Discovering Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto and beyond
Lose yourself in Japan’s serene gardens
Immerse yourself in Tokyo
Learn the traditional art of tea-making
Travel in style on bullet train
Eat your heart out
Japanese cuisine is big business. In Tokyo alone there are over 230 restaurants with a Michelin star. Foodies will be in for a treat. Head to a sushi bar and watch masters at work as they prepare nigiri, maki and all manner of delicious delicate dishes. Do as the locals do and slurp ramen noodles adorned with different toppings including meat, fish and boiled eggs, tuck in to steaming hot bowls of Oden – a hearty hot pot, or tuck into pork Tonkatsu, crispy pork cutlets with a side of curry sauce. You can even taste amazing street food in the lively Nishiki Market, specialising in all types of food products, or grab yourself a train station Bento-box before you hop on the Shinkansen. You won’t go hungry…
Discover Japan's celebratory festivals
Japan hosts wonderful festivals throughout the year, some of which have been celebrated for centuries. They are steeped in tradition and offer travellers a insightful glimpse into Japanese culture. One of our favourites is the Takayama Festival which is full of beautiful handcrafted floats. The construction of these floats bring the community together, as several households help to create each one. There are 25 festival floats in Takayama - 12 for spring and 11 for autumn.
Another festival that features in our Japan holidays is Sapporo Snow Festival. As the biggest event in the city, the festival takes place over a week as visitors can come to see the magnificent ice sculptures of animals, characters, iconic buildings and much more in three huge ice cities.
Visit Japan’s glorious temples
There are over 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines in Kyoto alone where you can learn about sacred objects, spirituality and Buddhism. These architecturally stunning religious structures offer visitors and worshippers the chance for quiet contemplation and a moment to reflect. Visits to the Ryoanji Temple and its famous rock garden, as well as the exquisite Kinkakuji Temple, or ‘Golden Pavilion’ are a must, as well as Tokyo’s oldest temple - Sensō-ji, where it is said the smoke from its incense cauldron bestows good health.
A tour of Japan wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the national drink, sake or nihonshu as it’s known locally. Your sake education can begin at a traditional brewery where you’ll discover the key subtle differences to the flavour is the type of water used to ferment rice. Once you’ve learned the art of sake tasting, why not head out to a nearby izakaya (pub) or sake bar, and test out your new skill?
Walk amongst geishas in Kyoto
With the soft clickety-clack of geta (traditional wooden sandals) and rustle of beautiful silk kimonos, you might be lucky enough to spot geishas emerging from teahouses going and about their day in several areas of Kyoto. Geishas are performing artists – accomplished musicians and dancers and even though there are fewer opportunities to experience Geisha culture these days, it is still possible in the district of Gion.
Find peace at Hiroshima
The gutted remains of Hiroshima’s Atomic Bomb Dome at the Peace Memorial Park is a stark reminder of the 1945 attack, there is a clear message of peace that resonates for so many in what is now a leafy, thriving city. Vibrant and cosmopolitan, Hiroshima is well-worth your time, as is Peace Memorial Museum which is located next to the dome, with exhibits including the stories of survivors, that are both moving and thought-provoking.
Be astounded by Japan’s mountains
On a clear day, Mt Fuji – Japan’s tallest mountain – can be seen reflected in the still waters of Lake Jawaguchi. The active volcano is climbed by hundreds of thousands of people every year, but is still one of the country’s most sacred shinto sites, where shrines can be found dotted around the base. While Mt Fuji is undoubtedly a must-see, over 70 per cent of Japan is made up of mountains and hills, so experiencing the awe-inspiring heights of snow-capped peaks won’t be difficult. You can even take a cable car up to the volcanic Owakudani Valley and drink in the views across Tokyo Bay below.
If these amazing Japan experiences have whet your appetite, our Japan tours will take you on an unforgettable journey from Tokyo, Kyoto and beyond. Discover all the above and much more…
Article published on: 10th July, 2021
Ting has a serious case of wanderlust. Having travelled to over 40 countries, it’s her mission in life to make her way through her ever-growing list. Her two young sons have also caught the travel bug, and recent trips have seen them making snow angels in Iceland while watching the Northern Lights, as well as walking alongside elephants in South Africa.