rising sun soundscape

Japanese geishaThere’s more to Japan than meets the eye and Intrepid leader Aaron Davis explains why the Land of the Rising Sun can also be music to your ears…

“Japan is a photographer’s dream. From the austere beauty of traditional shrines to the vibrant embroidered designs of women’s kimono or the explosive beauty of cherry blossoms in spring, there’s no doubt that this land is a feast for the eyes! But I always advise Intrepid travellers to take time to close your eyes or put down the camera and just listen to the sounds of the country. There’s a lot to hear.

Although Japanese people may have a reputation overseas for being quiet and reserved, once you arrive here you’ll see that’s not the case at all! Walk into any shop or restaurant and you’ll hear the staff greet you with enthusiastic shouts of Irrashaimasei! (Welcome!). Visit a Shinto shrine and hear worshipers clap loudly to catch the attention of the gods. Watch a sumo match and listen to wrestlers slap their bellies as they strut around the ring.

If your ears tire of all the clapping, yelling and slapping, go to Tokyo’s Meji Shrine and listen to the sound of your feet on the stone paths, or hike Mt Fuji and listen to the crickets singing in the mountain’s forests. Or attend a tea ceremony in Kyoto and notice the gentle bubble of boiling water and the musical tinkle water makes when the tea master pours it into the bowl.

You can easily use up reams of film or cartons of memory cards capturing the visual beauty of Japan. But why not bring a digital sound recorder on your trip as well to take audio snapshots of this remarkable soundscape?”

Tour Japan with Intrepid on trips like these great small group adventures:
Land of the Rising Sun – 14 days
Japan Basix – 15 days

* photo by Martine Cotton – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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