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Japan

Destination Information

Step into the world of Japan’s fantastical beauty and unique culture. With a wonderful blend of ancient traditions and cutting edge modernity, it’s no wonder why Japan is a country on everyone’s bucket list. From the neon-lit streets of Tokyo pulsating with energy, to the serene temples of Kyoto steeped in history, Japan is the perfect destination for anyone seeking exciting adventure and cultural enlightenment.

In the cities of Tokyo and Osaka you’ll find electrifying streets full of quirky maid cafes, karaoke bars, and delicious cuisine that is distinguishingly Japanese. Head to the iconic Mount Fuji, surrounded by serene natural beauty and, when the season is right, blooming cherry blossoms – a classic picture of Japan’s wonder. See the towering green walls of Kyoto’s Bamboo Forest, and visit Nara’s Deer Park for an unforgettable wildlife encounter. It’s not a visit to Japan without taking in the many incredible shrines and temples that are a staple of this country’s unique history and cultural significance. See the golden walls of Kinkaku-ji Temple shine its beautiful reflection on the pond below. The famous red Torii Gates of Fushimi Inari will stick with you long after you’ve left, and offer an iconic insta worthy picture. Visit Tokyo’s oldest and most renowned temple, Senso-ji, surrounded by bustling markets and incredible history.

A place of endless possibilities, unforgettable activities, and magical experiences, travelling to Japan offers an exhilarating adventure for any backpacker.

Tokyo

The dynamic heart of Japan, where energy pulsates out of every vibrant bar and hidden alleyway. Dive into the electrifying chaos of Shibuya’s streets, where neon lights and fun loving crowds create an atmosphere like no other.

Be sure to visit the famous Shibuya Crossing, famous for being one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world. Discover hidden gems in quirky neighbourhoods like Harajuku, where fashion trends become an endless opportunity for creativity. Immerse yourself in the anime and gaming culture of Akihabara, known as the adult’s playground, where retro arcades and manga shops are begging to be explored.

Senso-ji Temple offers significant cultural immersion, and a moment of peace amongst the bustling streets. When night falls, Tokyo truly comes alive, with an array of lively bars, izakayas, and restaurants catering to every taste.

From the towering skyscrapers of Shinjuku to the tranquil gardens of Ueno, Tokyo offers a thrilling experience that will leave you feeling enchanted.

Kyoto

Narrow streets with traditional wooden houses, graceful Geishas roaming in colourful kimonos, centuries old temples and peaceful tea houses – Kyoto’s magic needs to be seen to be believed. A timeless gem of a city with serene ancient beauty, a trip to Japan isn’t complete without exploring this beautiful spot.

In Gion, see the history of the city come to life with classic wooden Japanese architecture and the welcoming Geisha standing on the Tatsumi Bridge. Explore centuries old temples like the Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, surrounded by lush Zen gardens for moments of peaceful bliss.

Kyoto also holds an incredible arts scene, where vibrant modern creativity meets traditional craftsmanship in galleries and artisan workshops. In the evenings, the nightlife of Kyoto comes alive with cosy bars and fragrant restaurants tucked away in hidden alleys, inviting a sense of wonder and connection.

Whether immersing yourself in the city’s rich history or savouring its modern delights, Kyoto offers a captivating journey through the soul of Japan.

Mount Fuji

You can’t think of Japan without bringing to mind the iconic symbol of natural beauty that is Mount Fuji. It holds an awe-inspiring presence and a sense of excitement to anyone lucky enough to see this beautiful mountain.

Rising majestically above everything around it, the landmark is an unforgettable sight and a promise of adventure. Whether you’re an avid hiker, or photography is your passion, nothing beats Mount Fuji.

Surrounding the mountain, picturesque lakes and lush forests provide serene settings for relaxation and reflection. Capture the perfect shot of Fuji’s mirror in the tranquil waters of Lake Kawaguchi, or immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of nearby towns like Fujiyoshida and Hakone.

Top tip: if you’re travelling in March – April, the iconic pink cherry blossoms will be in full bloom surrounding Mount Fuji, making for a once in a lifetime experience. Be sure to book ahead so you don’t miss out on this unbeatable opportunity.

Osaka

Another vibrant metropolis of Japan lies in Osaka, but with its own unique electrifying blend of modernity and tradition. Head to Dotonbori, where neon signs illuminate the night sky and the aroma of street food fills the air.

There is nothing like the legendary culinary scene in Osaka, with savoury okonomiyaki and mouthwatering takoyaki, served hot and fresh from street vendors. Explore the vibrant districts of Namba and Umeda, where skyscrapers tower over bustling shopping streets and lively entertainment and the exciting bars thrive at night.

For thrill-seekers, Universal Studios Japan offers adrenaline-pumping rides and immersive attractions. There is something for everyone in Osaka, a place worthy of adding to the itinerary.

Nara

Nara is less known than its neighbouring Osaka, but it’s an absolute treasure trove of ancient wonders and serene beauty. The enchanting streets of Nara Park have friendly deer roaming freely amidst temples and lush gardens. It’s an unbeatable experience you don’t want to miss.

Marvel at the awe-inspiring Todaiji Temple, home to Japan’s largest bronze Buddha statue. Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of Kasuga Taisha Shrine, adorned with thousands of deep red lanterns. Explore the charming alleys of Naramachi, where traditional machiya houses now house quaint shops and cafes.

Don’t miss the chance to experience a taste of local culture through traditional tea ceremonies or hands-on workshops in Japanese crafts. With its blend of history, nature, and culture, Nara offers a unique perspective into the culture of Japan. What a wonderful addition to the bucket list.

Japan

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit Japan?

Japan experiences four distinct seasons, each offering unique experiences. Spring (March to May) is famous for cherry blossoms, while autumn (September to November) showcases beautiful foliage. Summer (June to August) can be hot and humid, while winter (December to February) allows for skiing and hot springs.

Is it safe to travel in Japan?

Japan is generally considered one of the safest countries for travellers. Crime rates are low, and the local people are known for their honesty and helpfulness. However, it’s always essential to take standard precautions regarding personal safety and belongings, especially in crowded areas.

What should I eat in Japan?

Japanese cuisine is diverse and offers a wide range of dishes to try. Some popular Japanese foods include sushi, sashimi, ramen, tempura, yakitori (grilled skewered chicken), and okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes). Don’t forget to explore local specialties in different regions of Japan.

What are the transportation options in Japan?

Japan has an extensive and efficient transportation network, including trains, buses, and domestic flights. The Shinkansen (bullet train) is a convenient way to travel between major cities. Local trains and buses provide access to smaller towns and attractions. Visitors can also consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass for unlimited travel on JR trains.

Is English widely spoken in Japan?

English is taught in schools and many Japanese people have basic English proficiency. However, it’s not universally spoken, especially in rural areas and among older generations. Learning some basic Japanese can be helpful for communication, and many signs and transportation announcements are available in English.

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