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'Travel' to Japan Through Your Senses


Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images

Spring had me dreaming of cherry blossom season in Japan, and not being able to travel during this time made me long for it so much more. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to create your own "trip" to Japan from home by utilizing all of your senses for a well-rounded experience. Did you know there's tons of boxes of mochi ice cream just hanging out in grocery store freezers waiting to be enjoyed? And there are so many more Japanese treats and snacks that you can order online.

Lately I've been taking in a lot of Japanese culture through television and traded my normal Netflix binges for some anime. And while there are a lot of anime genres that are not really my cup of tea, I found some beautiful, heartfelt stories that had me crying by the end. And I found some that are kid-safe and family-friendly as well!

Give some of these cultural experiences a try and share what piques your interest with your family.


4 Beautiful Hotels in Japan

Explore Japan from Afar

Watch These Shows + Films to See Japan

Do you ever get so invested in a show that you feel like you personally know the characters? (Looking at you, FriendsHow I Met Your MotherParks and Recreation, and Schitt's Creek fans!)

You can use that feeling to your advantage and watch TV that makes you feel like you have experienced a different place too! Try taking a television trip to Japan by checking out these Japanese shows and films.

If you don't think you'd like anime because you don't like cartoons, give some of these older, more mature titles a chance. You'd be surprised how emotional and deep some animated stories can be.

5 Anime That Teach Kids About Japan

Kids love watching cartoons, and besides being entertained, they can learn a lot from them too. While traveling to Japan may not be an option right now, you can give your kids the experience of taking in a new culture and learning by watching Japanese cartoons.

When selecting anime shows for your kids, you'll want to make sure that they are family-friendly. Just because a show is animated doesn't mean it's appropriate for all ages, and there are a lot of anime shows with mature content. Here is a list of kid-safe anime that will teach them a lot.

Learn How to Play Japanese Shogi

Maybe you can't travel to Japan right now, but you can learn how to play a classic Japanese game! Shogi is very similar to chess, but it is a little more complex. Also, the pieces have the names written in Japanese characters, so if you don't know the language, keeping track of which one is which is more challenging.

If you're looking for ways to exercise your brain, learning how to play Shogi is a fun way to do it.

How to Make Cute Bento Lunches

I wish I could go to Japan right now—just because of how cute all of the food is! So I decided to bring a little bit of Japan to my home and make my own super cute food. And you can too. Here are some guides to making adorable Japanese bento lunches.

Tip: Cute food doesn't have to just be in a box! Once I master the art of making those adorable faces, I'm going to start putting them on everything I make. Pancakes, pizza, cookies, tacos—I mean everything.

Order These Japanese Sweets Online

Experience Japan through your senses—starting with taste! One of my favorite things about traveling to different countries is trying the candy there. If you have a sweet tooth like I do, you'll love these Japanese sweet treats that are absolutely worth the higher costs from being imported.

Plus, you can impress your kids with unique candy that they can't find anywhere else. While some grocery stores cary a few imported Asian sweets like Hello PandaPocky, and Hi-Chew, the inventory is still pretty limited.

Here are some great candies to order online and experience Japan!

Follow Hayley Hyer @hayhyer