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All That You Need to Know About Feng Shui Living Room Ideas

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Home is the most comfortable place on earth. It is the only space which we all crave for after a busy day of work. It is thus very important to make sure that the aura inside the house is positive and refreshing and that whoever comes into the house is welcomed with good vibes. This is possible if we follow the Feng Shui tips and know why we need them.

Your house can be a big mansion or just a small, cozy studio apartment, the most important part of the house in Feng Shui consideration is the living room. This is because the living room of any house is the main space in which the family members spend the maximum time of the day and also socialize the most. This space must always remain refreshing and lively to help the family members stay happy and bonded.

Here we have a few general tips to make your FengShui living room design ideas better:

Rules of Feng shui living room
Feng shui fountain - click the image for more details

1. The direction of the Living Room

The location of your living room is vital, check out the following points to know why:

Two outer Walls

The direction of the living room in the house plays an important role. The location is the main driving force of energy in the house. The living room must have a minimum of two outer walls. This means that there should be such Feng Shui living room layout that it is closer to the external part of the house and the energy directly enters the living area first.

You have to keep in mind that the energy should not travel via other rooms because in that way it gets slow and stale. Also, this design of a living room makes it perfect for other Feng Shui energies around to activate faster as soon as they come in contact with some good energy.

Should Not Be the Center

The living room should not be located right at the center of your house. You have to make sure that the location is not so deep that you have to walk through more than one room to reach the living space. 

It is because the living room is located so deep, the energy or ‘qi’ which travels into it will not be able to reach easily and have obstacles. Also, till the time it reaches the living room, the flow of energy may become slow or could stop.

The Ventilation Matters

The living room, as per Feng Shui living room décor ideas should have more than one exterior wall so that it receives ample amount of sunlight. Apart from this natural light coming due to the walls, the windows will also help to fetch in the fresh air and more sunlight.

Your living room must be well-lit and well-ventilated so that good energy along with the fresh air keeps flowing properly. This is an optimal part of Feng Shui – health and vitality.

No facing doors

As per a Feng Shui living room, two doors should not be facing each other. The tunnel effect is created and fresh energy goes away as soon as it enters from the other door. This means that the other rooms are deprived of positive vibes that could enter the house.

Correct Number of Doors and Windows

As per the Feng Shui living room rules, there should be proper ventilation facilities in the living room. At the same time make sure that there are not even three doors and four windows in the room. The presence of several doors and windows in a living room create chaos in the qi current. This can have a damaging effect on people present in the living room.

2. The layout of a Feng Shui Living Room

After deciding the location of your living room, it is now important to optimize the layout. Keep these tips in your mind while doing this:

Spacious

Make sure that the living room in your house is spacious enough for the family members and also for guests. An ideal Feng Shui living room should be spacious enough to accommodate anybody who comes to visit you as well as perfect for the whole family to gather together. A spacious living room encourages fresh qi energy to freely house. Come inside the house.

Comfortable

It is not always necessary to have a large living space to make it comfortable enough for everyone. An ideal living room should be spacious and comfortable no matter how big/small it is. The main trick to make a room more comfortable is how you lay the furniture and how perfectly you arrange them.

Another factor that affects the comfort level is the choice of furniture. Make sure whatever you invest in is spacious as well as comfortable.

Walking space

An ideal Feng Shui living room should have furniture placed in such a way that there is enough space for anyone to walk around. It means that there is enough natural space within the placement of all the furniture.

In case there is a chair placed in an awkward position, there are high chances that you might get hurt while trying to walk past. Apart from being a health hazard, such improper setting of furniture prevents the free flow of qi energy.

The fireplace

Did you know that the fireplace in your living space is of high importance? A fireplace in the north-east direction encourages calm and peaceful vibes. It also helps in fortunate education.

On the other hand, a fireplace in the south and south-west brings in more love and romance. You can use colors such as orange, red, pink and shades of green on the whole southern side of the living room for more benefits as per Feng Shui  Bagua.

The natural view

Like you already know, windows enhance the flow of good qi energy into the living room. The furniture should also be arranged keeping in mind the position of the windows.

A good Feng Shui living room furniture placement means you can admire the outside view from anywhere in the living room. You should also hang mirrors in proper places to help get some more view of nature outside, from places which are not directly across the windows.

Placing the television

The Feng Shui living room TV placement can benefit you in several ways. As per the Feng Shui, Bagua map of a living room, placing the television in the north side of the living room is the best. This positioning is known to bring you better luck in your career.

On the other hand, placing your television in the south can fetch you fame and good luck as well. Televisions are said to have a lot of action or yang energy which in turn activates the other energies in the place it is fixed in.

Feng shui wall decor
Feng shui wall art decor - click the image for more details

3. The layout of Feng Shui Living Room Furniture

Our living rooms are mainly made up of our furniture and decorations. It is the time now to take a look at what furniture can benefit us as per Feng Shui.

Rounded Furniture

As per Feng Shui rules, corners are known as poison arrows. These point towards negative energy to a particular point. Hard angles of any furniture signify restlessness of a living room. It is, therefore, better if you try and avoid edges and corners wherever possible.

You can invest in furniture with rounded edges to avoid any negative energy flowing inside your living room. Such furniture also makes the room look stylish and pretty.

A Sofa in the Living Room

You will be amazed to learn that out of all the furniture in your living room, the sofa is of utmost importance. There are many Feng Shui rules related to choosing the correct sofa for your living space. The sofa must sit against a broad wall. This gives it stability and also makes it safer to sit on. Other than that, the sofa should be soft and comfortable to make it pleasant for whoever sits on it.

Chairs on The Side

A living room should be such that it can accommodate every one of the family and guests together. It is therefore important to place one love seat and one or two single chairs to complete a whole sofa setting. This arrangement also makes space for a nice coffee table and hence the perfect setting for a tea-time show together.

Feng shui waterfall wall art - click the image for more details

Your coffee table

As you know that furniture or chairs with curved edges are always better in a Feng Shui living room, one exception is your coffee table. A coffee table is first very important to complete the perfect living room scene and second placing a square one is considered more auspicious.

Your coffee table is mainly used by people sitting around to place different things and thus to provide more comfort

Lighting

Proper lights in the living room activate qi energy as per FengShui rules. Natural light is the most important form of lighting for a living room. Along with that, artificial lighting arrangements also help in modifying the ambiance and for other purposes. You can fix scones and table lamps as they provide light flowing upward. Overhead lights help in other functional tasks.

feng shui arrangement for your living room
Feng shui indoor fountain

4. The Ultimate Vibe of the Living Room

More than following a few rules, Feng Shui is about the proper arrangement of everything to make a particular space look spacious, bright and also attractive to all the positive energy. It is the ultimate vibe of a living room that makes it a good Feng Shui living room.

To achieve the living room with the happiest vibes, you have to make sure that everything around is clean and there is no clutter. Mess prevents good energy to enter a room. You can use spacious, multi-purpose furniture to store in clutter and clean up the rest of the room. This saves time, energy and space.

You should also choose positive pieces of art over pieces which depict sad stories, wars, struggle or crime. For example, you can fill your walls with pleasant images of people smiling, flowers, beautiful scenes of nature or other such optimistic pieces.

You can place an aquarium in the north or south-east side of the living room as it is said to bring in wealth and opportunities. The preferable shapes are square and rectangular followed by round ones.

What is Bagua

There are 2 vastly different schools of Bagua and you need to choose one to avoid any kind of confusion or obstacles. You can also read about both and choose what’s more appealing to you. It is however very important that you choose only one style of Bagua and stick to it throughout.

Here are the 2 schools of Bagua:

  1. Classical Feng Shui school of Bagua
  2. Traditional Feng Shui school of Bagua
  3. Western Feng Shui Bagua or BTB

The first or the classical style of analyzing energy is by the help of your compass. In this style, you are supposed to take the compass in your hand and then stand at your entrance to study all the directions and the flow of energy in the house.

The modern or BTB Feng Shui living room Bagua Map is easier and more organized than its counterpart. In this style, you have to make a division of home floor plan into 9 boxes and each of the squares will refer to one out of eight most important Bagua spaces. The 9th will be Yin Yang position and also the Center of the House and will connect all the other 8 boxes.

The Feng Shui Symbols to Enhance Wealth Elements in Your Living Room

There are some basic objects and decorations that may be used to activate wealth elements in your living room. They are:

  • A bowl of crystal objects, a few coins or other symbols of wealth can be put into a bowl and placed in the central point of your coffee table.
  • If you have a Buddha painting or statue, make sure it is never disrespectfully lying down anywhere. You should make a special arrangement to place it.
  • Tie up some coins with the help of some red ribbon and hang it from something in the eastern corner of the house like a wind chime.
  • You can place a dragon-head tortoise in the south-east corner of the house. Also, it should have one coin in the mouth and should be facing the room.
  • You can hang a painting of a dragon or a statue on the eastern side of the living room. Make sure it faces the room.
  • If you get one elephant statue with the trunk trumpeting in the air, immediately place it in your living room. It is said to bring in good luck.
  • Just like the tortoise, you can also place one 3-legged wealth toad with one coin its mouth. Make sure this is also facing the room and not outside.

Know Your Directions Well of Activating Chi Energy

To activate chi energy, you have to add elements that relate to the direction of the compass in which your living room is located. You can also use the object that nourishes the main element in a particular direction to bring out most of the positive energy.

How to Feng shui your living room
Feng shui decorative elephant - click the image for more details

The north element

The element of the North as per Feng Shui is water and you can include this in your living room in several ways:

  • You can hang paintings or wallpapers depicting flowing streams or waterfalls and other waterscapes. Avoid pictures of a storm or similar sea paintings.
  • A painting of a boat or ship is also said to bring in good luck. You just have to make sure that the ship, even in the painting sails inside the room to prevent the good energy going out in the opposite direction.
  • Place an aquarium containing eight redfish and one blackfish is considered auspicious if placed in the northern corner of the living room.
  • You can place a pretty water fountain in the north of the living room so that it faces the room and not the exit door.
  • Addition of metals sculptures attracts water energy. You can use black and the color blue in this direction.

The south element

The element of the South is fire. You can include this element in the room décor   with:

  • Candles
  • Wooden furniture and other decorations that have wooden finesse.
  • A beautiful fireplace on the south wall.
  • Any other decorations in pink, orange, red and green shades.
Feng shui living room decorative ideas
Feng shui ball lighted - click the image for more details

The East and South-east Element

The element for this direction is wood followed by the earth. Incorporating examples include:

  • Wooden picture frames
  • Wooden bookshelves and lamps
  • House plants
  • Fiber rugs, for example, sisal
  • All shades of brown and green

The West and North-west Elements

The element, in this case, is metal and you can decorate your living room with:

  • Metal trays and bowls
  • Metal figures and sculptures
  • Candleholders made of any metal
  • Metallic photo frames
  • Iron or steel furniture
  • Blue, gold, bronze, tan and gray

The North-east and southwest Elements

In these directions, the earth is the element and you can choose objects and colors such as:

  • Crystals and minerals
  • Ceramics and pottery including earthen bowls, pots, and sculptures
  • Glass cut and glass-blown decorations
  • Earthy tones such as mustard, russet, brown, tan and clay

FAQ

What is the best color for living room Feng Shui?

The Feng Shui living room colors mainly depends on the direction of the room. This is the list that will help you with all the information.

East

If you are looking for the best colors for your east-facing living room, then go for colors of the wood element such as green and brown. The second-best options are blue and black. Try to stay away from red and purple colors.

South-east

The south-east side of the living room is the money area as per FengShui rules. The colors suitable for a south-east facing room are exactly those that are suitable for the east-facing room. You can just add a little golden tone to this side as this can be financially beneficial for your family.

South

The south-facing rooms have a lot of fire in them and the most suitable for such rooms are the fire and wood element colors. For example, you can go for red, orange, purple, pink, dark yellow, green and brown. Try to avoid blue and black colors for south-facing rooms.

South-west

The south-west facing rooms are those that are connected with your love and marriage energies as per Feng Shui. It is ideal to use floral motifs or some sensual fabric in blush or skin color tones. The best is to use warm and earthy tones for your south-west facing living room. You can go for warm red, pink or coral colors.

West

There should be a strong presence of metal elements in a west-facing living room which can come from gray and white colors. You can also use other warm colors but stay away from fiery colors, deep-blue and black.

North-west

The north-west is the same as the west-facing room. Just add a small metal Buddha statue and you are good to go.

North

A north-facing living room wants water and more water which can be created with mostly blue and black shades. You can also apply white and gray for some extra effects. Try to avoid earthy colors in a north-facing living room.

North-east

A northeast-facing room needs fire and earth elements of Feng Shui. It is related to spiritual growth and cultivation energy. You can add a golden Buddha mural in this room. All earthy colors plus red, orange, magenta and purple will work well.

How do I Feng Shui my small living room?

You already know that your living room is out of sync when you feel tired and unhappy even when you are trying to relax on your sofa. It is time some Feng Shui rules need to apply here and your house needs to get redecorated.

Clean up the room

Clear all the clutter and mess to stop negative Qi entering your living room. A messy living room prevents the free flow of energy inside the house. Make sure you do not have papers piled up on your desk or center table. The most important thing is to keep your entrance clean and minus all the shoes lying around.

Room division

Dividing the living room helps a lot. Dividing an already small living space is a little difficult but certainly not impossible. You can put screens or shelves to make a different space in the same room. You can put a line pf plants or maybe a bookshelf in between the living and the dining area to make some extra space which looks like a separate room.

Hang a mirror

A Feng Shui living room mirror can create miracles in your house. Try to hang mirrors in such places that the outside view gets reflected and the natural light along with it. Also, remember not to hang mirrors facing each other. Ideal places to hang mirrors are opposite windows, beside doors or on top of the fireplace.

Soothe your eyes

Add soothing objects and decorations to your living room. For example, you can hang beautiful scenery or a pretty portrait on one of the walls. You can also add small plants to decorate the shelves and desks in the room.

The five elements

There are five elements in Feng Shui- wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Try to incorporate all of these in some way or the other in your living room. They all have different benefits and encourages a healthier and happier environment.

Where is the money corner in your home?

The universal wealth or money corner is the south-eastern part of any room or home. To make sure about this corner, you need to stand in the central-point of your home and use a compass to find out the direction. Apart from this, the northern part of a house is considered as the secondary money corner.

What is the best color for a door facing east?

If your living room door faces the east, it means that the room needs and loves more of wood elements. The colors of the wood element such as brown and green are the most suitable in this case. You can also try blue and black colors, though these are more connected to the water element. However, you should avoid red and purple colors.

How can make my living room cozier?

Apply a few décor tricks to make your living room look cozier

  • Add larger furniture to your living space to not make it look large and dull.
  • Toning down the height of the room is important. For this, you can fix a nice chandelier or lamp which will occupy some space in your ceiling and will help it to look fuller.
  • You can place a rug in the room to help in grounding the floor space visually. A rug creates an illusion of making the room fuller. Also, you will have something soft to walk on and keep your feet warm in this way.
  • Make the living room look more intimate by placing several chairs and sofas around.
  • Place shallow -depth furniture instead of taller ones in the living room. For example, you can add consoles and tables of your choice.
  • A scattered decoration of lights all around makes a room look cozier.
  • Fill all the empty walls with paintings and motifs.
  • Houseplants are great options to fill in an airy and empty place.

What colors make a living room look bigger?

It is not very difficult to make a living room look bigger. The best way to create an illusion of a bigger room is by painting it lighter and soft tones such as light pink, lilac, white, light gray, light blue or light yellow. Also, hang large, wall-sized paintings to create a perfect illusion.

Make sure you are not using large furniture and instead go for space-saving, multi-purpose furniture. Along with that hang floor to ceiling curtains and do not depend on one overhead light. Invest in a few lamps which can spread the light evenly throughout the room.

Which color is best for living room as per Vaastu?

There are a few colors which help to bring in positive energy inside the house. As per Vaastu rules, colors including white, light yellow, green and blue are the best choices for a living room. These help in bringing in happiness and tranquility in the house.

You can use these colors to create a monotone or can also use a combination of these colors according to your choice. Try to avoid black, red and other fiery colors for your living room walls as per Vaastu.

Where do Feng Shui plants go in the house?

As per rules, Feng Shui plants in the living room should be best placed in the office area, the windows or in the other Bagua areas. Placing a plant means nourishing that particular zone with the wood element of Feng Shui. The east, south-east and the south Bagua areas are the best to decorate with Feng Shui plants.

These are the basic rules and guidelines of everything you need to know about living room Feng Shui.

Travel to Japan, the land of the rising sun  

Intro and Geographical info 

Islands offer a peace of mind that’s hard to find elsewhere. The very thought of being surrounded by the tranquility of the ocean engulfs the human mind into pure bliss. One such divinity can be experienced in the land of cherry blossoms, Japan. It is an island country in the Pacific Ocean bordering the East Asian continent.

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Japan, 6,852 Islands

Famous for its rich heritage and historical events, Japan stands a witness to many battles of yesteryears and testimony for disciplined culture. It is the world of technology and creativity, some of which we can name are Anime, Sumo, Sushi, Sakura and what not! 

This little island country has one of the most favorable climates. However, it varies greatly with regions from north to south. Northern Japan is a climatic treat to people from tropical areas with its cold winters and cool summers.

To get enthralled by the snowfall, regions on the coast of the Sea of Japan are a pretty sight. Southern regions are more like home with their cold winters and hot summers. Ideally, a Japanese year thrives with all the four seasons. 

Japan’s culture (Shinto, Buddhism) 

Although a cosmopolitan country with people from all walks of life, Japanese people are usually followers of Shinto and Buddhism. The tenets of Shinto were the imperial family’s descent from their Sun Goddess that reflected from the divinity of the emperor. Although after World War II, the emperor’s divinity was renounced, he stands as the official head of the Shinto religion in Japan.

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A Torii, Shinto gate, marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred

Experience Shinto in Japan

In literal terms, Shinto means ‘the way of the Gods’ and this religion has a strong relation to nature. The believers are worshipers of nature and natural places like mountain tops, forests, waterfalls, specific trees, unusual rocks, and more. Shinto believers respect their deities through a process of ritual purification.

Shinto is less solemn than the Westerners relate worshipping to. However, you will notice commercial bustle around the Asakusa shrine in Tokyo that evokes an atmosphere like a Western country fair.

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Shinto shrines at Kyoto

People clap their hands, toss coins to drop it in a box, bow respectfully, and offer prayers. The believers then move to the food stalls, souvenir shops, and amusement booths inside the sanctuary.

As you talk to locals or people who follow Shinto, they will have great insight to give you about their religion and what they believe in. Most Shinto people are ethnic and follow rituals strictly. They strike a balance between modern-day Japan with its traditional past and have unique stories to tell about their lifestyle, upbringing, and beliefs.

Buddhism in Japan

Buddhist philosophy dates back to 500 BC and originated in India. The pure doctrine of Buddhism urges people to seek Nirvana or enlightenment by giving up on desires – the main source of pain in life.

In Japan, Buddhist practices transformed from private contemplation into public charity. The need for asceticism and celibacy faded with time. Initially, the Japanese people looked as Buddhism as a protect of the noble families and the state. These were the people who built Buddhist temples near their homes. 

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About 70 Buddha stone statues in Nikko national park

The new sect of Buddhism spread after the 9th century in Japan and expanded all across the country. The religion transformed from protecting aristocracy and became the means of hope and faith for every common man. They were all attracted to the beliefs, prayers, and rituals of Buddhism.

By the end of the 12th century, the religion was as prominent as Shinto in Japan. It suffused with aspects of the Chinese Confucianism, which was relatable to the Japanese people. These included filial piety, loyalty, and family solidarity. 

Why you should visit Japan?

Japanese unique culture

Japnese culture will never fail to inspire you. It thrives in its age-old traditional values in spite of all the technological advances. You get to experience the best of both worlds throughout your stay.

Though dominated by a mechanical life with a number of renowned companies headquartered in their country, people treasure their virtue more than anything else. 

Japanese culture stands apart in terms of their approach towards others. They’re the politest people you’d have ever come across. In this modern era, Japanese people are one among the few countries where people greet each other with a slight bow.

You’ll be surprised that even bus drivers thank each person for purchasing a ticket. The three magic words – thank you, sorry and please are used at all times. However, people speak only Japanese, though English is taught as a second language in school.

This reveals their patriotism towards their mother tongue. Throughout your stay, you’ll hear the word ‘Arigato’ very often, which means ‘Thank you.’

Rules are never meant to be broken. They are staunch believers of ‘First come, first serve.’ You’ll find queues everywhere, be it a lift or a billing counter. Libraries are not the only place where people maintain silence, the everyday commute is as serene as a  place of worship.

Road rules are kept up at all times. Pedestrians are respected, most of the vehicles stop if people are walking by. Chaos is absolutely forbidden. As travelers, it is highly important to follow their values so as not to offend them. 

Landscapes in Japan 

Japan comprises of tiny islands, mountains, and valleys. Mountains dominate the country. Mount Fuji, one of the holy mountains of Japan, is a highly popular tourist destination. Being a dormant volcano, it is totally harmless. UNESCO claims Mount Fuji to be an inspiration for many artists and poets.

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The iconic symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji

Active volcanoes also contribute to volcanic landscapes. Showa-Shinzan and  Sakurajima to name a few. One shouldn’t miss Fuketsu on their visit to Japan, it is a cave where cold wind breezes out from the inside.

Besides the mountains, Japan also possesses several relaxing coastal areas. Beaches, sidelines and coral reefs are found in abundance. Check out Okinawa main island for a day out, to soak in the goodness of vitamin D. It is the abode for adventurists as it provides snorkeling opportunities.

Kerama Islands are famous for their corals and most of the tourists have been lucky enough to spot sea turtles near the beaches. For those who revel in solitude, Amami Oshima is a safe haven. It is one of the less crowded beaches in Japan.

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Kerama Islands are famous for their corals

However, metropolitan cities are lined with skyscrapers that are tall and sleek. The land is prone to earthquakes. But thanks to the brilliant minds, their architecture is made sure to withstand earthquakes. Wooden floorings are found in most of the buildings. 

Food

There’s more to Japanese food than ramen or sushi. A must-try is the Okonomiyaki pancakes made from cabbage, topped with a variety of toppings. You can choose any toppings from meat to seafood. Other must-haves are Soba noodles, Yakiniku barbecue, Tempura, Sukiyaki, and Yakitori.

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Soba noodles, a must-try in Japan

For your sweet tooth, Japan offers matcha-flavored sweets. Matcha is green tea, made from the finest tea leaves that are steamed, dried and made into a powder. You’ll get matcha-flavored ice creams, chocolates, and cookies which are healthy and tasty!

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Japanese food: perfectionism and aesthetics

 Did you know that Japan has over 200 flavors of KitKat to choose from? These range from Apple, Double-cookie to green tea, soy sauce, cherry blossom, sake, crème Brulee and ginger ale. These are just some of the things you must try in Japan.

Tokyo

The busy Tokyo metropolis has served as the capital for Japan since 1869. Unlike other countries, Japan has remained constant in its choices from the very beginning. The city bustles with life and energy. You’ll never witness a lag in the speeding lifestyle of the people in the capital. 

Home to some of the tallest towers in Japan, the Tokyo Sky Tree stands proud at 634 meters. Though the city is lined with skyrocketing skyscrapers, shrines are plenty in number. Asakusa shrine tugs at the heartstrings with its beautiful architecture. 

In spite of being a business hub, traffic is maintained and is perfectly under control. Road rules are to be followed at any cost. Japnese people never overtake other vehicles or switch lines. However, public transport is a preferred everyday commute. 

While in Tokyo, do experience the Odaiba cruise. The vessel is designed in such a futuristic way, that it almost resembles a spacecraft. It is spacious and fully air-conditioned. A truly magical voyage. 

Tokyo doesn’t compromise on its greenery either. Lush green parks and botanical gardens seep the much needed eco-friendly retreat into our systems. Zen gardens are world-famous. 

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Amazing nightlife in Tokyo
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Tokyo urban landscape
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Shibuya intersection in Tokyo

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Shibuya intersection, the most famous intersection in the world

Nightlife

Japnese people close their days much earlier. However, that doesn’t put an end to the nightlife activities that are lined up for tourists. It’s a popular saying the ‘Tokyo is the city that never sleeps!’ 

Party enthusiasts must visit the Robot Restaurant. It’s located in the Shinjuku district. Make sure to reserve seats for the place is super crowded. There’s no end for all the fun, neon lights, booze and pretty girls. For those of you who are into clubbing, do check out Roppongi and Shibuya.

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Tokyo bars

Smitten with Japnese pop culture? Kawaii monster cafe is a colorful pop culture themed hang out. From Tuesday to Friday, special shows are put up for entertainment. Never miss an opportunity to brag about the famous pop shows.

Huddle around the biggest baseball stadium, Tokyo Dome, if you happen to visit during the baseball season. It is the home to the Yomiuri Giants. Japan is truly diversified having something to offer for everyone. Be it a party or sports, this country will satiate all your needs.  

First time to the land of cherry blossoms? Let’s put an end to all the if’s and but’s battling in your mind with these 10 curated tips for people traveling to Japan for the very first time.

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Don’t miss Shinjuku at night
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The colorful Harajuku Kawaii Monster Cafe

Best nightlife Tokyo

Best tips when traveling in Japan 

Transit within the country

Let those bulky wallets remain bulky. Always prefer public transport, railways are the best. There’s no hassle as in waiting for a long time. The trains are always on time. Do experience the fastest bullet train, Shinkansen. However, if you prefer cabs, better start early to avoid traffic.

Japnese people aren’t very much into honking, so horns are seldom used and that adds up to the time taken for resolving the traffic. Be prepared to face the intervals if the travel is longer, cab drivers halt for a rest every hour.

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Shinkansen, the best way to cross Japan
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Train stations, always shiny and clean

Cheap stays

Try the capsule hotels, has been vouched by many travelers for its prime locations and service. Make sure to pre-book to avoid last-minute confusions.

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Don’t try if you are claustrophobic

Tickling taste buds

If you’re a foodie, worry not. You’ll never run out of options. The Japnese cuisine has loads of mouth-watering dishes to satisfy your taste buds. With the only downfall that almost all the restaurants have really skyrocketing prices for most of their dishes. However, traditional Indian eateries are harder to find. You’ll have to make-do with baked foods. Cafe’s are abundant, Tully’s coffee is deemed the best.

Mind the escalator rules

Make sure to keep left when you’re on an escalator unless you’re running out of time. Because the right side is reserved for people who are in a hurry.

Never tip

It’s natural to feel that we have to go the extra mile to show that their service was good. And it’s also mandatory to tip the waiters in a few countries. But never tip Japnese for their services, they get offended.

 Visa cards to the rescue

Currencies come in handy. However, for hefty purchases, visa cards are accepted as credit cards are not very popular in most of the stores.

 Restrooms matter

Please do not get flustered with so many websites giving out information that handwashes/ sanitizers aren’t available. They do have all the basic necessities in restrooms unless it’s some run-down place. But, jet hoses are not available, instead, they have an automatic button system.

 Wifi hotspots

It costs a lot to continue with your existing phone plans. It’s advisable to get a local sim if you plan to stay for a good number of days. And almost all the places offer free wifi, so it’s better to rely on WhatsApp messages and calls for shorter stays.

 Souvenirs and goodies

What are travels without a souvenir to hold all the memories intact? Do check out Daiso, it’s the biggest 100 yen shop for goodies. The good old Lawson Familymart is omnipresent and is a good option to purchase goodies for a fair price without compromising on quality.

Time to cross Japan off your bucket list. Happy journey!

Do’s and don’t in Japan 

Do’s list 

Enjoy gambling

While gambling is frowned upon in so many countries, it is a wonderful recreation in Japan. However, people don’t gamble with money. Instead, they trade vouchers for food and drinks.

It is absolutely harmless. Many parlors are present across the country. Pachinko parlor is one of the most famous gambling parlors. They are in no way lesser to world-famous Casinos. It’s known for its noise and colorful ambiance. Even if you’re not into gambling, do check out their booths just for the jazz and thrill of it. 

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Sort of a cultural shock when you get in

Experience the onsen

The Japanese word for geothermally heated springs that supply hot water for public baths is termed as an onsen. A bath in the onsen feels almost cathartic. They calm your nerves, soothe your aching muscles and ease stress. Villagers are said to have two onsens every day after hectic fieldwork. 

Satiate your taste buds

When in Japan, try only Japanese cuisine. Get hold of your chopsticks and do it the Japanese way. Don’t mind if you don’t get it right. It’s all worth it in the end. The menu cards will leave you awestruck with loads of dishes to choose from. 

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For some food, chopstick usage is much more effective

Learn basic Japanese

Japanese are very patriotic about their language. It feels good to put a smile on their face by conversing in their mother tongue. Here are a few courtesies that will refine your pleasant stay

  • Good day – Konichiwa
  • Thank you – Arigato
  • Sorry – Gomen’nasai 
  • Please – Onegai shimasu

Karaoke all the way 

It’s a favorite past-time in Japan. All the karaoke booths are private. So, get together with your friends and sing your heart out. 

Don’ts list 

Litter at your own cost!

Trash cans are seldom found in Japan. People carry rubbish with them and deposit it in the recycling bins. This process is followed by a rigorous task, where rubbish materials are separated from potential recyclable materials. So, it is advised that instead of littering, travelers carry a paper bag with them. It’s better to co-operate with their complex recycling process. 

Say no to booze competitions

Sake and beer drinking competitions are very popular among Japanese men. However, please stay away from getting into one as your chances of winning are very slim when compared to them. 

Don’t finish your meal or drink

Japanese people value hospitality above all. When someone has finished their entire meal or drink, they assume that they’ve under-fed you and that you’re still hungry. This offends them. So, always leave bits and scraps of food on your plate. 

Never tip

In most of the western countries, it is mandatory to tip a certain percentage of the total bill to the waiters. However, in Japan, it is an offense. Express your gratitude only through praises. 

Phone manners

As mentioned previously, all public transport in Japan is very calm. Stay away from talking loudly on cell phones when you’re commuting. Japanese people don’t like to be disturbed. 

Table manners

Japanese people respect their food more than anything else.  Do not talk while eating or drinking. It is considered bad manners. 

Don’t blow your nose in public

Japanese people are very sensitive about this. They’re easily disgusted when people blow their noses in public. Make sure you don’t put them in an awkward situation. When the need arises, excuse yourself to one of their so-called musical restrooms and blow your nose. However, sniffing is tolerated.

Fascinating Facts about Japan

  • Since it is believed that Japan is the first country to see the sunlight first so in Japanese the term japan means Nihon or Nippon which means “Land of the rising sun”.
  • The famous Hello Kitty was born in Japan in 1974 as a plastic purse. Now there are about 20000 variety of Hello Kitty products available in the market. She is known as kitty Chan for Japanese people.
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As many as you want 🙂
  • We all are aware that Japan is the largest producer of the Automobile Industry and Toyota is a great significance over there. But did you know that the eight brush strokes on Toyota are considered to be lucky in Japan? The company is more than a brand for the locals.
  • In Japanese, the tearing of gift wrap is considered as a sin.
  • Japanese considers belly (hara) as the center of emotions and they value silent communication.
  • Shinto is one of the few religions with a female solar deity in the world.
  • In a year, Japan faces 1500 earthquakes as minor tremors are common to them. The nation sits on the top of 4 tectonic plates and this the reason for such activities.
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Torii gates in Fushimi Inari in Kyoto
  • Japan has the world’s oldest continually operating company. They had a construction company that was operated by the same family for 40 generations and the company name is Kongo Gumi Co. Ltd. It was founded in 578 AD and ran up to the year 2006 until another company bought it.
  • Japan is mostly made of up of archipelagoes and comprises of 6,852 islands.
  •  Japnese is a home for pet animals there are more pets compared to kids below 15.
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6,852 islands in Japan
  • In Japnese culture, chopsticks should not be kept crossed on the table as it symbolizes death and the vertical chop on rice bowl as the funeral.
  • Many of the streets in Japan doesn’t have a name so the postal cards contain substation name and the visiting cards have the map on it.
  • There are more than 20 ways of saying sorry in Japan.
  • The life expectancy right of Japan is higher compared to other countries.
  • The laws in Japan are very strict and the crime rate is very low.
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Japanese Yakuza, crime with rules…

Best time to visit

Japan has loads of options to choose from. One particular season cannot be chosen in general. It all comes down to what you’re very much into. With every season and every region having dozens of festivals and activities year-round, you could never end up with a dull vacation. Plan your stay based on the following activities,

Forget-me-not blue skies

Not everyone is fond of monsoons and ski slopes. To revel in a holiday similar to those cheerful rising sun postcards, plan your stay in the months from March to May and from September to November. The weather is perfect with very little or no rainfall at all.

Temperature is mild. This picture-perfect weather chimes in for hiking. It’s also the season for outdoor festivals like the outdoor beer games. 

Witness the cherry blossoms

The very thought that strikes our mind at the mention of Japan would be cherry blossoms. Plan your trip from late March, that’s when the trees in the warmer regions of south start blooming.

However, the trees in the northern regions start blooming only in the month of May. Apart from these two regions, if you happen to stay at Kansai or Kanto, the first blossoms of the season are in the early weeks of April.

Budget travels

In general, Japan is an expensive holiday destination. It’s not very budget-friendly. With travelers flocking from all over the globe, it’ll be tough bargaining for hotels and flights. To make the most out of your limited means, plan your trip beforehand. Target winter, from mid-January to March, to grab the best deals on hotels and flights. 

Rugby world cup

If crowds aren’t your thing, avoid traveling to Japan during the months of summer Olympics and rugby world cup. The country swarms with people from around the world and the ruckus will ruin your ideal getaway. 

Planning a trip to Japan 

Japan is a diverse country. Unless you’ve got a perfect sketch of what you want to do right from the first day to the last, you’ll end up feeling lost in a new country. You’ll waste time and money. Planning your entire trip well in advance is pretty tedious and time-consuming. But, it is very important that you do so. 

Plan your activities

Analyze your interests. Make a list of your likes, dislikes and hobbies. Thrown in a few festivals that you don’t want to miss during your stay. Japan has four seasons and each season has something unique to offer. 

Choose your destination

Once you’re done with drafting your to-do list, decide where you want to go. 

For instance, if hiking is your thing, autumns in Hokkaido are the best. The weather is the right blend that favor hikers.

For those of you who are from tropical regions, a cold retreat might sound great. Try the ski resorts in Hokkaido’s winter. 

People who are more inclined towards archaeology and spirituality must head straight to Kyoto. It is the humble abode for many temples and shrines. 

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If hiking is your thing, autumns in Hokkaido are the best

Chart out your duration of stay

Your budget is directly proportional to your stay in Japan. It’s important to get them straight. If you don’t mind spending lavishly, the duration should be the least of your worries.

The more you stay, the more you get to experience. However, not all of us are blessed with such hefty bank balances. In that case, plan your expenses before you land in Japan and start saving up. Plan a shorter stay and try to make the most out of it.

Travel visas

Make sure you have a valid passport. This might sound silly, but it is very critical that you understand that your passport should remain valid throughout your stay. If your country is exempted from a visa, you can travel with your passport.

If not, apply for a visa. Provide accurate details about flight and hotel bookings while doing so. Once your visa is issued, proceed with the next step. 

Simple itinerary

Don’t dump your schedule with more places than you can cover in a single day. Holidays are supposed to be relaxing.

Keep it simple. Don’t rely on blogs that boast of ‘7 days itinerary, 4 days itinerary.’ Understand your pace and trust your instincts. Plan according to the season that you are targeting. Once you’re done with your itinerary, purchase your Japan rail pass.

Bookings

This is a very crucial step. Book your flight and hotel. Watch out for last-minute flight deals. You never know when luck strikes, you might land a really good offer. While booking hotels, go through the reviews with the utmost care. Don’t get deceived by fake reviews and images.

Double-check everything. Make sure you book your room in advance and consider the cancellation policies. Contact the hotelier in case of any queries. For longer stays, book your hotel room near the train station. However, for shorter stays, don’t purchase a rail pass. Cabs will do. 

Invest in travel insurance

Insurance’s intention is not to dampen your spirits. But, it is wise to expect the unexpected. You never know what comes next. Extensive travelers clearly understand the importance of travel insurance. Make sure your insurance covers medical expenses, lost luggage, flight cancellation, camera breaks, etc. 

Pack your bags

As pointed out time and again, Japan has 4 seasons. So, pack according to the season you’re visiting. 

Winter in Northern Japan is extremely harsh. Pack your clothes that are ideal to survive the cold. Stock up on layers of clothes, boots, and socks to stay warm throughout your stay. 

Summers are hot and humid. There’s not much to meddle with packing. Light clothes will do. However, for early autumn and late spring, carry a light jacket as it tends to get chilly. 

Check out travel blogs and magazines

It can be a really exciting and daunting experience for people who are traveling to Japan for the very first time. Read as many travel-related blogs and magazines you can find online. They are up-to-date with tips and day to day happenings. It’s also useful to follow up on Japan’s weather and general headlines. 

Safety in Japan

Japanese people adhere to hard and fast rules, making it one of the top ten safest countries in the world. You’ll be astounded when you find children riding the subway unaccompanied, lost wallets found and returned with money intact and homes being unlocked with no negative consequences.

The country is full of surprises to a commoner. Japanese government prides itself for the lack of criminal headlines in their newspapers. 

Women power

If you’re a solo female traveler, be sure that you’ll enjoy your trip. Japanese people go out of the way to help women when they’re in a crisis. A few hotels even offer female-only accommodations. Plus, female-only cars are found in most of the trains. You’re provided with top-notch security throughout your stay.

Stop the buses when you please

All the buses are provided with a stop button just like trains. If you’re uncomfortable about something or feel that someone is not behaving the right way, just press the button to get down.

Tourist Information centers

Most of the railway stations in the country have an information center to carter to the needs of tourists. City 

Safe wallets

Crime rates are at an all-time low. Pickpockets are almost unheard of, even in crowded cities like Tokyo and Kyoto. It’s perfectly safe to go backpacking all alone, any day, anywhere. 

Gangsters of yesteryears

It’s a cliche, the Yazuka gangsters. Gone are their days of reign. They were considered to be the violent and corrupt criminals Japan has ever come across. With the police breathing down their necks, they are scared of bothering people. 

Anti-sexual harassment

The ‘me-too’ movement has left the laws rewritten. The Japanese cabinet ministers have taken special measures to devise new laws against sexual harassment. Groping and harassing are considered illegal and are punishable by law. 

Goodbye to Fukushima disaster

The 2011 tsunami destroyed the Fukushima nuclear power station. But, there’s absolutely nothing to be scared of. The radioactive debris has been cleared and the area surrounding the plant is off-limits for everyone. So, your safety is their primary concern. 

Cleaner air

Rumor has it that Tokyo is polluted beyond limits. However, it is just a rumor. Tokyo is cleaner than Los Angeles. 

Prevention is better than cure

No country is more prepared than Japan when it comes to safety. Given that Japan is more prone to earthquakes, there are certain measures that you can follow

  • A good number of apps are available that will notify you of an oncoming disaster
  • When in an earthquake, protect yourself by taking shelter under a wooden table or desk
  • Approach the locals. They are more than willing to help you out in a crisis. 

Don’t fear the contagious diseases

When sick, people of Japan usually wear surgical masks to prevent spreading the infection. Even if the country doesn’t impress you, its humanity will sweep you off your feet. 

Visa to Japan

Visa is mandatory to visit Japan unless your country is exempted. A visitor who wishes to fly to Japan on a tour must obtain a tourist visa before entering the country. The tourist visa is a short term visa. It’s valid for 90 days. Tourist visas can be obtained for sightseeing, visiting friends and relatives, attending business conferences and pursuing a very short term course. 

The eligibility criteria to obtain a visa are as follows:

  • You must have a valid passport
  • The passport must be valid throughout your stay
  • The passport must have two blank pages for the visa
  • You must submit a –
  1. A copy of your completed visa application form
  2. A copy of your round trip ticket
  3. Proof of your hotel reservation and financial ability
  4. Photocopy of your birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable)
  5. A formal statement of your financial situation from the bank for the past six months
  6. Certificate of employment if your trip is not sponsored
  • You must leave Japan at the end of your authorized stay.

It’s quite normal to feel daunted by the process of applying for a visa. The entire process has been broken down into steps to make it easier. 

  1. With the internet available just a few clicks away. Nothing is a very big deal. Download the visa application form online.
  2. After downloading the form, read the application twice. Sort out any issues or doubts through the help-line. 
  3. Fill the form carefully. Do not forget to put your signature once the form is completed.
  4. The required documents are available for download along with your form. Make sure you download that. Gather all the required documents. Don’t deem anything unnecessary. If it’s mentioned, you have to produce it during verification.
  5. Create a checklist to double-check. Keep the documents ready on the previous day to avoid last-minute confusions.
  6. The photo that you provide for visa application must be a recent one. It shouldn’t be older than 6 months. The photo must meet the specifications mentioned in the visa application. Refrain from applying filters to your photo.
  7. You’ll have to pay for the visa application form. Check the fees required and the mode of payment that will be accepted by the Embassy of Japan where you are supposed to submit your application form. The fees differ depending upon the nationality of the visitor. Check with the Embassy regarding the fees beforehand. Keep the fees ready to have a hassle-free experience.  
  8. Once you are done with all the formalities, submit the visa application form along with the fees to the embassy of Japan. Approach the Embassy that’s nearest to you. Based on your country of origin, you may submit the application form in person or through an accredited travel agent who has been approved by the Embassy of Japan.
  9. You may have to attend an interview
  10. Once your visa is issued, you’ll be notified. Collect the visa after showing your invoice cum receipt provided at the time of submission. In case you want the visa delivered to your location by a travel agent, you should provide an authorized letter duly signed by you along with the invoice. 

How to save money in Japan

Though Japan is considered an expensive holiday destination, there are many loopholes that you can make use of.  

Eateries and pubs within budget

Just like other countries, Japan is also dominated by chain restaurants like Yoshinoya, Matsuya, and Sukiya. These hang-outs offer lightning deals, discounts, and occasionally seasoned dishes at an affordable price. Do check out their web pages when you are there, you don’t want to miss out on these amazing deals.

Getting street smart will save you a few bucks. Tachigui is one such local food chain where you have to dine while standing. But the lack of furnishing will actually cost you very little. 

Don’t compromise on the nightlife. Similar to chain restaurants, chain pubs called Izakaya are found in abundance. Torikizoku is a must-visit, you’ll be surprised to find that everything on the menu is  ¥298.

When it comes to supermarkets, the good old Lawson family mart comes into the picture. Be on the lookout for discounts. OK and Aeon are convenience stores where you can get your hands on some authentic baked goods and goodies. 

Walking and cycling are always the best

You might be tempted to give in to public transport. But, Japan has so much to offer within walking distance. It is one of the most pedestrian-friendly countries you’ll ever come across.

Make use of the opportunity and burn a few calories that you’ll undoubtedly add up as a result of all the mouth-watering dishes. However, renting a bicycle is also a good option. 

Public transport to the rescue

When you have to cover long distances, cabs might empty your wallet. Instead, depending on your duration of stay, purchase the Japanese Rail Pass. Commonly known as JR pass. 

Another good option would be to take the bus. Compared to railways, buses are cheaper. To check out towns far away from Tokyo, night bus services like Willer Express offers good prices and comfortable rides.

Accommodations at a fair price

If you don’t have a relative or friend’s place to return after sightseeing, plenty of accommodations are available. If you prefer something much more personal than lodges, try the capsule hotels. It is very popular among travelers.

They make you feel at home with amazing cultural experiences. Some of the capsule hotels also have a sento public bath to help you relax after a long day. They charge as low as 2000 yen per night. For social gatherings and get-togethers, guesthouses are also available at a slightly higher price. 

Personal needs

100-yen stores come in handy for everyday purchases. Goods are available at a fair price without compromising on quality. The products range from basic necessities to large appliances, cookware, clothing, and bicycles. Souvenirs and goodies can be purchased in bulk to distribute to your near and dear ones back at home.

Drugstores also sell food and drinks at a very reasonable price. Sometimes, they might be cheaper than the 100-yen shops. So check the difference in prices before you buy anything. 

Transportation in Japan

You’ll understand while calculating your budget that transportation within the country constitutes a huge amount. Compared to transit, other expenses are pretty low. Careful planning of your itinerary plays a major part.

Limiting yourself to visit a particular region and avoiding long-distance travel within the country is a foolproof method to cut down costs. However, if you wish to travel to different regions, the following modes of transport are suggested.

 Japan bus pass

 It’s one of the wallet-friendly transport options. If utilized properly, transit costs can be reduced to half. The passes can be purchased according to our needs. 3, 4 and 5 days passes are popular among the tourists.

Highway buses are suggested for long-distance travels. Though these buses are slower when compared to trains, transit expenses can be reduced unbelievably, provided you don’t mind spending a night in the bus. 

 Japan rail pass

People who have plans to travel cross-country should prefer railways. The passes can be purchased for 7, 14 and 21 consecutive days. JR passes provide unlimited, nationwide transit on almost all the trains operated in the country, including the bullet trains. 

Apart from nationwide passes, if your itinerary covers only a particular region, exclusive passes are available. These passes are called ‘regional passes’ and offers good deals. For example, JR Tokyo wide pass, Nikko pass, and Koyasan World Heritage Ticket to name a few. 

Domestic flights

If you don’t mind being lavish, domestic airlines offer comfortable transit. You’ll come across many discounts owing to the competition between the airlines and the railways. Skymark Airlines, Peach Aviation, and Jetstar Japan offer considerably low fares and bookings are done in English.

However, passes are not only limited to buses and railways, but air passes are also issued exclusively for foreigners.  

 Ferries

For people who are into trying different modes of transport, do check out the ferries. Though ferries are available only for a limited number of routes,  it can be a truly magical experience. Different classes are available and second class fares are considerably inexpensive.

 Rental cars

When holidaying as a group or if you are interested in exploring on your own, rental cars are the best option. It’s the only transport where you can enjoy your privacy. However, gas expenses and highway tolls sneak into your budget. So, plan accordingly. If convenience and privacy top your expectations, go ahead with this option. 

Package tours

You’d have come across this term everywhere. Your entire itinerary, right from your first day to last is planned by tourist agencies. You don’t have to devise an elaborate plan.

All you have to do is maintain the schedule and go with the flow. Based on the package you choose, the number of people accompanying you differs. For a higher price, you get to explore the places with just your family and a guide from the agency accompanies you.

Hitchhiking  

Though very popular among the young generation, it is not common in Japan. Will Fugerson’s book ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Japan’ covers this topic. But, it was last updated in 1998, rendering it almost useless. However, that shouldn’t stop you from backpacking and exploring the country the way you want it to be.

Estimated costs

Don’t stress with devising a budget plan. The following subheadings will help you choose your preferred plan. 

Flights

 On average, a roundtrip flight from most parts of the US to Japan costs around $2,300. However, booking your tickets well in advance could save you a lot. It is important to note that flight tickets depend on your boarding place, season and other factors.

If you travel from countries in Western Europe, like Germany, Spain, Portugal, and France, the roundtrip flight ticket costs approximately € 970

Traveling from Australia to Japan will amount to A$ 1,425.

Flight fares from Canada to Japan is approximately CAD 1,907

Hotels

It’s well known that Japan is an expensive holiday destination. Different hotels are available for different budgets. For those of you who don’t mind being lavish, try the luxury hotels in Tokyo. Aman Tokyo, Andaz, Conrad Tokyo, Palace Hotel Tokyo to name a few. These star hotels charge around ¥90,000   

For people traveling as a group or family, guest houses are perfect. They can be found at different prices based on the amenities offered, ranging anywhere between ¥20,000 to ¥90,000  

Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Shangri La hotel and The Ritz – Carlton are very famous among honeymooners. 

The Capsule hotels are very popular among travelers. They are really cheap at ¥2,000 per night. The hotels are packed with cultural experiences. 

Transportation 

The railways, buses, cabs, rentals and domestic flights are the means of transport within the country. Buses and railways cost the least. 

The railways offer Japan Rail Passes that can be purchased for a week or more. You gain unlimited, nationwide access. Long-distance travels cost around ¥25,000 

Highway night buses are very popular much cheaper than trains. For example, the bus pass for an entire week costs around ¥12,000

Cabs are pretty costly. Sightseeing for 2 hours costs around ¥10,000

Food

Meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs about ¥900

If the restaurant you choose is mid-range, a three-course meal for 2 people costs around ¥4,000

McDonald’s comes to your rescue if you are very keen on cutting down costs you spend on meals. They are as low as ¥650

Traveling with people

Backpackers needn’t worry a bit. You have to look out only for yourself as you are not responsible for anyone else. It is advised that couples book fairly decent hotels to have a really good time and privacy. 

Families are suggested to put up in guesthouses. They are more convenient in terms of space and comfort. 

Biggest festivals in Japan

Traditional Japanese festivals are called Matsuri, they are very colorful with a long history. The dates and the way these festivals are celebrated differs from community to community. More than 300,000 Matsuri festivals are celebrated in a year. The locals of that area organize the festival and the shrines sponsor them. The biggest and the most famous festivals are listed below, 

Gion Matsuri

During the month of July, the entire city of Kyoto participates in this festival. The highlight is the procession of floats called ‘Yamaboko Junko’ on 17th and 24th of July. 

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Gion Matsuri in Kyoto

Awa Odori

12th to 15th of August, Tokushima city is engulfed in a dance mania. Men, women, and children dance on the streets of the city. They wear traditional cotton kimonos teamed with straw hats. If you happen to visit Tokushima around this time of the year, do not hesitate to join them. You’ll have the time of your life. 

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Takamatsu Awa Odori Bon Festival

Kanda Matsuri

This festival is unique to Tokyo, dedicated to the Kanda Myojin shrine. The portable shrines are taken on a parade by the people. The procession starts in the morning and continues through the Kanda district, Nihonbashi, and Akihabara before returning to the shrine in the evening. 

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Lion float, Kanda Matsuri

Yuki Matsuri

It’s also called ‘The Snow Festival’ and takes place in Sapporo in the month of February. The festival originated in 1950 when local school students started making statues out of snow. However, at present, it’s a huge snow statue contest. 

Nebuta Matsuri

It is a parade festival from 2nd to 7th of August in Aomori city. Lantern floats are made in the form of human figures and are accompanied by several chanting dancers. It’s a spectacular sight. 

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Nebuta matsuri

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

It’s a thrilling contest that takes place in the city of Osaka in the middle of September. Danjiris are wooden floats which are heavier than 3000kg. People divide into teams and pull the wooden floats at breakneck speed while the crowd cheers on. 

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Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, Osaka, Japan

Tenjin Matsuri

This festival is also a procession, held on 24th and 25th of July, in Osaka. However, in addition to land procession, a river procession via boats also occur. 

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Osaka Tenjin Matsuri Festibal Funatogyo

Kochi Yosakoi Matsuri

It’s relatively a new festival that was started in 1954, in Kochi, as a tribute to the birth of Yosakoi Naruko dance. It is a passionate dance to an old folk song. Dancers carry clappers called ‘Naruko’ that creates a click-clack sound. To take part in this power-packed festival, visit Kochi in the middle of August.

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Yosakoi Performers at Kochi Yosakoi Matsuri

Tanabata Matsuri

 This festival originated as a result of cultural contact between the Japanese and Chinese. It is based on the legend of two Chinese stars, Altair and Vega. If you visit the Sendai City from the 6th to the 8th of August, you’ll find colorfully crafted paper decorations hanging in the streets. 

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Shōnan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri

Hakata Dontaku Matsuri

It’s held on 3rd and 4th of May in Fukuoka City. It is a combination of dance and procession. People dance and parade with a utensil used for serving rice, called ‘Shamoji.

Best sites to visit

Divide your visit into three parts – Northern Japan, Southern Japan and the Tokyo area (Central Japan). Cover each area one at a time to make the most of your holiday. Don’t rush around, enjoy every minute. The best sites to visit in each region are listed below,

Places to visit in Northern Japan

The first thing that you’ll note is the greenery. North Japan is clean, green, welcoming, and historic in its own way. It is very similar to New Zealand. But, fabulous in its own old-world charm. 

Attractions

The western side of North Japan borders the Sea of Japan. It is lined with rivers, flatlands, and fertile rice farmlands. Visit the samurai district of Kakunodate, it is well-known for its cherry trees in spring. Stroll around the village and engage with the craftsmen. 

One shouldn’t miss the Akita museum of art which houses large collections of the famous Western-style painter, Fujita Tsuguharu. Bordering Akita, lake Towada is at the top of a 400-meter-high mountain. It’s a good retreat for hiking. 

Next, visit Aomori, the northernmost region on Honshu, that has the world’s largest virgin forest of the beech tree. It is added to UNESCO’s world heritage sites. 

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Hirosaki, Japan, Aomori

Markets

When in Hakodate, visit the morning market for breakfast. It has many stalls to keep you munching through a variety of seafood.

Similarly Ekini market is a photographer’s paradise. The display of seafood will stun you. 

Nature

Every place, even the fish markets in Hokkaido are rich in greenery. However, to point out specifically, Shiretoko National Park and Daisetsuzan National Park are very popular places to witness really unique flora and fauna.

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Shiretoko National Park. Hokkaido, Japan

Jewelry ice is a phenomenon that occurs in Otsu shores of North Japan. It is formed from ice in the Tokachi River. It looks splendid. 

Travel with kids

Take your kids to Shiroi Koibito Park. Let them squeal with delight on the different train rides. Here, you’ll find the Shiroi Koibito Factory, where the famous Hokkaido cookies are baked is a must-visit. Amazing lessons on skiing are taught for kids here. 

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Shiroi Koibito Park

Best Packages

9 Days Charms of Hokkaido tour is a package that comes at a decent price. The package is available for three seasons – The cherry blossoms, winter festivals and summer flowers.  

Places to visit in Tokyo (Central Japan) 

As mentioned previously, Tokyo is the capital of Japan. It is full of life and energy. The city, home to many companies, is dominated by some of the tallest skyscrapers. 

Attractions

Tokyo sky tower is one of the largest towers in the world. It has an observation deck, so feel free to get on top of the tower and enjoy the view it offers. 

Do visit the imperial palace, its 17th-century parks are well-preserved and are surrounded by moats and walls.

Next, visit shrines in Tokyo. The architecture will blow your mind. Senso-ji temple, Asakusa temple and the Meji shrine are notable sites. 

Don’t miss out on the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo National Museum and National Museum of Nature and Science. 

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Tokyo sky tower
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Imperial palace

Markets

The top 6 markets to visit in Tokyo are listed below,

  1. Nakamise Shopping street – Mementos 
  2. Mottainai Flea Market – Retro clothing
  3. Takeshita Dori – Harajuku fashion
  4. Boro-Ichi Street Mart – Folk cultural asset
  5. Ameya Yokocho – Candies
  6. Toyosu Fish Market – Seafood
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Takeshita Dori market
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Toyosu Fish Market

Nature

To get lost in the greenery, visit Ueno Park in Tokyo. You’ll be astonished to find a paradise of an oasis in the heart of the busy city. 

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Ueno Park in Tokyo

Mount Fuji, one of the three holy mountains of Japan, is located 2 hours driving southwest from Tokyo. No holiday in Japan is complete without climbing the mountain to revel in the sunrise. 

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One of the most famous mountains in the world, Mount Fuji

Travel with kids 

What more could kids ask for other than Disneyland? With lots of emphasis on Mickey, Minnie, and the gang, it’ll turn out to be the best vacation for your kids. Fire Museum is another cool place. Your kids get to dress up as firemen and play with firetrucks.

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Travel with kids to Disneyland Tokyo
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Fire Museum in Tokyo

Best Packages

Based on your interests, tour packages are available to cater to everyone’s need.

  1. The Tokyo day tour covers Meji Shrine, Asakusa Temple and Tokyo Bay cruise.
  2. Kyoto Highlights tour the Golden Pavilion and the Kiyomizu temple
  3. Small group Tokyo Biking Tour for ride enthusiasts. 
  4. One day Tokyo bus tour and Japanese food tour. 
  5. Tokyo Pub Crawl 
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Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

Places to visit in Southern Japan

It’s one of the least explored regions of Japan. However, it must make it to your bucket list for its pure authenticity and tradition. 

Attractions

Trace Shikoku’s pilgrimage trail. It’s sure to attract both Buddhists and eco-tourists. 

Do not forget to pay your respects at Hiroshima. In spite of the scars endured by the people of Hiroshima, they’ve built a city more powerful and colorful than the previous one. It’s a city that has risen from its ashes.

Do check out the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. It’s is the city’s must-see sight, a sober reminder of the blast.  

Nature

Do not miss Naruto Whirlpools, they’re a fascinating phenomenon. Take your tourist boat on a spin around the whirlpool.

Nowadays, getting access to subtropical Yakushima’s island is not a big deal. You get an opportunity to hike among massive cedar trees that are at least a thousand years old.

Market

Hiroshima is a city re-built on its very destruction. In spite of the disaster, the city booms with trade. The list of popular markets are as follows,

  1. Senda Wasshoi Matsuri Flea Market – Collectibles, food stalls and live entertainment
  2. Portpia – Antiques and clothing
  3. Daisho-in’s Tsuitachi-ichi – Old kimonos, handmade jewelry and books

Travel with kids 

Take your kids on a day out to Dkunoshima – Hiroshima Rabbit Island. The bunnies are really cute and your kids will have a good time playing with them.

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Dkunoshima – Hiroshima Rabbit Island

Best Packages

A number of tour packages are available that covers the important attractions of South Japan. Pick the ones that suit your itinerary.

  1. 1-day Hiroshima and Miyajima (Round-trip from Osaka/Kyoto)
  2. Private taxi tour to the Rabbit Island
  3. 2-day Hiroshima and Kurashiki tour
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Hiroshima peace memorial

Best Japanese experience

On your visit to Japan, ensure that you don’t miss out on the following places and the experiences they offer. 

Tsukiji Market

Like every other Asian country, Japan is also unique. Certain spices that are native to Japan cannot be found elsewhere. The market is closed on Sundays and Wednesdays. So, plan your trip accordingly. Whether you want to eat or shop for culinary supplies, Tsukiji market won’t let you down. You name it, they’ve got it. Stock up!

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Tsukiji Market

Luxury hotels in Tokyo

Pamper yourself for at least a day in one of the luxury hotels of Tokyo. The city is loaded with beautiful hotels. Aman Tokyo, Andaz, Conrad Tokyo, Palace Hotel Tokyo to name a few. 

The art island

For all the creative minds and art lovers out there, Naoshima is a must-visit. It has one of the mind-blowing museums in the world, housing some of the great works of world-class artists. 

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Naoshima, for art lovers

Bamboo Forest

While visiting Kyoto, don’t miss out on the bamboo forest. Iconic bamboo forests and Zem temples are located on the outskirts of Kyoto, in the Arashiyama district. The trip is really worth it. 

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Bamboo forest, Kyoto

Ramen

Your holiday in Japan is not really completed without a bowl of ramen. Wherever you go in Japan, you’ll come across the best ramen serving shops. Dig your chopsticks into a steaming hot bowl of authentic ramen. 

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A hot bowl of ramen

Shinkansen

The bullet train (Shinkansen) must top your to-do list. The ride will leave you in awe of the technology Japan is capable of. Throughout the ride, you’ll be mesmerized by the beautiful landscapes it zips by. 

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It’s almost impossible to travel in Japan without using the Shinkansen

Shushi

What’s a vacation in Japan without Sushi? It’s almost meaningless. Bask in the aroma of seafood and vinegared rice.

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Get your kids used to it

Cherry blossoms

Please don’t mind the crowd. Witness the blossoms, the most magical time of year in Japan. The parks and gardens in the country are canopied in a riot of pretty pink flowers. 

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Cherry blossoms, the most magical time of year in Japan

A walk through the woods

Hikers will never have a dull moment in Japan for it’s a hiker’s paradise. Two of the best places are the Nakasendo trail and Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route

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Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, like heaven

Taste sake

There’s no place more apt for sake than Japan. The country is lined with sake bars, shops or restaurants specializing in high-quality sake

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In the fifth glass, you will stop counting

Castles

Most of the castles you come across in Japan are reconstructions. However, the famous  Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle are truly magnificent. They’ve been well-maintained after all these years and holds the essence of ancient Japanese architecture. 

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Matsumoto Castle, like a painting

Matcha green tea

Treat yourself to a heart-warming cup of green tea. It not only tastes heavenly but is intact with all the goodness of tea leaves. You’ll find plenty of charming tea houses in Japan.

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Green tee, it’s healthy as well

Islands of Okinawa

Don’t let your holiday be monotonous. Do check out the beautiful beaches of the islands of Okinawa. They are very different from the rest of Japan. 

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Modern Architecture

Not only does ancient architecture dominate Japan, Tokyo has some stunning world-class buildings constructed by both Japanese and non-Japanese architects. 

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Tokyo architecture

Climb Mount Fuji

It might sound daunting, but it’s really worth it when you reach the summit to view the sunrise. 

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You will then eat more in a quiet conscience 🙂

Best Attractions in Japan

Japan is a land full of surprises and an amazing place for all tourists and travelers. Although there are hundreds of attractions in Japan, here is a list of the best lot of places for you to explore.

Tokyo

Tokyo is the capital city of Japan and brings out the best of Japanese culture in every way. Your trip will be incomplete without a visit to Tokyo. There is huge scope for you to explore in Tokyo ranging from historical sites to the anime culture and the lip-smacking Japanese cuisine. The top attractions in Tokyo are:

  • Tokyo Disneyland
  • Disney Sea in Tokyo
  • Sky Tree Tokyo

What you can mainly do in Tokyo include:

  • An evening around the Tokyo Tower
  • Visit the Meiji Shrine in all its glory
  • Shopping in Odaiba

Kyoto

Kyoto is considered as one of the sacred cities of Japan and is a common name in the list of all Japan trip packages. Kyoto is known for its gardens, palaces, shrines and temples and some beautiful bamboo forests. The versatility of the attractions a single city has to offer is amazing. The top attractions in Kyoto are:

  • The Imperial Palace of Kyoto
  • The Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine
  • The Philosopher’s Walk

Some activities for you in Kyoto that you should not miss are:

  • A visit to the Kiyomizu Temple
  • Visit the famous Kinkaku-Ji
  • Exploring the majestic Nijo Castle

Nara

A common mention of Nara can be found in any Japan travel blog. This city is known for the several monasteries, temples, shrines and of course the very important Nara Park. Nara is also home to many beautiful deer. Therefore, a visit to Nara will bring you closer to Japanese culture and tradition. The top 3 attractions in Kara are:

  • Nara Park
  • The Ninja Museum in Igaryu
  • Kasuga-Taisha

The unmissable things to do in Kara are:

  • Exploring the beauty of the Isuien Garden
  • Interacting with the deer at the Nara-Koen Park
  • A visit to the National Museum of Nara.

Hokkaido

An ideal place to visit during summer especially, Hokkaido has several hot springs here. Besides this, there are some volcanoes and ski areas which make it more popular as a tourist attraction. The variety of places to visit and scope of activities, make it a favorite of adults and kids alike. The best places that you should not give a miss are:

  • Asahiyama Zoo
  • The Blue Pond
  • Farm Tomita

The major tourist activities here include:

  • Bathing in a hot spring
  • Exploring the National Parks here
  • Gorging into the delicious sea-food

Ishigaki

This is a small island and is presently voted as the most popular tourist attraction in Japan. Hundreds of tourist flock over here because of the scope of various activities that you can experience in Ishigaki. The top attractions here include:

  • The Kabira bay
  • Limestone caves in Ishigaki
  • Taketomi Island

Top activities that you can experience in Ishigaki include:

  • Snorkeling
  • Relaxing by the beach
  • Devour the taste of Ishigaki beef

Hiroshima

This city makes Japan more beautiful and also glorifies the history of Japan. This was the victim of the terrible atomic bombings along with its neighboring city of Nagasaki. Though tourists mainly visit Hiroshima to pay their respect to the victims of the bombing and to visit the memorials, there is a lot more than that here. Places to visit for sure includes:

  • Hiroshima Museum and the Memorial Peace Park
  • Itsukushima
  • Hiroshima Castle

Activities to do here are:

  • Try the delicious Okonomiyaki
  • Visit Shukkeien Garden
  • Exploring the Mazda Museum

Sapporo

This is heaven for ski and beer lovers and also the Winter destination of Japan. You should visit this place when you are tired of the heat around and see the several snow towers here. Besides, the Annual Sapporo Snow Festival is an important time to visit Sapporo. Top attractions in Sapporo include:

  • Moerenuma Park
  • Moiwa
  • Government Office of Hokkaido

What you can do in Hokkaido includes:

  • Attend a party in Susukino
  • Explore the Beer museum in Sapporo
  • Taste the amazing local delicacies in the Curb Market area

Osaka

Osaka is one of the best shopping destinations in Japan. Also, it is known for selling some of the most delicious food in the country. You visit Osaka and shop till you drop. Then get yourself a delicious meal and relax. Secondly, Osaka has an awesome nightlife. It is like an all-in-one place for all that you can wish for as a tourist. The three main attractions here are:

  • Studio Universal Japan
  • Dotonbori
  • Osaka Castle

Three best activities here:

  • Visiting the Kaiyukan Aquarium
  • Partying and beer tasting
  • Worship in the Hozenji temple

Yakushima

Yakushima is an island that is part of the Kagoshima Prefecture. It is known for its waterfalls, cedar forests, and wildlife. The natural beauty of Yakushima is a treat for your eyes and you should not miss this place on any cost. Moreover, if you are traveling to Japan for the first time, this should be one of the top 10 places to visit on your list. The best 3 attractions here are:

  • JomonSugi
  • Miyanoura
  • Senpirono Falls

The best tourist activities are:

  • Going to Oko-no-Taki Waterfall
  • Watching turtles lay eggs
  • Canoeing or kayaking in Anbo River

Hakuba

Hakuba is a small village situated in the Japanese Alps. It is also known as the best location for any kind of winter sports such as snowboarding, hiking, and skiing. Hakuba just sticks out a little of Nagano- a Japanese city. Several mountain resorts organize sports and other tours. The top three attractions in Hakuba are:

  • Winter Resort of HakubaHappone
  • Aoki Lake
  • Shirouma

The best activities to do here:

  • Skiing at Cortina Resort
  • Happo Pond hiking
  • Going to the Hakuba 47 which is a sports park for Winter season

Kamakura

Kamakura is a town situated by the sea. It is known as a replica of the city of Kyoto. The difference is just that Kamakura is located in eastern Japan. Kamakura boasts of bamboo groves, ancient shrines and temples, beautiful beaches, shopping destinations, and the best local food. You ask for something and you are sure to get it here. You should not miss

  • Literature Museum in Kamakura
  • Enoshima Aquarium
  • Kannon Museum

Activities:

  • Visit the Kamakura Buddha
  • Go to the Jufukuji Temple
  • Experience surfing at the Shonan Beach

Nagano

Nagano is the tropical capital of Japan and mainly known for its breezy weather throughout the year. There is a variety of tourist attractions here ranging from adventure sports clubs to children’s parks and shrines too. The best attractions of Nagano are:

  • Karuizawa
  • Kamikouchi
  • Matsumoto Castle

Activity ideas for you:

  • Visiting Zenko-Ji Temple
  • Freshen up at the ShirahoneOnsen
  • Take part in winter sports such as skiing at the Shiga Kogen Heights

Takayama

When all the cities are getting more and more commercial, Takayama, situated on top of the Gifu mountains is a peaceful retreat. Get away from the hustle-bustle of the cities and spend some time in Old Japan. Takayama has a special old-school aura to it which is very different from all other attractions on the list. Attractions that you must visit are:

  • Hidan Sato
  • District of SanmachiSuji
  • Takayama Hall of Festival Floats

Shibuya

Shibuya is one of the most crowded places in Japan because of 2 reasons mainly. First, the awesome-looking crossing which is also known as ‘scramble crossing’ and the several options for shopping here. The best shopping destination in Shibuya is 109 Mall. It is a one-stop destination for the best brands in Tokyo. The best attractions are:

  • Yoyogi Park
  • Omotesando
  • Meiji Jingu

Best to-do ideas for you:

  • Shop at the Takeshita Streets
  • Enjoy clubbing at Roppongi
  • Enjoy the views from the Roppongi hills

Naoshima

This is a beautiful island situated in the middle of the Seto Inland waters. If you are staying for a few days in Tokyo, you can go Naoshima to end your Tokyo trip in the best way. There are several sculptures and museums here and you are sure to be busy the whole day. It is not very close to Tokyo so you should make an overnight plan for a better experience.

Must visit places:

  • Museum Lee Ufan
  • Naoshima Bath
  • Benesse House

What you must do here:

  • Explore Chichu Museum and enjoy Tadao Ando Art
  • Spend some time in the cherry blossom gardens
  • Go to Kojin Island for some peaceful time

Asakusa

Asakusa is known as the cultural hub of the capital city of Tokyo. The Asahi Beer Hall is the prime attraction of Asakusa. There are many other places of interest here. Asakusa is party paradise for fun-loving people and you can try some awesome booze. A Nakamise shopping area is an ideal place for street shopping. The other major attractions are:

  • Asakusa Shrine
  • Hanayashaki Children’s Park
  • Amuse Museum

Things you could do:

  • Meditate at Senso-Ji
  • Visit the Kappabashi-Dori restaurant street for A-Class food
  • Enjoy game time at Nazoboko Escape Game in Tokyo

Akihabara

Akihabara is the ‘Geek Capital of the World’. This is because it is a hub for several computers and other video game clubs. The Fantastical Akihabara is the best out of all. Visit Akihabara for an amazing gaming session. Just beware of any kind of hoax. The best tourist attractions in Akihabara are:

  • Anime Center Akihabara
  • Ginza Crossing
  • RyojokuEdonoren

Ideal activity option for you are:

  • Shopping at 2k540 in Aki-Oka
  • Tour Akihabara on a bike. You can get one on rent easily.
  • Visit the Chidorigafuchi Moat for the beautiful greenery

Mt. Fuji

The thrill factor in Japan mainly comes from Mt. Fuji. If you into adventure sports and trekking, then Mt. Fuji is the ideal place for you. While the trekking season only lasts from July to September, you can always experience the grandeur of Mt. Fuji from far away for the rest of the year. The top 3 attractions around Mt. Fuji are:

  • Mount Tenjo
  • Shrine of FujiyoshidaSengen
  • Chureito Pagoda

You can:

    • Do a lot of skiing
    • Explore the ArakurayamaSengen Park
    • Stand near the 5th station of Subashiri for a breathtaking view of Mt. Fuji

Best Attractions for Kids

When we go for trips and tours, we hardly plan separately for our children. However, they are the ones who get mostly bored at shrines and art museums. Children always like lively and bright places. With Japan’s friendly culture and options to visit for kids, it is now possible to keep your child happy and content while the adults go about their plans. The main attractions to visit when you travel to Japan with kids are:

  1. Takeshita Street in Harajuku, Tokyo

Tokyo is always a crowded city but the large area will not let you feel that you are in a crowded place at all. Takeshita Street here is a small block where you will find an array of cute little shops where you can take your children to. Besides, you can buy the kids some yummy crepes and bubble tea. For more, grab a fairy floss on the way back from there.

  1. Harajuku Hedgehog Café

This is not a complete children’s café but there is a lovely attraction for children here. While the adults can chat over a hot cup of coffee, the kids can grab some pet-themed muffins and pastries along with some shakes.

  1. Kiddiland in Shibuya, Tokyo

Have you ever seen a 5-story building which is all filled with toys? Well, Kiddiland is exactly that. They have so much for children to buy and to play with too. You can let the kids have all the fun they want to. The highlights of Kiddiland are the nano-lego toys, the hello kitty stuff and origami work display here. There is so much color over here that you might forget your age and end up buying some of this cute stuff from here.

  1. District Odaiba, Tokyo

Your visit to Odaiba will give you weird yet awesome experience step by step. First, you will take a ride in a monorail which will take you past replica of Japan with some futuristic buildings and different-looking streets. Then you have to visit the Science and Fiction Museum called Miraikan. You will also be able to interact with Asimo, the human-like robot in the museum.

  1. Shinjuku

This is a very exciting and colorful place in Tokyo which lights up when it gets dark in the evening. The kids can sit here with some candy and enjoy the neon-lights show. The highlight of this show is the creation of the Godzilla that rises from behind the Chancery Hotel here. Apart from this, you can also take the kids to SeaWorld for some 3-D experience and to Karaoke kan for some fun music.

  1. Snow in the Japanese Alps

We already know about Hakuba from the list of attractions and that it is located in the Japanese Alps. You can take a train ride from Tokyo along with your kids and let them enjoy the pristine, white snow. Make snowballs and do gliding with them in Hakuba.

  1. Food Court Basement

In every department store, there is a basement which has a huge display of some of the most colorful and exotic foodstuff. You should be adventurous enough to get inside these shops and try the food to experience a new taste.

  1. Osaka Universal Studio and Tokyo Disney

These are some of the most expensive in a whole lot of kid’s places here. You may not take your kids if they are too small to enjoy the total experience of these places. However, they are surely big names in the list of tourist attractions for kids in Japan.

Best Nature Parks and Sites

Japan is home to several serene National Parks and other bits and parts of tranquility and natural beauty. The following are some of the most beautiful National Parks of Japan:

  1. Kerama She

This national park is in the Okinawa Prefecture and encompasses the Kerama Islands. The stunning turquoise-blue waters and white beaches. Snorkeling and swimming are the most common activities to experience here.

  1. Shiretoko Park

This national park in Hokkaido is mainly known for its brown bears. It is named as one of the World Heritage Sites under UNESCO. You can take a boat wildlife safari of this National Park.

  1. Akan National Park

This is also an attraction in the Hokkaido city of Japan. The highlight of this park is the group of volcanoes that surround the three pristine lakes here. The famous Lake Mashu is one of the three lakes here.

  1. Nikko National Park

Nikko National Park is another World Heritage Site under UNESCO. It is a part of the Kanto region of Japan and houses the Toshogu Shrine. The Kinugawa Onsen is a town of hot spring by the Kinu River banks.

  1. Yoshino- Kumano

The name comes from the fact that the Mt. Yoshino is aa part of this National Park. The Kumano Sanzan is a collection of shrines which is also a part of this park. This park is also one of the top Spring attractions of Japan due to the abundance of lush cherry blossoms growing here.

Night-life in Tokyo

Tokyo is a modern city full of life and light. The nightlife in Tokyo is exciting and fun for party-lovers. There are several nightlife spots in Tokyo including restaurants, bar, cocktail joints, clubs, and karaoke to stay energetic throughout the night. Some of the highlighted places of Tokyo nightlife are:

  1. Ginza

If you do not enjoy noisy and loud nightclubs then this is the place for you. This place is for posh people who only visit upscale clubs and subtle parties. This is also one of the most expensive shopping streets along with the pricey restaurants. You can go to one of the member-only clubs to party gracefully.

  1. Roppongi

This place is mostly occupied by foreigners and is thus known for the presence of Western culture here. The clubs and pubs here are full of celebrities and other influential people. Most of the restaurants and clubs here open till morning.

  1. Shibuya

Shibuya is the place for young fashionistas and social media obsessed people. This is one of the most lit places in Tokyo and something is happening here 24/7. There is a lot of live music and karaoke in Shibuya and something for everyone’s taste.

  1. Shinjuku

This is another famous night-life district in Tokyo with shops open 24/7. Shinjuku is known for clubs, pubs, bars, and mainly Tokyo’s red-light area.

Routes for Most Effective Time Usage

The transport system in Japan is a little complicated and it takes time to understand it. You have to first know that there are several ways of commuting easily from one place to another. You can vouch on Google maps for the best and shortest routes. The types of transportation include Jr Railways, private trains, subways if you want to walk and cover short distances and a variety of bus operators.

Shopping in Japan

Shopping is the favorite pastime for many people and Japan is a common favorite for many. There are several places to shop in Japan and here is a list of the most popular ones:

  1. Ginza

This is an immensely versatile location which is also known as one of the popular shopping destinations of Japan. The main places to shop here are the departmental stores and the luxury brand shops.

  1. Shinjuku

Almost like Ginza, Shinjuku is known for high-end shopping brands and clothes for young people. You can also do a lot of street shopping here.

  1. Ikebukuro

This is an old shopping location and is known as a famous market where you would like to shop for electronic items.

  1. Akihabara

Known as the “Geek Capital of the World”, this place is known for the plenty of game parlors and underground anime, manga art, and geek culture. You can also shop for gadgets and other electronic items from here.

  1. Shibuya and Harajuku

Both of these places have walking distance from each other. This is the International shopping street in Japan which comprises of outlets of major International fashion brands such a Zara and Forever21.

Medical Treatment in Japan

Medical treatment system in Japan is highly effective. They provide high-end treatment for screening, prenatal problems, and other infection-causing diseases. The patients here ow only 30% of the total treatment cost and the rest of the 70% is borne by the Japanese Government.

If you are a tourist, you are suggested to purchase good travel insurance which will cover any serious illness or accident in the foreign land. If you are a tourist, you cannot expect the Japanese government to share a major part of your health care expenses except under very rare situations.

Best Local Food in Japan

Japanese cuisine is one of the most loved and ate cuisine in the world. The number 5 is very important when it comes to Japanese cooking or ‘Washoku’ here.     The balance in Japanese food can be achieved by maintaining 5 colors including black, red, green, yellow and white. There are also 5 ways of cooking including raw food, frying, grilling, boiling and steaming. Most importantly, the 5 flavors include sweet, bitter, spicy, sour and salty. Some of the best Japanese traditional dishes are:

  1. Sushi

This is a type of ancient Japanese cuisine which was born by preserving fish in fermented rice. Presently, it is served with vinegar flavored rice and fresh fish.

  1. Sashimi

This is the old form of eating sushi without rice. Sashimi means any thinly sliced piece of meat including beef, chicken, fish or any other seafood.

  1. Tempura

This is a process of batter frying fish, vegetable, meat or any other sea-food. In this process, the temperature of the batter should be very cold and the oil for frying should be boiling. It uses some dipping sauce on the side or the tempura is dipped in some flavored salt.

  1. Yakitori

This is the process of cooking cuts of bite-sized pieces of meat on skewers. This process became popular in the mid-17th century. Before that, meat was rarely eaten in Japan.

  1. Miso Soup

This is a comparatively simple but a very hearty meal for the Japanese people. This is mainly made with dashi stock which may be kelp or fish stock. Any seasonal meat and vegetables are added to this soup along with miso bean paste for beautiful umami in it.

Best Hotels in Japan

Some of the best hotels to stay in Japan are:

  1. NIPPONIA Sawara Merchant Town Hotel: This is a luxury hotel with AC accommodation and beautiful rooms. The rooms are separate houses with pretty balconies. There is also the availability of multi-cuisine food here. A night here costs around 44,783 JPY.
  2. Narita View Hotel: The highlights of this hotel are the hot spring bath, free wired internet, and shuttle facility. This is a budget hotel that costs about 4,612 JPY.
  3. Hotel Universal Port Vita: This hotel has comfortable AC accommodation, high-end TVs and courteous and friendly staff. Cost of a night here is 14,285 JPY.
  4. Kamon Hotel Namba: This is a modern hotel with beautiful interiors and courteous staff. The location is very close to the Nippombashi Railways station. One night in this hotel costs approx. 5842 JPY.
  5. ICI Hotel Akasaka by RELIEF: this is a 3-star hotel in Tokyo with a well-furnished room, an amazing terrace, a bar, and a restaurant. They also have free internet facilities. A night here costs 7,936 JPY.

Recommended Insurance in Japan

Whether you travel to Japan alone or in a group, travel insurance is a must. You will not know what to do in a foreign land in case of any mishap and this is when good travel insurance comes handy. The main benefits of purchasing travel insurance include:

  • 24/7 helpline in case of any emergency or urgent query.
  • Besides from Travel to Japan vaccinations, you will receive medical assistance at any time and anywhere you are in Japan. Starting from evacuation to repatriation, the insurance company looks after everything.
  • They assure your baggage protection
  • Your travel insurance company covers any kind of medical or dental emergency when you are traveling overseas.
  • They help in easy trip cancellation.

Apart from assisting you at any time of the day, they cover several adventure sports under various categories. The categories include snow sports, aerial sports, water sports, normal field sports and more. The top examples that are covered by your travel insurance are bobsledding, tennis, mountain biking, tubing, skiing and more. The general activities covered under good travel insurance includes hospitality, admin work, restaurant, teaching and fruit picking.

FAQ

  1. How Much Does It Cost to Vacation in Japan?

Japan is a little more expensive than the neighboring Asian countries. This should not be the reason however for not visiting Japan. It is a little difficult to calculate the cost of a vacation in Japan to be exact. For this, you first have to chalk out a proper plan including the number of days you want to stay and the part of Japan you would want to cover.

It is next to impossible to travel to Japan completely even if you stay there for a month. On average, a 2-week trip would need a budget of $1200 out of which a major part will vanish if you include a rail pass. The average cost for a week would come up to $560 and at $80/day.

  1. How Much Money Do You Need Per Day in Japan?

Japan is often considered as one of the expensive countries for a vacation which is however not true. On the contrary, if you are planning to travel around a lot, stay at western hotels and eat at the best places, the scene can be a little different. In that case, you may have to spend about $200 per day which is quite a lot.

However, your vacation need not be that expensive actually. You can travel at a lot less if you keep control of your pocket and follow a few tips and tricks on where to save money. If you want to take up a budget trip, even $70-$75 is enough for a day. Some people have ever stayed in Japan at a bare minimum of $50 per day.

  1. How Much Does a 2 Week Trip to Japan Cost?

First, you have to plan which part of Japan you want to cover within 2 weeks. Once you have done that and also read tips on how you can cut off on your budget, you are good to go. You should need about $1200 for 2 weeks if you are on a mid-budget trip.

  1. What Can You Do in Japan for 10 Days?

10 days is very less time to cover even a small part of Japan but you are suggested to make the most of it during your stay. Allot the first 4 days to explore the best of Kyoto. Kyoto houses more than 2,000 shrines and temples. You just have to choose which ones to visit. You can divide the 4-day trip in this way:

  • Higashiyama

A good way to start touring Kyoto is to visit Higashiyama which is a well-preserved heritage site. There are several tea-houses, temples, Japanese gardens, and shrines in Higashiyama. It is best to explore this place on foot. The best place here is the Kiyomizu-Dera temple.

  • Kinkaku-Ji and Arashiyama

On day-2, you can go to Arashiyama, which is district towards West Kyoto. The highlight of this district is the tall bamboo groves. It is usually a crowded place and you should reach their early to avoid such crowd. The Iwatayama Monkey Park and the Golden Temple or Kikaku-Ji are the best places that follow.

  • Fushimi Inari, Markets and the Manga Museum

The stunning Fushimi Inari is known for its Torii Gates, all orange in color. The pathway of gates is on the mountainsides and the crowd keeps reducing the higher you walk. After spending a couple of hours in this forest area, you can come down to Kyoto and head straight to the Manga Museum.

The Museum and the collection of comic books here highlight the famous pop culture of Japan. This is where you can get the best collection of Manga art and books. You can finish the day with a visit to the Nishiki Market. It is a small market that just covers 5 blocks of the shopping street.

  • Day-4 of your trip can cover the Edo Era highlight of Japan or the Nijo Castle. It is a 400-year old monument with amazing architecture and beautiful Japanese Gardens. You can also include Nara, Karama, and Kibune on the same day.
  • On day-5 you can experience the famous bullet train journey to Tokyo. These trains are also called shinkansen. On your way from Kyoto till Tokyo, try to take a seat on the left side to get a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji on the way.

The rest of the 5 days should be completely dedicated to Tokyo as you have so much to explore here. Starting from amazing food to nightlife, city scenes, bridges, gardens, shopping and everything you can think of. You name it and you get it in Tokyo. The main places that you should visit in and around Tokyo are Harajuku and Shibuya, Ueno and Asakusa, Shinjuku and Tsukiji Market, Hakone and finally all the shopping destinations here.

  1. Is Food Expensive in Japan?

It depends completely on what you choose to eat. Japan is known for sushi and sashimi but these are quite expensive when compared with other stuff here. If you choose soups, rice bowls and ramen bowls over other pricey food, you can cut down on your expenses. Also, food carts, food trains, and roadside shops sell cheaper food than in the other western restaurants. Fresh fruits are quite expensive here.

  1. Are 5 Days in Tokyo Enough?

Honestly, 5 days or even 10 days is not enough to explore everything in Tokyo. A lot of people have said that they could not explore Tokyo completely even after staying there for a few years. However, if you have the 5 days planned out, then at least you can get an idea of some places and activities in Tokyo.

  1. How Many Days in Japan is Enough?

You have to stay here for years to explore all parts of Japan and still not be content. For starters, you can plan a 1- month trip to Japan to elaborately explore at least some parts of the country. Mostly, people visit Japan for a week or maximum of 10 days but tourism in the country is increasing at a fast pace.

  1. How Much is McDonald’s in Japan?

McDonald’s is one of the premium food outlets even in Japan. The menu has several dishes to offer. The price of food here ranges from 200Yen to as much as 750 Yen.

  1. How Long Do You Need in Hiroshima?

Hiroshima is a historic place in Japan which is mainly known for its museums and memorials. However, if you start in the morning from Kyoto, you could reach Hiroshima in not much time. You can spend the late morning and afternoon exploring Hiroshima and then move to another place in the evening.

  1. What Month is The Cheapest to Fly to Japan?

The peak season of Japan in July is in June-July. October is when the travel fare is lowest in Japan.

 

 

 

 

 

A step by step Travel to India guide 

Spiritual, cultural, diverse & colossal- these are the top four words that pop into our minds every time we hear the word ‘India’. Located in the southern region of Asia, this enchanted land is not just a destination, it is an experience you must soak in at least once in life.

Everything you need to know about traveling to Thailand

Thailand is one of the treasures of South East Asia and East Asian Cultures, famous for its beaches, wildlife, and rainforests. The country is a proud heritage of East Asian cultures that retains a traditional past. It also offers more of what the millennials want from a travel destination.

India vs China—Who’s going to be the number one?

India and China – the two Asian giants – are world famous for their ancient architectural wonders, population, lead influence in the worldwide trade war, greatest military powers, and the front-line racers in the evolving phase of global supremes.

Why kids should meditate?

Kids have monkey minds, which stay out of control for most of the time and randomly jumps from here to there. The only way to confine their monkey mind is through proper meditation.

Meditation for kids is very beneficial, as it helps them in leading a healthy life, along with the discipline they need to succeed in their life.

With the increased stress and academic pressure, children can get a plethora of health-related problems. These problems incorporate anxiety, depression, heart-related issues, and other mental and physical complexities that need treatment with immediate effect. In the evolving phase of a child, there is no cure better than meditation.

Child Meditation makes them less aggressive, more disciplined, and better performing on all the scales of life.

Meditation helps in emotional development

The one who knows how to conquer the emotions has won half the battles of life. Your child needs to understand the difference between different emotions while sustaining the harsh phases of life.

Meditation helps the children to sustain a healthy rhythm while coping with all kinds of emotions. It also assists them in balancing the chores of life much more comfortable.

Meditation keeps stress at bay

Children are equally prone to anxiety when compared to adults, and as a parent, you have to make sure that your kid is away from any possibilities of stress. The only thing that can help is meditational practices.

Meditation helps the children to divert their mind from academic stress while focusing on life. During meditation, the bodies of children come under certain positions which are vital for physical as well as mental development.

Self-realization

Realizing the inner-self is something that can take years, but meditating from an early age can reward your children with better results. They can evaluate their worth and can focus on life with true zeal and dedication.

Benefits of Meditation for Kids 

There is an array of benefits meditation offers to the growing kids. Not only it helps them in becoming mentally stronger, but also it assists them to keep their physical body under control.

Treating insomnia

Insomnia is getting more common in the children due to the growing competition and the continual pressure from the parents. A child who is insomniac has more chances of catching any disease and mental problems due to the lack of sleep.

Meditation helps them to relieve from the continuous stimulation while relaxing the brain. As a result, they get better in everything, and the quality of their sleep gets enhanced.

Meditation is a source of inspiration

It is proven that meditation is better for the health and functioning of our brain. Same is the case with inspiration. The kids who meditate have better chances of getting the inspiration they are looking for.

Better focus

Focusing on something is very arduous even for the adults, and meditation is a panacea that can help! With meditation, the children can improve their focusing power and can get better mental stability.

best meditation techniques for kids
Meditation can take place anywhere and in different forms

Sure-shot methods to teach your children the art of meditation

Be their mentor

Don’t just ask your kids to meditate, instead be their mentor and follow the same pattern of meditation to motivate your children. It will help you in attaining a win-win situation, as your kids will get inclined towards meditation and also you will get the benefits of meditating.

If you don’t know how to meditate correctly, then you can consider watching some online videos, or you can get the membership of a meditation center along with your children.

Be patient

Children find it hard to learn the art of meditation as they are not prepared for it, both physically and mentally! Deal with them in a gentle way and help them in learning the techniques of meditation.

Keep in mind that you are helping them to become a better person, and your aggressive behavior can leave a mark on their brains.

Start with breathing

Do not focus on the core of meditation from the very first day, as it can leave the kids in a state of confusion and they will get bored easily. Start your day-one with general breathing and teach your children the right way to control their breath during meditation.

Turn it into a fun activity

The best way to help the kids learn meditation is by turning it into a fun activity. Undoubtedly, children love activities that are full of fun. Recite some exciting children’s meditation stories or engage their mind before you start meditating.

Ask questions

After ending the meditation periods, ask them questions like what they have learned during meditation and what they like and what they don’t.

It will make them feel participated, and they will respond in a better way.

Some kid-friendly meditation techniques to attain the mix of fun and prosperity

Teaching the way to meditate can be daunting if you follow an inappropriate way. Here are the best meditation techniques for kids that can help.

Meditation music for kids
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Scanning the body is the best meditation technique for toddlers and small kids.

All you have to do is keep their mind busy in something so that they can forget all the body-pains, tiredness, and all other things that are roaming in their mind.

Touch their body parts lightly and ask them to name the body part. For better results, you can play best meditation music for kids that can help them with better sleep.

 

Follow the leader

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If you have a grown-up child who is more than five years of age, then follow the leader meditation technique will work seamlessly. Ask your children to follow you and repeat the same activities as you are doing.

It will assist them in learning the exercise while nurturing them with a strong parent-child bond.

It is advised to be the mentor yourself, as a kid learns better from his/her parents.

  • Grab a meditation mat and sit ask your kids to sit on it comfortably
  • Ask them to close their eyes while focusing on the breath
  • For better attention, ask them to start counting their breaths
  • Lastly, teach them the right way to exhale and inhale

This efficient yet straightforward meditation technique is very effective for those who lack focus and have an unstable mind.

Chant the mantras

Meditation mantra
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Chanting mantras has immense benefits for the body and for the soul. Also, it is a widely practiced way of meditation across the globe. Learn some mantras and practice them with your child.

If needed, then you can use audio mantras and best meditation music for kids for better audibility and for keeping the children attentive.

Chanting the mantras will make them better, stronger, and resistant to negativity.

How to make kids meditate?

Teaching the art of meditation can be a pain in the neck if you follow an outdated approach that fails to impress your kids.

Children only pay attention to the things that they find interesting. So you need to make meditation for kids equally exciting and fun.

Keep meditation simple

Never run into details when you are practicing meditation with your children. Your goal should be helping them in learning the art, not keeping them bore during the meditation.

Use simple language to assist them in understanding what you mean.

Help them meditate with gestures

Meditation becomes easy when you are helping the children with gestures. Physical gestures have better attention-grabbing power, and they are more effective than verbal method.

Make it their routine

Motivate your kid to exercise meditation regularly and help him in making it his routine. Set the schedule accordingly and keep a time slot for meditation. Once they are keen to practice meditation, they will do it on their own.

Create a meditating environment

Children will never focus on meditation if their rooms are scattered with toys. Make sure that the place is free of obstacles and is clean enough to maintain hygiene.

Watch best meditation videos for kids

You need to keep yourself updated while helping your kids with the art of meditation. Watch some videos and learn the tactics to maintain the fun-factor of the meditation.

Set them free

Children hate boundaries, and you should set them free for a while during the meditation period. Start or end your meditation with a game of a fun activity for letting the children free. They will participate in a better way and will respond to you with better outcomes if you let them enjoy during the session.

Meditation For Kids And Moms – The New BFFs

Kids nowadays are hardly noisy, have you noticed? Why, well, they are always hooked onto smartphones – playing games and watching videos. Who has time to make mischief, when smart electronic gadgets consume most of their time!

Is your little one also glued to the smartphone all the time?

Well, this is not just with your kid alone. Almost all kids, nowadays, find it really difficult to wriggle free of their attachment to gadgets, as technology is literally everywhere. And that leaves the parents worrying to no end!

Thinking about possibilities to lure them away from this new age addiction, have you tried introducing your kid to meditation?

By encouraging meditation for kids, their innate ability to focus will be reclaimed. Meditation helps to boost confidence levels and self-esteem and develops empathy among kids too.  

If this sounds like a good plan for you, then follow this guide for introducing your kids to meditation.

Children meditation
Some children already have the habit of meditation

How Long Should Kids Meditate?

An important aspect of practicing meditation for kids is that you need to make the experience as fun and interesting as possible. Make sure the activity is not monotonous, for that will surely drown their interest really soon.

To make it more engaging, you have to appeal to the senses and imagination of the little ones. But do make sure that you don’t plan it way too long – the duration is equally important so that it remains fun and interesting for them.

You have to start from a few minutes a day, five minutes will be a good start. It is very difficult for children to achieve the required concentration during meditation so five minutes are sufficient in the initial stage.

With time, and according to the child’s progress rate, you can try to start raising the time at a slow and measured pace. The primary goal is to create a habit so there is no point in drawing time by force, which will necessarily stimulate the child’s opposition to meditation. Take it easy.

So, What Should Be The Maximum Duration?

To be practical, you cannot really expect your kid to meditate actively for 20 minutes like an adult. Kids have a habit of constantly shifting their focus from one thing to the other. Besides, the increased use of modern gadgets means that they have a shorter attention span in general.

So, experts recommend that ideally, a session of meditation for kids should be one more than their age. For instance, if your child is 8 years old, then try to conduct a session that is 9 minutes long. This way, you will not test their patience and smartly create space for another session soon again.

And again, as mentioned above, start raising the time at a slow and measured pace.

Try To Get Creative With Them

As an adult, you need to think of the Best meditation techniques for kids, which are creative and fun – just like their playtime.

For instance, instead of asking them “watch your breath”, you can ask them to place a toy on their tummy and observe it moving up and down. You can probably ask them to try and move it as slowly as they can. In this way, you would have taught them how to deep breathe without them realizing it.

How Do You Calm a Screaming Child?

Trying to calm a screaming kid is perhaps the most dreaded task for any parent! But with certain points in mind, you can easily get it done.

Firstly, Know what to Say

Knowing the right thing to say when your child is upset is the real trick to calm them down. It is better to keep a few lines handy to use them promptly when your kid is not in a happy mood. For instance, you could gently tell them, “Maybe you should have said this”, or “Why don’t you say that the next time?”

Make sure to keep your patience and calm all along, and praise them when they manage to finally calm down. Such words can go a long way in helping them manage their emotions better as they grow up.

Engage them in Calming Activities

Motivate your kids to engage in “time-out” when they are angry.

Let them know that it is fine to take a few minutes’ break if they want. This may include encouraging them to do what they like such as coloring, reading a book. You can also engage them in listening to good music that they like. This will effectively shift their attention and help them to calm down easily. You can use the best meditation music for kids to manage their mood.

Manage What They Are Exposed To

What a kid sees constantly, influences their behavior to a great extent. If they come across violence on social media, make sure you stop them there immediately.

Besides, it is important to teach them by example. If you cannot manage your own anger, they will obviously learn from you. So you must be watchful your own conduct and actions too.

When And Why Moms Should Meditate With Kids?

Meditation is a powerful spiritual activity. When you and your kid participate in it together, it strengthens your relationship further. You will feel like you are growing together and nurtures the loving bond between mother and child.

Besides, there would be visible positive changes in your lives. With mindfulness meditation for kids, they will be able to perform better at school. They will also acquire the capacity to manage their emotions better and make better decisions with a rational mind.

If you want to make your kid used to meditation, it is advisable to start with light morning meditation for kids while they are very young. This way, they will be used to it as they grow older. Later, you can also encourage them to practice meditation with you.

What Is The Best Time To Practice Meditation With Your Kids?

Bedtime meditations are very effective to bring down your child’s stress levels. It is generally accepted that a child can be encouraged to meditate for a number of minutes, equivalent to their age. However, if the mom is able to make her kid relax well, this can last even longer, eventually guiding them to sleep better.

One of the primary requirements is a peaceful atmosphere in your child’s bedroom like mellow light and calm music. You can also read him/her children’s meditation stories. And you can try to repeat this practice of meditation for kids to sleep more frequently for a positive outcome.

Final Words

Overall, meditation is one of the most effective tools for personal development. Encouraging meditation for kids from a young age will help your precious little ones to maintain excellent physical and spiritual wellbeing throughout their lives. It is, therefore, a great idea to help them learn and make meditation an integral part of their lives.

 

What is Tantra Massage? How is it done?

Tantra massage incorporates the essence of Shakti or energy and is way different from traditional massage therapies. It works towards removing blockages that millennials face and involve physical, mental, sexual, emotional, and psychosomatic needs.

What is Massage?

Massage basically refers to the art of kneading and rubbing the body using hands for the purpose of easing pain or tension. Massage therapy has really evolved over the centuries and is believed to be of divine origin.

In East Asian cultures, the practice of using touch has long been in use as a natural healing method. It is also believed that Indians started practicing massage in 3000BC or possibly earlier. Not only does massage relieve pain but it’s also used as a means of healing injuries, preventing, and curing illnesses.

Different massage therapies derived from customs rooted in the East are also used to produce deep relaxation and reduce stress.

How to Massage – Common Massage Therapy Techniques

If you’re new to the world of massage, it can be pretty confusing to navigate all the different types of massage therapy techniques out there. That’s why we came up with the list below to help you decipher the different techniques:

Longitudinal Gliding

This massage technique is quite basic but very flexible. It’s usually administered in the direction that the blood is flowing. This technique helps the fluids that had been held up at an injury site to disperse and so the swelling comes down. Longitudinal gliding is very helpful in relaxing tight muscles.

Kneading

There are two types of kneading: thumb kneading and palm kneading. Either of these two parts of the hand is used varying amounts of pressure depending on the tissue that is under treatment. The rate and rhythm of the movement also depend on the purpose of the massage.

Myofascial Releases

This technique involves stretching the fascia for the purpose of balancing the body. The fascia is a seamless connective tissue that is found between the skin and underlies the muscle and bone. It covers and at the same time connects the skeleton, the organs, and the muscles.

The main reason for this type of massage is to restore the fascia tissue after it’s been subjected to stress, trauma, and injury.

Trigger Point Therapy

This technique involves the application of pressure to tender muscles with the aim of relieving pain. It is best suited for people with injuries, chronic pain, or a specific tissue condition.

The massage focuses on relieving tightness at the trigger points which usually cause pain to be felt in other parts of the body. Trigger point therapy is very helpful in managing chronic pain.

Deep Transverse Frictions

This is a transverse connective tissue therapy that is applied using fingers in an oscillating motion following the direction of the tissue fibers. The technique is best suited for tendon or ligament injuries to break down tissue scar. When such scars are not broken down, they cause irritating pain.

Compression Massage

Compression massage is used to create a softening effect in tissues. Generally, it’s used to warm up the muscles for a deeper and more specific massage.

Sports Massage

When you play a certain sport, it’s very likely that you will suffer from an injury due to the repetitive use of your muscles. A sports massage come in handy to help you prevent such injuries since it increases flexibility and performance.

The massage can either be done on the entire body or just on the specific part of the body that needs the most attention.

Hot Stone Massage

Hot stones for massage
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Unlike popular belief, hot stone massage is not only best for people who simply want to relax- it’s also ideal for easing muscle pain and tension.

The massage therapist heats up stones and places them on different parts of the body. The heated stones are used alongside hands. This type of massage improves blood flow, promotes relaxation, eases muscle tension, and relieves pain. Sometimes cold stones are also used.

Aromatherapy

This kind of therapy is ideal for people who would like to get emotional healing as a part of their massage. Aromatherapy helps reduce symptoms of depression, enhance your mood, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension.

The technique combines soft, gentle pressure with the use of essential oils depending on your preference. The oils that are rubbed on to your skin have to be diluted beforehand. During the massage, you also inhale essential oils through a diffuser.

This kind of therapy is not recommended for anyone who is sensitive to smell or essential oils.

Reflexology

This kind of massage is ideal for people who want to relax or restore their natural energy levels. Reflexology uses gentle or firm pressure on different pressure points of the feet, hands, and ears. This technique is recommended for people who aren’t very comfortable being touched over their entire body as well as those who wish to remain fully clothed during the procedure.

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage is a Japanese type of massage that promotes emotional and physical relaxation. It’s recommended for people who want to feel relaxed and relieve stress, pain, depression, and muscle tension.

The Shiatsu Massage works on the whole body but the massage therapist may focus on specific areas of the body that need extra attention. He/she will use his/her hands, palms, and thumbs to massage the body.

Thai Massage

Thai massage is considered to be a form of “active massage” and is ideal for people who want to reduce stress and relieve pain. It’s also used to improve flexibility, circulation, and energy levels.

During the massage, expect to be stretched and twisted into various positions by the therapist.

Prenatal Massage

This is best for pregnant women as it helps reduce body aches associated with pregnancy. Prenatal massage is safe for all stages of the pregnancy although one has to be very careful when massaging women in their first trimester as there’s a high risk of miscarriage at this time.

The therapist focuses on the lower back, the hips, and the legs. During the massage, you can either lie on your side or facing downwards on a specifically designed table with a cutout for your belly.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is usually quite intense since it uses a considerable amount of pressure. It’s recommended for people who have chronic muscle problems, such as soreness, injury, or imbalance. The massage helps relieve tight muscles, chronic muscle pain, and anxiety.

The massage therapist uses slow strokes and deep finger pressure to relieve tension from the deepest layers of your muscles and connective tissues.

Swedish Massage

Massage bed
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The Swedish massage is a gentle type of massage that works the entire body. It is ideal for people who are new to massage and just want to relax, those who are sensitive to touch, and those who want to manage minor pain.

The techniques used are a combination of kneading, friction, vibration, effleurage, percussion, tapping, long flowing strokes in the direction of the heart, deep circular motions, and passive joint movement techniques.

For the Swedish massage, you will lie down on the massage table, naked. You may choose to remove all your clothes or keep your underwear on. The therapist moves the sheet that is used to cover you as he/she works on the necessary areas.

The different between Swedish massage and Tissue massage

Couple’s Massage

A couple’s massage may be done with a lover, a friend, or a family member in the same room. Some of the additional benefits you get may as part of the package include pedicures, facials, body scrubs, access to the saunas, and hot tubs.

It’s possible for you and your partner to receive different types of massage depending on your personal preference. However, you will both be on tables that are side by side with different therapists working on you.

How to Massage Different Parts Of The Body

There are different ways in which you may soothe achy muscles in different parts of the body. In this section, we’ll look at the different ways in which you may massage select body parts whenever you feel sore or need to relax:

How to massage the Neck

Electric massager
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Neck pain is usually brought about by stress. When a person is stressed, they tend to hunch forward and raise the shoulders towards the ears. This puts a strain on the back of the neck. A gentle neck massage may be used to relieve these symptoms. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Ensure that your nails are short so that you’re able to use your fingertips without scratching.
  2. While the person receiving the massage faces up on the massage table, cup the base of their scalp with one hand and gently rotate it as you move the hand upwards. At the same time, run the palm of the other hand down his/her neck into the area where the neck meets the shoulder.
  3. Alternate the hands and repeat about 5 times. All this while, ensure that your hands are well lubricated
  4. Again, fold both your hands into loose fists and place each one of them on either side of the neck near the base of the skull. Rotate your wrists forward as you move your hands towards the shoulders. Later rotate the direction of the rotation and move your hands towards the base of the skull.
  5. Lastly, place the tips of your fingers at the base of the neck and make circular motions as you move your hands up towards the skull.

How to Massage the Feet

Foot massages help you to relax and also relieves muscle aches.

  1. To get the feet warmed up, place your palms on either side of the foot and gently do a twisting motion. Push the right side of the foot forward while pushing the left side backward. Reverse the directions as you keep working from the ankles to the toes.
  2. Bend the toes back and forth gently to encourage flexibility in the foot. With time, increase the pressure used to flex the toes to their full range of motion. Use your fingers to twist, tug, and pull each toe gently as you move from the outer toes to the inner toes.
  3. To relieve tension at the back of the foot, gently squeeze the heel and release it in repetitive motions.
  4. Use either your knuckles, thumbs, or fist to massage the entire foot starting from the toe pad to the heel
  5. Finally, use the top and side circling technique to finish up the massage. Use both hands to support the foot from below then extend your fingers and use them to make circles around both sides of the ankle.

How to Massage the Back

Back massages are very therapeutic and relaxing.

  1. Before you get started, ensure that you choose a comfortable spot first. It should be sturdy enough complete with a face cradle for alignment of the spine. The room should be warm which will help the person feel relaxed. If possible, play some calming music coupled with scented aromatherapy candles.
  2. Pour massage oil in the palm of your hand and then spread it around the person’s back using light strokes.
  3. Use your hands and work from the bottom of the back as move upward towards the heart and in the direction of the blood flow.
  4. Use the kneading technique in circular motions, with more pressure to enhance deeper circulation.
  5. Make sure that you don’t leave out the muscles on either side of the spine. However, be very careful not to massage the spine directly especially if you’re not trained properly- it can be uncomfortable and very dangerous.

How to massage the lower back

Some activities that may cause the lower back muscles to tighten include lifting heavy objects or sitting at the same spot for prolonged periods. A good massage can help loosen the tight muscles and alleviate the discomfort. Here’s how you perform a lower back massage:

  1. Place your hands flat on the person’s lower back near the hips and move them upwards firmly towards the middle back. Lift your hands and start again at the lower back. Make sure that you only apply pressure on the muscles and not on the spine or the hip bones.
  2. Use the heels of your hands to apply pressure at the bottom of the person’s spine, near the hips. Move the hands upwards in a circular motion as you apply pressure on either side of the spine.
  3. Using your fingers, press from the center of the spine, outwards towards the hips. This will help to massage the tightness out of the tops of the gluteus muscles that cause lower back pain.
  4. Slide your thumbs along the long muscles beside the spine. Do this in an upward motion and stop at the middle back
  5. Again, use your thumb to relieve pressure at the specific spots where the pain is coming from. Firmly apply pressure on the sore areas; make tiny circular movements in the muscle to help loosen it.

How to Massage the Shoulders

Slouching forward makes your shoulder muscles to get tight. To massage the shoulders:

  1. Always make sure that your shoulders are dropped and that they’re not hunched up by the ears.
  2. Slowly tuck in your chin into your chest then stretch your neck.
  3. Place two or three fingers on the back of the neck where your neck and shoulders meet.
  4. Press firmly and hold. Release once the muscle feels more relaxed.
  5. Lastly, slowly roll your shoulders forward and back slowly. Repeat this step as many times as needed.

How to Massage the Face

Your facial muscles get a major work out from daily movements like smiling, frowning, and chewing.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for a great facial massage:

  1. Before you get started, ensure that you clean, cleanse, and steam your face. This will soften the pores so that the products you use are absorbed better.
  2. Press your fingers between the brows and slide up the forehead. Repeat this motion until you have covered the entire area in-between.
  3. Use your fingertips to massage the center of your face and work towards your cheeks all the way to your ears.
  4. Incorporate the up-and-out motion across your jawline and repeat as many times as you may need.
  5. Lastly, gently rub the ears and earlobes between your fingertips.

Massaging the Full Body – What are The Benefits?

A full body massage not only relaxes you and leaves you feeling energized but also keeps the body working at optimal levels. Receiving a massage is good for the mind, body, and soul. A 10-minute rub down will leave you feeling invigorated and will help with blood flow.

While massaging the entire body, start at the head, work all the way down to the face, neck, shoulders, hands, fingers, thighs, feet, and toes. With a bit of soothing oils, use your palms to gently glide over the entire body and repeat a couple of times

A full body massage has more benefits than most of us actually realize. Some of these benefits are:

  1. Keeps people well- both physically and emotionally.
  2. Fights chronic muscle pain and tenderness; a condition commonly known as fibromyalgia.
  3. Improves the mood by lowering the body’s level of cortisol (a stress hormone) and increasing the feel-good hormones (serotonin and dopamine).
  4. Increases flexibility especially for athletes who are constantly putting pressure on their muscles.
  5. Lowers blood pressure which would otherwise lead to a stroke.

And finally, for dogs lovers, who want to share this beautiful practice with their dogs, this section is for you 🙂

How To Massage a Dog

It’s very important to give your pet dog a “maintenance” massage every once in a while. Such a massage can add to the length and quality of your pet’s life.

It’s quite simple actually:

  • Use hour hands to slowly touch all the parts of the dog’s body. The dog will really enjoy the “petting”
  • Pay attention to all the layers through the hair, to the skin, fat, muscle, and bone.
  • Wrap your hands around each leg and squeeze gently. This is incredibly important to the dog’s ability to run and play
  • Always pay extra attention to the dog’s ears as this will help the dog combat overall fatigue and stress levels.
  • Massage the back of the dog to combat restlessness and hyperactivity. It also improves stomach health and increases skin elasticity.
  • If your dog suffers from indigestion, focus your massage on the belly to help the muscles here relax. This will really help cut down on gas and bloating.
  • Lastly, massage the dog’s paws. The paws are very sensitive and are directly connected to other different parts of the body.

Sensual Massage- Massage Techniques For Couples

Couples that include sensual massage techniques into their intimate activities report the most satisfying sex life. Apart from the massage helping the participants relax, it adds to the arousal while providing exciting changes in lovemaking. We’ll have a look at three common sensual massage techniques:

  1. Touching

For this to happen, make sure that you’re in a warm room since you’re both required to be naked. the lighting should also be low and flattering. If possible, play some relaxing music in the background. The touching should be gentle and almost tickling. While men should concentrate on the breasts and the clitoris, women should concentrate on the area around the penis. Other areas worth focusing on are buttocks and inner thighs.

  1. Lingam

This technique is the tantric version of sensual massage that is offered to men. In Sanskrit, lingam is used to refer to the male sex organ. The main purpose of this type of massage is not to achieve orgasm; it’s meant to relax the man by massaging the prostate. Penis, and testicles.

The man lays down on his back facing up, with his legs spread and slightly bent. While being massaged, he should continue breathing deeply and stay relaxed. He should try as much as possible to hold back from ejaculating to extend the sensual pleasure derived from this massage.

  1. Yoni

Yoni is the Sanskrit word for vagina. Yoni massage is aimed at helping women relax and serves as an alternative safe sex technique. This technique is also aimed at giving the woman pleasure.

The woman lies on her back with legs spread out and bent at the knees. She should keep breathing deeply throughout the entire process. Use a small amount of oil to massage the vaginal area and inner thighs.

Sensual Couple’s massage Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do take it slow, this helps you gain your partner’s trust.
  • Do ask for feedback as you carry on.
  • Do give encouraging feedback if you’re the one getting the massage.
  • Don’t use your thumbs. Use your open hands or just the fingertips.
  • Don’t squirt oil directly from the bottle onto the body. Instead, squirt it on one of your hands, rub your palms together and apply on the body.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the ambiance. Set up the mood with good music and proper lighting

Basic Supplies For Massage Parlors

A massage therapist requires quite a number of equipment to carry out a massage. Some of the equipment, tools, and other requirements include:

Final Word

Massages are really good for stress since they enhance your overall relaxation and significantly reduce feelings of anxiety. Tight muscles can also be loosened by massaging them. Deep tissue massage is best recommended for tight muscles; it helps loosen the muscles and decreases the pain being experienced.

After your massage is done, you’ll feel quite relaxed. Drink plenty of water after, grab a snack for an energy boost, ice any sore areas that feel a little tender, take a bath and rest. doing all this will help you hand on for longer to that post-massage feeling.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that massages do not release any toxins. Massage only de-stress the body but don’t detoxify it. If you experience any symptoms after a massage, they most probably have nothing to do with the actual massage

 

 

Hindu Symbols Overview

Hinduism is made up of a combination of different religious, cultural, and philosophical practices that find their roots in different parts of India. This religion is brimming with symbolism.

Some people actually believe that there is no other religion that employs the art of symbolism in such an effective manner as Hinduism.

While most of the symbols are invariably saturated with spiritual meaning, others are representative of their gods and goddesses, philosophies, teachings, and cultural traditions.

There are two main categories of the Hindu symbols:
i. Murti – These symbols are inclusive of drawings and icons
ii. Mudra – These symbols re inclusive of hand gestures and positions of the body

The Symbolism of gods and goddesses- Why Do Hindus Worship Different Deities?

Deities and rituals are a huge part of Hinduism; they have great religious significance. All the deities found in Hinduism are symbols of the Supreme Being and point to a particular aspect of the creator (Brahman).

The Hindu Trinity is usually represented by three Hindu gods: Brahman who is the creator, Vishnu who is the protector, and Shiva who is the destroyer.

Among all religions found in East Asia and across the globe, Hindus have the most freedom to worship their “idol” of choice who in turn offers their prayers to the creator. Each and every one of the Hindu gods and goddesses controls a specific force in nature that governs a person’s path of spiritual progress.

In order for a person to achieve all-rounded spiritual perfection, he/she needs to gain favor with different deities who help stir up his/her consciousness to help him develop similar attributes as the gods.

Each Hindu deity has many characteristics such as how they dress or what weapons they carry. These characteristics are represented by symbols which are used to identify the different gods and goddesses. For example, Krishna may be identified by the peacock feather worn on the head, or by the flute that he carries which symbolizes divine music.

Symbols in Hinduism

When looked at on the surface, the symbols used in Hinduism may seem absurd. However, when you get to learn their deeper meaning you will discover so much- their hidden meanings are intriguing.
There are some Hindu symbols such as the conch and the lotus that are similar to Buddhism symbols.

In this list, we’ll have a look at some of the most common and sacred Hindu symbols and the meaning behind them:

1. Hindu symbol Aum ( Pronounced as Om)

In Hinduism, Om is a sacred sound that is considered the greatest of all mantras. Hindus believe that God first created sound frequencies and the universe arose from them.

The Om sound is considered to be a symbol that represents the essence of the universe; its threefold nature represents several important triads:
• The 3 worlds- earth, atmosphere, and heaven
• The 3 main gods- Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva
• The 3 Vedic scriptures- Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda

Om is to Hindus what the cross is to Christians. This root mantra is spoken at the beginning and end of Hindu prayers and meditations. In written form, Om is used to marking the beginning of a text in an inscription or a manuscript.

Hindu symbol om
Om, the source of the universe

The Om symbol consists of three curves, a semi-circle, and a dot. The lower curve is the largest and is a symbol of the waking state of consciousness.

Its large size means that this is the most common state of the mind.

The middle curve represents the state between deep sleep and consciousness; also known as the dream state. In this state, one is able to view the world behind closed eyelids.

The upper curve symbolizes the unconscious state. In this state of deep sleep, the person does not get any dream. Overall, the three curves represent the entire physical phenomenon.

The semi-circle in the Om symbol separates the dot from the curves and is a representation of Maya. Maya is believed to prevent us from reaching the highest state of bliss as represented by the upper curve.

The dot on the symbol is used to represent the fourth state of consciousness where a person comes to rest and achieves the ultimate aim of all their spiritual activity. This fourth state is the absolute state that illuminates all the other three states.

Om is the most chanted sound in all of India. In addition to being used in sacred texts, prayers and invocations, the Om sound may also be used as a greeting. In a nutshell, Om is the god in the form of sound- a word of great power. It’s the most important mantra is both Hinduism and Buddhism as well.

2. Sri Chakra or Sri Yantra

This symbol is a complex yet beautiful geometry that has, for the longest time, been used for worship and meditation. The shape is made up of 9 triangles that radiate from a central point and interlock with each other.

Sri Yantra symbol

Of the 9 triangles, 4 are upright and symbolize the masculine side (Shiva) while the other 5 are inverted and symbolize the feminine side (Shakti).

In totality, the Sri Chakra is used as a symbol of the unity between the masculine and the feminine divinity.

The triangles interlock to form a web of 43 smaller triangles with each one of them housing a particular deity that represents a specific aspect of existence.

The Sri Chakra is quite similar to a mandala; what sets it apart is that the Sri Chakra can either be a 3-dimensional object or a 2-dimensional diagram.

When in the 3-dimensional state, the Sri Chakra is a representation of Mt. Meru which is believed to lie at the axis of the universe. This cosmic mountain is the bond of everything in the cosmos and it’s also regarded as a place of a spiritual journey. The Sri Chakra is mostly used in the Sri Kula tradition in Tantrism.

3. Swastika

The Swastika symbol is widely used in Indian religion specifically Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The term Swastika is derived from the Sanskrit term “svastika” and has two meanings. ‘Sv’ means ‘good’ or ‘higher self, ‘Asti’ means ‘to be’ or ‘being’, and ‘ka’ is a suffix.

Swastika symbol
Represent peace and honesty

The word basically translates to “to be good” or “being with higher self.”  This symbol is mostly used as a representation of good fortune and other times it’s also used as a sun symbol.

The figure has right-angled arms which represent the indirect way that Divinity is apprehended by intuition and not by intellect.

The arms are usually right-facing (clockwise) but sometimes may be left-facing in the mirrored form. The anticlockwise Swastika is used as a symbol of magic, night, and the goddess Kali.

The Swastika is in the shape of a cross which has four arms, pointing in all the four directions to describe the four Vedas and to signify the omnipresence eternal nature of the Absolute.

The Swastika symbol may also be used to represent peace, honesty, truth, purity of the soul, and stability. One of the uses of the symbol is to mark the opening of account books, doors, and thresholds.

4. Shiva Linga

Shiva Linga symbol
Shiva Linga, the cosmic creation

This term comes from the combination of two words: “Shiva” and “linga” which translate to auspicious and symbol respectively.

The term is used in reference to the Supreme Being. The Shiva Linga is a symbol of Lord Shiva and represents God Himself in all His three aspects: Creator, Protector, and Destroyer.

It symbolizes the power of fertility and strength. The symbol reminds us of the Omnipotent Lord which is formless.

The symbol is an elongated column that resembles an erect penis, the emblem of the generative power in nature. It symbolizes the cosmic creation which is effected by the male and female powers of nature.
The Shivalinga symbol is also a representation of truth, knowledge, and infinity. Depending on the mobility of the symbol, there are two broad classes of the Shivalangas:
i. Cala – These are made using stones, metal, crystals, or clay and can be moved from one place to another with ease.
ii. Acala – These are built using hard stone or heavy metal and are usually found in temples, fixed to the ground.

5. Nataraja

This symbol depicts Lord Shiva in a dancing pose. The beautiful avatar is intended to put a message across that ignorance can only be overcome by knowledge, music, and dance.

The sculpture is carved in stone or cast in bronze.
Lord Shiva is also referred to as Nataraja which means “Lord of Dancers” or “The King of Dance.”

In Sanskrit, “Nata” means dance while “Raja” means King. The dance pose that is represented in the avatar is blissful and depicts the Hindu god Shiva on an aureole of flames, balancing on one leg upon Apasmara.

The flames represent the creation and destruction of the cosmos in a never-ending cycle of time. Apasmara, on the other hand, is a demon-dwarf that symbolizes darkness and ignorance.

Shiva’s other leg is a representation of liberation from demons and other evils. His right hand, he holds a double-sided drum that makes the first sounds of creation and in his left hand, he holds a fire that will destroy the universe.

6. Shiva’s Nandi

Nandi Hindu symbol

Nandi is Lord Shiva’s mount or Vahana. The Nandi symbol is a huge white bull that has a black tail and kneels at the feet of Lord Shiva. This symbolizes disciplined animality which results in the ideal devotee to Shiva. The symbol is also a representation of Shiva’s strength.

7. Lotus (Padma)

The lotus is the holiest flower in India. It has, over the years, achieved a status that cannot be equaled by any other flower.

It’s used as a symbol both Hinduism and Buddhism and primarily represents untouched beauty and non-attachment. Even though the plant is rooted deep in the mud, the beautiful lotus remains to be clean and continues to float on the water.

This gives clear teaching of how humans should carry themselves throughout their lives, untouched by sin.
The lotus flower is also used as a symbol of etiquette and culture, creation, fertility, and perfection of beauty.

Many Hindu deities like Vishnu, Ganesha, and Parvati are depicted holding the lotus in their hands. In the East Asian cultures, you will find the lotus flower symbol on buildings and cars. Again, the lotus is associated with the chakras.

Here we’ll provide you with a basic overview of a series of chakras where the lotus flower holds special significance. These chakras are an important aspect of different types of meditation:

i. Muladhara: The Root Chakra
This chakra is depicted as a red lotus flower that has four petals.
The root chakra is related to instinct, security, survival, and human potentiality. Physically, it governs sexuality, mentally it governs stability, emotionally it governs sensuality, and spiritually it governs a sense of security.

ii. Swadhisthana: The Sacral Chakra
This chakra is depicted as an orange lotus that has six petals.
The sacral chakra is considered to correspond to the testes or the ovaries that produce the sex hormones during a person’s reproductive cycle.

This chakra is generally believed to physically govern reproduction, mentally govern creativity, emotionally govern joy, and spiritually govern enthusiasm.

iii. Manipura: The Solar Plexus Chakra
This chakra is depicted as a yellow lotus with ten petals.
The solar plexus chakra is associated with the metabolic and digestive systems that convert food matter into energy for the body.

Physically, the Manipura governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually it governs all matters of growth.

iv. Anahata: The Heart Chakra

This chakra is depicted as a green lotus with twelve petals. The heart chakra is located in the chest area and is related to the thymus which is the site of maturation of the T cells. T cells are responsible for fighting diseases. Physically this chakra governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love, mentally it governs passion, and spiritually it governs devotion.

v. Vishuddha: The Throat Chakra

This chakra is depicted as a blue lotus with sixteen petals. The throat chakra is associated with the thyroid gland which produces the thyroid hormone which regulates growth. Physically, the chakra governs communication, emotionally it governs independence, mentally it governs fluent thought, and spiritually, it governs a sense of security.

vi. Ajna: The Brow Chakra

This chakra is depicted as an indigo lotus with two petals. The brow chakra is associated with the pineal gland which produces the hormone melatonin which regulates sleep. Mentally, this chakra governs visual consciousness, emotionally it governs clarity on an intuitive level.

vii. Sahasrara: The Crown Chakra

This chakra is depicted as a violet lotus with one thousand petals. The crown chakra is described as having a total of 1,000 petals which are arranged in 20 different layers with each one of them having 50 petals.
The Sahasrara is a symbol of detachment from the illusion which is important in helping us to achieve a higher level of consciousness.

8. The Veena

Veena symbol

This is a stringed musical instrument found in India that represents arts and learning. The Veena is also used as a symbol of the Hindu goddess Saraswati and the sage Narada.

9. The Conch Shell

Conch Shell Hindu symbol
Sound of creation

The conch is also used as a Buddhist symbol but has a different interpretation. In Hinduism, the conch is a major article of prayer; the horn-trumpet is used to make announcements.

It is used as an attribute of Vishnu (the God of Preservation) who is said to hold a special shell as one of his main emblems.

In East Asian Cultures, the warriors blew the conch to announce battle. In India today, the conch is mainly blown as a part of religious practices such as worship.

In addition, this symbol is used to represent the sound that was used to create the universe.

 

10. Multiple arms and heads

Hindu symbols and their meaning
Can control many things simultaneously

The idea of multiple heads, arms, and other body parts is used to portray the illusion of “multiple conventions” in religious iconography.

The deities are depicted standing behind each other with their arms in different positions.

The visual effect created shows kinetic energy indicating the ability to be in different places and exist at all these places at once.

This symbol represents the divine omnipresence which means that the Supreme Being is able to control many things simultaneously.

11. Vahana

Garuda symbol
Garuda, Vishnu’s vehicle

In Hinduism, the Vahana (meaning vehicle) is a mythical animal that is associated with a particular deity.

In religious iconography, the deity is depicted riding on the mythical animal or at times, standing next to the Vahana.

12. Vishnu

Vishnu Hindu god

Vishnu is one of the gods that make up the Hindu Triad. He is a protector and a preserver.

The Rig Vedic Vishnu is depicted as the sun in its three main stages – rising, zenith and setting.

In these three stages Vishnu cruises through the three divisions of the universe – the earth, the atmosphere, and the sky. Vishnu is believed to have taken these three steps for the protection, preservation, and benefit of mortals. The zenith is appropriately called Vishnu’s place.

13. The Tilaka

Left: A Shaiva Hindu with Tilaka (Tripundra) on his forehead. Right: A Vaishnava Hindu with Tilaka (Urdhva Pundra)

You will often find the tilaka symbol on the foreheads of devoted Hindus.

This symbol comes in different forms and designs depending on the religious ceremony or the custom taking place.

It’s, however, quite different from the bindi that is worn by the women. A U-shaped tilaka is a symbol of a Hindu’s devotion to Lord Vishnu while a horizontal one (Tripundra) is used by Shivites as a symbol of their devotion to Lord Shiva. The Tripundra has 3 horizontal lines which represent the three godly forces: creation, sustenance, and destruction.

14. Bindi

This is one of the most common Hindu symbols. A bindi is a small dot, often in red, that is worn by women on the forehead. The dot is made using sandalwood paste, turmeric, or vermilion and is applied in the area between the eyebrows.
The area where the bindi is placed is considered to be the 6th chakra, Ajna, which is the exit point for kundalini energy. The bindi may sometimes be worn by either gender to offer protection from demons or other bad things. It is also used to show religious affiliation or ethnic affiliation.
Other names that are used to refer to a bindi are:
• Tikli
• Pottu
• Chandlo
• Bottu
• Tilakam
• Tipa
• Teep
Bindis come in a variety of colors, designs, material, shapes, and sizes; some fancy ones are decorated using sequin, glass, or rhinestone.

15. The Rudraksha Tree and Seed

This tree is mainly found in Nepal, Southeast Asia and in the Himalayas. It has blues seeds that symbolize Shiva’s tear that he shed upon seeing how much his people suffered. It is from this tear that the tree grew.

The Rudraksha name is derived from “Rudra” which is another name for Shiva and “Aksha” which means eyes.
The Rudraksha seeds are as prized as the compassionate tears that Lord Shiva shed. They’re used to make necklaces, prayer beads, and rosaries. These are mostly worn by the Shivites and are a symbol of God’s love.

16. Fire altar

Hindu symbols and their meaning

The fire altar is also referred to as the Homakunda. It’s a distinct symbol of the ancient Vedic rites.

Hindus made sacrifices and offerings to their gods at the fire altar. The homa fire was used to solemnize the Hindu sacraments.

17. Dhvaja (Flag)

Dhwaj meaning

The Dhvaja is a type of banner that is orange in color and is often flown above temples during festivals. The orange color symbolizes the sun’s life-giving glow.
This flag is a symbol of victory.

 

18. Ganesha

Ganesha is an elephant-headed Hindu god that is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. He is a symbol of the powers that are held within every human being. Ganesha guides our karma by either removing or creating obstacles on our path. Seated upon his throne, Ganesha ensures our success in different endeavors. This means that we ought to seek his permission and blessing in all our undertakings.

Ganesh facts
Ganesha, the beloved god, son of Shiva and Parvati

The goad that Ganesha holds in his right hand is referred to as the ankusha. He uses it to remove obstacles from our paths. Ganesha’s goad is a symbol of the force through which all wrongful things are repelled from us.

19. The Banyan Tree (Vata)

Banyan tree hinduism

This tree is one of the most worshipped trees in India and can be found in front of many temples. The Banyan tree can grow and survive through many centuries without drying up.

It represents Hinduism in the sense that it has many roots, branches out in different directions, spreads shade far and wide but only stems from a single trunk.

The bark is believed to represent Lord Vishnu, the roots represent Lord Brahma, and the branches represent Lord Shiva. Underneath the tree sat Rishis for the shade, to seek enlightenment. The tree is also a symbol of fertility and longevity. It is mentioned in the Holy Scripture as a Tree of Immortality.

20. Trishula

Trishula symbol
Emblem of Lord Shiva

The Trishula is a Sanskrit term that translates to “three spears” and refers to a trident spear that is the emblem of Lord Shiva.

The Trishula is a symbol of the empire and the irresistible force of transcendental reality.

Each of the spear’s pong represents Shiva’s three aspects:
• Creator
• Destroyer
• Preserver

The pongs also represent his three powers:
• Desire
• Action
• Wisdom

Generally, the trident is a symbol of the balance created by the three facets of consciousness which are cognition, affection, and conation.

21. The Saffron Color

Saffron the color
India flag – with Saffron color at the top

The saffron color symbolizes different aspects of Hinduism such as the color of fire which is used on the fire altar.

This color has great religious significance as it reflects the Supreme Being.

Fire worship dates back to the Vedic age and today you will find forked saffron flags fluttering atop most Hindu temples. This is to indicate that that’s a place of worship.

Hindu saints also wear robes that are dyed using saffron to symbolize humility and the renunciation of material life.

22. The Yajnopavita (Sacred Thread)

Sacred thread
During upanayana ritual, a boy is wearing yellow Yajnopavita thread (from left shoulder to waist).

The Yajnopavita is a thin yellow thread that is given to young Hindu males to signify spiritual awakening after they have undergone the Upanayana ritual. Once the young males have undergone the ritual, they are referred to as “twice born.”

The thread usually runs diagonally from the left shoulder to the waist. It is made using either cotton or wool.

This thread represents the acceptance of young males as religious students. They’re not supposed to take the tread off; they should bathe and swim with it on.

The person who has undergone the ritual is supposed to shave his head and wear new clothes. A priest recites the Gayatri mantra during the ritual and afterward, the initiate gives a traditional Dakshina to his teacher.

The sacred thread comprises of three intertwined threads that symbolize the Trimurti. This thread is also a symbol of the three Vedas texts: Rigveda, Samaveda, and Yajurveda.

23. Peacock (Mayil or Mayura)

Hindu symbols meaning
Was created from Garuda

The peacock is the national bird of India. It symbolizes the cycle of time in Hindu scripts. The proud display of the dancing peacock is a symbol of religion in its full, unfolded glory.

The feathers are also a symbol of good luck and prosperity. The peacock’s shrill cry warns of approaching danger. Sometimes, the bird’s cry is considered to be a herald of the rainy season.

It is believed that this sacred bird was created from one of the feathers of Garuda. Garuda is a legendary bird in Hindu mythology and a carrier of Lord Vishnu.

24. The Bael or Bilva Tree

This tree’s fruits, flowers, and leaves are all significant during Shiva’s liberation at the summit. The Bilva tree is worshipped by Hindus and it’s for this reason that you will often find it planted around homes and temples.

25. Cow or “Go”

Hindus consider the cow to be an ever-giving nourisher. The cow is a symbol of the earth which keeps on providing without making demands. The cow is a sacred animal and Hindus have a special affection for this gentle creature.

26. The Six-Pointed Star

The six-pointed star is also referred to as the Shaktona. It is made up two interlocking triangles. The upper one symbolizes Shiva or the male energy while the lower one symbolizes Shakti or the female power.

The upper and lower triangles also represent fire and water respectively. The union of these two triangles gives birth to Sanatkumara, whose sacred number is six.

27. The Ghanta (Bell)

The bell is used in the puja ritual which engages all senses including hearing.
The ringing of the ghanta summons the gods and stimulates the inner ear to remind us that, like sound, we may perceive the world but not possess it.

28. The Temple Gateways

The temple gateways are also referred to as “Gopura” or “Gopuram.” They are towering gateways made using stones, through which pilgrims enter the South Indian temple.

The gateways are ornamented with a variety of sculptures of the divine pantheon; their tiers are a symbol of the several planes of existence.

29. The Sacred Pot (Kalasha)

The kalasha is a husked coconut that is circled with five leaves on a pot. The pot is used in the puja ritual to represent a god, particularly Lord Ganesha. When a person breaks the coconut in front of his shrine, it represents the shattering of the ego to reveal the sweet fruit inside.

30. The Sacred Sandals (Tiruvadi)

In Hinduism, the sacred sandals are worn by saints, sages, and satgurus. They’re a symbol of the preceptor’s holy feet which are the source of his grace. Hindus prostrate before him and humbly touch his feet to be released from worldliness.

31. The Water Vessel (Kamandalu)

The Hindu monastic carries a Kamandalu as a symbol of his simple, self-contained life, his freedom from worldly needs, his constant ‘sadhana’ and ‘tapas’, and his oath to seek God before anything or anyone else.

32. The Red Rooster

The red rooster is also referred to as the Seval. It is the noble red rooster that heralds every morning at dawn, calling upon to awake and arise. The Seval is a symbol of the imminence of spiritual unfoldment and wisdom.
As a fighting cock, he crows from Lord Skanda’s battle flag.

33. The Moon & Sun – Chandra & Surya

Chandra is the moon and Surya is the sun. The former represents the ruler of the watery realms and emotions while the latter represents the ruler of intellect and the source of truth.
Chandra is white (ida) and lights up the night while Surya is yellow (pingala) and lights up the days.

34. NAGA The Snake

Hindu images symbols
Naga, the snake

The snake, or sometimes cobra, is a symbol of Kundalini Power which we popularly know as cosmic energy.

Kundalini power is believed to be coiled/looped and “inactive” within a person; once activated, it inspires the person to overcome suffering.

The snake has great symbolic significance in Hinduism. There are special shrines where the male (naga) and female (nagin) snakes are kept and worshiped.

The deity may either be a full serpent or a combination of serpent and human.The shedding of the snake’s skin is symbolic in that it shows rebirth, renewal, and regeneration. Snakes are generally a symbol of energy and healing.

35. Tiger

The main symbols of Hinduism
Durga, the most furious

In East Asia, the tiger gets more recognition than the lion and is referred to as the “King of Beasts.” In Hinduism, tigers are a symbol of strength, courage, and protection.

Thanks to their ferocity, tigers are closely associated with the deities Shiva and Durga.

Shiva is often portrayed sitting on a tiger’s skin or wearing it. On the other hand, the fierce goddess Durga is often portrayed riding a tiger. All these can be attributed to a tiger’s deadly reputation.

36. The Mankolam Design

Hinduism symbol name

This design comprises of a paisley design which is modeled after a mango. This design is associated with Lord Ganesha who is sometimes portrayed holding the fruit.

The mango which he holds is fully ripe and symbolizes a state of attainable perfection.

Mangoes are sweet, juicy, and quite a messy handful. They are a symbol of auspiciousness and the happy fulfillment of legitimate worldly desires. In India, the mango is considered to be the “King of Fruits” and plays a huge role in both cultural and religious rituals.

37. The Coconut

Religious symbols and their meanings
Coconut in a Hindu wedding

The 3 “eyes” that are present on a mature coconut are associated with Lord Shiva who is depicted as having 3 eyes- the 3rd eye is at the middle of his forehead.

Again in Hinduism, the coconut may symbolize a human head. The coconut is smashed against a hard surface as a substitute for a “human sacrifice.”

38. The Star of Lakshmi

Star of Lakshmi, symbol of Hinduism

This symbol is a complex star figure made up of two squares with the same center at 45° angles. The star of Lakshmi symbolizes Ashtalakshmi- the 8 forms of the goddess Lakshmi.

39. Elephant symbolism (Ganesha)

Ganesha symbolism
Ganesha, the beloved god

The Elephant carries a powerful and important symbolism in Hinduism. Ganesh, the son of Shiva and Parvati is often portrayed having the head of an elephant.

This happened when Shiva accidentally cut off his son’s head and resorted to quickly replacing it with that of an elephant.

These creatures can easily cruise through tough terrains. Ganesh assumes this attribute in a spiritual sense and was, therefore, called the “remover of obstacles.”

40. Jackal

Hindus associate the Jackal with the goddess of death and destruction, Kali. The use of jackals to symbolize death stemmed from a relatively straightforward observation of the animal. These animals usually feed on dead bodies and can often be seen visiting graveyards and other locations where there are corpses.

41. Sandalwood

Sandalwood symbolism

The symbolic meaning of sandalwood comes from its highly fragrant aroma. It is strongly associated with the divine.

While certain religious objects may be curved from sandalwood, it’s also smeared on the body during certain rituals and ceremonies.

Indians use sandalwood as a key ingredient in oils and incense thanks to its pleasant smell.

42. Navaratna

Navarana means “nine gems” in Sanskrit and refers to an ancient Indian astrological system that had 9 gems that are representative of the heavenly bodies. These gems are often used to make jewelry and other adornments.

Navaratna stones name
An inspiration for many jewels

The pattern in which they’re placed depends on what heavenly body actually represents. Let’s have a deeper look at this:
• Ruby – this represents the sun and is always at the middle
• Diamond – this represents Venus
• Pearl – this represents the moon
• Red Coral – this represents Mars
• Hessonite – this represents the ascending moon
• Blue Sapphire – this represents Saturn
• Cat’s Eye – this represents the descending moon
• Yellow Sapphire – this represents Jupiter
• Emerald – this represents Mercury

43. Prateek

Religious symbols

Prateek is a symbol of the “path of bliss”, also known as the Ananda Marga movement. This movement was founded in 1955 and its main emphasis includes social service as well as yoga and meditation.

The symbol is made up of:
• And upward-pointing triangle which represents a person’s external actions
• A downward-pointing triangle which represents a person’s internal work
• A rising sun which represents a person’s spiritual progress
• A swastika which represents the attainment of the ultimate spiritual goal

44. The Standing Oil Lamp

The symbol of the standing oil lamp is referred to as Kuttuvilaku. It symbolizes the dispelling of ignorance and the awakening of the divine light within us.

The can lamp can often be found in temples or shrines where it produces a soft glow that keeps the atmosphere serene.

45. Anjali Gesture

Symbols of Hinduism

This symbol is a gesture of both hands brought together near the heart. This gesture symbolizes honoring or celebrating something/ someone. The gesture is also used as a greeting.

46. The Mouse – Mushika

Mushika meaning
Ganesh rested with his Vahana, Mushika

Mushika is Lord Ganesha’s mount. Mice reproduce a lot and often bring forth multiple offspring. The symbol is traditionally associated with abundance in family life.

47. Konrai Blossoms

This is a flowering symbol of Shiva’s honeyed grace upon us. Konrai is also associated with Shiva’s shrines and temples all through India.

48. The Vel or Holy Lance

The Vel is a symbol of Lord Murugan’s protective power which is our refuge in adversity. The tip of the vel is wide, long, and sharp representing incisive discrimination and spiritual knowledge, which is broad, deep and penetrating.

Lord Murugan picture
Lord Murugan’s statue in Malasia

49. The Noose or Pasha

The symbol of the noose or tether symbolizes a person’s soul three-fold bondage of ‘anava, karma, and Maya.’ The noose is the all-important force through which God brings souls (pashu) along to the path of truth and enlightenment.

50. The Hamsa or Goose

The Hamsa is Brahma’s vehicle which is represented as a wild goose. This vehicle is a symbol of our soul.

How to meditate – Simple guide for beginners

If you’re someone who’s always busy getting things done, it’d seem alien to you to sit quietly and breathe. You’re not the only person who finds meditation strange because far too many people are caught up in busy lifestyles.

Since you want to know how to meditate for beginners, we’d ask you to take it as a challenge of learning and unlearning yourself. Meditation takes you through deeper aspects about your life that you’re foreign to as yet. We’re here to tell you what meditation is and why you must do it.

What is meditation?

Meditation trains our mind similar to how we train our body through fitness. According to East Asian Cultures, meditation is equivalent to sports. Different meditation practices need different skills and it all relates to controlling our mind.

The primary objective is to attain mindfulness where a human mind can focus on a particular thing. With regular meditation practice, a person becomes more attentive, aware, and has better mental clarity. It gives us the power to be emotionally calm and helps us get better in the work-front.

How to learn meditation?

Please note, we are an affiliate with this program. We chose to promote it across other programs, due to its benefits and especially the friendliness of the program for beginners.

The digital world makes almost everything possible online, so you don’t need to go out looking for meditation classes. If you want to follow a proper meditation routine and know how to live to the fullest, you should sign up for the LiveAndDare program.

It takes you into the journey of Giovanni Dienstmann – an international author and meditation teacher. He has penned down his teachings, practices, and experiences, which will help you master your mind and your life.

If you sign up for the online course, you will go through a complete guided meditation program. It includes the four practices of self-transformation that eventually helps you fight stress and anxiety.

To improve your overall wellbeing and to become more mindful, learn meditation in a systematic way and live a limitless life.

Reasons why you should meditate

If you’re in two minds about why you need to meditate, we will give you the most important reasons:

  1. Self-awareness

People primarily do meditation to improve self-awareness. We are so caught up in busy lifestyles that most of us fail to have a self-connection. Meditation is an effective way to focus at a moment and give time to yourself.

  1. Rejuvenating

Meditation takes you away from negative emotions and leaves you in a calm state of mind. It is a form of self-healing process that our brain needs. Once you learn the meditation techniques for beginners, you will realize how it rejuvenates you and nurtures your mind.

  1. Fights insomnia

Meditation helps you become more mindful and that improves your sleeping pattern. Many insomnia patients are asked to attend meditation sessions to help them heal faster. The technique of listening to your breath relaxes our brain and stimulates good sleep. You must meditate for 2-5 minutes before going to bed if you face sleeping disorders.

  1. Improves health

Meditation improves our immune system, lowers cholesterol, and also reduces blood pressure. If you read this article about meditation benefits, you’d know that it keeps you away from heart diseases.

  1. Improves concentration

If you’re someone who tends to procrastinate at work or lose focus, you need to meditate every day. The practice will help you improve at work because it helps you concentrate better on what you’re doing. Meditation clears your mind and that also helps you focus better on one thing rather than on multiple things.

  1. Reduces anxiety

Anxiety is a cognitive state that is related to our inability to control emotional responses. It happens to us when we feel worried about something and we can’t keep calm. With meditation, we become more mindful and can regulate emotions properly.

  1. Fights stress

One of the many reasons why people turn to meditation is its power to fight stress. When you meditate, it helps you focus on your mind and eliminates a stream of jumbled thoughts. These thoughts are often reasons that cause you stress. If you meditate regularly, you will be able to fight stress and start becoming a quick problem solver.

  1. Keeps you happier

Meditations make you more mindful and let you see life in different perspectives. You start taking things easy and learn the purpose of how things flow. Every situation becomes clearer to you and your actions work accordingly. Meditation keeps you happy and lets you live life at large.

If you want to know why you should meditate regularly, you must read the meditation for beginner book right away. It will give you the best guide to meditate and tell you why you need it more often.

Meditation beginner guide

To know the answer to how to meditate beginners, you need to check out the tips below. It will help you get started and then we’d take you onto a more comprehensive guide:

  1. Clean up the mess

If you’re planning to meditate indoors, we’d ask you to keep your room clean and tidy. A messy room can make you feel uncomfortable and is easily distractive. Since you have to come to a calm state of mind, start with a positive ambiance.

Meditation space
A Good atmosphere will help
  1. Sit and relax

You won’t know how to meditate properly until you have a comfortable posture that lets you relax. Meditation needs your body to be at peace, and any point of discomfort can disrupt your session. You can either sit straight on a chair as you place your feet firmly on the ground or sit on the floor in the Easy Pose.

  1. Start meditating

The best time to meditate is early morning and it’s best if you follow it up with an exercise routine. When you calm your body after an adrenaline rush, it keeps your senses more alert. You can either meditate in the open air or in a quiet room that allows in the morning rays.

  1. Inhale and exhale

Close your eyes and breathe by inhaling and exhaling deeply. Repeat the process 10 times and try to understand how your body feels. You might have distractive thoughts or you might find yourself anxious or tired. But you must start again to do it right.

Just the way you count the number of times you do an exercise, count every time you inhale and exhale. It will help you concentrate on your breath and allow every part of your body talk.

  1. Clear your mind

A beginner’s mind is bound to wander but that shouldn’t be a reason to give up. You need to know how to motivate yourself to tick through the entire session and start all over if needed.

It might leave you frustrated during the initial days, but you need to repeat the practice to get better. After around 5-10 days, your mind won’t get as distracted as before and then you go into deeper meditation practices.

Meditation guide for beginners
Clean your mind, the most challenging part of meditation

The importance of consistency in Meditation

Meditation guide
Eventually, it’s a question of practice

Meditation is one of the finest routes that take you deeper into yourself and expresses aspects you didn’t know. It helps you understand yourself better and allows you to measure every action you take.

If you treat meditation like a gym for your brain, you will realize that you’re going one step ahead towards fitness. Keeping your brain happy and calm is as important as nurturing your muscles, so incorporate this in your daily routine.

As beginners, you just have to motivate yourself enough to hold onto the practice of meditation.

You might not be able to do it every day or follow a proper routine initially, but do it every time you can. Remember that it is easy to start and stop, but you need to find a way to maintain the routine.

Allow yourself to indulge in the power of meditation and you will have changed your life for the better. It will help you understand more about the world and help you explore your purpose of life.

Frequently Asked Questions about Meditation for Beginners 

  1. How do you meditate for the first time?

As a beginner, you must start meditating by creating an environment that helps you become mindful. It starts by de-cluttering the room where you want to meditate or finding the perfect spot in the open air. You also need to choose what to sit on and then follow the right steps to start meditating.

  1. How do you meditate for beginners?

You must maintain a comfortable posture for meditation and make use of a chair or cushion for that. Close your eyes once you’ve settled in the perfect posture and breathe naturally. Slowly, focus on your breath and see how your body feels when you inhale and exhale.

  1. What do you think of when you meditate?

Most people think that meditation is only about clearing your mind and stopping all possible thoughts. However, meditation helps you focus on your attention. You might start by focusing on one thing but find your mind wander into another. You should stay allow the natural flow and rather than breaking your meditation midway.

  1. How do you meditate in bed?

Meditating right before going to bed can ensure a night of relaxed and sound sleep. You must consider abdominal breathing where you put your focus on your breath. You should also spare a few minutes for mindful meditation and focus on aspects of your life. It will keep your anxieties away and help you sleep peacefully.

  1. How long should a beginner meditate?

Beginners must meditate for 5-10 minutes every morning. If it seems too difficult for you, you can start with 2 minutes and then slowly move to 5 minutes.

  1. How do you clear your mind?

When you are in solitude and have an environment to meditate you can sit and relax. This is the first step to clear your mind. You might have varied thoughts just before you start meditating so you must observe them but not get attached. Once you’ve acknowledged your thoughts, let them go and it will help you bring back focus to the present moment.

  1. How should I sit while meditating?

Make sure your back is straight and your knees and hips are aligned when you’re seated on a chair. Place your feet firmly on the floor and start meditating. You can also sit on the floor and take the posture of Sukhasana or the Easy Pose. Beginners should avoid lying down and meditating as they have more chances to fall asleep.

  1. How can I meditate without thinking?

Once you have a clean environment and you sit relaxed, your body will be eager to concentrate. You might have several thoughts right before you start, but if you slowly focus on your breathing it will keep your thoughts away. It might take time, and your mind might divert in-between. Even if you can concentrate for 1 minute at stretch, it will be helpful. Start slow and gradually you will be able to keep distractive thoughts away.

  1. Should you listen to music while meditating?

You have to be very selective about the music you listen to while you meditate. Music must help you meditate better and not distract you. Calm musical beats are perfect for meditation.

  1. How to meditate daily?

To put meditation into daily practice, you have to get into a routine. If you commit to exercising every morning and end it by meditating for 5-10 minutes, you will follow a good routine. Keep an alarm handy for the initial days. Once you get used to your routine, it won’t be a problem.

  1. How to meditate on God?

To meditate on God, you must learn a few verses from the Holy Scripture you follow. These lines must include a meaning that makes a difference in your life or helps you connect with God. When you sit to meditate, you can repeat the verses and strengthen your relationship with God.

  1. How to meditate deeply?

It will take you time to meditate deeply. You need to have a calm body and a happy mind. You must know your intentions and affirmations. Deep meditation is possible when you accept your distractions but you’re too focused to let it matter to you. Practice meditation every day to be able to deeply meditate.

So why to join the meditation program for beginners?

If you’ve come so far, obviously you’re interested in meditation and you’re interested in getting started. Just start, it’s probably the hardest thing in the world, to start something, learning, diet, gym, meditation ?

For me, even though I consider myself a strong person who knows how to make decisions, there are things that were difficult for me to start, or more accurately to say, I could not start or persist for a while, although I knew how important they were to me, for my health.

In such cases, my method is to create a commitment through another side, such as a gym membership. As soon as I signed up for a gym, I put myself in a framework, got a commitment and actually created an external situation that made me go to the gym even when I did not feel like it.

I didn’t invent this method ? but I found it quite effective for some of the cases, definitely not for all cases…

So if this is your case, and you know the best if this is your case, do yourself a favor and take this commitment. You won’t regret.

The proven health benefits that meditation gives are worth their weight in gold. Low blood pressure, improved concentration, better sleep, better metabolic activity, and much more. Isn’t it worth a one-month “risk”? two months?

The risk is almost negligible in terms of benefit and in any case, it is always possible to cancel so that even this “risk” does not really exist.

In this case, you can use the program as a trigger that will give you the initial push that might allow you to go on alone later, but again, you know yourself better than everyone else and so you know whether you can stay alone in meditation or need a frame.

Unfortunately, our body does not wait for our decisions, and if we neglect it, it responds accordingly, without waiting until we decide to make a change.

So like the Chinese proverb says:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Here are the links for you to start:

An overview of Chinese Cuisine

Like all other significant pillars of Chinese masterpieces, Chinese cuisine contributes a lot to the making of overall Chinese culture. The configuration of Chinese cuisine is an amalgamation of cooking practices originating from diverse regions of China as well as of the Chinese people from other parts of the world.

Inheriting a lot from the cuisines of the other Asian countries, it has, in turn, remarkably influenced the long-carried features of theirs, modifying the local palates in a better way.

The criteria for cooking techniques of different Chinese provinces largely vary due to the distinct historical background sharing, along with the origin and diversity of the ethnic groups.

Climatic variation, from tropical in the south to subarctic in the northeast, coupled with the geographical distribution of China – including mountains, rivers, deserts, and forests – penetrate deeper into the locally available ingredients, affecting the taste and the nutrients composition inexplicably.

The other factors like the imperial, noble, and royal preferences also play a role in transforming Chinese cuisine. The expansion of imperialism and trading, way back in the 18th century, brought cooking techniques from other parts of the world to the Chinese kitchens.

Such is the importance of Chinese cuisine in Chinese Philosophy that food is often used as a component of the figure of speech, to express something indirectly.

Like the Chinese philosopher I Ching puts it, “Gentlemen use eating as a way to attain happiness. They should be aware of what they say and refrain from eating too much.”

The significance of Chinese cuisine is inseparable for the Chinese people. Even in the foreign lands, as the effect of Chinese cuisine is deeply penetrated now, the migrants from China don’t have to rely solely on the local food.

Facts about Chinese Cuisine

Every country has its own set of cooking and eating practices aligned across the centuries-old traditions and unbroken chain of followership, which gets carried generation after generation, to the modern time – just to find itself morphed into a unique state.

So is the story of Chinese cuisine – the oldest and most famous in the world – embedded with a ton load of facts and myths that collectively give it a route into the vast world of food lovers.

10 Crucial Facts about Chinese Cuisine

Tradition and superstition

Traditional Chinese cuisine is dictated a lot by superstitions and age-old traditions. Certain dishes can only be eaten during particular times of the year so that it could bring good luck.

Eat fresh

The Chinese would rather visit the market every day to buy fresh vegetables and meat than live off tinned or canned food. They always prefer to go for fresh seasonal foods.

Eat anything under the sun

Well almost! Starting from raw octopus and dog hotpot to pig’s ears, intestines, snakes and scorpions –anything that foreigners might find unusual are popular in the East Asia cultures.

Rare veggies

The most unfamiliar vegetables have found a place in the incredible Chinese cuisine. Bitter cucumber, tree fungi, and strange weeds are some names that one can possibly translate to relate!

Chinese vegetables

Food boundary

Contrary to our belief, rice is not really the staple for the entire Chinese population. In the colder northern parts of the country, wheat and its derivatives are more popular.

Incredible flavors

The range of flavors in Chinese cuisine varies incredibly worldwide. Flavors keep changing as you travel from one part of China to another.

Chopsticks tax

There is a disposable chopsticks charge in China to curtail the use of 45 billion pairs of chopsticks a year! Now, that’s a whopping amount for sure!

Confusing names

Never go by the names of dishes, to save yourself from getting misled. For instance, if you think “Field Chicken” is your soul food, it is actually a frog dish—note that!

Why chopsticks

Forks and knives (what we use) are considered as weapons in the East Asia cultures and thus deemed inappropriate. Chopsticks were, therefore, invented.

Soup in the end

Soup is the last dish in a full course Chinese meal because it is meant to aid digestion. And in most parts of the world, we begin meals with the soup!

Chinese food list

China’s Regional Cuisines

A perfect monotonous numbing flavor and the ‘sticky rice,’ beers, baijiu and vinegar, and lotus leaf rice set a paradigm for Chinese cuisines, helping it reach every nook and corner of the world.

Irrespective of the culture, geographical climate, history, cooking techniques and lifestyle, the peculiar style and taste – added with loads of nutritious and healthy diet pattern – enriches energy.

The historical irony may hold a lot more value in the culinary aspect as the shift from defining each ingredient in their recipe during the 17th century, has moved to traces of Shandong and Guangdong spices, being added in their food preparations nowadays.

Over time, many immigrants and East Asian cultures have amalgamated into China’s regional cuisines.

Types of regional cuisines in China

  • Western: strong halal food; the main meat is the sheep.
  • Northern: salty, regular; the staple food is wheat and fewer vegetables
  • Central: spicy with seasonings
  • Eastern: sweet and light
  • Southern minority: sour dishes

Cantonese

They serve this style with tea in the last. Multiple varieties of fried, steamed, stewed and baked dim sum are the main serving. Dishes included in this category are rice rolls, lotus leaf rice, turnip cakes, buns, jiaozi-style dumplings, stir-fried green vegetables, congee porridge, soups, etc.

Sichuan

The most common ingredients used are peanuts, sesame paste, chili peppers, and ginger, collectively producing pungency and spiciness into the dishes, in this style.

Anhui

The taste and the offering of this style get boosted with local herbs and vegetables, such as fresh bamboo and mushroom crops.

Shandong

Reliance mostly on seafood; and use of variant culinary techniques is seen in this cuisine.

Fujian

Focused on a good deal of seafood, in this style, food is served in a broth or soup. They prepare the items related to braising, stewing, steaming, and boiling as the main course.

Chinese Cuisine Traditional Foods

If you ever try searching for fried rice and chili chicken in the streets of China, be prepared to feel disappointed.

 Why?

Because these are perhaps among the many dishes you would struggle to find in the list of traditional Chinese dishes. Yes, traditional cuisine in China is incredibly diverse, exciting, and rich—just like their culture; but it is so much more than our all-time favorites ‘chilly chicken and fried rice’!

Wondering what the traditional Chinese dishes are like?

Well, here is a quick list for you to drool over.

Hong Shao Rou

Translated into English, this dish is Red Braised Pork Belly. Originating in Shanghai, this is one of the most ‘drool-worthy’ Chinese dishes that are sure to tickle your taste buds. It is full of varied flavors which are brought in by the use of various aromatic spices, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, soya sauce, sugar, and rice wine.

Main food of China
Red Braised Pork Belly

Peking Duck

A smash hit with both the locals and foreigners in China, Peking Duck or Beijing Duck is a classic dish. It is exceptionally delicious with its eclectic mix of different sauces and succulent duck meat (including the skin). And the best thing is that it is not only available in Beijing, but all throughout China – and in its most authentic form.

Chinese cuisine Pecking duck
A smash hit with both the locals and foreigners in China

Wontons

The origin of Wontons in China can be traced back to the times of the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD) and was eaten customarily during the winter solstice.

These are delectable, quick to prepare, and can be cooked using different stuffing of either vegetables or minced meat. You can either try the fried wontons as scrumptious snacks or taste the soupy variant.

Chinese food Wonton
Classic wonton

Hotpot

This is one of the more versatile Chinese dishes you can easily find all across China. Of course, there are regional variations in the spices and meats that are used to prepare this dish. Bound to be a great choice to keep yourself warm in the colder regions, hotpot is widely welcomed throughout the year. If you love super spicy food, you must try this dish!

Chinese hot pot

In China, the tastes and aromas of traditional foods vary as you move from one province to another. You have to try them to cherish them!

Eating with Kids in China—What you need to know

Traveling with kids is an enjoyable experience as long as one knows how to keep them safe and healthy during the trip. It is very important to pay attention to their meals, especially while traveling.

Taking kids to the right restaurants

The most important requirement for choosing a restaurant is hygiene. Restaurants should have hygiene licenses. Most lavish restaurants provide baby-seats to seat the younger kids comfortably. Cities like Shanghai and Beijing have kids-themed restaurants for them, to keep up the excitement going.

Choose among the popular dishes according to your kids’ taste

Not all Chinese dishes may be palatable to them. There are lots of common dishes that you can choose from, like dumplings, noodles, fried rice, sweet and sour pork, egg roll, etc. For young kids, it is better to avoid fish, uncooked food, and street food in China.

Helping them wait

Chinese restaurants might take a long time in serving food. Helping kids to stay occupied can make the wait easier.

Use of proper Tableware

Keep a check if the tableware has been cleaned properly. Using chopsticks might not be a great idea, so you can always ask for a spoon while having a meal.

Most Popular Chinese Dishes

In China, the traditional way to greet anyone (if translated in English) means “Have you eaten yet?” So in a country like this, you can rest assured that the food will be amazing and mouthwatering.

Chinese food is gaining its popularity all over the world, because of its authentic taste and the ingredients used to make the dishes. A lot of fresh vegetables are used to cook the meal which makes the dish tastier. Sauces and seasoning are also used to provide a great blend of flavor and aroma.

Listed below are some of the most popular Chinese Dishes:

Jiaozi

It is also called Chinese dumpling, having a history of around 2000 years. Dumplings are truly one of the most known Chinese dishes and they deserve to be among the best top 5 dishes.

It is made up of ground meat and/or vegetables filled in it, and it is wrapped into a roll which is a piece of dough, which it is then sealed by tightening the edges.

Jiaozi traditional Chinese food
History of 2000 years

It is one of the most eminent foods in Spring Festival and Winter Solstice. There is a lot of variety in Chinese dumplings as they are stuffed with sugar, date, peanut or walnut. You can eat one according to your choice but all of them are equally tasty.

Mapo Tofu

This dish is very popular throughout China, and it is typically a Sichuan Cuisine. The name of this dish was named after a spotted woman (in Chinese, it is called “Mapo”) as that lady was famous for preparing relishing stir-fried tofu in Chengdu.

Mapo Tofu China food culture
Atypical Sichuan Cuisine

Main ingredients used to make this dish are tofu, chili peppers, ground beef/pork, and Sichuan peppers.

It is said that China tour is incomplete without tasting this spicy Sichuan food, starting with Mapo Tofu. It’s difficult to avoid the freshly made and tender tofu with a good spicy chili sauce which is made of ground meat, a broad bean paste, and wild peppers.  Sichuan Sauce, along with it, makes it even more delicious!

Wonton

No matter wherever you plan to visit China, you’ll always get ample opportunities to taste this popular Chinese dish. They are soft, still, firm bundles of flavor, whether you eat them steamed, fried, or maybe floating in the broth. In all the ways, wontons taste amazingly great.

Chinese food list with pictures

Very easy in form and filling, the wrapper of the wonton is made up of superior flour by the process kneading and fermentation. It is made special by plentiful fillings, like pork and other meats such as shrimps, and are also filled with fresh vegetables. There are wontons for every kind of taste.

Sauteed Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Tenderloin Pork are said to be the classic cuisines in China. Sweet and Sour Pork of Shandong Cuisine is very famous in China.

Types of Chinese food
sweet and sour at the same time

The main material of the dish is pork tenderloin. First, the meat is mixed with starch and flour; then, it is deep-fried in the oil until the surface of it turns golden. Then they stir-fry the meat and prepare the sweet and sour sauce.

This cuisine tastes sour and sweet and is very crispy outside and from inside, it is soft, so it can stimulate any person’s appetite. Sautéed Sweet and Sour Pork Tenderloin, is found on menus all over the country, as it highlights the versatility and regional blaze from every province.

Spring Rolls

Who does not know about this Chinese Dish? Spring rolls symbolize wealth and prosperity, as their color and shape are like a gold bar.

The skin of the Spring Rolls is made up of white flour, water, and salt; the fillings are usually made of ground meat or red bean paste and then they are deep-fried in hot oil till the color of the skin becomes golden. The outer part of the Spring Rolls is very crisp and the fillings of it are tender and fragrant.

Spring roll Shandong cuisine
Symbolize wealth and prosperity

So, include these dishes in your list and whenever you get a chance, you should undoubtedly try them as they are full of fresh vegetables and meat. And not to forget the Chinese sauces which add to the flavor and aroma of the food. So, never miss a chance to taste the real and traditional Chinese food as it is very different from the food that you might have eaten.

Chinese Soups and their categories

Chinese cuisines are well known as they are very different and original because of the various cultures and regions which make up China. Because of such diversity, Chinese food has become very famous globally, and especially Chinese soup.

Chinese chefs are also in demand all around the world as it is very difficult to make Chinese soup without the required skill and expertise. The creativity of Chinese chefs has made it viable to come up with such a fantastic assortment of Chinese soups which are distinct in flavors and texture.

Broadly the Chinese soups have been divided into two categories—these are thin soups and thick soups.

Let us know more about them

Thin Soup

Thin soups are usually prepared from a clear broth that is cooked very quickly and in it, the ingredients are added at the end.

Mostly thin soup is served as a beverage in China as it is believed that this soup is a very good appetizer. Thin soup is usually chicken or spinach soup which is served as a beverage or in banquets between courses.

Thick Soup

On the contrary, thick soups are cooked by putting all the ingredients in one go and get cooked in a slow process, in order to blend the flavors aptly. After that, cornstarch is also added to make the soup thick.

Thick soup is usually served for lunch or dinner as it makes a great dish, specifically for lunch as this soup is very filling. Few of the thick soups are sharks’ fin soup, hot and sour soup served with mu shu pork as these soups are served as a proper meal which has no other dishes.

All the Chinese soups have stock added in them. The stock is prepared by boiling vegetables, meat, and bones into a liquid porridge so that it can release the flavor. The stock is also made from, at times, a whole chicken, bones, and gourmet. Whichever Chinese soup you drink whether thin or thick, both types of soups are really good for health.

Alcoholic Beverages

A perfect blend of fermented beverages with main ingredients such as fruits, berries, grains – along with ingredients such as plant saps, tubers, honey, and milk – extracts sugar. The diluted water imparts much of the tastes into the liquid, to yield greater alcoholic strength.

Alcoholic beverages—such as Beer, Cider, Wine, and Spirit—are in regular use from around 10,000 BC.

“An alcoholic beverage can refer to any liquor or brew that contains alcohol.”  When we talk about wine, it has been in use for past 8,000 years and the innovation traversed upon many miles to reach another part of the world through the human fleet migration.

Beer and wine are not the end of innovations in alcohol but continued with modernization in the form known as spirits.

The most preferred alcoholic beverages in China:

Huangjiu

Despite its name, Huangjiu is a ‘yellow wine’ brewed using grains. Further, the brewed grains is pasteurized and bottled later. The appearance looks clear, beige, and yellowish. The presence of alcoholic content is 15% to 20%.

This is one among the oldest Chinese alcoholic drinks prepared from ingredients such as water, cereals; and grains such as rice, millet, wheat, sorghum. It tastes mellow and sweet.

Its major production is in mainland China and Taiwan. Huangjiu contains many amino acids which are essential for health.

Baijiu

Baijiu preparation has been in use since 1368. They use sorghum-based shaojiu and refer to it as “Chinese vodka”. This enriches very strong flavors.

Baijiu is a sauce-scented prestigious brand available within China and in local terms, they say it as “Mao-t’ai”. It contains alcohol that ranges between 28% and 65%. They call it ‘white alcohol’ as it is a clear liquid.

Chinese wine
A glass and bottle of Jiugui (酒鬼; pinyin: jiǔ guǐ; lit. “drunkard” or “alcoholic”; also called Sot), a brand of baijiu

Beer

Beer is served brewed in Chinese cuisine. Beer is very famous and well-known since the 9600 B.C. Its preparation is complicated, taking the mixture of multi-varied starches which starts from fermenting malted barley, rice, wheat, or maize, for the formation. Cider is a festered apple juice. They serve it as a starter drink in a few styles of Chinese cuisine.

Chinese beer

Wine

Different cuisines of China have different names for wine: these are Changyu Pioneer Wine, China Great Wall Wine, and Dynasty Wine. These are more commonly noticed in the regions of Yantai, Beijing, and Ningxia; Zhangjiakou in Hebei, Yibin in Sichuan, Tonghua in Jilin, Taiyuan in Shanxi.

They traditionally extract wine from musles to prepare Uyghur drink. Also, in the last eight years, a controversial preparation known as Tiger Bone Wine has gained tremendous popularity among the public.

Chinese Cuisine Noodles – Easy and Tasty

Noodles are considered as the main food in China. There is a numerous variety of noodles available in different regions of China. Every area of China provides various kinds of noodles, with its different techniques and flavors. Not only in China but noodles are also popular worldwide.

Noodles are an essential and primary need in Chinese cooking. Chinese noodles generally fluctuate as indicated by the area of preparation, fixings, shape or width, and way of arrangement.

Chinese noodles

The inception of Chinese noodles set foot in the Han tradition having a history of over 4,000 years.

Furthermore, the creation of noodles and their large-scale manufacturing have significantly changed the way of doing noodle business globally and China for that matter. Fundamentally, noodles are a sort of oat nourishment which is the principal body of the conventional Chinese eating regimen.

Why is Chinese Cuisine noodles so popular?

1. Cheap

Noodle is popular in East Asian culture because it costs dirt cheap.

2. Easy and Convenient

Noodles are one of the most convenient and easy things to cook and do not even require much cooking expertise. You just have to boil the water and pour the noodles into it. The heat and the packaged spices do rest of the work, leaving a tongue-tickling taste. It’s as simple as that.

3. Quick Meal

Noodles get prepared in a fraction of minutes and save the maker’s time. The people who come from the office, and tired, do not have much energy to cook. So, instead of ordering from outside, they prefer preparing noodles because the preparation is as quick as setting up the initials for a hefty dinner cooking.

4. Variety of flavors

It’s difficult to get bored with noodles, as these come in different flavors.

5. Ways to cook

You can combine noodles with any vegetable and cook differently, as experimenting with food always enhances the taste. As these come in a lot of varieties, it’s hard for one to get bored with the taste.

6. Perfect for Lazy people

Noodles are an appropriate meal for lazy people, as noodles do not take much effort, and get prepared in a short time.

Noodles are produced using fixings. However, the setting in which these are created and expanded inside Italy and China, fills the noodles with extraordinary tasty features and characters.

Noodles are a Chinese item but have got popular worldwide. These can be served with gravy or eaten dried.

Chinese Cuisine History

Chinese cuisine is one of the most amazing culinary cultures. Chinese cuisine is a term used for dishes made in various regions of China. With superb technology and unique style, it also has a great history. It has a profused impact on East Asian cultures.

Chinese food came into existence thousands of years ago in East Asia. As different regions have a different style of cooking, Chinese food originates from the various areas of China but does not come from the whole country.

Chinese Cuisine across various dynasties

In Zhou Dynasty, approx. more than 5000 years ago, millet and brown rice, or beans, were the major foods. But these staple foods were not the same as the Chinese have today. At that time, people have had white rice which was very expensive and rarely available.

The famous cuisine in Zhou dynasty was Ba Zheng. In Qin dynasty, they introduced sour flavor which was mainly an odor extracted from fish and meat. They also started using Vinegar and cinnamon powder at that time.

In the Han dynasty, people introduced salty flavor, and a big step was taken for Chinese cooking in the Han dynasty. Many cooking ingredients and imported eatables were also brought, such as walnut, cucumber, lettuce. In the Han dynasty, the Chinese cuisine witnessed a rapid development.

In Tang dynasty, by that period, people already had developed a quality level and had started living their lives fancily.

In Song dynasty, schools of cuisines like South, Chuan or North came into existence. In Qing, Yuan, and Ming dynasty, it was a significant development stage, as the foreign intrusions came up with hundreds of fresh cuisines. Islamic followers moved to China and made Halal as a new way of treating meats.

This Qing dynasty was ruled by Manchu people; so in Chinese cuisine, the influence of all Manchu styles and flavors came into the picture. As Ming dynasty was also there, so they bought plants of chili and pepper in China and named the plant as a fancy flower.

Chinese people didn’t take much enthusiasm in knowing its value. In Sichuan and Hunan, the flavor of spice became popular in no time and left its profound effect. With time, there were Chinese cuisine schools. Some western cuisines were also introduced by late Qing dynasty.

The Major transformation in Chinese Food

Since China converted into communist in 1949, there were many problems with grain. Later with time, almost 40% were handed over to the Government, and this handing over became a major reason in causing widespread famine.

Since 1979, with the founding of the People’s Republic of China, excellent results have been gained by Chinese cuisine. In the list of restaurants, traditional cuisines started showing up and with time, more variety of cuisines have been added to the list.

After the 1990s, there have been tremendous improvements in terms of the food situation; also, the Islamic food of Chinese has also been enhanced.

For its color, design, flavor, and fragrance, Chinese cuisine has become famous worldwide. The wide assortment of famous cuisines includes Lu, Huaiyang, Chuan and Cantonese. To wrap in a line, for the worldwide foodies, Chinese food is a lot more than just dim sums and fried rice!

How To Order Food In Restaurants In China

Are you a huge fan of Kung-Fu movies and Chinese cuisine?

Well, a trip to China is bound to be fulfilling for you, both for experiencing the East Asia culture up close and for tucking into incredible Chinese dishes! And the best way to experience both of these elements is by visiting the local Chinese restaurants.

To help you cherish the real cultural exposure, here is how you can order food in China restaurants.

Ordering the food

After the customary Chinese tea is served on arrival, you will be handed the menu or 菜单 (caidan / (pronounced) tseye-dan).

One common catch-word that you can memorize is “I want” i.e. 我要 – wǒ yào.

For instance, if you want a plate of rice, then you have to say “I would like to order for rice” i.e.

我想订购米饭 – Wǒ xiǎng dìnggòu mǐfàn.

Or if you don’t want MSG or Ajinomoto in your food, you can specify that too by saying –

我不想要味精 – Wǒ bùxiǎng yào wèijīng.

Now, what if you are a vegan?

If you love to experiment, then you can go ahead and taste exciting Chinese cuisine that includes almost everything that can move. But that does not mean that vegans and vegetarians are in danger!

If you are a strict vegan, all you need to do is just specify that you don’t want meat in your food, simple.

And you do that by saying 我不想要肉 – Wǒ bùxiǎng yào ròu.

If you want fries, ask for 薯条 – shǔ tiáo.

And to order for a Coke, just say 可乐 – kě lè.

Asking for the bill

After finishing your food, you simply need to call out to your waiter by asking for the bill – 请带上账单 – Qǐng dài shàng zhàngdān.

A culture tip

Remember to always avoid 4 or 7 dishes while placing an order. In Chinese Culture, these numbers are related to death and superstitions, so these are seldom used.

Ordering food in restaurants in China is overall simple, so you can look forward to a gastronomically enriching trip there.

Main Spices and Herbs Used in Chinese Cuisine

Chinese spices and herbs are mostly used in a small amount to make the recipes better, produce a subtle flavor, depth, and also a different kick which you might not get from anything else.

Let us see which are the spices and herbs that make the Chinese cuisines relishing

Ginger

Ginger is the most common ingredient, which is easily available in the market. It’s always recommended to make use of only fresh ginger as it gives a great flavor and aroma which makes the Chinese dishes mouthwatering. It is an indispensable spice, which can add heat and great flavor to vegetables, soup, and meat.

Five-Spice Powder

This five-spice powder comprises the ingredients including cassia, fennel seeds, anise pepper, star anise, and cloves. The mix of these separate spices is aromatic and also, not too hot. Well, you can also try to make a usable powder, by using equal quantities of each of these; however, in Chinese cuisines, these are also used in a different amount, according to the dish they want to prepare.

Cassia Bark

Also known as cinnamon, this spice is from Sri Lanka. These rolled-up quills are lovely and have a great flavor which lasts longer. They are mostly in large pieces and can also be picked out of the food easily. Cassia bark is usually used for sweet dishes but gives a completely different aroma to Chinese cuisines.

Cassia Bark

Bay Leaf

It is a spice which is very popular in making Chinese cuisines. Chinese people mostly use a bay leaf in cooking meat as bay leaf gets rid of the odor when used in meat. Few people also like using bay leaves in Chinese pickled vegetables.

Chinese spice bay leaf

Chenpi

This is the favorite spice of many people, which is used in making Chinese dishes. It is a sun-dried tangerine peel. Chenpi provides the food a citrus flavor and gives a punch to it by making the food taste even more interesting and refreshing.

For Western people, these spices can bring a new taste to the kitchen. Try these in your kitchen, to feel the difference in your local and Chinese dishes.

Chenpi Chinese spicy

Chinese Cuisine Tools and Equipment

Isn’t it really intriguing, how easily the Chinese folks prepare such lip-smacking food?

How they stir up magic in minutes with all those different pieces of utensils, is really worth watching. And if you have always wanted to know what makes it so easy breezy for them, then here are the most useful Chinese cuisine equipment.

The Wok

Generally made of heavy iron or steel, the wok or chǎoguō/chaoww-gwor is perhaps the most important piece of a utensil. It is widely used in every Chinese household and restaurant. The shape and the size of the wok are chosen as per the dish that is prepared.

Click the picture for more details.

A Ladle

Ladles can be made out of different metals and materials, even bamboo. It is essential for transferring stew or soups from a wok to bowls.

Click the picture for more details.

Wok Shovel

Remember the delicious Chinese stir-fried dishes? Well, those are cooked in the wok using a wok shovel.

It is another really important piece of utensil in Chinese kitchens.

Click the picture for more details.

A Cleaver

Usually manufactured from high carbon and stainless steel, a Chinese cleaver is used by the chefs to slice and dice different food items. Cleavers are specially designed to chop meat.

Click the picture for more details.

Rice Cooker

Since rice is a very popular staple in China, every household there has rice cookers. These electrically operated utensils are very heat efficient and can also be used to prepare porridge, stewing meat, heating foods.

Click the picture for more details.

Steaming Basket

Steaming baskets are perfect for preparing all the non-fried dishes. Whether it is for steaming dumplings, pancakes, fish, meat or vegetables, these steaming baskets are of great utility. These are either made out of bamboo or from metals.

Click the picture for more details.

Chopping Board

And, last but not least, Chinese chefs cannot make do without chopping boards. These not only protect the kitchen counter-tops while they chop and cut ingredients but also help to maintain hygiene and swiftness of cooking.


Click the picture for more details.

 

The Uniqueness of The Indian Culture

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”

Mark Twain, American author

*****

As an Israeli who has visited India severally; both for business and for sightseeing purposes, and as someone who has studied India’s history and Indian culture in depth, I have a different perspective as compared to Indians living there. Surely there are Indians who are asking themselves what our India is famous for, so this list represents an outsider perspective about your India. You can consider some of it as Indian culture facts.

India is a very unique and complex civilization, one of the main pillars of East Asian Cultures. One that is not easy to understand but very easy to experience. One can experience India for a few life cycles without really getting to the bottom of everything. It’s a huge sub-continent with wonderful landscape, a huge population, very ancient history, and an amazingly rich culture.

India is one of the most special places in the world. Anyone who has visited India feels it as soon as he/she lands in it. The uniqueness is expressed in many forms: through the people, their culture, the landscape, their customs, and the festivals.

I chose some of the most prominent attributes that make the Indian culture special. The list of what makes India so special is neither absolute nor is it final. I would love to hear other people’s comments, ideas, and feedback then I will update the list accordingly.

Most Unique Things In The Indian Culture

Please note that the features in the list are not prioritized according to their level importance or uniqueness. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Languages

India is the country with the highest number of languages in the world. Studies have shown that there are about 1,000 languages that are spoken in India. There are relatively small geographical land cells that contain dozens of different languages.

An interesting example of the language variations can be found on the 2000-rupee bill which contains the words “2000 rupees” in 15 different languages.

Indian Rupee
15 Languages on one bill

It’s worth noting that English is more prevalent in India than it is in other East Asian countries, making the country more convenient for the tourists and business travelers. the high prevalence can be attributed to due to the previous British colonial regime.

2. Cows everywhere

This is part of Indian traditions and one of the most unique phenomena that do not exist anywhere else in the world. The cow symbolizes the land and the solvency. It is also a symbol of the mother of all gods. According to Hindu belief, the body of the cow contains 330 million gods.

The importance of Indian culture
Cows and kids, the best combination

This symbolism makes the cow a very sacred animal whose consumption is forbidden. Cows roam freely in India. They can be seen in the courtyards of the peoples’ houses, in the squares, and some resting in the center of the highway.

3. Vegan food

Vegan food can be found in many food joints. In other countries, vegan dishes are usually the side dishes and not as the main meal meaning that if someone orders a dish of roast potatoes or salad, then it will usually be vegan but the main course will usually consist of meat or a combination of meat with milk.

Indian food
My boy enjoying Dhal Bat

In India, vegan food is the norm in Indian Cuisine. Here there are very many vegan dishes that are very nutritional in spite of being devoid of any animal products.

This, of course, makes India a haven for vegetarians and vegans.

4. Marijuana-flavored Cigarettes

Bidi cigarets

I can’t guarantee that these cigarettes only exist in India but I have never seen them anywhere else in the world and trust me, I have been to many different countries.

Bidi cigarettes look like handmade cigarettes with a taste of marijuana.

They’re quite affordable, with each ranging between 15-20 rupees.

 

 

5. The oldest cities in the world

In the Hindu valley, which is the cradle of Hindu culture, there are ancient cities that are as old as 3500-4000 years.

India history
Harappa ruins, most ancient cities in the world

The two most famous cities are Harappa and Mohenjo Drew. These cities contained tens of thousands of inhabitants and were incredibly advanced. The construction of the houses, the drainage of the water, the sewer systems, the urban planning, and the public facilities have been ahead of their time for many years.

Even though the Indus Valley is now not part of India it definitely played an integral part in the Hindu culture. Today it is part of Pakistan but for about 4,000 years it was part of India and it should be considered as part of Indian culture uniqueness.

6. Huge markets

I have been to many markets around the world and noticed that the largest ones are usually in East Asia. The largest of them all is in Chinatown. Bangkok’s Chinatown is a huge marketplace with endless stalls and people.

There are, of course, big markets in China (sure I have not seen them all …), London, Tokyo, New York and other places of course.

travel to India

Indian food

What to see in India

Markets in India

Still, I have not seen a market come close to Chandni Chowk in terms of density and diversity. This market is in old Delhi.

When I checked Google for the largest or most crowded markets in the world, Chandni Chowk did not make it to the top 10 list yet of all the markets of Istanbul, Bangkok, and Tokyo that I visited, none of them reached the density and load of Chandni Chowk.

7. Dhobi Ghat – The largest laundry in the world

Dhoni Ghat can be described in many words but until you visit it, you wouldn’t understand the description well enough.

This laundromat in Mumbai was built in 1890 and is the largest laundry in the world. The laundromat operates between 18 and 20 hours a day and has about 7000 employees in various departments related to laundry and ironing.

Indian culture

Dhobi Ghat view

Mumbai Dhobi Ghat

Dhobi Gat

Foreigners who come to visit can hire a local guide for a few hundred rupees and take a tour around the place. Dhobi Ghat’s main clients are hotels, clubs, and neighboring laundries. It is an incredibly amazing place to visit.

8. Indian culture food – Eat using your hands

Most people are keen to use forks and knives when they dine at their homes.  Eating using your bare hands is not considered hygienic and so it rarely happens.

Well, in India you do not need to struggle with a fork and knife. In local restaurants, it is acceptable to eat using just your right hand. All you’re required to do is to trim the fingernails of your right hand and in a sweeping motion, take rice, together with some sauce or dish, and then put it in your mouth. Some adults, find this technique quite difficult to get master but for children, it is as easy as a-b-c.

9. Special head movement

When you ask an Indian a question to which the response is positive, they answer “yes” as they shake their head as though they’re doing a dance using their head.

Anyone who sees this for the first time might get confused because while the response given by mouth is positive, the movement of the head looks like “no.” This head movement is very hard to imitate.

The shaking of the head would make you think that the answer given was “no.” Some Westerners are really caught unawares and tend to repeat the question, just to be clear. Again, they get a “yes” response that is accompanied by the “weird” head movement. With time, most foreigners eventually get used to it.

10. Buses and trains loaded with masses of passengers

The trains or buses in India are always crowded with people from all sides and directions. Funny enough, even in all the commotion, everyone still finds their own place and space. There is no tense atmosphere of urgency or argument. It seems that everyone is sitting together well. I can’t quite imagine a similar situation in another country. There would be total chaos.

Let’s not forget the enormous luggage that goes on these buses and trains that is beyond what is acceptable.

11. Indian culture values – You are not being judged

It’s not something you see in India. This is something experienced in India. You feel it. I believe that Indians are the least judgemental people on earth.

Westerners usually grow up in a society that judges them, criticizes them. The society always dictates what is right and what is not.

In India, this is very different. The people here are filled with respect and do not judge. The atmosphere here allows you to be what you choose to be and do what you feel is right for you.

12. Affection to small children

When you travel in Europe, you feel a sense of indifference towards the little children and apparently, this is not by chance. This population sees children as a burden and, therefore, they avoid having many babies (Europe’s population is shrinking and getting older) so the kids do not attract much attention.

Indian culture and kids
In Manikaran, kids are a competitive attraction

In the United States, there is a little more affection shown towards the children. However, it’s the polite affection which sometimes feels more of “politically correct” behavior.

East Asia has a great affection for children, a lot of attention. A feeling that they love little children.

In India, they take it up a notch higher. We walked around Himachal Pradesh and New Delhi with two small children for a month. Some of the places we visited, we barely made any progress due to the attention given to the children.

Indian people
Friendly Indian ladies

So many people wanted to hold and hug them. While some visitors may be bothered by this, it was the complete opposite for us- we did not see anything wrong with it. For us, it was part of the trip, the experience. I personally prefer a society that loves small children. From my point of view, these societies tend to be happier.

13. People of India 

The people of India have good vibes. They smile a lot and always seem happy around visitors. This is a way of showing you that you are welcome and should feel comfortable. It’s not a show-off and neither is it hypocrisy; it’s real and genuine behavior. This is something you feel everywhere around you whether it’s in local transportation, in the marketplaces, in the parks, or at the tourist spots.

The locals are always smiling and welcoming

Indian people are very warm and welcoming. This is not something you experience every day in the western countries. It’s definitely not at the same level.

14. Many Hindu gods

In Hinduism, there are 330 million gods. In practice, there is a little less … The worship of gods in India is more common than in any other religion across the world. The various Hindu gods are scattered all over the place: they can be in the mountainous roads, in the temples, in houses, at workplaces, on the main roads, etc. You just cannot miss it.

Hindu gods
Nandi, the gate guardian deity of Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva

The most common gods are Shiva, Vishnu, Kali, Krishna, Ganesha, and their vehicles, the Nandy bull, the Groda eagle and many more.

15. Cremation IN India and Nepal 

For those who are accustomed to burying their dead in the ground, the sight of burning the dead body is extraordinary and thought-provoking. It concerns a very deep place and cultural habits that are embedded in us.

Everyone understands that the dead person does not feel anything but when they place him in the ground, the process of decomposition of the corpse takes place secretly, deep underground.

Cremation in India
Cremation in Varanasi, all day long

The photos below are from Pashupatinath, Nepal, the little sister of India

Cremation in Nepal
Preparing a man for cremation
Cremation in Pashupatinath
Participants in the cremation ceremony
Pashupatinath Nepal
The flowers are a sign that the man was affluent
Cremation in Nepal
Lighting the fire
Cremation in Pashupatinath Nepal
The face first
Cremation
The fire begins
Cremation in Nepal
Additional combustible materials and the fire getting stronger
Life and death
Death and life, side by side

During cremation, the fire consumes the body of the dead person before our very eyes. This makes it really difficult to take in and digest. Cremation illustrates the finality of death.

In the Hindu culture, reincarnation is accepted as a part of the cycle of life and death that can continue in a loop unless we find a way of breaking it, after which death becomes more peaceful than Western culture.

16. Sadhu

This is one of the most prominent characteristics that make the Indian culture to be unique. People are always dressed as minimum as can be. There are some who wear the dress of Lord Shiva, some wear iron underpants, with charity bowls, long hair, carrying canes as they walk around the roads of India, homeless, moving from city to city, and from one pilgrimage site to another.

The Sadhu cut themselves off, in their actions, from the material physical world. They cut themselves off from the usual human appetites and desires that concentrate on sex and the accumulation of money, property, and other forms of material wealth.

Uniqueness of India
Sadhu, From Karma and Samsara to Nirvana

According to Hindu belief, the cease of desires, canceling the karma (karma is the result of your actions coming back to you in all sorts of ways and binds you to Samsara), and eliminating karma, frees one from samsara which is the cycle of life and death.

And that’s the key to nirvana- the peak of ambition.

The Sadhu have the status of saints. They can travel freely on buses and trains. These men undergo an irreversible medical procedure that neutralizes their penis and prevents it from the sexual function.

17. Ashram

An ashram is a dwelling place for people who want to grow spiritually. It’s a place of meditation and study. Guru is the teacher who leads the students of the ashram.

The Ashram is scattered throughout India. While a few of these places are very famous like the ashram of Pune, most of the Ashrams are not famous. The ashram is also used by the sadhu who travels around India. They can freely get in and sleep there.

There are various limitations in the West for the Indian Ashram, some are good imitations and others are not as good. It’s the spiritual concept of Ashram that attracts tourists in the West.

18. Holy sites and places of pilgrimage

I live in Israel, a country with a history of thousands of years and many holy sites and pilgrimage sites. And yet, compared to India, this is almost nothing. India has thousands of holy sites and pilgrimage sites. Apparently, there is no country in the world with as many holy sites as India.

19. Indian Festivals

One can find festivals in different parts of the world, but they’re not as many as India’s. Here’s a partial list of the major festivals of India:

  • Diwali
  • Navrati
  • Holi
  • Durga Puja
  • Dussehra
  • Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela Festival
Kumbh Mela Festival
Holi festival
Holi, the festival of colors

Most of these Indian festivals are celebrated as public holidays such as the Diwali and Holi. Other festivals that are held in specific locations and attract millions of participants, like the Kumbh Mela.

20. Sari – Indian traditional dress 

The sari is a traditional Indian dress which is very colorful and unique. While it can be described as revealing since it exposes a large part of the wearer’s stomach, it also represents Indian conservatism.

Traditional clothing can be found in many countries across the world. However, traditional clothing that is so common in a people’s daily life is not a common sight.

Indian culture symbol
Sari, An Indian culture symbol

Think about Japan as an example, the kimono is the traditional dress, but how many women walk around with a kimono on the streets of Japan? I visited Tokyo many times, rarely did I see someone wearing a kimono. In the rare chance that I spotted someone rocking one, it was related to some business display.

In India, however, you can see the sari almost everywhere you look.

21. The Indian Dance

I would be surprised if anyone did not recognize the special movements of the Indian dance. The Indian dance is a mirror and a true reflection of India itself, happy, very colorful, rhythmic, and hypnotizing.

Indian dance is one of the trademarks of the Indian film industry and of India as a whole. It is always accompanied by very rhythmic music and the dance is loose, open, and flowing. From the moment you begin to see it, it is hard to get your eyes off the dancers until the dance ends.

22. Origin of Buddhism

Indian culture and tradition include Buddhism as well. Siddhartha Gautama, who became a Buddha, was born in the 6th century BC, in a small village called Lumbini, a village that was once part of Hindu civilization. Today it is part of Nepal.

The uniqueness of Buddhism, which combines strong influences from Hinduism, stands out among the monotheistic religions and the pagan religions of those days. It reflects a focus on the person himself and the internal processes he has to go through in order to reach the truth, which is the Nirvana, the Moksha.

Buddhist monks
Buddhist monks, at Mcleod Ganj (Himachal Pradesh), at the entry of the Dalai Lama’s dwelling

India gave birth to Buddhism, spread it through the world through King Ashoka (third century BC) who became a Buddhist and finally separated from it. Today Buddhism is present mainly in Himachal Pradesh and the non-formal capital is Mcleod Ganj, the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan exiles who fled to India in the 1950s and took shelter from the Chinese.

 

Watch my YouTube Video about this topic and don’t forget to subscribe 🙂

 

 

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