Japan is such a vibrant country that no two days will feel the same during your gap year there. The technological future of the world is basically all designed in Tokyo, so the geek in you will feel like you’re Paradise, while on the other hand, Japan also has some of the most beautiful gardens and parks on Earth. Traveling from the tranquillity of the ancient ruins of Shinto to the chaotic life in a huge metropolis, you’ll certainly feel like you are in a land of huge contrasts.
You might be asking yourself if a gap year in Japan really is worth it. Well, it definitely is! Japan is a treasure of civilization: it depicts every aspect of human growth, evolution and creativity. The Land of the Rising Sun, where the East meets the West, is home to sumo, geishas, sake, sushi and the legendary samurai. Clear your mind and prepare to be overstimulated by thousands of years of history and culture, next to enormous comic book stores and futuristic showrooms.
Tokyo, the country’s capital, is one of the most fast-paced urban centres around the world. Japanese pop culture flourishes all over this place, especially in the Shibuya and Harajuku districts, Studio Ghibli anime center and the Tokyo National Museum. Many foreign tourists are fascinated by Japanese ancient history, so it’s not a surprise that the Imperial Palace, the Meiji Shrine, and Sensō-ji temple are very popular attractions. When the night comes, make sure you don’t miss the fun of their amazing karaoke shows!
Working in Japan
Although volunteering can be an option while on your stay, you should keep in mind that Japan is an expensive country and as such, it is very likely that you will need to find yourself a job in order to enjoy your gap year in here. Teaching English in their schools is one of the best jobs to choose from. Otherwise, if you don’t know their language, bar work will be your main option. A wide range of internship programs are also available for undergraduate and graduate students who want to spend one to six months in Japan.
Once you’ve finished your time in Japan, the options for further travel are huge. South-East Asia is a favourite choice among backpackers, as is the huge and mystical China. Australia is also easily reachable, as is the west coast of the USA. Essentially, however, Narita International Airport in Tokyo is incredibly well-served, so it’s possible to head anywhere when you’ve finished a gap year in Japan.