One of the best ways to entertain guests in Japan would be to give them the opportunity to ride on the shinkansen (train the bullet), show them Mount Fujii, and if you can, let them participate in a live tea ceremony. Maybe it will also give them the opportunity to see Akihabara, the famous electronic district.
Weather permitting, I also recommend taking them to places where they can interact with things, such as the Iga Ninja museum where they can take pictures with old ninjas, or even learn how to cast ninja stars.
You can also give them the opportunity to dress up as a Maiko or even a Samurai, then take photos, and so they can have a good laugh when they show their friends at work.
I had the best friend out there. Nice guy, Caucasian guy, New Yoaka, culinary specialist. However, even with all his gastronomic knowledge he has not been able to fully appreciate the Japanese palate.
Here is the official way to entertain the guest if you absolutely have to:
1) Power, power, power. Nothing exotic. Play with favorites recognized by Japan, such as tempura, and yakiniku so you don’t want anything heavier afterwards. If their diet changes too soon, accompanied by jet lag, they will enjoy less of their trip. Sometimes McDonald’s is good for lunch.
2) Don’t rely on mass transit to get around Rent a car. Choose easy routes. Just jump on the Kanetsu highway and drive to Niigata. Show the country back or maybe even Gunma. Lose a little.
3) Don’t do onsen unless it’s a mixed bath. Instead take them to Yunneson in Hakone so they can spend time hanging out in the bathroom with you. Remember to try akasuri, which is called skin peeling in English. Japan will be the cheapest and most affordable place to do it. Everyone should try akasuri at least once while they are here! It’s a must. I have it twice a year.
4) Take them driving by driving. Sometimes people can immerse themselves in much more of the environment when in a car rather than on foot. Sometimes you don’t have to talk about the experience. Let them feel the country for them.
5) Shrines are better to visit because they are less crowded. Show them how to wash their hands and teach them a little about the history of shrines. Kamakura is the perfect place for this.
Remember, never forget the wagashi, or Japanese pastry. It’s a must have to sit back and enjoy some good wagashi. Go to an expensive place, not good.
Finally, and this is a big one. Remember to bring your guest to a real authentic restaurant or red lantern, which is a place where working class people can drink at bargain prices.
The reason is that they need to experience the real side of everyday work – class Japanese, and what it means to eat normal food.
Here we go!