Traveling to a new place can be a little scary and daunting if you're not prepared. Even more so when your destination of choice uses a completely different language!
Thankfully we've found fifteen great blogs just for getting the low-down on all things in Japan. From what to see to what to eat nothing is left out as these bloggers search for what matters most to new visitors to their fascinating country.
Don't forget to follow the Twitter List so you can stay up-to-date easily and you can read about other places as well with our 14 Blogs to Read if You're Studying in Berlin, 6 Awesome French Blogs, a list of what you'll miss out on if you don't travel abroad, and much more on our Blog.
After a few visits to Japan these bloggers were hooked, so they created Why So Japan to share all the wonderfully different things they discovered (and continue to discover) about Japan with the world! Here you’ll find plenty of fun articles about Japanese culture, music, style, and general cuteness. For a bit of every category, I highly recommend checking out Why So Japan’s awesome video library, which is especially great for watching hilarious Japanese commercials.
Travellers to Japan will find a lot of tips and tricks for exploring Tokyo on the blog. But many of the posts also interestingly feature the way the rest of the world has interpreted and adopted elements of Japanese culture, like "A Japanese Tea House in Sweden". So, make sure you check out Why So Japan for your fix of this funny, fantastic, and ever-surprising island nation!
Japan Realm is an entertaining, content rich site by prolific blogger and budding vlogger Palma-san. This far-reaching website provides info on everything Japanese – humor, history, food, fashion, music, and tech plus many others! What I love most about this blog is the extensive and awesome content about pop-culture, particularly manga, anime, and cosplay.
If you’re an anime-fan, these articles include plenty of information about places where you can go to really express your fandom. Such as the no-boys allowed café for female otaku and cosplayers. You can also enjoy the work of inspiring (and inspired) people from around the world in Palma-san’s "Featured Cosplayers" series.
I personally love his interesting and informative articles about how traditional Japanese culture continues to be a part of contemporary Japanese life. Even if you’re not planning a trip to Japan in the near future, check out Japan Realm for all your Japanese pop-culture news and frequent giveaways for cool stuff!
GaijinPot is one of the best, most comprehensive websites you’ll find about all things Japan. Whether you’re planning a short visit, a big move, or something in-between, this blog has all the right information. Here you’ll find entire sections dedicated to jobs, study, travel, apartments, classifieds, and articles about Japanese life and culture.
As much as I enjoy the personal touch offered by blogs written by couples and individuals, I love that GaijinPot has so many contributors. It’s more like a magazine than a blog because of the variety of authors and you’ll find stories on everything from "The Best Japanese Cosmetics" to "Different ways to say hello in Japanese". If you’re only going to visit one blog before your Japanese adventure, make sure you give this blog a read!
Bumble Bee Mum is a mom from Singapore and one of the coolest bloggers out there. She’s been bringing new meaning to the term "mom-on-the-go" since her firstborn was just 1 month old by traveling extensively with her young children. Her friends were always asking her about the places she was taking her kids and she got tired of repeating herself so she started this fantastic blog!
This amazing woman is making sure her children get an exciting start in life by showing them the world. Since she lives in Singapore she’s written lots of content about activities for parents and kids there, but she’s also traveled extensively in Japan. Bumble Bee Mum is full of fantastic activities that you can do with or without kids and it’s really inspiring to see a family that does so much traveling together.
If you’re looking to explore Japan as a family then this is an absolute must-visit website. I would also recommend checking out her Link Ups. Here you’ll find info on her collaborations with other bloggers, exchanging their exciting travel experiences via her weekly "Travel Tuesday" blog hops."
Leave Your Daily Hell is a thoughtful and beautiful blog by the young and incredibly well-traveled Robert Schrader. In 2009 he decided to leave his life behind to travel around the world, seeking meaning beyond what he had previously known, and he’s been on-the-go ever since! Robert is a very talented writer and photographer who now uses his skills to create fabulous travel guides, and even has his own Travel Coaching service.
While Leave Your Daily Hell is a far-reaching travel blog with a global focus we had to feature it here because of Robert’s wonderful article "Three Weeks in Japan". This is just one of Rob’s many super-helpful guides. I particularly love this type of guide because it takes into account people’s limited travel time. Instead of overwhelming people with all the things they could do in a place, he writes knowledgeably and from firsthand experience about things that he has done and now recommends.
Be sure to browse the rest of the blog for info on almost any other destination that interests you!
Super Cheap Japan is a marvellously specific budget travel guide for backpackers, working holiday makers, tourists, budget travelers, ex-pats, students, and anyone who wants to see Japan without breaking the bank.
Super Cheap Japan is created and maintained by Matt (マット in Japanese!) who has lived in Japan for many years. The website is very straightforward and provides readers with plenty of great money-saving (and face-saving) tips like accommodation suggestions and how to read common Japanese signs so you don’t accidentally walk into the wrong bathroom or try spending the night in a by-the-hour love motel.
I love this blog’s maps for recommended walking routes and the way suggested activities are organized by interest. Matt provides written directions with photos and big red arrows showing you exactly what each and every twist and turn on your route looks like. These pleasant walking routes will save you money on public transportation and enhance your travel experience by taking you to see more of your destination.
Check out this blog and don’t let a tight budget stop you from experiencing this incredible country!
Just One Cookbook, by chef Nami (Namiko Chen) and her husband Mr. JOC is a must-visit blog for anyone who loves Japanese food. When most people outside of Japan think of Japanese food they think of sushi, but Japanese cuisine is so much more than that. Once you’ve been to Japan and had a chance to try all the different dishes for yourself, food will easily be one of the things you miss most when you return home. That’s where Just One Cookbook comes in.
Nami started her blog as a way to record her recipes and it has now grown into one of the best resources for learning to cook Japanese food. This awesome blog provides a complete guide to Japanese cooking, with recipes, videos, tools, and even a list of "Japanese cooking staples to keep in your pantry". Whether you’re looking to get a taste of Japan before you go, want to get an idea of how to cook like the locals before your trip, or simply want to incorporate Japanese flavours into your life back home, Just One Cookbook is the website for you!
No matter where you go in the world, travelling is one of life’s most wonderful, worthwhile experiences. However, it can also get expensive! Money We Have by Barry Choi – a successful, self-taught investor and budget-travel expert based in Toronto – is a great website that provides practical, money-saving tips to help you take your dream vacation. While the blog is mostly focused on providing travel and budgeting tips that can be used anywhere, there are also many useful destination specific posts.
I first stumbled across Barry’s articles and I just had to recommend it to anyone planning a trip to Japan! He provides a detailed, practical guide on to how to save money both before and during your trip, along with specific suggestions and beautiful photos of worthwhile Japanese destinations and attractions. I also recommend reading "Tokyo on a budget" and "Japan Rail Pass - Is it Worth it?". Make sure to check out Money We Have for saving strategies, because the better you budget, the more you can travel!
Boutique Japan is a fabulous Japanese culture and travel blog by Andres Zuleta, whose love of Japan started in college and eventually inspired him to leave the USA and build a life abroad. Now Boutique Japan plans unique and highly customized tours of Japan.
This blog has great recommendations for what to do when you have just a few days to explore, like "What to do if you have one day in Tokyo", as well as excellent articles featuring iconic Japanese products like tea and whisky. I personally love the art and design related posts like and recommend that all travellers read "Essential Japanese Words & Phrases for Travelers to Japan".
If you’re interested in food, art, and experiencing your destination more slowly then Boutique Japan, it's the perfect place to start!
Notes of Nomads is an informative and inspiring travel blog by Jessica and Hai, a wanderlust couple from Australia. They’ve been traveling together for over a decade and are currently working as a freelance duo based in Tokyo; Jess writes the blog and Hai photos.
There's information about all of Jess and Hai’s travels, but since moving to Tokyo they’ve had lots to say about Japan. Here you can read about the pros and cons of visiting in every season, destination guides, and more! If this is your first trip to Japan then read "8 Surprising Things About Japan for First-time Visitors".
One of the more interesting articles is about the now infamous penis festival (yes, you read that correctly). Give this article a read, "Japan’s Kanamara Matsuri: The Penis Festival" which includes a video and plenty of hilarious pictures of one of Japan’s more outlandish festivals. The duo also writes about other festivals as well as other topics that help travelers experience Japan’s culture.
Definitely check out Notes of Nomads, and if you’re in Tokyo you can attend one of Jess and Hai’s Instameets – organized photo walks that encourage participants to make new friends and have fun taking photos together.
Zooming Japan is a fantastic content-rich blog by Jasmine, a German expat and long-time resident. Since falling love with Japan, Jasmine has visited all 47 Japanese prefectures and over 100 Japanese castles (If you love castles, then this is the blog for you)!
Plenty of people dream of living and working in Japan, but few actually try it, and fewer still succeed. Jasmine admits that it wasn’t easy for her either and she’s written and shared some fabulous articles about the process. "How I made it to Japan" and "Dreaming of a Life in Japan: The reality" are full of great advice and important things to consider before moving to Japan.
After living in Japan for so many years Jasmine is able to offer a really interesting perspective on some of the more subtle aspects of Japanese culture and her site has years worth of awesome advice and recommendations. No matter what you’re wondering about Japan, Zooming Japan has your answer (and then some)!
Two Wandering Soles tells the beautiful story of Katie and Ben, an American couple exploring the world together. They have traveled extensively and their blog covers many regions beyond Japan, but the first article that caught my eye was "One Wild Week in Japan: A Complete Itinerary", which led me to the super-helpful "Travel Budget for One Week in Japan" and I just had to recommend them! Together these two articles are a near-perfect guide for first time visitors and anyone who wants to experience the highlights without breaking the bank.
Besides their many fantastic posts about Japan and other destination-specific posts, Katie and Ben also frequently write about ethical travel, an important topic which is too often overlooked. Their balanced and budget-friendly approach to travel is refreshing and inspiring. Read Two Wandering Soles for Japan info, insights into sustainable travel!
Japan Visitor Blog is a total tourist and residence guide to Japan. This fantastic website includes super-useful information for going everywhere in Japan, from northern Hokkaido, to Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands in the south. These guides provide all the essential trip planning information, complete with history, attractions, and accommodation.
In addition to the fantastic guides they share interesting cultural features which include articles on Japanese history, cuisine, festivals, customs, sports, and more. Their section on Gay and Lesbian Japan is particularly interesting and includes lots of helpful information that’s not featured so accessibly on other blogs. Whether you’re planning on visiting or living in in Japan, Japan Visitor Blog is sure to have the info you need!
A Geek in Japan is the story of Hector Garcia, an engineer who discovered his passion for writing when he first moved to Japan in 2004. His blog and his bestselling book of the same name highlight Japanese originality and creativity in a funny an accessible way. The book provides an insightful and informative guide that appeals to westerners who grew up with Japanese anime, manga, and video games.
Both the blog and the book feature short informative articles, and beautiful photos. Hector provides a lively digest of society and culture in Japan with an emphasis on technology and the way he has personally come to understand this amazing country after living there for more than seven years.
Last but not least is Japan Guide an interesting and extensive travel planning guide with a beautiful blog. The blog portion is written by a group of japan-guide.com writers who post about their own travel activities, offering readers abundant personal suggestions and great reviews. Japan Guide makes planning your trip easy with great content that’s easy to find – there’s even an interactive map for visual planners.
If you’re not sure where to start, try the Annual Travel Highlights, and I particularly enjoy the Cherry Blossom Reports which provide pictures and information on many Japanese cities during two of the most popular seasons for visitors. Make the most of your trip by checking out this great website!