1. Smile, as it doesn’t cost –

Smile as much as you can in the land of the Rising Sun. Japanese are extremely friendly and polite and it is believed that a curved line can straighten many a thing.

2. Greet people by bowing –

The custom of bowing while greeting someone is an extremely humble gesture. It has been practised by the locals for long.

3. Walking –

Pack a pair of sturdy walking shoes. Be ready to walk a lot be it on the roads to reach your destination or at the underground stations to catch a train. This is the best way to explore Japan.

4. A few Japanese words –

Be a local when in Japan. Speaking a local language have always won hearts. Speaking a few words in Japanese will make the travel more exciting. Here are a few words which would come in handy.

Arigato – Thank You!!

 Konichiwa – Hello!!

 Ohayo Gozaimus – Good Morning!!

Oyasumi – Good night!!

Sayonara – Good Bye!!

Kudasai – Please

Kore Wa Ikura Desuka – How much does this cost

5. Cherry blossom –

Plan your trip during the Cherry blossom. From the months of March to May, Japan resembles a canvas painted with a flash of soft colours. The Cherry trees lined along the roads are in full blossom in shades of pink. Visualise the pink canopies which also paints the road alike. The bright blue sky right above is a testimony to all.

6. Water –

You can drink tap water in Japan and you can rely on the purity of water. The pain of carrying and storing water bottles during travel can be ruled out.

7. Japan Rail Pass –

In case you are travelling on your own to Japan, buy a JR pass. Travelling in taxis and other public conveyance can be expensive.

8. Woollen –

If you are planning to travel during the winters (December to mid-March), pack a lot of woollens. As most of the times, you have to be travelling in layers of warm clothes.

9. Ramen and Sushi –

Say yes to sushi along with an array of seafood that you can ever imagine. Develop your tastebuds for Ramen and a whole range of healthy soups. Japanese food is what one will get on the go while travelling.  Local food is easily and readily available in most of the eateries.

10. Japanese Anime –

The upcoming generation in Japan are infatuated with anime. They have managed their way in influencing the world with interesting anime characters. You may want to explore more of the Anime kingdom in the form of merchandise, play arenas or more.

11. Vending machines –

Ramp up your confidence in using the vending machine. When in Japan buy your necessities the Japanese way. Most of the daily necessities are sold through unmanned vending machines.

12. Shop at Daiso stores –

To get the essence of shopping in Japan, one must shop at the Daiso stores. Daiso stores are scattered all over Japan and have extremely pocket-friendly products. They specialise in fast fashion and have a range of merchandise to choose from. Check out for Kitchen tools, face masks, home décor, slippers, cosmetics, toys, stationery and more.

13. Sake –

This beverage, specific to Japan is an alcoholic beverage made out of fermented rice. This is also easily available in several convenience stores open 24X7.

14. Shopping list –

While making your shopping list include the following which are exclusive items from Japan.

– Japanese Dolls

– Matcha tea

– Kimono (traditional Japanese dress)

– Kit-Kat

– Sensu fans (Japanese folding fans)

– Koino Bori (carp-shaped streamers used to decorate the house)

– Japanese stationery

– Electronics

– Cosmetics

– Kairo (heat packs)

15. Save some money –

Save some Yen or Dollars till you reach the airport in Japan. As you must do last-minute shopping at the duty-free shops. Look out for Chocolate shops, souvenirs like Neko (cat)goods, Japanese daruma dolls, cherry blossom tea, wasabi and more.

It is hard to believe that amidst the humdrum of the city, lies a Japanese Forest.

The Japanese Forest is a lesser-known attraction at Eco-park. It has been beautifully landscaped on 3.5acre of land. Amongst several things, the Japanese have pioneered and excelled in gardening and landscaping.

Shintoism, the East Asian religion has its roots in Japan. It is also known as the nature religion. This Forest has intelligently amalgamated both, the elements of nature and God to enchant the visitors. The principle, that nature and God are one and all the same, has been captured in this mesmerizing forest.

A Shrine At A Theme Park?

When HIDCO was constructing a public park in New Town, the excavations led to several interesting finds. Amongst the many relics, they dug out stone lanterns, Chimes, statues of Buddha, and his disciples. Several other artefacts and objects of Shinto belief were rescued from the site. The find dated back to a Japanese monk, who had travelled to Kolkata post World War-II to propagate Shintoism. He practised the religion diligently in this very land for close to 50 years along with his disciples. The Japanese Forest has been built as a mark of respect to the noble monk.


Shintoism is also known as Kami-no-Michi (Kami meaning god or spirits). It has been practised in Japan since the 300CE, exactly when Buddhism entered the region. The religion has taken specific best practices from Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and other East Asian religions. Shintoism believes that every animate and inanimate object has spirits. It reveres supernatural entities and the religion is built around the same belief. Various rituals and practices have been designed and established and have been propagated around the world since then.


These are lion-dog statues considered to be shrine guardians. A series of ferocious-looking Komainu carved out of stone stands at the entrance of the shrine. They are usually in pairs with either an open mouth or closed mouth. The open mouth pronounces the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet “a” and the closed mouth pronounced “um”, the end.


Torii gateway








The Torii gateway is an entrance to every Shinto shrine. This symbolizes the transition from the worldly space to the sacred. Going forward, a series of Torii gates will catch one’s attention from a distance. The brightly coloured vermillion gates arranged closely to each other is a gift. A wealthy businessman has offered the Torii gates to the shrine as he has received blessings from the Kami in manifolds. The names of people who donate the Torii gates are inscribed on the pillars. One is supposed to walk mindfully along the pathway and count one’s steps till the end of the series. Many get to hear a mystic rhythm emanating from within the pathway.

Walk it, to believe it!!

Alcove of Buddhas

Alcove of Buddhas

Past the Torri is an alcove of several small Buddhas carved by the disciples themselves. Every statue has a different expression and pose. The disciples resemble the smiling buddhas. It is said that they come to life at night to protect the premises. The disciples make way to a beautiful arched walkway covered with flowering creepers.




The labyrinth has been designed in an interesting way with concrete slabs and aromatic tuberose in between. One would be intrigued to walk along the concentric circles, to the fragrance and sight of aromatic flowers. One is supposed to walk along the designed pathway. It is said that one would be able to concentrate and get rid of worldly worries, if walked with a strong faith.

Bamboo Groves

The display of yellow bamboos in the bamboo grove is fascinating. Bamboo has been considered lucky amongst several religions. The Japanese get inspiration from the bamboo tree with regards to resilience, the power to spring back, and a commitment to continuous growth.

The Sacred Shrine

Sacred Shrine

The shrine has been built in reverence of the monk who travelled all the way to India to propagate Shintoism. The bright yellow walls are decked with several animal figures glittering in gold. The rhythmic beats of the gong greet one to the humble site. The entrance makes way to prayer wheels with scrolls of prayers within. The sanctum sanctorum has the kami (god) painted white seated in all his grace. The authorities have plans to renovate the three-storied pagoda and the courtyard.

The 7 Disciples

In Shintoism, the followers are as important as the kami. The seven prime disciples who have stayed here and practised together with their leader have their place in the landscaped patch of green. The seven disciples seated together in peace just by the waterbody signifies the power of meditation. It is said that by sitting next to the disciples and meditating for a while, one gains serenity and peace of mind.

Wish Fountain

A Sori Bashi (little wooden bridge) build over the waterbody signifies calmness, wonder, and continuity. Shinto shrines and Zen gardens are incomplete without a water body, as water signifies purity. Toro, decorative stone lanterns which were found as relics are being placed in strategic places along with other important relics of significance.

Moon Gate

Moon Gate

Walking past the crescent-shaped Moon gate is considered to be extremely lucky. Newly-weds are recommended to walk along the path for a prosperous and happy beginning of a new phase in life. Besides the gate, is a collection of Bamboo lights that looks transcendental during the night. Hollow bamboo shoots cut strategically with lights emanating, adds an enigmatic experience to the tour. Wind chimes are of great significance in many South Asian religions. A walk along the gallery of wind chimes will lend a magical meditative state to the body and mind.




Japanese Restaurant

A Japanese restaurant, within the forest, is coming up shortly with some exotic Japanese delicacies to treat your taste buds. For the time being, you can relish a hot cuppa and reminisce this Japanese wonder.

I was at the Japanese Forest on a lovely winter afternoon with a bunch of my college buddies.

Click on the link below to know more about Japan.

15 Tips While Travelling to Japan


STD(SanchitasTravelDiary) Rating – 4.5/5