If you are planning a trip to Japan, I am sure most of you will probably visit a famous temple, visit an ancient castle, and maybe a famous museum or two. However, visiting these places alone will not give you a complete overview of Japan and its culture. After visiting Japan every year for the past ten years, I came up with a list of things I should check out. It shouldn't cost a lot and you may not have to go out of your way to find them. These are common places, places that you would find in your area. The fun part is comparing the differences between the two.

Disclaimer: This article makes comparisons between Japan and the US, because I am from the US However, I think the general idea should apply to all people from all countries.

1. Convenience stores

There are several different companies, including Circle K, Lawson, Sankus (pronounced sinking), and of course 7-Eleven. On the surface, they look like a common convenience store in the US, but look at what's on offer.

Take-out is first. In the US, you'll find sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, and maybe some kind of burrito. In Japan, you will have sandwiches and burgers, but you will also have fried noodles, cold noodles, bento lunches (full meal, with chicken or fish as the main dish, rice, pickles, and vegetables), and a variety of desserts. like Mont blanc, custard pudding, or black sesame seed pudding (yum).

If you want a cake, you're not limited to donuts or scones, you also have curry-filled scones, oven-fried noodle scones, ham and cheese scones and the list goes on and on.

You won't find sips or self-serve drinks or even a hot cup of coffee. Everything is canned, even hot coffee.

The surprising thing is that most of the food I've had is pretty good, even better than some of the restaurants I've dined at.

2. Family restaurant
The family restaurant is not fancy, but neither is fast food; a place where the whole family can go. The American equivalent would be Denny's or Chili's. In Japan, as in the US, there are several chains, including Denny's and Coco's (claiming to be a California restaurant).

Like the American counterparts, the food isn't great, but you know what to expect. Food ranges from hamburger steaks to udon noodles to club sandwiches. All restaurants give you the option of turning a standard plate into a food set of some kind for an extra two or three hundred. Usually includes a drink, soup or salad, and a plate (not a bowl) of rice.

Children's meals are so much fun. They offer small portions, of course, but it comes with a kids' plate, a bib with a popular children's anime character, and sometimes a toy. Like the US, restaurants also offer crayons and coloring paper to keep kids worried until food arrives.

3. Starbucks, McDonald's or other chains you have at home
One of the fun things you can do in Japan is visit a store or restaurant that you have in your home country. Since I am from the United States, I visited Starbucks, McDonald's and even Pizza Hut. The fun thing is comparing how they differ from what you are used to.

For example, McDonald's Japan used (or may still serve) sausages for breakfast. I don't know why sausage, but there it is. They also have teriyaki burgers, which you won't find in the US except in Hawaii. And McDonald's serves one of my favorite burgers, the Tsukimi super burger (translation: Moon Burger). It has two patties of beef, cheese, poached egg, and bacon. Mmmm good.

Another example is Starbucks. The first thing you will notice is the service. Like most places in Japan, baristas are very polite, mechanical, and very correct. Very different from the Starbucks I've been to in the US, where they don't smile, talk to each other, usually about some personal problem and follow the bohemian style. Another difference is that the sizes are smaller. The Large in the United States is the Large in Japan, the Tall is the Medium, and the Small does not exist in the United States, but they all cost roughly the same.

They are just three of the many fun things you can do in Japan. Other places you could visit would be your neighborhood supermarket, hardware store, or even a Japanese school. The key is to go in with an open mind and appreciate how we, as a world, are different and yet so alike. While the temples and Mount Fuji are nice, you will get more out of seeing everyday things. https://goodrush.com/%e0%b9%80%e0%b8%97%e0%b8%b5%e0%b9%88%e0%b8%a2%e0%b8....

Author's Bio: 

Like the American counterparts, the food isn't great, but you know what to expect. Food ranges from hamburger steaks to udon noodles to club sandwiches. All restaurants give you the option of turning a standard plate into a food set of some kind for an extra two or three hundred. Usually includes a drink, soup or salad, and a plate (not a bowl) of rice.