The Land of surprises and contrasts

sanchita chugh
4 min readOct 1, 2020


Pack your bags and leave? Easier said than done! Heaps of documents, routing, visa- applications, permissions and what not! I was committed to experience a place where tradition meets the cosmopolitan! It’s crazy, yet peaceful, its fast — paced, but relaxed. It’s just a magical city that will captivate you, and leave you enchanted. There’s always calm to be found amongst the chaos

Whether it’s the morning rush hour, brimming metro trains or the sea of neon lights and tightly packed skyscrapers, Japanese cities promise a feeling of belongingness. They’re densely populated hives of life and activity like nowhere else on earth — but these vast, sprawling urbanizations have far more to offer than meets the eye at first glance.

The nation who has brought us whacky inventions, capsule hotels, manga cafes, clothing shops for dogs, and cat shrines. The nation obsessed with cartoon characters, hello kitty, and anime. It is totally a sight to be reckoned with. Japan is definitely a country that’s moved forward without forgetting its heritage — and there’s nowhere better to appreciate that than any Japanese city. It’s a hard-working culture that knows how to tune-out

Unlike most cities in the world, an unmatchable sense of scheme can be established in many of Japan’s city streets. Design in every form has a strong vocabulary, hardly unnoticed. From a lonely bench in a secluded garden to a manhole, everything is an inspiration.. From public consoles, to seats on the bullet train, everything narrates a thought. There is a sublime elegance that stretches as far as the eye can go.

I cherished unknown wonders that were in store. The mighty wood museum, standing like a dream amongst snowcapped mountains makes a statement of its own.

Japan is a haven of such unknown wonders — be it within the confines of an art museum in Tokyo, providing aerial view of the city or an art site, whose context is decided by what already exists. That’s how the nation makes peace with everything that’s around. Yet at the same time, these experiences always feel quintessentially metamorphic. Wherever possible, Brutalism had a strong visual impact, which was nothing, but cold, and attractive. The geographical breadth of the Japanese archipelago is impressive, from packed cities like tokyo to islands dedicated to art like Naoshima

I was already well-read about what japan had in store. Yet, the aesthetic appeal was unrealistic — from the modern minimalism of architect Tadao Ando’s concrete buildings, to the wabi-sabi philosophy that celebrates transience and imperfection as seen in Zen gardens.

Not a single stone has disappointed. Being fortunate enough to travel extensively across Japan, visiting far-flung art islands, modern museums, Tadao ando endeavors, cloud-brushing mountains, smaller cities — and meeting smiling faces, honest human beings and their mannerisms. There was so much to see and learn. A few incidents were so overpowering, that they felt too good to be true.

The itinerary did make an honest attempt to cover everything, a near-impossible feat in one week. It left a curated taste of the cultural richness and diversity Japan has to offer, with the goal of creating memories that linger long after flying home — starting, of course, with Tokyo.