However, with the Olympics due to be held there in 2020 and a record 27 million foreign tourists visiting in 2017, the highest number of visitors to Japan since government records began and with the number of UK visitors passing 300,000 for the first time, Japan is certainly a destination of choice for an increasing number of travellers.
Together with our Travel Partner, Wendy Wu Tours, who are a market-leading Japan travel specialist, offering unique group tours, tailored travel and cultural experiences that few get the chance to discover, we can plan with you a holiday which will give you the chance to experience both the popular and the little-known aspects of Japanese culture, giving you an insight into the diverse character of the country.
Japan is a fantastic holiday destination all year round with each season offering its own particular appeal.
In Spring you can admire the transient beauty of the beloved cherry blossom whilst enjoying a picnic party beneath canopies of pink. April is the busiest time to visit as well as the first week in May.
Summer brings evening parties and festivals all across Japan, such as the elegant parade at Kyoto’s Gion festival and the fireworks over Tokyo’s Sumida River.
In Autumn, as the temperature drops, indigenous maple trees flame magnificently in vibrant reds, a picturesque backdrop to city temples and country hikes.
Visit Japan in winter and you’ll be rewarded with crisp, clear skies and fantastic views of Mount Fuji, which tends to hide behind the clouds for much of the rest of the year.
The ‘land of the rising sun’ is in fact a vast collection of over 6500 islands, with the four main islands being Hokkaido in the far north, Honshu – the largest island, on which the capital, Tokyo, is located – the rural island of Shikoku and Kyushu in the south. These islands stretch as far south as the sub-tropical Okinawan islands to the sub-arctic mountain ranges of snowy Hokkaido offering the full gamut of climates. Such variety in islands not only offers up plenty of scope for travellers who wish to enjoy surfing, diving, skiing and more, but also means that there is no ‘best season’ to visit, but each of the four seasons has a multitude of distinct, unmissable sights, sounds and experiences.
The iconic Mt. Fuji stands at an impressive 3776 metres between Tokyo and Kyoto. The nearby Hakone national park sits in the foothills of the sacred mountain with volcano, lakes, traditional inns and hot spring baths. Together the three destinations make up the so called, ‘Golden Route’.But this is just the tip with ‘samurai’ castles, laid back islands, exciting cities, historical towns and mountain-top villages connected by ultra-efficient train network and Bullet Train and each place laden with an array of cultural experiences, unique to Japan.
Japan is all about the different experiences – It’s an experience in own right. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how many countries you have been too, Japan is a country that will present many cultural ‘firsts’, but there are some experiences not to miss out on. Take a night or two to stay in a traditional ‘Ryokan’ guest house. Like hotels these span from standard level to deluxe, but all have Japanese ‘Omotenashi’ hospitality at their core. There are a handful of rooms, with tatami mat floors, simple décor and the often Kimono-wearing staff add to the ambience. Guests are also provided with ‘yukatta’ (cotton kimono) to wear during their stay at one of these traditional lodgings – it is all part of this Japanese experience. Japan has the most Michelin starred restaurants in the world and food is a big part of any Japan adventure and part of staying in a Ryokan. Keeping the guests appetites more than satisfied are a priority for any Ryokan. Traditional multi-course Japanese kaiseki dining showcasing seasonal and local cuisine is usually on offer as part of your stay and is another Japan-experience to be enjoyed whilst staying at a Ryokan.Another ‘must-do’ and part of a Ryokan stay too is the favourite Japanese pastime of hot spring bathing. The ‘onsen’ hot spring baths are a big part of the culture with cleanliness and nature lying at the heart of the Japanese Shinto religion. There are private, indoor, outdoor and usually shared ‘onsen’ which allow people to relax and enjoy their surroundings, admire gardens or mountain views and make the most out of the fiery geological make-up of the country.
There are a number of areas throughout Japan such as the Japanese Alps and Kyushu that are renowned for their therapeutic hot spring baths. Perhaps some of the most famous natural baths are in Yudanaka, in the heart of the Japanese Alps, attracting local Macaque monkey to keep warm and relax, much as humans do.
Wendy Wu Tours have a number of Tour Styles to suit your individual travel requirements and budgets from their Classic: Active: Flexible: Go Beyond to their Exclusive: Private: Tailormade plus the Solo Tour for those travelling alone. They also ensure that every one of their tours include authentic cultural experiences allowing you to immerse yourself in your chosen destination and include experiences such as a Mt. Fuji Base Hike, Monastery Stay, Sumo Wrestling, Tea Ceremony, Soba Noodle Making or Zen Meditation.
Whatever your preference for your once in a lifetime journey to this amazing country Tailor Made Travel can fulfil your dreams and aspirations so contact us for help in planning and booking your visit together with our Travel Partner, Wendy Wu Tours.Call 0333 3441786 or visit your local Tailor Made Travel agency – for telephone numbers and addresses of our branches please see our website.
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