1. The experience of living in a country with a culture which is totally different from your own. By this I mean just, in general, that living some time in a completely different culture will enrich your life a lot. It can be shocking and annoying at times, but also very interesting and stimulating. You learn things about life that you cannot learn without leaving the comfort of your own culture.
You don’t necessarily have to go live in Japan to experience another culture, you say? You are right, there are so many interesting countries in the world! But Japan is a special case. Japan has, throughout history, been a country which was basically isolated from the rest of the world for long periods of time. Through this it has developed very unique and interesting traditions. And, in addition to that, over the last half century, Japan has become the second economy in the world (now the third?).
Together, this results in a country that has old traditions one the one hand, yet is very technologically advanced on the other hand. I believe that this combination is unique in the world. Where else can you see old temples right in the middle of modern business districts? Where else can you see women wearing traditional Kimono on the subway? Where else do you see students walking around with their long bow for traditional archery? Only in Japan.
In that sense I feel that the cultural experience of living in Japan is more interesting compared to many other countries.
2. Japan is safe. Granted, lately there are many reports in the news about murders, abuse, and rapes. But compared to other developed countries, I still have the impression that Japan is a very safe country. The region around Tokyo and Yokohama is a huge metropolis where more than 30 million people live. Yet, you can walk around late at night alone without any problem. This is not something I would do in many parts of Paris, London, or New York, for example.
3. Japanese are correct, and polite. I don’t want to pretend that all Japanese are polite and have good manners (I know it is not true, I see many impolite people here every day), but in general people are polite, helpful and correct.
I also don’t want to say that Japanese are more polite than Western people, but I do feel that there is a different kind of politeness here. For example, people here in Japan will normally not hold open a door for someone else, and many Japanese do not cover their mouth with their hands when they cough or sneeze. These are both things that would be considered impolite in the West. But on the other hand I feel expressions of gratitude are much more polite here, and Japanese often think deeper about how they should behave in order to please (or not offend) other people.
You will have to accept that things are different here. But overall I think Japanese ar more polite (at least at the surface) than people in the West.
4. Great Japanese food. I think everyone has heard about Sushi and Sashimi by now. In Japan people refer to the recent increase in popularity of Japanese food abroad as “the Sushi boom”. While I like Sushi and Sashimi, Japan has much more to offer. Take Japanese “nabe”, “tonkatsu”, all kinds of “donburi”, noodles, Japanese sweets, osake, umeshu (plum whine), miso soup, all kinds of fish dishes, etc. Eating here is a pleasure, even at affordable prices.
5. Other culture and tourism. In Japan you can live in a wealthy country, with a living standard comparable to or higher than that of many Western countries, and at the same time enjoy an Asian culture.
This includes visits to various tourist spots all over the country. My personal number one favorite is of course Kyoto, the old capital of Japan. Kyoto has hundreds and hundreds of old temples, and is an absolute must for any visitor (long term or short term) of Japan. But there is much more. Nikko with its gorgeous and colorful temple complexes in the mountain forest, Kamakura, a “small Kyoto” with temples and a giant Buddha statue close to the beach, Yokohama with its China town and futuristic buildings, Nara with its huge Buddha statue and deer, and Tokyo, the capital of the country.
And don’t forget that Japan is a very long country, with plenty of snow to ski in the north in Hokkaido, all the way to tropical islands in the south in Okinawa.
But even without traveling around you can enjoy Japanese culture. There is Japanese food, as I mentioned above and Japanese arts, calligraphy, Bonsai, Wabi and Sabi, Japanese traditional sports like Karate, Judo, Kyudo, and so on. There is Noh and Kabuki theater, some might like anime and manga.