Insight /


Japan: Hot Tip

Have you noticed how everyone is talking about Japan?

Discover how old and new collide in Japan

If you haven’t visited yet, read on to find out more about its cities, countryside, art and culture, and trust us, you won’t want to miss out on any of it. Get ready for an eye-popping journey which seamlessly merges sleek modern life with ancient tradition.

The Lowdown

  • Getting Around

    You will travel independently on Japan’s efficient network of trains, with all the logistics carefully planned for you, an unlimited rail pass plus our map, guide and detailed info pack.

  • Top tip

    When travelling out of the main cities, you can take advantage of Japan’s luggage forwarding service known as ‘takkuhaibin’. For a small charge, forward a bag to your next destination, leaving you a with a lighter bag for sightseeing and hiking trips.

  • Not to be missed

    Don’t miss out on some of the best food experiences in Japan – we can make restaurant reservations in major cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto.

Cities and Bullet Trains

This trip will see you travel everywhere by public transport, including the smooth-running shinkansen (bullet train), just like Japan’s 126 million inhabitants. In Tokyo, take a guided tour to get under the surface of this neon-lit city. See the sights from the iconic Tokyo Towers to the old town of Asakusa with the city’s oldest temple: Sensō-ji. Or go off-piste in one of the capital’s more unusual offerings like a robot restaurant, retro video game café or manga shop.

By contrast, Kyoto is all about ancient culture as seen through its 2000 shrines and temples, and artisans pursuing time-honoured practices such as lacquerware, tea and handmade paper. It’s also thought of as Japan’s foodie capital, come here to try everything from matcha to sushi, tempura and ramen.

Tokyo, Japan

    Countryside Delight

    Japan’s countryside is the place to do as the Japanese do – appreciate the rejuvenating power of nature. You’ll reach Matsumoto by bullet train, whizzing past Mount Fuji until you are surrounded by lush paddy fields, mirror-like lakes and dense woodlands backed by the lofty Japanese Alps.

    In Kamikochi, get up closer to the ice-sculpted peaks and aquamarine rivers on hikes through ancient forests. A must is a stop at a natural hot spring for a relaxing onsen and you may well be joined by the cheeky-faced snow monkey.

    Modern Art and Ancient Culture

    Easily doable by day trip from Kyoto is Nara, a town renowned for its wealth of Buddhist and Shinto heritage.
    Its location at the end of the Silk Road meant that Nara became Japan’s first capital in 710 and the entry point of Buddhism to Japan. Today there are many dramatic reminders of its power and glory including a 49 ft Buddha, and temples and shrines set amid a landscaped garden dotted with wild deer.

    For something more modern, head to the island of Naosahima where you’ll be greeted by Yayoi Kusama’s iconic giant squash – the gateway to cultural encounters on this island dedicated to art. Wander galleries home to Monet’s waterlilies, discover underground art installations and even a kitschy onsen that doubles up as an artwork.

Ukimido Pavilion, Nara, Japan