so good and so loud that pretty much every other student in that shop decided to come and watch. When I was done high fives and cheers went around to everyone, and never have I been more proud as a magician. A memory I will never, ever forget.

  3. Alex Bailey
    29/09/2013 at 5:52 am

    This was a super awesome write up. I am hoping to visit Japan very soon! Do you think its best to go with a tour guide? If so, can you recommend some? Or just wonder to find the awesomeness Japan holds. Because myself being a huge fan of the Japanese culture would love to visit as many times as possible.

    • 29/09/2013 at 7:35 pm

      We are going to host a 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon Tour for 10 people. Stay tuned for more info soon!

      • Aaron
        30/09/2013 at 3:15 am

        Good work on that Mark, Tokyo Auto Salon has to be experienced to be believed! :)

  4. 29/09/2013 at 10:00 pm

    in ebisu we rent a drift car or we buy it??
    what cost is it??

    • Aaron
      30/09/2013 at 3:16 am

      You can buy a missile or a better condition drift car, which you can then sell on at the end of the matsuri. Andy and Emily from Powervehicles.com can give you specific information regarding anything to do with the Ebisu Drift Matsuri’s. :)

  5. Kim
    30/09/2013 at 6:58 pm

    Japan is the dream.
    Where’s Alexi anyway, Aaron? No updates from him for so long..

  6. Aaron
    02/10/2013 at 7:47 pm

    Alexi is around. Shall be catching up with him in November at Ebisu matsuri. :) He is kicking around withe the Doriten team a bit :)