While most of us go on vacation to enjoy ourselves, sometimes travel can be a little stressful: Flights get cancelled, trains run late and personal items get lost. But even if one of these travel woes should happen to you, there are still ways to recover. Here are 5 great ways to unwind on your trip in Japan:
Onsen are natural hot springs heated by volcanoes, and they are plentiful in Japan. Many Japanese regularly go to onsen, not only to relax, but for health benefits as well. The minerals in onsen water are said to have healing properties. Many onsen have spa services too, so you can get a massage or a facial while you’re there and melt away the stress. You can also choose from many types of onsen, such as indoor or outdoor, different water types, and different onsen themes, but one thing they all have in common is they are designed to be relaxing.
Visit an Animal Cafe.
Studies have shown petting animals reduces stress. And while you won’t have your pets with you, luckily, animal cafes are plentiful in Japan. The cafes specialize in specific types of animals, so you can pretty much take your pick, from kitties, to bunnies, and even tame little owls. The animals will help you take your mind off your troubles (and in my experience, you leave feeling happy and refreshed). Most animal cafes have food and drink, so you can comfortably spend as much time as you need there. For more info on animal cafes, check out Japan’s Animal Cafes: Where Cats and Coffee Come Together.
Get Pampered at a Spa.
Nothing relieves tension like being pampered for a day, and a spa is a great place to make this happen. Japan has many spas (and in fact, Japan even has its own type of massage, called shiatsu, which focuses on pressure points and joints). At the spa, you can choose great relaxation options like a manicure, pedicure, facial or massage, or just book the treatment(s) of your choice. Whatever you choose, the goal of the practitioners is to focus on you in a tranquil environment. Sounds nice doesn’t it? For more info on Tokyo beauty salons, see Getting Your Beauty on in Tokyo: Top 10 English-speaking Hair and Nail Salons.
Visit a Temple or Shrine.
When you’re stressed, sometimes you just need some quiet time alone. Japanese temples and shrines are great places to get away from the crowds and decompress. Shrines and temples often have tree-lined grounds and tranquil gardens where visitors can sit and enjoy the beauty of nature, and if you time it right, you can also meditate. Monks and priests perform chanting ceremonies daily, so hang out by the temple’s main building if you’re interested in this option. As a bonus, entry to the grounds of temples and shrines is often free. (One note: Temples/shrines can get very crowded during holidays, and they don’t all have large grounds, so be sure to check online before you go.)
If you just need to cut loose and relieve some travel-related stress, head to karaoke. Japan is the birthplace of karaoke, and you can find karaoke bars and venues in most cities where you can belt out your favorite tunes. Most venues rent private rooms by the hour, and chains like Karaoke Kan and Big Echo are plentiful and can accommodate most group sizes. (Bonus: Karaoke is usually a cheap form of entertainment too!)
So if your travels have you stressed, or you just want some time to relax or cut loose, try one of these 5 natural stress-relievers: Head to an onsen, visit an animal cafe, get pampered at a spa, visit a temple or shrine, or do karaoke. Not only will you enjoy yourself while you’re there, you’ll leave feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy the rest of your travels in Japan.