Often a trip is about what you see. But it is always nice to experience a few pieces of life like a local — to find those unique everyday things that make a country and culture unique. Here are the big 5 for Japan:
Have lunch at 7/11. Trust me, it is a thing. 7/11 (or Family Mart) has an extensive prepared food section. It is extremely common to pick up sushi or a sandwich at a convenience store. My husband loves the egg salad sandwiches and says they are the best in the world! They also have great prepared sushi.
Visit the store Don Quixote. They are everywhere and you can get anything there. Be prepared to be overwhelmed. They are crammed pack with stuff, it is loud and bright. They also have absurd hours. The one only a few minutes from my house was open 9 am to 5 am every day. There are over 300 stores across the country. This is also a great place to pick up affordable gifts.
Eat some noodles. Japan is famous for its ramen, soba and udon. Try at least one bowl of each. I prefer ramen but will never turn down a bowl of hot udon!
Visit an onsen. I have written a lot about onsens and it is a little intimidating for westerners. But it is an important part of Japanese culture. If you go during the week, you will see groups of women friends. On a Sunday you will find families with 3-4 generations enjoying the relaxing tubs. It is an experience not to be missed.
Get a beverage from a vending machine. They are everywhere and have a wide variety of hot and cold drinks.
For those that have spent extensive time in Japan, is there anything you would add?