Think differently about travel Ryan Biddulph The Real Japan Rob Dyer
Blog, Travel

How (and Why) to Think Differently About Travel

​​Do you plan to travel to Japan? Oodles of valued travel resources dot the web. Look around. Plan now. Do your homework. Travel when the temporary travel ban goes away.

Think differently about travel Ryan Biddulph The Real Japan Rob Dyer

​How (and Why) to Think Differently About Travel
by Ryan Biddulph

Change Is The Only Constant

Change is the only constant.

Nothing stays the same.

Based on this core truth of life, any temporary travel lapse is... temporary. Life is temporary.

Travel bans? Temporary.

Any news cycle influencing travel bans is... once again... temporary, transient, and highly subject to change. Knowing this, I plan to travel in the now because when folks begin traveling again I simply hit the ground running, taking my next trip.

Think differently about travel Ryan Biddulph The Real Japan Rob Dyer

​Young kimono wearers in Kyoto

My wife and I vibe with the Pacific Northwest in both the US and Canada as our next trip. Anywhere from Northern California to British Columbia works quite nicely for us. House sits seem scarce now. But we receive email alerts. 

Change being constant, when house sits for that region begin popping up, we will gobble ‘em up. Or we will rent an Airbnb. Or we may stay in a hotel. Matters not. The key is to plan for trips now to seize the moment. 

Thinking Differently

Most human beings live in an illusion.

People wait to do things based on conditions, circumstances and situations. For example, if a global travel ban exists, most people do not ponder, plan, coordinate and travel, ​until global travel bans dissolve. 

But if you think differently and plan to travel well before the ban gets lifted, you fly out the first or second day of the ban dissolving.

Think differently about travel Ryan Biddulph The Real Japan Rob Dyer

​The majestic Mt. Fuji peeks through the clouds

Most people won’t travel for weeks or even months after bans disappear because most people live outside-in; wait for circumstances to pass before making decisions and moving into action. Few thinkers decide and act ​before circumstances and situations change. 

Pay strict attention to these thinkers. Note travellers with vision.

Observe travellers who live in the moment. Being present influences you to do all legwork necessary in order to travel the moment global travel begins, again.

Plan Now for Later Travels

Never allow manipulative news cycles to paralyze you into sustained inaction.

I never follow the news because all news-worthy, life-changing events occur within. My thoughts and feelings colour my experience. Headlines do not. I take action daily to lay out where I wish to travel in the future. I also ponder lodging. 

Think differently about travel Ryan Biddulph The Real Japan Rob Dyer

​Himeji Castle - often cited as Japan’s finest castle

Plan now for later travels. Prepare yourself.

Worry not about lags because plans and actual travels will meet, in good time. Time is not the enemy. Fear is the enemy. Travellers fear not being able to travel but facing, feeling and releasing said fear makes you present, grateful and focused on enjoying your homeland while planning for future trips.

Oodles of valued travel resources dot the web. Do you plan to travel to Japan? Rob provides you with a rich source of due diligence here

Look around. Plan now. Do your homework. Travel when the temporary travel ban goes away.

Fly and Stay When Change Comes

Sitting on the sidelines when change invites you to get in the game feels like dying to me. Life is for people who choose to live, to lead and to be the first to do worthwhile, fun, freeing, inspiring things.

Travel immediately when you get the OK to travel. Do not wait or hesitate. 

Most people vibe fear. Most folks think traveling is a bit risky or even dangerous after bans. I believe it’s risky or dangerous to let fear rule your mind. Feel fear, release this fuel for risk and danger, and proceed to travel after getting the OK to travel.

Think differently about travel Ryan Biddulph The Real Japan Rob Dyer

The vermilion torii gates of Izushi Castle, Hyogo Prefecture

Flight tickets and lodging secured during your planning phase, now you fly to and travel through your next desired locations. Hit the travel ground running. Never wait. Seize the moment. Get back into the travel groove.

Reflect on Past Travels with Gratitude (and For Due Diligence)

I spend most time working as a professional blogger during travel bans, but my spare time seems filled with images and videos from my prior nine years of circling the globe. Revisit past travels to feel grateful for your journeys. 

Feel grateful to feel good during travel bans. Feel hope. See possibility. Know life is change.

VIDEO: Welcome To The Real Japan

Simply gazing at a few of your travel photos and watching a few of your videos reminds you; we will all be travelling again in no time. Plus you feel appreciation for living a neat life of globe trotting.

Plan Future Travels Based on Past Experience

Reflecting on past travels yields due diligence for future travels. My wife and I adored our three months in New Zealand during 2018. From its pristine nature, to warm locals, to Western creature comforts, we loved spending time with Kiwis.

Think differently about travel Ryan Biddulph The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Author ​Ryan Biddulph in New Zealand

Pondering future travels, I want a similar experience but closer to home. Enter British Columbia. Equally staggering natural beauty, kind and genuine locals plus Western amenities make for a keen match.

Do your due diligence for future travels by revisiting past trips. Spot patterns. Recall what vibed with you and what did not resonate with you. Plan future travels based on past experience.

Focus on Gain Not Loss

Most humans focus on the loss of travel during bans. I focus on the gain on increased planning, more due diligence, gratitude for past trips and a certain level of excitement for when the travel gates open again. 

Humanity is wonderful but largely flawed and prone to falling prey to the illusions of fear and loss, making most humans easily manipulated, living in a predominant state of loss and restriction.  

Think differently about travel Ryan Biddulph The Real Japan Rob Dyer

​Taikodani Inari Shrine, Tsuwano, Shimane Prefecture

Being a devout meditator, experienced yin yogi and budding Kriya yogi, I largely see through the illusion of news cycles to feel whole, complete and like all good things are increasing in my life, no matter what the outside world suggests.

Hit The Ground Running When the Travel Gates Open Again

Develop your mental muscles. Meditate. Do yoga. Make inner world advancement #1 in your life to see gain, not loss, during temporary periods of travel bans. I feel as grateful for circling the globe as ever and not because I am grounded (quarantined) in New Jersey. Home is good. 

I found great stability here in the States blogging-wise, business-wise and life-wise. I also feel grateful by reflecting on my travel experiences over nine years of my life. Feeling good, grateful and grounded (spiritually), I will vibe high and hit the ground running when the travel gates open again.

I suggest you do the same.

Ryan Biddulph Bloggin From Paradise The Real Japan Rob Dyer

About the Author

Ryan Biddulph inspires with his blog, courses and 100 plus eBooks at Blogging From Paradise.

How to Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese

One of the major considerations with travelling in Japan is the inscrutable Japanese language.

A seemingly incomprehensible, often kaleidoscopic, barrage of cryptic symbols awaits the foreign traveller who doesn’t speak or read the language.

I’ve been exploring Japan since 2000 and I’ve picked up plenty of tips along the way.

I’ve distilled decades of my experience into this ebook for you.

This practical Guide and Workbook covers all the essential basics you need to ensure your first (or next) trip to Japan is as Amazing as you deserve it to be.

TRJ Resources

​Author Ryan Biddulph's website

Blogging From Paradise

The Real Japan's Travel Planning Service

Travel Planning Service

​Japan Travel Guidebook

​​​​​How to Travel in Japan Without S​​​​​​​​​peaking Japanese


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Think differently about travel Ryan Biddulph The Real Japan Rob Dyer

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Robot Restaurant Tokyo The Real Japan
Activities, Blog, Planning, Resources

Top 10 Most Popular Activities in Japan

I'm often asked... What are the ​best things to do in Japan?

But 'best' can be subjective. ​WhatI like and what you like might well be different. However, there's no​thing subjective about what activities people are actually booking. ​

Here then are the Top 10 most ​popular activities in Japan. These are the most popular based on the actual number of activities booked ​by visitors to*.​

*This post is regularly updated. Last update: ​11 April 2020

Top 10 Most Popular Activities in Japan
by Rob Dyer

Top 10 most popular activities in Japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

​Welcome To The Top 10

​I've had a good rummage and pulled out the facts and figures on what you've booked up until now. And you've been having all sorts of experiences and adventures during 2019.

Then I thought, why not share a post of those Top 10? So whenever someone asks me a similar question I can simply point them to what actually is the most popular.

Next I figured why not keep this post regularly updated so the website will always contain the current, most popular activities? So that's what I'm doing.

You can then read through them, see which (if any) you've already experienced, and discover any that are new to you.

A Few Surprises

There's a few of the 'usual suspects' in the list, but also several that I didn't see coming at all. (I had no idea that the Kawaii Monster Cafe would make the top 10 , let alone be so high.)

And the No. 1 spot might surprise you as much as it did me.

So that this Top 10 isn't just one huge tease, I've included links for you to book the activities as part of your next trip.

​​Here then are the Top 10 Most Popular Activities in Japan (as booked by members of The Real Japan Community).

​Let's start the countdown to the Number One position...

10. Legoland Japan, Nagoya

Legoland Japan Nagoya The Real Japan

​Lego was a big part of my life as a child. I was a member of the Lego Fan Club, even submitting photos of my creations in the hope of winning one of their regular prizes. I never did, but I did once win a big bag of the plastic bricks at a summer fair one time.

If Legoland had existed in the 1970s you can bet I would have been there!

So it's nice to see that Legoland Japan in Nagoya starts our Top 10. In the tradition of Lego inventor Ole Kirk Christiansen, this family-oriented theme park is where inspiring education meets exciting play.

There are over 40 ​rides and shows to experience in seven themed zones, plus engaging, interactive attractions where creativity runs wild.

  • ​Over 40 rides, shows, and interactive attractions
  • Combined ​Legoland + Sea Life Nagoya option available
  • ​Flexible E-Tickets available

9. ​​Early Morning Training Sumo Stable Tour, Tokyo

Sumo Training Stable The Real Japan

​​Aside from actually attending a sumo tournament, it is possible to ​watch live sumo wrestling at an early-morning training session.

​These sumo stable tours take place in between the tournaments and are a rare chance to witness​ ​sumo training up close. This isn't just some show put on for tourists. These are ​actual training sessions to which a small number of members of the public get access to.

​It's possible to get an exclusive photo opportunity with wrestlers after their training for the ultimate selfie souvenir. Although the Tokyo tour is our number nine entry, the same tour is also available in Osaka - details on that can be found here.

Read ​Our Guide: to ​Visiting A Sumo Tournament​​ to see what happens when these giants are in competition in the ring.

  • ​See sumo stars close up
  • ​Learn about the historical roots of sumo wrestling
  • ​Exclusive photo opportunity with the sumo wrestlers after the training

​8. Studio Ghibli Museum, Mitaka

Studio Ghibli Museum The Real Japan

​​Anime giant Studio Ghibli's ​ghostly fantasy Spirited Away  won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2001.

​This official museum/park dedicated to Studio Ghibli films, characters and designs is a total delight and a perfect way to spend a few hours - whether you're a child or just a child at heart. It's located in Mitaka, an attractive and quiet suburb of Tokyo.

​Demand for tickets regularly outstrips supply and tickets are not available at the museum and must be bought in advance​. So it is essential to book in advance if you want to visit this magical world.

Read ​Our Guide: to ​Visiting The Studio Ghibli Museum​ for top tips to make the most of your time there

  • ​Select preorder or last-minute options
  • ​Watch one of Miyazaki's earliest films
  • ​Ghibli Ticket Guarantee

​7. Guided Tour of the Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum tour The Real Japan

​Japan's National Museum first opened its doors in 1872, making it Japan’s oldest museum.

​It houses a stunning and extensive collection of significant historical and cultural assets, focusing on ancient and medieval Japanese art and Asian art along the Silk Road.

Located in Ueno Park, in Taito, the north-eastern part of Tokyo, it's the largest in Japan, housing 87 national treasures as well as 634 cultural assets. You'll see how Japanese art has changed over time from the use of clay to the many Buddhist and samurai arts.

Read Our Guide:  ​Secret Tour of Tokyo National Museum​​ for ​a rare behind-the-scenes peek inside.

  • ​The best place to enjoy and learn Japanese culture and history
  • ​114,000 items, including 87 National Treasures
  • ​Samurai armor, sword, Ukiyoe, Buddhist sculptures

​6. Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

Universal Studios Japan USJ The Real Japan Rob Dyer

​​For mayhem with Minions, Harry Potter ​wizardry, iconic Hollywood movies like Jurassic Park, Spider-man, Terminator, Jaws  magic, thrills, spills and ​fun, it has to be Universal Studios Japan​ in Osaka.

I've been coming here since 2002 - during its 1st Anniversary - and it still entertains like few other theme parks. No wonder it attracted a staggering 14.9 million visitors during 2017 and is currently the 4th most-​attended theme park in the world!

Read ​Our Guide: Universal Studios Japan: Ultimate Guide for top tips to make the most of your time there – which passes to buy, rides not to miss, shows to catch and other insider know-how.

  • ​1, 1.5, and 2 Day Studio Passes
  • ​Universal Express Passes - skip the queues
  • ​Royal Studio Passes - all rides, all attractions!

​5. Kaiyukan Aquarium, Osaka

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan The Real Japan

​​Located next to Osaka bay, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is one of the world's largest aquariums, and home to the gargantuan whale shark.

The best way to experience this incredible place is to make your way to the top level and then slowly make your way down to the ground floor. The interior is designed as a walkway that spirals down around the huge tanks that house an incredible array of sealife.

Come for feeding time to meet penguins, dolphins, sea lions up close... and thousands more specimens from across the Pacific.

  • ​One of the largest aquariums in the world
  • ​Over 30,000 marine creatures from 620 species!
  • ​15 tanks ​showcasing ​regions of the Pacific Rim

​4. Kawaii Monster Cafe, Tokyo

Kawaii Monster Cafe Tokyo The Real Japan

​​Reserve a seat at the Kawaii Monster Café, Tokyo, for the overwhelming kawaii dining experience designed by Sebastian Masuda. Prepare for a pop culture explosion unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

There are regular shows at the cafe dedicated to all things kawaii, from pop culture nights to burlesque shows. For fans, kawaii isn't just a fashion it's an entire subculture.​

Masuda is a Japanese artist and self-proclaimed champion of all things kawaii (cute). As well as exhibiting in art galleries around the world, ​examples of his work and merchandise can be seen, and purchased of course, at his store 6% Dokidoki in Tokyo.

  • ​The most peculiar cafe in Harajuku
  • ​Meet the five Mascot Monster Girls
  • ​Kawaii areas designed by Sebastian Masuda

​3. Visiting A Sumo Tournament

Sumo Wrestling Tournament Tickets The Real Japan

​Securing tickets to the famous sumo wrestling tournaments in Japan comes in at number three. The national sumo tournament is held only 6 times a year and tickets sell out quickly. To be sure of a seat you'll need to book your tickets in advance.​

Even if you're not into wrestling, visiting a sumo tournament is an entertaining and memorable way to spend from a couple of hours up to half a day. ​

Watch the star wrestlers arriving outside the stadium. Catch the rising stars of this national sport during the afternoon bouts. ​The big-name wrestlers (who are like rock stars in Japan) start their ​bouts around 6pm.

Read ​Our Guide: to ​Visiting A Sumo Tournament​​ for top tips to make the most of your time there.

  • ​Reserve your tickets ​in advance before they sell out!
  • ​Enter and leave the sumo tournament anytime on your ticket date
  • ​Rated #1 Experience in Asia in the 2018 TripAdvisor™ Travelers' Choice Awards

​2. Robot Restaurant, Tokyo

Robot Restaurant Tokyo The Real Japan

Robot Restaurant - Photo: Voyagin

Visit Robot Restaurant Shinjuku for ​a night you'll never forget! Dazzling lasers, crazy decor, robots, dancers, and only-in-Japan madness. The food is nothing special, here it's all about the show.

​The love it/loathe it Robot Restaurant in Tokyo's red-light district of Shinjuku is currently a solid second place in our Top 10. With Japanese travel website Voyagin regularly offering as much as 38% off the ​usual entry price I can understand why this has been popular.

For those who want to be in the thick of the action, front row seats are only bookable with Voyagin. Prepare to have your mind well and truly blown!

  • ​Crazy decor, lasers, robots, dancing girls, madness!
  • ​Skip the huge queues outside - go straight in
  • ​Instant E-ticket: no printing required

1. Watching ​Baseball at Koshien Stadium, Kobe

Top 10 most popular activities in Japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

​​Going to a baseball game has, by far, been the most popular activity among The Real Japan community during 2019. And out of all the venues available, going to see the Hanshin Tigers at their home stadium of Koshien has topped the league.

Sure, there are bigger teams (hello Yomiuri Giants!) but there's clearly something about the fanatical nature of those who follow Kobe's finest that's firmly put watching games at Koshien Stadium at the top of our list.

Read ​Our Guide: to ​Going To A Baseball Game in Japan​ for top tips to make the most of your time there.

  • ​24 hour ticket collection
  • Hanshin Tigers are the oldest professional club in Japan
  • Koshien Stadium is situated between Osaka and Kobe

What's Missing For You?

As I said at the start, I regularly maintain this list, so there ​will be changes over time.

It will be interesting to see what new entries appear and which drop out, and to see which rise up or fall down the Top 10.

You may want to bookmark this post and come back to keep updated on the current Top 10 standings.

Is there anything missing from the list for you?

Maybe you've had an awesome experience that isn't in the Top 10 that you think ought to be? If so, ​please ​share your recommendations with other readers by leaving a comment below...

TRJ Resources

This Top 10 is compiled from bookings made by The Real Japan readers through the Voyagin website.

Founded in 2011, Voyagin is a travel tours and activities ​booking platform (in English) headquartered in Tokyo.

​Voyagin website

Japan Travel Guidebook

Get my book How to Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese HERE.

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Top 10 most popular activities in Japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Join a Growing Community of Japan Travellers

​​Why not sign up for our weekly Japan Travel Bulletin? Get instant access and download your copy of our Guide to Amazing Adventures in Japan, receive access to our free Resource Library and Private Facebook Group.

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Kyoto Traveler's Inn The Real Japan Rob Dyer
Blog, Exploring, Planning, Travel

JAL Japan Explorer Pass

​Japan Airlines offer an excellent flight deal - which is only available to foreign tourists.

It's called the JAL Japan Explorer Pass.

​A Simple, Low-Cost Solution

​Prices start from a little as 5,400yen - that's only $50 / AU$66 / £36 - including tax!

It's is a simple and low cost fare for travelers wishing to explore the unique culture and feel of local Japan.

The fare can be used to access over 30 cities across JAL’s domestic network.

The pass provides an easy solution to travelling beyond Tokyo and the well-trodden tourist routes.

JAL Explorer Pass The Real Japan Rob Dyer

​Day trip to Shirakawago, Gokayama or Takayama from Kanazawa

Prices and Routes Covered

It's available at a special price for any applicable route within Japan at 3 price points:

5,400 yen (Tax included):
Routes within Hokkaido & Routes departing from/to Tohoku

7,560 yen (Tax included):
Routes between Tokyo and Osaka
Routes between Tokyo and Nanki-Shirahama
Routes between Okinawa main island and outlying islands

10,800 yen (Tax included): Routes aside from the above.

*Fare is valid for Economy Class travel only. (Class J, First Class may be purchased at the time of check-in on a standby basis.)

*Depending on the availability, JAL Japan Explorer Pass fare may not display for some routes.

JAL Explorer Pass The Real Japan geisha

Dinner with a top level geisha performance in Kagurazaka, Tokyo

​Free Wi-Fi Included

​JAL offers ​free internet access on ​their Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft across Japan, so it's east to stay connected onboard.

For Nagoya (Chubu) - Okinawa (Naha), Okinawa (Naha) - Miyako / Ishigaki routes, inflight Wi-Fi is available on some flights only. You may check the latest departure and arrival information starting one day prior to departure for the Wi-Fi availability on your flight.

JAL Explorer Pass Miyajima The Real Japan

JAL Japan Explorer Pass website

Eligibility For The Pass

​Only individuals residing outside Japan with a return ticket leaving Japan are eligible to purchase JAL Japan Explorer Pass fares.

Reservation and purchase of domestic flight sectors must be completed through JAL’s website.

A long list of destinations and routes, along with full details and terms are available on the JAL Japan Explorer Pass website.

Take a look - it might give you some ideas for exploring The Real Japan! :-)

JAL Explorer Pass Ishigaki The Real Japan

Try an introduction diving course in Ishigaki Island

ANA's Experience Japan Fare

All Nippon Airways (ANA) also offer a similar discount ​program called the ANA Experience Japan Fare. You can read more about that HERE.

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JAL Japan Explorer Pass The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Feedback and questions welcome - leave a comment below.

Join a Growing Community of Travellers!

Sign up for my weekly Japan Travel Bulletin today, download your copy of my Guide to Amazing Adventures in Japan, receive access to my free Resource Library and Private Facebook Group.

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Japan Travel Tours The Real Japan Rob Dyer
Blog, Planning, Resources, Travel

The Real Japan Travel Tours & Experiences


We’re excited and delighted to tell you that we’ve just launched a new service – The Real Japan Travel Tours & Experiences.

Partnering With The Best

The Real Japan has teamed up with some of the finest and most creative travel companies operating in Japan to bring you the very best selection of tours, activities and experiences of The Real Japan.

Often with exclusive member-only deals and discounts.


Japan Travel Tours The Real Japan Rob DyerFrom Tokyo: Mount Fuji Private Transfer


A Few of Our Partners

Here’s just a few of them:

GetYourGuide – Online platform for tours, attractions and activities

TourRadar – Booking tours made easy

TripAdvisor – Best of Japan tourism

Voyagin – Book a trip you’ll never forget

Viator – Travel with an insider

To introduce this new service we’re focusing our launch on a company called GetYourGuide.

(You may not have heard of them but they are the world’s largest online platform for booking tours, attractions and activities.)

Below is a selection of the bestselling tours and activites based on user reviews.


Most Popular Tours

We’ve hand-picked these (and many others), so we hope there’s something for you to include in your next trip to the land of the rising sun.

All come with GetYourGuide’s best price guarantee and they work only with professional local guides.

Tours and activities can be booked last minute or months in advance.


Japan Travel Tours The Real Japan Rob DyerMake your Woodblock Print ‘Ukiyo-e style’ in Asakusa


Finally, to make it easier to find what you are interested in, we’ve sorted the deals into Categories and Bestsellers.


Launch Categories

Over the coming weeks and months we’ll be introducing more of the companies we’ve partnered with who can turn trips to Japan into amazing experiences.

Just look for the new ‘Travel‘ section in the website menus.

If you have any thoughts or comments please let me know by leaving a comment below.


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Japan Travel Tours The Real Japan Rob Dyer

If you have any thoughts or comments please let me know by leaving a comment below.


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Join a Growing Community of Travellers!

Sign up for my biweekly bulletin today, download your copy of my Guide to Amazing Adventures in Japan, receive access to my free Resource Library and Private Facebook Group.

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