11 March 2016 by Hannah Busby
If you've ever visited Japan, you know that feeling - like you've landed on a different world entirely. The country is famous for its mixture of the ancient and traditional with the jarringly modern, and for many travellers, it's also a destination with a uniquely strong language barrier. Add in a complex set of etiquette expectations, and exploring Japan can become more like unravelling a secret code that going on a simple holiday... and that's the way it's meant to be.
Japan isn't for the casual holidaymaker so much as the curious explorer, but for those who venture to this eastern gem, there are countless rewards. Our own Sales Manager, Hannah Busby just returned from the country, and brought back these images to illustrate why she fell in love with it.
The 14th-century Daiganji Temple has myriad small Buddha and monk statues adorned with knitted caps by affectionate visitors.
A lantern glows in the darkness of a night in Gion, Kyoto, revealing details of the hand-painted design.
A tiger appears to come to life on the walls of Kyoto's Nijo Castle, which has been standing since 1626.
Two young girls in traditional kimonos share a laugh at Kanazawa Castle, in Ishikawa Prefecture.
The temple of Sukyo-Mahikari honours one of Japan's younger religions, where a pure light is believed to issue from the palm of the hand and cleanse the souls of practitioners.
Sake barrels, or kazaridaru, given as offerings are stacked outside Tokyo's Meiji Shrine. Offering these barrels, even though they are generally empty, is a symbolic practice meant to bring mortals closer to the gods.
Higashi Honganji, also known as the Eastern Temple of the Original Vow, is now known by a much less formal name - Honourable Mr East.
Cherry blossom buds come out in Kanazawa's Kenroku-en Garden. Cherry blossom is revered as a symbol of the transitory nature of life, as well as its beauty, since the flowers bloom only briefly each spring.
The iconic Mt Fuji is visible through the early-evening glow over Tokyo, as seen from the Sky Tree observation deck. The shining Sumida River glides peacefully through the city.
If these photos are sparking your wanderlust, we have plenty more travel inspiration over on our Facebook page, where you can also send us some of your favourite holiday snaps. We also offer plenty of inspiration over on our Japan holidays page, which features options for tailor-making your own trip.