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. 😉