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Japan

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

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, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.


Itinerary ideas [13]

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.

Best of Tokyo

Natural world Short break City

Tokyo is a great introduction for first time visitors to Japan - a metropolis awash with colour and movement, day or night, always on the go and never stopping. …

Golden Route

City Natural world History & culture

This self-guided adventure follows the path of the old Tokaido post road (Japans Golden Route) from Tokyo to Kyoto, stopping on the way at Hakone National Park …

Hokkaido and Honshu highlights

Natural world History & culture City

See the best of Japan, including bustling, contemporary Tokyo, the stunning national parks and the beautiful Hakone area, where you can travel on funiculars, …

Japanese arts & cultural discovery tour

History & culture City

Japan is an intoxicating contradiction, a cosmopolitan country with a pervasive sense of antiquity and a fusion of culture and style, from the suited …

Gourmet Japan

Food & wine History & culture City

Our Gourmet Japan tour is a trip through Japan’s heart and kitchen. Experience the sights of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka and have a gastronomic feast along the …

Japan Express: Osaka to Tokyo

From Buddhist monks of Koyasan to the high rollers of Tokyo, capture the many faces of Japan on this condensed tour beginning in Osaka. Savour the region’s …

Backroads of Japan

Tokyo and Kyoto—the modern and imperial capitals of Japan, respectively—represent the perfect merger of the ancient and the contemporary. On this trip, …

Discover Japan

From the towers and gadgets of Tokyo to the serenity of sacred shrines and the soaring beauty of Mt Fuji, this trip provides the perfect blend of guided …

Places to stay [5]

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.

Sadachiya Ryokan

Sadachiya Ryokan is one of Tokyos best traditional inns located in Asakusa. The beautiful Edo-style entrance is stunning. The rooms are of traditional Japanese …

The Sentosa Resort and Spa

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

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WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

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WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

When staying at the Sentosa Resort & Spa you’d never know you were in cosmopolitan Singapore. It’s a tranquil resort, with villas and low-rise …

Park Hotel

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).

The Park Hotel is ideally situated in Shiodome, a flourishing new centre of business and culture. As a member of the design hotels™ group, the hotel offers an …

The Peninsula Tokyo, Japan

The award-winning Peninsula Tokyo is a paragon of luxury, located close to the Ginza shopping district of Tokyo.

Asakusa Sunroute Hotel

The Asakusa Sunroute is a popular hotel in Tokyos most historic district. The rooms are of a moderate size but have all the amenities you would come to expect. …

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