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Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan


The cultural heart of Japan

Visit Honshu


The southern half of Japan’s main island – Honshu – is a region rich in heritage; sites range from geisha teahouses to impossibly tiered castles. However, led by Hiroshima’s optimism, the bright lights of its cities are firmly set on the future. 

Temples and gardens

As Japan’s cultural heart, visits to the region often start with Kyoto and its pretty neighbour, Nara. Serving as the Japanese capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto’s imperial legacy is realised in a vast array of Buddhist temples, grand palaces and gardens that range from intimate Zen squares to whole palatial fields. Spared from bombing in WWII due to its cultural significance, much of its 400 Shinto shrines remain intact and it’s no surprise that it features no fewer than 1,600 Buddhist temples. It’s a world away from next-door Osaka. Here, giant Ferris wheels are perched on top of department stores and neon signs cover entire building sides. The excesses don’t stop there with the city often known as the country’s gastronomic capital, famed for its canalside okonomiyaki restaurants that serve pancake pizzas. Remember to take some time to navigate the grounds and moats of Osaka Castle and summit one of the city’s towering skyscrapers.

Kyoto gardens

Historic cities

Unlike Kyoto, the events of 6 August 1945 have had a profound effect on Hiroshima. However, after you’ve studied its superb Peace Museum you’ll find a city born anew with tree-lined avenues that bring you to art galleries and teahouse-speckled parks. Just outside, on the Seto Inland Sea, are a set of fractured islands that make for pretty cruises to famed floating shrines and hikes past deer and Buddhist temples. Elsewhere, there’s Hagi’s feudal era castle old town – complete with samurai residences – and Kurashiki’s merchant canals, lined with 250-year-old ryokans.

Yasaka Pagoda, Sannen Zaka Street, Kyoto


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Special offers in Honshu

An image of Hakone cable car in front of Mount Fuji on a bright sunny day.

Timeless Japan with APT

12-day escorted tour from £6,120 pp incl. flights


Early Bird discount – Save up to £-315pp
Book by: 30 June 2024

Embark on an unforgettable escorted tour with Travelmarvel by APT journeying through Japan, where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with modern innovation.

Osaka, Japan

Japan's Cherry Blossoms with Silversea

17-day luxury ocean cruise from £10,700 pp incl. flights

cruise offer

Two-category upgrade & US $1,000 onboard credit
Book by: 31 May 2024

Now booking for 2025, experience the iconic beauty of Japan's cherry blossom season on this all-encompassing Silversea cruise, exploring the best of ancient and modern Japan in spring.

Top itineraries in Honshu

Sensoji, Tokyo, Japan

Essential Japan

10-day tailor-made holiday from £3,805 pp incl. flights

Get a taste of all that this spectacular and multi-faceted country has to offer, with private tours of Tokyo, traditional ryokan stays, trips on Japan's 200mph bullet train and visits to world famous temples.

Mt Fuji, Japan

Best of Japan

14-day tailor-made holiday from £6,545 pp incl. flights

With a rail pass and a host of included tours and traditional ryokan stays, this is your chance to experience the best Japan has to offer as you explore the country's hi-tech cities, ancient temples and spectacular national parks.

Okinawa, Japan

Highlights of Japan & Okinawa

16-day tailor-made holiday from £6,945 pp incl. flights

Experience the best of Japan's culture and coast, with private tours, traditional ryokan stays, bullet train trips and even a stay on a pair of tropical island idylls.

Hakone, Japan

Tokyo, Hakone and the Japanese Alps

16-day tailor-made holiday from £6,695 pp incl. flights

Stepping out from Japan's capital, you'll explore an alpine world of ancient shrines and samurai, ride the mighty bullet train and stay in traditional ryokan inns surrounded by a sublime natural world.

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Top places to stay in Honshu

Park Hyatt, Tokyo

Park Hyatt, Tokyo

Contemporary hotel

This ‘Lost in Translation’ centrepiece towers over Shinjuku’s contagious energy and makes for luxury stays in the city centre.

Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

Contemporary hotel

Despite being the first luxury international hotel in Kyoto, fine Japanese dining and clean lines complemented by bonsai trees and tatami mats give this deluxe hotel a real sense of place.

Palace Hotel, Tokyo

Palace Hotel, Tokyo

Contemporary hotel

This is modern luxury set on the moat-shores of an imperial dynasty in central Tokyo.

Hakone Ginyu, Hakone

Hakone Ginyu, Hakone


Spacious rooms with private baths and sweeping mountain views set the scene for this traditional Hakone ryokan

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Where to go in Honshu

Tokyo & Surrounds

You needn't travel far from Tokyo's neon-hazed streets to escape the world's ultimate metropolis and uncover a softer side to Japan. The quiet mountain town of Nikko, the seaside setting of tranquil Kamakura and the springtime blossoms of Mito's many plum trees are just some of the highlights.

Hakone (Mt Fuji)

Hakone is well loved for two attractions in particular - the iconic view of sacred, symmetrical Mount Fuji seen across Lake Ashi, and its high concentration of bubbling onsen (hot springs).

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto


As the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years, Kyoto is filled with a wealth of cultural treasures - among them 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines.

Kamikochi, Nagano, Japan

Japan Alps

Japan's alpine backbone is all forested mountains and steaming onsen (hot springs) extending across much of central Honshu, a landscape that is particularly captivating in autumn when the koyo (colourful leaves) turn to shades of russet and gold.

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When to go to Honshu

Tokyo & Surrounds
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Honshu articles

  • Osaka Castle

    British Airways announces new route to Osaka, Japan

    It’s been more than 20 years since the UK had a direct route to Japan’s second city, Osaka. But now, it's set to be easier than ever to reach as British Airways open up this route once again.

  • Java, Indonesia vintage travel poster

    Vintage travel posters that have stood the test of time

    We take a look at the spectacularly bold travel advertisements of the 1930s and their promise of golden temples in India, lakeside retreats in Italy and deers grazing outside of Japanese temples. You'll be surprised at how much holds true to this day.

  • Miyajima Torii, Miyajima Island, Japan

    Japan through another lens

    Our own Sales Manager, Hannah Busby recently travelled to Japan, and showed us a side of the country most people never get to see.

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Meet our Honshu experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0689

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0689 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

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Every step of the way

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