Drawing up a list of of Japan’s highlights is hard: there is so much to experience, you’ll want to go back again and again! This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a selection of some of the places we love most in the country.
An incredible city, Tokyo definitely deserves a place at the top of any must-sees: you could spend years getting to know this fascinating city. It’s sprawling size means that you should optimize your time on the sights & experiences that align with your interests and passions (please let us know, we’re here to help!). Some of our favourites are: busy Shibuya with its famous crossing; “kawaii” district Harajuku and its quirky shops; the crazy entertainment district of Shinjuku and the bars, restaurant, and stalls of Omoide Yokocho area reminiscent of a previous era of Tokyo; the shopping district of Ginza with its designer labels and funky architecture; Senso-ji at Asakusa, Tokyo’s oldest and one of most significant temples; the famous Tsukiji Fish Market with all the delicious food and other stuff related to culinary pleasure; the stunning Edo-period Hamariku Gardens in Minato to relax and sip on a cup of tea in a gree world that feels separate from the city. Nearby, we also love the hot springs and scenic view of Mount Fuji in Hakone, and the gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Nikko.
Kyoto is just as amazing a city as Tokyo: whereas the Tokyo is the symbol of everything modern in Japan, Kyoto is the cutural and historical heart of the country, and the best place to experience Zen gardens, Buddhist temples, colorful Shinto shrines, and the sight of geisha strolling down the streets. In fact, the historic Higashiyama District is one our favorite place in the whole country! Among the many amazing sights, we love: Fushimi Inari Taisha, the vermilion tunnel of torii gates; Kiyumizu-dera, the Pure Water Temple, one of the most famous temples of Japan; Gion district, best explored on a leisurely walk at dusk, where you can see geishas walking by, and admire the beautiful wooden architecture; the bamboo forest at Arashiyama; Nishiki Market and all its tasty treats; Maruyama Park during the cherry blossom season; the iconic Golden Pavilion of Kinkaku-Ji. Nearby Nara and Yamazaki are another 2 little gems: the first for the Todaiji temple, the largest in all of Japan and the largest wooden building in the entire world; the second for its famous whisky distillery.
Naoshima, also known as Japan’s art island, is another amazing place, filled with art installations, cutting edge museums, and architectural beauties. This remote, and once upon a time sleepy island has become an art heaven thanks to billionaire art collector Soichiro Fukutake who had the famous architect Tadao Ando design the Bennesse House and the Chichu Art Museum to dispay his private art collection. The rest of the island has embraced the arts and it is – along with neighboring islands – a dream for art lovers and home to the Setouchi Art Triennale.
The winter wonder-island of Hokkaido, a land best known for its picture-perfect mountains, national parks, onsen towns bubbling with hot springs, world-famous ski resorts, winter festivals, sea foods, and wild animals. The most famous ski resort town here is Niseko, known for its light powder snow, spectacular backcountry, and incredible selection of restaurants.
Okinawa, the southernmost island in Japan, blessed with tropical climate, vast breathtaking beaches, and beautiful coral reefs. We love Okinawa for the eclectic combination of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean culture, as well as its own unique culture: its geographical location makes the language, culture, and food completely differentfrom the rest of Japan, to the point that you would think to have landed in a different country. Snorkeling with turtles in Tokashiki and diving with Manta Rays in Ishigaki are among the many amazing experience you can have here.
Travelling to Japan means visiting an very high tech country steeped in tradition and culture: if you’re interested in city living & shopping, sports & adventures, nature, arts and culture – not to mention the delicious food – Japan has somethong amazing to offer you!