The health benefits of eating seaweed regularly are now well known, but just as the English-speaking world is waking up to them, we are being told that the traditional diet and consumption of seaweed in Japan are “on the decline” as people turn to more “westernized” food.
If you live in Japan, or you’re just visiting, you’ll probably be visiting a shinto shrine at some point, for any number of reasons (but probably sightseeing). If not, you really should. It’s a chance to see something very different from home, and beautiful as well.
Dressing up in traditional Japanese clothing can be a lot of fun, and recently renting kimono while sightseeing is very popular. In Japan, traditional clothes are called 和服 (wafuku which literally means "Japanese clothes"), to distinguish them from 洋服 (yōfuku or "Western clothes").
Gift giving is an important social custom in Japan. There are seasonal presents in the summer and winter, gifts given to celebrate special occasions, and souvenirs which are essential after a trip.Collectively all these forms of gift-giving are called zōtō (贈答), and they represent an important social obligation. Below is a short guide to common types of gift giving in Japan.
Japan is a country with a very long, rich history; in particular, it's one with a history you can see just about all around you. It's very hard to go anywhere without running into the ruins of old castles, or perfectly functioning castles, ancient temples and shrines, 500-year-old streets, and so on.