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Japan tailor-made holidays

Travelling to Japan on a tailor-made trip is a fascinating, if sometimes bewildering experience - a place at once familiar and alien. On the one hand this is very much a 21st century nation, a land of neon-lit pachinko parlours in frenetic cities, cutting-edge fashion and technology, and high-speed bullet trains that carry passengers from one end of the country to the other with impeccable dependability.

Yet at the same time this is also an old land with traditions to match, which the gracious Japanese will be happy to show you in the course of your holiday in Japan. Shinto temples, thoughtful tea ceremonies, geisha culture, hot springs, sumo wrestling and the annual cherry blossom season - all are as striking as the modern trappings. In fact, the contrast between these quieter charms and the buzzing cities is what makes a holiday in Japan so intriguing.


Wexas Travel brochure for Japan tailor-made holidays

China, Japan & South East Asia

Our in depth guide packed with background information, sample itineraries designed by our experts and hand-picked suggestions for what to see and do, where to stay and when best to go.


When to go

The best times to visit Japan are the mild, climatically stable seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). Spring is when Japan's famous cherry trees bloom. Starting from Kyūshū in March, the sakura zensen (cherry tree blossom line) advances northward, usually passing the main cities of Honshū and Hokkaidō from early April. The autumn foliage line reverses the advance of the cherry blossom, starting in the north in October and peaking across Honshū in November.

Midwinter (December to February) can be cold, particularly on the Sea of Japan coasts of Honshū and on Hokkaidō, while the summer months (June to August) are generally hot and humid. June is also the month of Japan's brief rainy season, while the risk of typhoons is highest from July to September.

The peak holiday seasons of Golden Week (late April to early May) and O-Bon (July or August) see a surge in domestic travel, making reservations tricky and tourist spots crowded, while just about everything in Japan shuts down during Shōgatsu (New Year).

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER
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Essential Experiences

We’ve rounded up our list of recommended sites and things to do. Click on the map to enlarge it and see what we suggest or follow the links in the list to discover how to get the best out of your holiday.


Practical Information

Capital - Tokyo

Size - 377,864 sq km

Language - Japanese

Population - 126.4 million (2012)

Religion - Shintoism, Buddhism, minority Christian, Islamic and others

Currency - Yen (¥)

Time zone - GMT + 9 hours

Flight time - London Heathrow to Tokyo Narita 11 hours 30 minutes

Festivals

Traditional national festivals ('matsuri'), celebrated throughout the country include:

3 or 4 February - Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival)

3 March - Hina-Matsuri (Doll Festival)

8 April - Hana-Matsuri (Floral Festival)

7 July - Tanabata (Star Festival)

Around 13-15 July - O-Bon (Lantern Festival)

15 November - Shichi-Go-San (Children's Shrine-Visiting Day)

For more details and a comprehensive listing of regional festivals throughout the year or during your proposed travel dates, visit the Japan National Tourism Organization website: www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/festivals/

Visas

Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.

Passport requirements

Passports must be valid for the duration of your stay. No additional validity is required.

Money

Currency

The unit of currency is the yen (¥). Coins are available in denominations of ¥1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 and bank notes in denominations of ¥1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000.

ATMs

ATMs can be found in all cities, large towns and resorts, and international withdrawals are straightforward via an English-language interface. Many, however, are closed at night and at weekends. Some ATMs do not accept Mastercard, Maestro and Cirrus cards issued outside of Japan. Check with your card issuer before you travel. You should also notify your bank that you are going to use your card overseas, since many banks will block a card suddenly used abroad, suspecting fraud.

Cash and EFTPOS

Credit and debit cards are widely accepted at hotels, shops, bus and train stations and travel agencies, but may not be accepted in smaller shops, restaurants and bars, and outside the major cities.

Guideline prices

Living costs in Japan and especially in Tokyo are famous for being among the world's highest, but prices have dropped significantly in the last decade as both the economy and the value of the yen has declined. There are plenty of restaurants where you can have a full meal for under ¥1,000, and mid-range restaurants offer meals at around ¥3,000, though there is no upper price limit when it comes to fine dining. Electronic goods including cameras and computers are relatively inexpensive at stores like Yamada Denki, Yodobashi Camera, Sakuraya and Bic Camera, and in discount shopping areas like Akihabara in Tokyo.

Regions [9]

Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Japan tailor-made holidays, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.


Itinerary ideas [6]

The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Japan tailor-made holidays. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.

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