Travelling in Japan 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. 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 the country so intriguing.
Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Japan, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.
The Practical information displayed here is taken from The Traveller's Handbook, published by WEXAS (2009). While all possible care was taken to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, we are aware that situations change, so for the latest information and up-to-date visa requirements, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.
Summer (June-September) can be very hot, while spring and autumn are generally mild. Typhoons are likely to occur in September or October but rarely last more than a day. Winter is cold.
Too many to mention. One of the most famous is in March, the country enjoys the delights of the Cherry Blossom Viewing, with people enjoying picnics in parks. Kyoto holds Gion Matsuri in July, this includes a street parade featuring finely dressed participants carrying portable shrines, as well as large floats depicting ancient themes. Also in July is the Festival of the Dead, where lanterns are floated on rivers, seas and lakes to signify the return of the departed to the underworld.
Delicate flavours, crisp vegetables, bean curd and rice are the basis of Japanese food. Specialities include tempura (vegetables or seafood fried in a light batter), teriyaki (marinated chicken, beef or fish seared on a hot plate) and sushi - raw seafood served on vinegared rice).
A strict code of behaviour and politeness is recognised and followed by almost all Japanese. They do not expect visitors to be familiar with all their customs but expect them to behave formally and politely. Bowing is the Japanese way of greeting, but it is also used in thanking and apologising. Giving and receiving gifts are part of every day life and it is a good idea to bring an assortment of gifts for your trip so that you can reciprocate. Shoes should be removed before entering most private indoor areas such as Japanese-style restaurants and accommodation, private homes, shrines and temples. The honorific suffix san should be used when addressing people (for instance Mr Yamada would be called Yamada-san).
Tokyo - Narita (NRT) 65 km from the city, Osaka - Kansai (KIX) 50 km from Osaka, Fukuoka (FUK) 7 km from the city. Central Japan (NGO) 35 km south of Nagoya.
Extensive domestic air network covering Japan and its islands. Excellent train network, including ’bullet trains’. Buses slower but cheaper. Ferries connect islands. Self-drive out of cities may be difficult as signposting is all Japanese.
The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Japan. 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.
The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Japan. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Japan, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.
Tim Tan - Asia Specialist
To make an enquiry or to start planning your trip talk to our team of specialists on 020 7590 0613