Travel to: Japan

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Whether viewing it from the lofty peaks of Mount Fuji, or from street level when gazing up at the towering skyscrapers of Tokyo – travelling to Japan provides a myriad of sights as unique and diverse as the Land of the Rising Sun itself.



Japan is a country of magnificent contrasts. Shop at traditional Nishiki market in Kyoto, or the upscale, luxurious stores of Ginza; eat at tiny, wooden izakayas which seat no more than eight people or indulge yourself at some of the world’s best Michelin-starred restaurants; see the ancient architecture of Matsumoto Castle built in 1440, or witness the awe-inspiring sight of the ultra-modern Tokyo Skytree – wherever you go in the country, Japan’s addictive combination of modern and ancient spectacles make it a never-ending goody-bag for sightseers keen to experience something different.


Depending on the time of year, Japan can seem like a completely different country. Spring is the time to experience ‘hanami’ (cherry blossom viewing), whilst in autumn people travel up and down the islands to find the best kaleidoscope of red, yellow and orange hues visible in the autumn trees. A trip in the midst of snowy winter provides an idyllic paradise of powder snow for winter sports fans, or a photographer’s dream at the several snow, light and igloo festivals up and down the country. Each season offers travellers a new way to experience Japan.

Travelling the Golden Route
Japan has a number of iconic locations which are a must-see for first time travellers. Combining a visit to Tokyo, Mount Fuji and Kyoto brings together the fast-forward thinking and bustle of the metropolis, with the calm of Kyoto’s tranquil temples and zen gardens, topped off with the sublime experience of witnessing Mount Fuji’s snowy crest firsthand.

Stepping off the beaten path
Travellers keen to get off the beaten path can explore some of the incredible outdoor activities on offer around the country. Fly just 1 hour 40 minutes north of Tokyo and you’ll reach Hokkaido; a nature-lovers paradise, with some of the best ski resorts in the world. The thick, white powder snow, off piste and night time skiing opportunities at resorts such as Furano and Niseko keep ski and snowboard fans coming back for more, season after season.

For those who prefer to climb up mountains rather than slide down them, summers in Hokkaido are a haven for hiking fans keen to find a slice of untouched nature. Shiretoko National Park on Eastern Hokkaido or Daisetsuzan, Hokkaido’s largest national park, both offer a side to Japan rarely imagined, with an abundance of wildlife and natural sights unique to this area of Japan.

One of Japan’s best-kept secrets is its secluded beaches and uninhabited southern islands. The subtropical paradise of Okinawa, home of karate, is a honeymoon and beach getaway haven, where the shimmering blue waters offer some of the best diving opportunities in the country. Naha (the capital of Okinawa) is a springboard for some of the more secluded islands. A visit to Kume-jima, just 90km off the coast of Naha, offers uninterrupted diving or snorkelling, or take a boat tour from Zamami-jima to Gahi-jima islet in the Kerama Island group to find a secluded slice of earthly paradise.

A taste of the culture and cuisine
No trip to Japan is complete without the surprise of finding new favourite flavours and indulging in some of the world’s finest cuisine. Whilst most visitors will be somewhat acquainted with fresh sashimi, tempura or handmade sushi, few will have realised the sheer range of dishes which are enjoyed daily by Japanese people – from warming Japanese curry rice, flavoursome ramen noodles topped with seasoned egg and pork, to the colourful array of dishes served as part of any ‘kaiseki’ (elaborate seasonal and regional tasting menus) cuisine.

Direct 12-hour flights from the UK to Japan are available from London to Tokyo with BA, JAL and ANA. If flying indirectly to Japan you can travel from regional airports around the UK to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo or Fukuoka airports in Japan with the likes of Air France, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, KLM and Turkish Airlines.

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