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With 2020 just around the corner, the Rugby World Cup at a close and the Olympics on the horizon, we thought we’d give you the low-down on why we think deciding to study in Japan in 2020 is the thing to do. Putting together our top 10 reasons we’ll show you everything awesome about this coming year.
With the Olympics, there’ll be a big rush on housing, but not for our students. Working with a range of accommodation partners across all the cities we partner with schools in, we will be able to help you find solutions. This means that while everyone else is rushing around for super expensive hotels, our students will be enjoying their new lives living in Japan.
The buzz created by the Olympics has spread to a lot of surrounding industries, with special events being planned around the Olympics and shops trying to attract tourists. This means that there’s an increase in part-time jobs in 2020 and particularly so if you’re bilingual. It’s a great time to make the most of this boom and get involved in exciting events across the country as well as your studies.
With both Rugby this year and the Olympics next year, there’s recently been a real turn towards a greater openness towards foreigners. This can be particularly good to hear for those planning to study in Japan in 2020. The change will be a bit softer with more signs in English and other languages, instructions in a variety of languages and even maps. We’re not saying you don’t want to dive headfirst into your studies but if you’re a brand new student then it can reduce the shock a bit when you first move over.
As you may be aware, Japan is seemingly constant in its change. 2020 brings both a brand new Nintendo World at Universal Studios in Osaka and there are lots of new attractions at Tokyo Disneyland. We’re particularly excited for the Nintendo World as you can track your progress on the games around the park and send all your wins back to your console at home!
In Tokyo this year and next, there are some great new attractions being built and improvements being made to a range of areas. Our favourite that’s already open is the development of the Shibuya Stream with one of the previously covered waterways being opened up. Nearby there’s also the new Shibuya Scramble Square, the new tallest building in the area with 47 floors all giving great views of the famous crossing. There are also plenty of tech upgrades being made for the Olympics check out our article here for more details.
There have also been upgrades to several central stations in town and a brand new cinema in Ikebukuro called the Grand Cinema Sunshine which features Japan’s first 4DX screen. We don’t know what that means either but it sounds pretty cool.
Most years there are some particularly wonderful festivals in spring in Japan but people who choose to study in Japan in 2020 will get to see some exceptional-looking ones. There are some regular events happening in the spring with a chance to go fruit picking or enjoying the spring flowers, obviously not forgetting hanami and the cherry blossoms. Then there are a couple of exciting spring festivals such as the Sapporo Lilac Festival which celebrates another beautiful flower in its central Odori park.
Meanwhile at the other end of the country is the Hakata Dontaku Festival in Fukuoka. There they celebrate the people of the city with everyone from children to seniors joining in the celebrations in some form. During the Meiji era, it was banned for its extravagance so you know it must be good.
Okay, so obviously the Olympics are happening in the summer but there are plenty more reasons to move over for study in the summer. As the seasons change, you’ll discover that all it means is more festivals! Summer is traditionally the season for festivals and fireworks although they are held throughout the year. You’ll be sure to find that if you study in Japan in 2020 they’ll be pretty epic as Japan shows the world its best side.
There are several famous festivals celebrated throughout the country such as the Awa Odori in Shikoku, and the Yosakoi in Kochi, both amazing traditional dance festivals both of which have their own style. There are also often smaller versions of each that take place across the country. There are plenty more including the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, one of the country’s three great festivals which lasts for the whole of July and is made up of lots of other events and parades throughout the month.
Last but not least another Go! Go! Nihon favourite is the Fuji-Yoshida Fire Festival in Kofu. Another of the three great festivals, this time held at the base of Mount Fuji. Originating nearly 400 years ago to appease the mountain gods, it’s now a celebration of the end of the climbing and thanking them for a safe season. It’s one of the brightest festivals with over 70 torches lit throughout the area.
The other side of summer festivals are the music ones. Fuji Rock (actually up in Niigata) and Summer Sonic in Osaka are two of the classics with exceptional lineups each year. Last year the Red Hot Chili Peppers played Summer Sonic so you never know who you’ll get in 2020. Do watch out though as it’s only in Osaka in 2020. It’s also worth checking out the lesser-known festivals to get a more authentic taste of Japanese music. The Rising Sun Rock Festival up in Hokkaido is a great way to see more of the country if you’re based in the south. It’s also the best rock festival with predominantly Japanese acts.
Japan has a reputation for quality fireworks displays and rightly so. They’re exceptionally well-practiced and maintain the tradition throughout the year. In July you’ll find most prefectures have their own displays and even though they’re local, they’re often still spectacular. The Chofu City Fireworks Festival has a big draw of around 35,000 people as they put their all into the display with over 10,000 (!) fireworks over the evening. The Chichibu Night Festival is also a favourite as it’s not just fireworks. As you might expect it’s held at the Chichibu Shrine and is the ideal combination of fireworks and a traditional Japanese festival with floats covered in lanterns paraded through the grounds. It’s quite something and it can get very busy, but that’s what the fireworks are for so don’t miss out! We’re sure there’ll be plenty more at the opening and closing events of the Olympics too.
On to the next season and we have the joys of autumn in Japan. As with the rest of the year all the usual festivals and autumn activities will likely up their game for 2020 so you’re in for a treat. Some of our favourites include Momiji Gari which is the autumn equivalent of the Sakura season. All the trees turning and their waves of yellow, orange and red across the countryside skyline are a sight to behold, it also makes it the perfect time for hiking as the weather’s cooler too.
If you’re missing the hustle and bustle there’s something else for you with Halloween and Oktoberfest. Both global events to help you feel at home but Halloween in Japan a little different as we explain in that article. Then there’s the Jidai Matsuri in case you were missing your festivals. Kyoto holds this Festival of Ages’ as an homage to the history of this amazing country. Historically dressed performers parade through the city with music and flowers interspersed before arriving at the Heian Shrine for a final ceremony. It’s the perfect way to get an overview of a thousand or so years of history in one afternoon.
For a country that doesn’t technically celebrate Christmas, Japan sure does a great job of it. In particular, our favourite part is the illuminations. Spread across the country, each city lights up with thousands upon thousands of lights at some of their famous spots. Tokyo, of course, goes all out and has several spots across the city which have different themes and approaches to this holiday. We’ve put together a list of the best ones last year here. Many of them are often accompanied by Christmas markets, Yokohama has one of our favourites at the Red Brick Warehouse.
So that’s our top 10 reasons to study in Japan in 2020. If it sounds good to you then why not start looking at your options? You can explore our school’s pages or talk to one of the team in the office.
If you like to read more about Japanese culture, make sure to follow our blog where we cover everything you need to know about Japan!
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