While Tokyo certainly ranks as one of the world’s ‘must-visit’ destinations for any discerning traveller, an adventure to Japan as a whole is an unforgettable and fascinating opportunity to encounter a truly enchanting land. With the iconic high-speed Shinkansen – better known as the Bullet Train – ensuring all transfers are quick and comfortable, traversing the Japanese countryside is easier than you may expect. Which is just as well, since every city, every town and even every corner has something special to offer, so much so that exploring Japan has never been more tempting.
Outside of Tokyo, the city of Osaka is an ideal stopping point to learn more about Japan’s heritage and immerse yourself in its culture, while it is also an excellent base from which to explore the nearby city of Kyoto.
A city firmly rooted in Japanese tradition, Kyoto is an imperative stop on any Japan holiday. Spend your days admiring the flourish of cherry blossoms, strolling through idyllic water gardens and crossing paths with intricately-attired geishas, as well as catching sight of its majestic attractions, such as the stunning Golden Temple and countless Shinto shrines. If your vision of Japan is tranquil temples, peace gardens and still ponds, Kyoto is the place to fulfil that fantasy.
Head further south to step foot in Hiroshima, a city that was rebuilt following its destruction by an atomic bomb in 1945. A moment of infamy that brought about the end to World War II, Hiroshima’s campaign for peace in a modern era is represented by its Peace Memorial Park, a landmark of poignant reflection and sobering education.
For the more adventurous, there are opportunities to venture beyond the main island of Honshu too, including the growing southern Kyushu island and the more mountainous north island of Hokkaido.
There is even the chance to trek up the Japanese icon that is Mount Fuji, even if most would be satisfied enough with viewing this natural spectacle from a distance, while the historic region of Nara, the rebuilt city of Kobe and the coastal region of Nagoya also represent noteworthy diversions on a Japanese adventure.
Wherever you go in Japan, however, there are countless opportunities to try something new, whether that involves residing in a traditional Ryokan guestroom, feasting on delicious local delicacies, from sushi to gyoza to okonomiyaki, sinking into a relaxing mountainside onsen spa, or having a go at the nation’s favourite partying past-time, karaoke.
While the bright lights and relentless buzz of Tokyo is certainly reason enough to visit Japan, those willing to venture beyond this super metropolis will open themselves up to an incredible land of beauty, intrigue and fascination.
Whether you're visiting the gloriously idyllic parks and temples of Kyoto, feeling a poignant moment in Hiroshima, sinking into a traditional onsen as you gaze across cherry blossom landscapes, stepping foot on the hallowed slopes of Mount Fuji or simply heading off the trail to create your own adventure, Japan will stay with you long after you have departed.
A truly awe-inspiring nation, Japan's unique culture and endemic charm make every trip to a city, a town or a national park an experience you will never forget. Better still, if you get there using the magnificent Bullet Train, even travelling there will be part of the fun!
Key Highlights of Japan
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