GMT +9 hours
An intoxicating country of contrasts, Japan's stunning landscapes, fascinating history and unique culture is sure to inspire.
Japan's unique culture makes it a fascinating holiday destination. From the modern, high-tech capital of Tokyo to the ancient imperial city of Kyoto, this rich country has something for everyone. Mount Fuji is an impressive sight, along with the historic Buddha statues and temples in the region.
Best time to visit
Spring (from March until May)
Japan's myriad ancient temples, shrines and traditional geisha districts offer a fascinating glimpse into thr country's rich history and heritage. Visit during late March or early April to enjoy the glorious cherry blossom season.
Tokyo is a heaving city of dizzying dimensions and flashing neon lights where gleaming skyscrapers tower over a swirling sea of people but tranquil gardens and serene temples lie just around the corner. Technology stores spill over the latest gadgets and Harajuku girls parade the latest eye-catching fashions, yet the city’s roots are firmly placed in history with ancient shrines and the world’s oldest continuous hereditary monarchy.
From Tokyo, head southwest to snow-capped Mount Fuji, a tribute to Japan’s sublime beauty. Towering at 12,388 feet, it is Japan’s highest mountain and can even be seen from Tokyo on a clear day. Revered as one of Japan’s ‘Three Holy Mountains’, it attracts thousands of pilgrims every summer who hike to its sacred summit.
The stunning imperial city of Kyoto offers a stark contrast to high-tech Tokyo. Explore Nijo Castle, where each step on the ‘nightingale floor’ omits a squeak designed to warn against intruders. If you want to immerse yourself in the culture, visit Kanikakuni – a former geisha house. Here, you can dress up in a kimono and learn about the history of this traditional form of entertainment.
Despite its tragic past, Hiroshima has emerged from the dark cloud of the devastating 1945 nuclear bombing as a vibrant and thriving city that boasts tree-lined boulevards, fantastic museums, historic monuments, enchanting gardens and excellent cuisine.
Osaka, Japan’s second largest city is a buzzing aquapolis often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’ due to its numerous canals and river channels. Osaka is also known as the ‘gastronomist’s town’ and ‘the stomach of Japan’ and it embraces its status of a food-loving city, boasting an array of restaurants and food stalls and within its underground maze of shopping malls.
As the final destination on the famous Silk Route, Nara adopted influences from a wealth of different cultures and it is a veritable repository of cultural and historic treasures including some of the country’s oldest temples. The fascinating city can easily be explored in a day
Suggested Japan Cruises
Japan is the perfect destination if, like me, you enjoy visiting a busy and fashionable city like Tokyo for shopping, followed by somewhere traditional like Mount Koya: a spiritual place populated by monks and beautiful temples, offering the perfect chance to embrace the local culture.