And how would you like to explore Japan?

Are you also fancying a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun? Well, you are definitely not alone. Japan has seen a surge in popularity among British travellers with a huge rise in UK visitors since the end of the pandemic and already consistently higher monthly visit numbers in 2024 than year-on-year in 2023.

This isn’t surprising – Japan offers a truly unforgettable travel experience with its wonderful ancient traditions in contrast to its neon-lit metropolises, serene natural beauty, and its unique, both fascinating and welcoming culture.

But with so much to see and do, how do you decide to explore it?

Find your interests

First things first: what are you most excited about experiencing in Japan? Are you a history buff yearning to delve into ancient temples and samurai castles? A foodie with a passion for ramen and yakitori? Or perhaps an outdoor enthusiast who craves the tranquillity of Mount Fuji, a stroll through the serene Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, or the thrill of skiing in Hokkaido? Knowing your priorities will help shape your itinerary. Japan caters to almost all interests, so hone in on yours to create a truly personalised experience.

Consider your pace and travel style

Do you prefer a whirlwind tour, cramming in as many sights as possible, or a more relaxed approach, allowing time to savour the local atmosphere? Japan has something for everyone – bullet trains can zip you between major cities at breakneck speed, while rural areas offer a slower pace of life, perfect for unwinding.

This also ties into whether you want to choose independent travel or a group tour. Independent travel allows for ultimate flexibility, but navigating a foreign country can be daunting. Organised tours take care of all logistics and offer specialised Japan tours that combine sightseeing with cultural immersion.

Pick your time of year

Japan boasts very distinct seasons, each offering a very unique charm. Spring explodes with cherry blossoms, a truly magical spectacle that draws visitors from all over the world. Summer brings vibrant festivals and the opportunity for beach escapes on stunning coastlines. Autumn paints the landscapes fiery red and gold and winter offers snow-capped mountains and cosy onsen (hot springs) experiences – perfect for relaxation. Consider your preferred weather conditions – but know, that the most popular ones will also come with lots and lots of other tourists visiting at the same time.

Beyond the tourist trail

While iconic and historic destinations like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima are almost all must-sees, consider leaving the beaten path. There are incredibly charming towns like Takayama that beautifully preserve traditional Japanese architecture – or Kanazawa, known for its exquisite Kenroku-en Garden.

Japan has a broad spectrum of climates, ranging from subarctic in the north to subtropical in the south – part of the reason the things you can find here are so diverse. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, we heavily recommend hiking in the Japanese Alps or having a stop at the volcanic island of Yakushima – a UNESCO World Heritage site often dubbed the “Island of Moss”.

No matter what you decide on, it’ll be an absolutely incredible trip either way. But knowing beforehand what it is that you’d like to experience and explore will help you in making decisions about the trip, so take your time to research. Anzen’na ryokō!

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