Inspiration for holidays in Japan
Top 15 ‘must see’ in Japan
Japan is the land of endless discovery with spectacular scenery, jaw dropping temples and shrines and stunning natural beauty.
Part of its unique charm is the vibrant hi-tech cities that co-exist alongside ancient temples, shrines and traditions. The old and new fuse together to create a wonderous adventure that blends futuristic cities with ancient traditions and culture which makes for an unforgettable holiday experience. There are so many awesome things to see and do but here is our top 20 list of must-see places in Japan.
Mount Fiji is one of the most iconic sights in Japan. Standing 3776m to its peak it’s the tallest mountain in Japan and is an active volcano. There’s plenty to see and do on and around the mountain including the Mt Fuji 5th Station Observation Deck. The observation deck is 2300m above sea level and provides jaw dropping views of the surrounding landscapes along with a spectacular view of Mt Fuji’s perfectly symmetrical volcanic cone.
Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) – Kyoto
Kinkaku-Ji, a three-storey pavilion, was originally bought, in 1397 from the Saionji family, as a retirement villa for the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. It became a Zen Temple in 1408 but suffered extensive damage in a fire in 1950 and had to be rebuilt using traditional methods and plans. The three-storey temple, with the two top floors covered in gold leaf, still stands in the original strolling garden created in 1397.
Todaiji Temple – Nara
Todai-Ji temple was first built in 752 and features the Big Buddha Hall that houses the giant statue of Buddha, made of bronze, weighing over 500 tons. Another feature inside the main hall is a large pillar with a hole in the base which is the same size as Daibutsu’s nostril and it is believed to possess healing powers. It is believed that if you can squeeze through this hole, you will be granted enlightenment in your next life.
Winter Snow Festival – Sapporo
The Sapporo Snow Festival (Yuki Matsuri) held for 1 week in February, was first held in 1950 in Odori Park. Since then, it has developed into a huge festival featuring spectacular snow and ice carvings that attract over two million visitors a year. Some of the larger snow sculptures can be more than 25 meters wide and 15 meters high.
Peace Memorial Park & Museum – Hiroshima
Hiroshima has a complex history and is well known around the world as it was almost completely destroyed in 1945 during world war II by an atomic bomb. Now days it is a bright and vibrant city which promotes peace and understanding. It has a beautiful Peace Memorial Park and Museum with 70 monuments and memorials dedicated to the those who lost their life. The only building that was not destroyed by the bomb has been preserved untouched and is known as the Atomic Bomb Dome which is a UNESCO world heritage listed site.
Himeji Castle, built in 1333 is regarded as the finest surviving castle in Japan. The 6-storey wooden structured castle, with its many steep and narrow staircases, was never destroyed by fire, war or earthquakes, however, over the years, has undergone various modifications but has remained intact in its current state for over 400 years.
Hida Folk Village -Takayama
Hida Folk Village is a beautiful, and one of the best, examples of an open-air museum that exhibits more than 30 traditional thatched-roof houses in a village setting in the hills. Many of these houses were built during the Edo Period (1603 – 1867) and were relocated from their original locations to create the museum at Takayama.
Beppu ‘Hell Holes’ – Kyushu
The Beppu ‘Hell Holes’ are a natural hot spring tourist attraction, that are not suitable for bathing as they are too hot. They feature such ponds as the ‘White Pond’ with a milky appearance, ‘Sea Hell’ a pond of boiling blue water, a Mud Pond with bubbles emerging from boiling silver mud pools, the ‘blood pond’ of hot red water and the ‘hell spout’ a geyser of boiling water that erupts every 30-40 minutes
Ryusendo Cave – Iwaizumi
Ryusendo Cave is an amazing limestone cave that extends some 5000 meters under the mountains. A stretch of 700m of the cave is open for public viewing where you can see large volumes of beautiful clear blue water running in the underground river and pooling in lakes under the arched ceiling caverns.
Kanazawa, the seat of the Maeda Clan during the Edo Period (1603-1867) was the second most powerful feudal clan in Japan. Now, the town is famous for the Magnificent Kenrokuen Garden (rated in the top 3 gardens of Japan) preserved Samurai District, the historic Higashi Chaya District, the production of Gold Leafing and specialty food of gold-leafed ice cream.
Okinawa, Japan’s most southern island, is a tropical paradise with its coral white beaches, lush jungle, many small islands and stunning scenery. To make the most of this island we would recommend staying at least 5 nights.
Kaiyukan Aquarium – Osaka
Kaiyukan Aquarium, in Osaka, is one of the largest public aquariums in the world and is absolutely amazing. The aquarium showcases 15 different ocean environments displayed across 8 floors. The floors spiral around the central ‘Pacific Ocean’ tank which is the main attraction. The tank is 9m deep, spans several floors and is home to hundreds of species of marine creatures including a whale shark.
Ritsurin Garden – Takamatsu
Ritsurin Garden, a landscaped garden in Takamatsu (Shikoku Island) was built by local feudal lords during the early Edo Period. Set at the base of Mount Shuin, the Ritsurin Garden is considered one of the best and most picturesque gardens in Japan with its manicured lawns, lakes and the magnificent Kikugetsu-tei Traditional Tea House.
Miyajima (Japanese for ‘Shrine Island’) a small island less than an hour from Hiroshima, was founded in 806 and is regarded as the island of the gods. It’s most famous for its giant floating Torii Gate and has been ranked as one of the top three scenic spots in Japan.
Senso-ji Temple – Asakusa
Sensoji Temple, built in 645, is Tokyo’s oldest temple located in the Asakusa area. You enter the temple through the Kaminarimon (Thunder) Gate into the Nakamise (old trading area), filled with shops selling typical Japanese souvenirs, traditional local snacks, fans, statues, toys and much more, before arriving at the temple.
Top 20 Things to do in Japan
Here are our top 20 recommendations for things to do in Japan
- Climb Mt Fuji
- Take a ride on the Shinkansen (bullet train)
- Have your photo taken in the middle of Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo
- Try Yamamoto Roketsu Dyeing Experience
- Relax in a traditional Japanese Onsen (natural hot spring)
- Wear a traditional Geisha costume
- Make traditional Washi paper
- Dress as a Samurai or Ninja
- Take a rickshaw ride around Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
- Try volcanic steam vent cooking
- Ski & snowboard
- Take an ice breaker cruise on the Sea of Okhotsk
- See a Sumo wrestling match
- Visit the TOTO Toilet Museum
- Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony
- Picnic under the beautiful cherry blossom trees
- Eat dinner in a traditional Japanese restaurant
- Make your own chopsticks
- Walk the 2.6km Tenjinbashi shopping mall
- See a Japanese kabuki dance drama
COVID-19 update 4 Aug 2021
With ongoing uncertainty around International travel (now forecast for 2022) we have had to cancel the November Autumn Colours tour. We are hoping for early 2022 so we can open up the Snow Festival tours however, as we are not certain of any travel dates or airfare costing (as yet) we cannot accurately price any tours. We will maintain our reserved position list for our future tours allowing you to reserve a position, without obligation or payment until the tour is confirmed. This will make it easier for you to plan without any risk of financial loss. Once the tour dates are confirmed, we will contact those that have reserved positions and confirm if they still wish to proceed with the tour or not. This eliminates any chance of you losing money.
We can still forge ahead to help you realise your dream of getting to Japan for that experience you will never forget at no risk to you.
Importantly, we will still continue to take every precaution to make sure that our clients are, and remain, safe during our tours. To that end, and in line with airline, and Japan in-bound tourism requirements, will require proof of vaccination, against COVID-19, prior to departure.
Please contact us by email, or phone, to find out more and secure your spot for any one of our tours.
Trevor & Juanita
Winter Snow Festival 2022
15 Nights – 1-17 Feb 2022 From $TBA Per Person T/S
Sapporo, Asahikawa, Osaka, Tokyo
Cherry Blossom Tour 2022
16 Nights – Dates for 2022 to be advised
per person twin share
Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Hiroshima
10 nights – From $TBA per person
Osaka, Kyoto, Mount Fuji, Tokyo
Classic Japan in Autumn
13 Nights – 2022
$TBA per person T/S
Osaka, Hiroshima, Tokyo