What makes Japan Unique

Japan is a unique travel destination due to its rich culture, cutting-edge technology, beautiful scenery, delicious cuisine, exceptional hospitality, and diverse entertainment options. Visitors can experience traditional tea ceremonies, high-speed trains, stunning cherry blossom trees, and world-renowned customer service. Japan's food scene is diverse and delicious, offering sushi, ramen, tempura, and yakitori, among other dishes. Additionally, Japan offers unique entertainment options such as anime and manga, karaoke, and themed cafes and restaurants, making it a fun and exciting destination for travellers of all ages.

Top Highlights in Japan


Takayama is a picturesque town located in the Japanese Alps, famous for its well-preserved traditional houses and quaint streets. Visitors can explore the Old Town, Takayama Jinya, and the Hida Folk Village, which showcase traditional Japanese architecture and local crafts.

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Kanazawa is a historic city located on the west coast of Japan. The city is famous for its traditional architecture, including the Kenroku-en Garden, one of the country's most beautiful gardens, and the Kanazawa Castle, a reconstructed castle from the Edo period.

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Hiroshima is a city with a tragic history, having been devastated by the atomic bomb during World War II. Today, the city serves as a reminder of the horrors of war and the importance of peace. Visitors can explore the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

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Kyoto is Japan's cultural capital, home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, traditional temples, and gardens. The city offers a glimpse into Japan's rich history and is famous for its traditional arts and crafts, including pottery, tea ceremonies, and kimono making.

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Tokyo is the bustling capital city of Japan and a must-visit destination for its vibrant culture, shopping, food, and nightlife. Visitors can explore landmarks such as the Tokyo Tower, the Imperial Palace, and the famous Shibuya Crossing.

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Top Activities in Japan

There are numerous unique and exciting experiences that tourists can have while visiting Japan. Here are some of the top activities.

Enjoy the Cherry Blossom Season

Japan's cherry blossom season, which typically takes place in late March and early April, is a beautiful and unique experience that should not be missed.

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Visit Traditional Temples and Shrines

Japan has a rich cultural and religious history, and visitors can explore numerous traditional temples and shrines, such as the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto and the Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo.

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Experience Onsen (Hot Springs)

Japan is famous for its hot springs, or onsen, which offer relaxation and healing properties. Visitors can experience traditional Japanese bathing culture at onsen resorts, such as the famous Hakone onsen in the mountains near Tokyo.

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Try Japanese Cuisine

Japanese cuisine is diverse and delicious, with sushi, ramen, tempura, and yakitori being just a few of the many options. Visitors should try traditional dishes and local specialties at local restaurants and food markets.

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Attend a Traditional Festival

Japan is famous for its traditional festivals, or matsuri, which take place throughout the year. Visitors can attend festivals such as the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto or the Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori to experience traditional Japanese culture.

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Experience Tokyo's Cosplay Culture

Tokyo is home to numerous cosplay cafes and shops, where visitors can dress up in costumes and experience the city's unique and colourful pop culture scene.

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Witness a Sumo Wrestling Match

Sumo wrestling is Japan's national sport, and visitors can witness a match at a sumo tournament or visit a sumo stable to observe the wrestlers' training.

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Travel Ideas for Japan

Spiritual Japan

The tour starts in Tokyo, where you can immerse yourself in ancient cultures and modern ways of life. Relax in one of the city gardens and take a cruise along Sumida River in Tokyo before you head to Iseshima and Toba. Iseshima is best known for Ise Jingu, one of the holiest Shinto shrines in Japan. Our local guides will tell you the history and rituals of Ise Shrine before taking you to the Ama Divers huts in Toba. Then, take a bullet train to Nagoya and Hiroshima, before heading to Kyoto. Experience zen connections in Kyoto by joining an authentic tea ceremony in Kyotoand, visiting the tranquil temples. The final stop of the tour will be a visit to spiritual Mount Koyathe,  birthplace of Shingon Buddhism. Learn meditation and spend the night in the halls of a Shukobu temple. Embark on a spiritual journey in Japan with our expert guides and find your inner peace before you head back home.

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Highlights of Japan

Wander through this fascinating land with the Highlights of Japan tour, exploring some of the most sought after destinations in the country. The tour starts in Tokyo, taking you to the downtown district of Asakusa Temple and Nakimase shopping street to the upmarket shopping in Ginza. This is followed by the most renowned symbol of Japan,Mount Fuji. Take the opportunity to get a close range snap shot of Mt. Fuji from a cruise in Lake Ashi, visit the bubbling Owakudani Valley in Hakone National Park and taste one of the eggs which are thought to prolong life due to being boiled in the natural hotspring waters. Hop on the bullet train and visit the Japanese Alps. Experience the well preserved old town of Takayama, famous for its spring and autumn festivals, the mountainous Shirakawa-go village with its thatched roofs and Kanazawa which includes one of the top three gardens in Japan. Try some popular seafood at the Omicho market. The final stop, Kyoto, will include many highlights such as temples with the gold leafed upper deck: Golden Pavilion, Gion Geisha District, Authentic Tea Ceremony, the shogun ruler’s Nijo Castle. A popular day trip to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Nara or Hiroshima and Miyajima island can also be arranged.

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Tranquillity in Setouchi, Japan

Experience the gentle pace of life on the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, where traditional arts and crafts thrive and the seafood is fresh and delicious. Relax in the hot springs of Matsuyama, explore the historic city of Hiroshima, and take in the breath-taking views of the Seto Ohashi Bridge. With our knowledgeable guides and carefully crafted itinerary, you'll experience the best of Setouchi's natural and cultural wonders while enjoying a restful and rejuvenating vacation.

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Discover the Japanese Alps

Hike through breath-taking landscapes, take in stunning mountain views, and immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture. Visit the historic village of Shirakawa-go, and marvel at the stunning architecture of the traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses. Experience the thrill of a ride on the Hakone Ropeway, and soak in natural hot springs. With expert guides and carefully curated activities, this tour is the perfect way to discover the beauty and charm of the Japanese Alps.

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Japan's Culture & Cuisine

From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene gardens of Kyoto, this journey offers a comprehensive exploration of Japan's rich history, traditions, and culinary delights. Taste the famous wagyu beef in Kobe, visit the sake breweries in Fushimi, and enjoy a traditional kaiseki meal in Kyoto. Immerse yourself in Japanese culture with visits to temples, shrines, and the famous Geisha district. This trip is a feast for the senses, providing an unforgettable experience of Japan's unique and fascinating culture.

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Comprehensive Japan

From the vibrant streets of Tokyo to the tranquil gardens of Kyoto, this comprehensive tour will immerse you in the unique and fascinating culture of Japan. See the bustling Tsukiji fish market, visit Kamakura's Kotokuin Temple to see the enormous bronze Buddha, and marvel at the stunning views of Mount Fuji. Experience the traditional side of Japan in Kyoto, with visits to the Golden Pavilion and Ryoanji Zen Garden, and participate in a tea ceremony. With expert guides, you'll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japan's rich history and culture, making this an unforgettable journey.

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Best Time to Visit

March and April or October and November are the ideal months to visit Japan. During March and April, visitors can witness the beautiful cherry blossom season, while October and November showcase the stunning red leaves of Kyoto's autumn, making these times of the year particularly special.

While the latter half of May offers pleasant weather, it also brings crowds, with June marking the onset of the rainy season known as tsuyu. As a result, it's advisable to avoid visiting during summer and instead opt for spring, autumn, or winter. Winter, between January and March, is another excellent time to visit for those interested in hot springs and exploring the Japanese Alps.

With spring, fall, and winter to choose from, there is a suitable time for every type of holiday, whether it's exploring cosmopolitan cities, hitting the ski resorts, or relaxing on the islands.

Important Information for Your Travel Plans

Special Travel Tips from our Experts

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Where to Stay

Japan offers a wide range of accommodation choices to suit various budgets and preferences. Here are some examples:

  • Hotels: Japan has a vast selection of hotels, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury establishments. Examples include capsule hotels, business hotels (such as Toyoko Inn), mid-range hotels (such as Comfort Hotel), and high-end luxury hotels (such as The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo).
  • Ryokans: These traditional Japanese inns provide a unique cultural experience. Ryokans typically feature tatami-matted rooms, communal baths (onsen), and kaiseki meals. Examples include Hoshinoya Kyoto, Gora Kadan in Hakone, and Hiiragiya Ryokan in Kyoto.
  • Minshukus: Similar to ryokans, minshukus are family-run guesthouses that offer a more intimate and cosy environment. Guests can experience traditional Japanese hospitality and home-cooked meals. Examples include Takinoyu Ryokan in Aomori and Nakamuraya Ryokan in Shizuoka.
  • Machiya: In Kyoto, you can find traditional townhouses called machiya, which have been converted into accommodations. These offer a glimpse into traditional Japanese architecture and living. Examples include Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei and Tsukiusagi-an Machiya Residence Inn.
  • Vacation Rentals: Renting private apartments or houses is popular in Japan. It allows visitors to have a more local experience and offers a range of options across the country.
  • Temple Stays: Some Buddhist temples in Japan offer the opportunity to stay overnight and experience temple life, including meditation and vegetarian meals. Examples include Mount Koya's Ekoin Temple and Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto.

Getting Around

Japan's modern transportation system offers a range of convenient travel options, including planes, trains, private transfers, and boats.

When entering Japan, you will most likely arrive by plane, and from there, it's easy to travel to different parts of the country by air. Within cities, trains and subways are popular modes of transportation, with the metro being an excellent choice for exploring Tokyo. Trams are also available for navigating city streets, while Japan's high-speed bullet trains, or shinkansen, can whisk you between cities in no time.

For those looking to explore beyond the mainland, boats offer transportation to various Japanese islands. And if you prefer to travel on your own schedule, you can rent a car to tour cities and islands at your leisure.

Travel Themes Most Common for Japan

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Local Cuisine

Japan is famous for its diverse and delicious cuisine, with many local specialties that visitors should try during their stay, such as:

  • Sushi: Japan's most famous dish, made with fresh raw fish and vinegared rice.
  • Ramen: A hearty noodle soup made with a savoury broth, pork, vegetables, and noodles.
  • Tempura: Lightly battered and fried seafood or vegetables, served with dipping sauce.
  • Okonomiyaki: A savoury pancake made with cabbage, pork, seafood, and other ingredients, topped with a variety of toppings.
  • Takoyaki: Small, fried balls of batter filled with diced octopus, green onion, and pickled ginger.
  • Yakitori: Skewered and grilled chicken, often marinated in soy sauce and other seasonings.
  • Tonkatsu: Breaded and fried pork cutlet, typically served with rice and miso soup.
  • Matcha: A powdered green tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies and various desserts.
  • Udon or Soba: Two popular types of Japanese noodles, served in soup or stir-fried with a variety of toppings.
  • Wagyu beef: A premium and highly prized beef, known for its rich flavour and tender texture.
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Festivals & Public Holidays

Japan has a rich cultural heritage, and there are many festivals and holidays throughout the year that tourists can participate in and enjoy. Here are some noteworthy festivals and holidays in Japan

  • New Year's Day (January 1): The most important holiday in Japan, celebrated with family gatherings, temple visits, and traditional food
  • Setsubun (February 2 or 3): A festival that marks the beginning of spring, often celebrated by throwing roasted soybeans to drive away evil spirits
  • Hinamatsuri (March 3): Also known as the Doll's Festival, this holiday is celebrated with the display of ornamental dolls and traditional food
  • Cherry Blossom Festival (late March to early May): Celebrated throughout Japan, this festival marks the blooming of cherry blossoms and features hanami (picnicking under the cherry blossoms)
  • Golden Week (late April to early May): A week-long series of national holidays that includes Showa Day (April 29), Constitution Memorial Day (May 3), Greenery Day (May 4), and Children's Day (May 5)
  • Tanabata (July 7): Also known as the Star Festival, this holiday celebrates the meeting of two stars, represented by bamboo decorations and traditional food
  • Obon (August 13-15): A Buddhist holiday that honors the spirits of ancestors, often celebrated with traditional dances and food
  • Autumn Festivals (September to November): Various festivals are held throughout Japan during the fall season, such as the Jidai Matsuri in Kyoto (October 22) and the Tori no Ichi markets in Tokyo (held on various dates in November)
  • Christmas (December 25): While not a national holiday, Christmas is celebrated in Japan with festive decorations, gift-giving, and traditional Christmas cake

When to Start Planning your Trip

Significant Cultural Traditions

Japan is a country rich in cultural traditions, including formalities, flower arranging, tea ceremonies, and visiting shrines. Bowing is a common greeting in Japan, demonstrating respect and politeness. Ikebana, or flower arranging, is a centuries-old art form with religious roots. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony is an important cultural practice, steeped in Zen Buddhism. During the New Year celebrations, Japanese locals visit shrines for good luck, while Obon is a customary Buddhist event where lanterns are floated across waterways. Omiyage is a gift-giving tradition where food is exchanged as souvenirs, and locals often proclaim "kanpai" or cheers before toasting their glasses and taking a drink.

Currency & Payment

The Japanese yen (¥) is the official currency of Japan. In major cities like Tokyo, many modern establishments such as hotels and restaurants accept Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. However, it is advisable to have Japanese yen with you, particularly if you plan to visit rural areas or villages where electronic payment systems may not be widely available.


Japan is widely recognized as one of the safest countries in the world, with a respectful and welcoming culture towards tourists. It is possible to walk alone late at night without fear, and instances of lost items being returned to their owners have been reported. However, it is advisable to exercise caution in crowded areas, as with any international travel.

To avoid potential risks, it is recommended to avoid bar strips in cities like Tokyo unless accompanied by a guide. Visitors are also advised to respect Japanese traditions, such as bowing when greeting someone and removing shoes when entering homes or designated areas.

While natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons can occur in Japan, the country's secure architecture ensures that it remains a safe destination even in the event of minor earthquakes. During heavy typhoons, trains and airports may close, but usually for no longer than 48 hours.

When exploring Japan's great outdoors, it is essential to be aware of potential risks from dangerous creatures like snakes and bears in forested areas. Visitors on ski trips to the Japanese Alps should follow guidance from their ski instructors and stay on designated routes.

Visa & Immigration Rules

As of March 2023, the entry requirements for EU tourists to Japan are as follows:

  1. A valid passport: All EU citizens must have a valid passport to enter Japan. The passport must be valid for the entire duration of the stay
  2. Visa requirements: Tourists from most EU countries can enter Japan for up to 90 days without a visa. However, some EU countries have different visa requirements. EU citizens should check the Japanese embassy website in their country to find out if they need a visa or not
  3. COVID-19 restrictions: All travellers entering Japan, including EU tourists, must undergo a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure and provide proof of a negative test result. They must also complete a health questionnaire and undergo a health screening upon arrival. The requirements may change depending on the COVID-19 situation, so it is important to check the latest information before travelling
  4. Travel insurance: Although travel insurance is not a requirement for entry into Japan, it is highly recommended for all travellers. In case of an emergency, having travel insurance can provide financial and medical assistance

EU tourists should always check the latest entry requirements and travel restrictions before planning a trip to Japan, as they can change at short notice.

Health & Hygiene

Currently, Japan does not require any vaccinations for entry. However, visitors are advised to check with their local healthcare provider regarding recommended vaccinations before travelling. It is also important to note that Japan has strict drug laws, and some medications that are legal in other countries may be illegal in Japan, so it is recommended to carry a doctor’s prescription for any medication you need to bring with you. Additionally, it is always recommended to have travel health insurance when travelling abroad. As for COVID-19, travellers should check the latest travel advisories and entry requirements related to the pandemic before planning a trip to Japan.

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