Tuesday, June 3, 2014

HRH the Queen of Kutch's Top 10 Reasons to visit Japan

Japan: Worth a visit at least once in a lifetime, if not more. Here are my Top 10 reasons:

The Bullet Train

A train journey like no other: With over 2,387.7 km of tracks, the Shinkansen will whisk you people from one end of Japan to the other, and has been doing so since 1964 with maximum speeds of 240–320 km/h. It is the way to travel in Japan. They have spotless cars, comfortable seats and impeccable service (the conductors even bow on entering and leaving the car). They are also amazing when it comes to timekeeping -- your train will arrive at its destination to the very second -- guaranteed.. 

The Conductor

Japanese Toilets or Washlets

Once you use a Japanese toilet, you will never want to use a normal toilet again. From warm seats to automatic flushing and the amazing bidet spays with panels to adjust direction, pressure, temperature and anything else you can imagine.

The Japanese toilet is a testament to Japan’s excellent engineering and design being used to make life better.

Asahi Super Dry beer

As a general rule, all South East Asian beers have a sweet undertone, be it Tiger from Singapore, Tsingtao from China, Singha from Thailand, Bintang from Indonesia and the Japanese ones like Sapporo or Kirin. Super Dry Asahi is, as it’s name suggests, not at all sweet. As a bonus, Asahi has set up dedicated outlets where beers are served at a bone chilling -2 C from dispensers that are frozen over. I do not know if the ice on the dispenser is a gimmick or it really freezes the condensation. We went to the Asahi Super Dry outlets and had some really good beer. Having said that, as a general rule beers in Japan are served super cold


The Japanese do sweets and desserts of all varieties extremely well. Every department store has a large section devoted to cakes and pastries and they are works of art. When we were at the Cordon Bleu, a majority of the students in the Patisserie section were Japanese. We now know why. The Japanese love pastry and Japanese Pastry is really top notch.


Although this seems obvious, you have to visit Japan to eat the beef. It is unlike anything you will have ever eaten. The quality and marbling are unsurpassed. Wagyu literally means Japanese Cow. However Japanese Cows come in different breeds and the most desired genetically have very high fat to meat ratio. The top three Wagyu are Matsusaka Ushi, Kobe Beef, and Ohmi Beef cattle raised in the Kansai region of Japan. Eat any of them and you will never regret it.

The Electronics at Ahibara and Yodobashi Camera Umeda

If you love gadgets and electronics, Japan is the place for you. Browse the numerous stores showing off the very latest in technology. Many electronic items never make it out of Japan, so you might see some flashy new contraptions on display -- even if you're not sure what they actually do. Of course there is a small problem with a lot of the electronics. The devices only offer Japanese menus and read outs. The Yodobashi Camera stores are mega large crammed with all manner of electronics. They are entire building with restaurants inside.

Taxi etiquette

Hail a cab and when it comes to a halt, the kerbside passenger door opens automatically. When you are seated, the driver will press a lever and the door swings shut. It’s the same when you reach your designation. The doors are never to be opened or shut by you. Taxi drivers are very well dressed, often in suit and tie, peak caps and white gloves. They have a credit card machine and are more than happy to take a card.

Also, the taxi’s are spotlessly clean and in perfect condition.

People politely line up for a train

The dignity and discipline when people wait for trains is a sight to behold. Always wait till the last person alights before entering the train. No pushing or shoving, ever

Immaculate gardens

The gardens and parks are like picture postcards. Every tree, bush and shrub is perfectly manicured and not a branch is ever out of place. Everything is raked and trimmed to perfection


Any purchase be it a gift or a household item is artistically and skilfully wrapped.

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