Japan is a land of striking natural beauty complete with fascinating history, revered traditions, gracious people and delicious cuisine.
Myriad flavours from all around the world have contributed to Japan’s foodie culture, attracting more and more culinary figures worldwide to try the new eastern hot spot. A unique and incredibly scenic country with enchanting culture awaits!Read More...
Japan’s capital and the world’s most populous metropolis. this bustling city has been described as one of the three “command centres” for the world economy, along with New York City and London. For the visitor, Tokyo offers a seemingly unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture and dining choices. For history buffs, the city’s history can be appreciated in districts such as Asakusa where the atmosphere of Tokyo’s past decades still survives, and in the many excellent museums, historic temples and gardens. Contrary to common perception, Tokyo also offers a number of attractive green spaces in the city centre and environs.
Kyoto is Japan’s cultural heart, known for its Buddhist temples, beautiful gardens and colourful shrines. The city has a fabulous mix of old meets new with 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, more than 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines. Explore the natural wilderness of the Sagano bamboo grove, one of the most beautiful environments in Japan, not only because of its natural beauty, but also because of the sound the wind makes as it blows through the thick bamboo grove. A favourite for many travellers!
A UNESCO World Heritage Listed site, famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, with their steeply pitched thatched roofs, some of which are more than 250 years old. The area is picture postcard and especially pretty in winter, covered in snow.
A pristine castle town with an array of cultural attractions including the Kenrokuen garden, one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens where visitors can see plum and cherry blossom in spring. The city also boasts many historical attractions such as restored residences and districts, as well as modern museums including the museum of contemporary art.
The city retains many traditional elements found in few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved Old Town which has many buildings and whole streets of houses dating from the Edo Period (1600-1868) when the city thrived as a wealthy town of merchants. Some of the shops, coffee houses and sake breweries in this historic town have been in business for centuries. The Takayama Festival, held in spring and autumn, is considered one of Japan’s best festivals.
During January to March, Winter is cool in most of Honshū and may be snowing in the mountains. In the end of December – early Jan many businesses will be closed. June and July is rainy season in most of Japan (except Hokkaidō) – it doesn’t rain every day but it can be pretty humid.
Autumn (September to mid-December) is usually cool and clear.
Honshū cities are busy in the cherry blossom (late March to early April) and autumn foliage (November) seasons.
Travel in all of Japan is very busy during Golden Week, a cluster of four different national holidays which fall on dates at the end of April/early May. If possible, avoid travel over this period. Japan can also be very busy around the Obon festival (mid-August) and New Year.
One of the major attractions of traveling throughout Japan is trying different local cuisines in every town you visit. While sushi is in fact a large part of Japanese heritage, myriad flavors from all around the world have contributed to Japan’s robust foodie culture, attracting more and more culinary figures worldwide to try the new eastern hot spot.
Anyone who loves shopping knows that Tokyo is one of the most renowned shopping cities in the world. It should come as no surprise that Japanese people love style and fashion as designers from around the globe know that Tokyo is a hot spot for their label to be featured. It is here that well-established Japanese shops and famous brand names like Gucci, Chanel, Armani, Louis Vuitton, and others stand side by side on the various blocks that make up the center of the Ginza shopping area.
Japan values its cultivated traditions and practices as much as it values keeping in touch with the future. Whether grounded in history or in religion, Japanese customs are still widely practiced to this day. Additionally, Japan holds festivals year round that symbolize various aspects of culture and tradition, which are held in very high esteem by Japanese people. For anyone looking to delve further into Asian history and heritage, look no further than Japan.
Brett Barclay, Director
Currency Japanese yen
Language There is no official language, but the main language is Japanese
Why we love it What’s not to love about the Land of the Rising Sun? its a fascinating destination full of contrasts. Springtime in Japan is absolutely magical as the cherry blossoms are sure to capture your attention. You will love Japan even more if you’re a foodie.
Weather During January to March, Winter is cool in most of Honshū and may be snowing in the mountains. In the end of December – early Jan many businesses will be closed. June and July is rainy season in most of Japan (except Hokkaidō) – it doesn’t rain every day but it can be pretty humid. Autumn (September to mid-December) is usually cool and clear. In April, May and August it can be busy around the Golden Week (early May), O-Bon (mid-August) and New Year. Honshū cities are busy in the cherry blossom (late March to early April) and autumn foliage (November) seasons.
Social customs and quirks Japanese rely heavily on body language in communication as words can have many underlying meanings. For visitors, a passive facial expression is recommended and try not to make eye contact as it invades the Japanese sense of privacy. The hierarchy of status and age is important, with every person having his or her own place within the group. Formal greetings are standard and bowing the head is a sign of respect. When it comes to dining with Japanese people, remove your shoes before entering their home, arrive on time, dress appropriately and conservatively, and wait to be told where to sit. Don’t point or pierce your food with your chopsticks, and try whatever is offered. If you don’t want second or third helpings, leave a little food in your bowl or drink in your glass as it’s good manners to never leave the guest with an empty plate. Finally, conversation while eating isn’t polite, as your hosts prefer to savour the food.
Festivals and events Most festivals and events in Japan center on either Buddhist or Shinto religious holidays. The nature-focused events like cherry and plum blossom viewing and commemorations of historic events are much-loved by the Japanese people.
Health* There are currently no health requirements for entering Japan. Please note that, as sightseeing in Japan often requires a fair amount of walking, we advise that you should be capable of walking unassisted 2 km a day, and up to 8 km on some days, to get the most out of your experience.
Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.
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