Planning a trip to Japan is important. There’s so much to see and do, from Tokyo’s glitzy Shinjuku neighborhood to Osaka’s local food. To get a crash course in the country, opt for a themed tour—be it an eating marathon (think ramen, sukiyaki, and Japanese sake) or a scenic see around the country’s see and mountains. Here, five of our favorites.
1 Hike the Kumano Kodo
Japan’s Kumano Kodo trail is one of only two pilgrimages in the world with Unesco World Heritage status – the other being Spain’s Camino de Santiago.
There is a Japan that exists far away from the modern era, where you can walk a 1,000 year old trail past ancient shrines, through thick forests and endless mountain vistas. Where at the end of each day you can soak in an Onsen hot bath while you relive the day’s experiences and await a multi-course feast of delicious Japanese cuisine. Experience traditional hospitality and marvel at Grand Shrines amidst awe inspiring nature. This is a Japan that will surprise and delight you at every turn, so be prepared to rethink your beliefs about this intriguing country.
One of the best parts about Japan is its cuisine. In addition to ramen and sushi, you’ll have a chance to try local delicacies like takoyaki (Osaka octopus balls) and yakitori (sizzling chicken skewers). Other highlights include a soba noodle-making class, a tour of Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market, a home-cooked obanzai dinner in Kyoto, and a traditional shōjin ryōri (vegetarian Buddhist meal) at a remote mountain monastery. By the end of the trip, you’re sure to have mastered all the chopstick skills
3 Japan Winter Discovery, Insider Journeys
Hokkaido in winter – a mecca for skiers of the world. Hokkaido’s cold, dry winter air makes for the finest powder snow, which covers the pistes creating perfect conditions for skiers and boarders alike. Spoilt for choice? Here are a few of Hokkaido’s greatest resorts to choose from.
Sapporo Kokusai. A fun day out for all the family! Some of Hokkaido’s finest and deepest powder snow and pistes to suit all levels of ability from beginners to experts, less than 60 minutes by car from central Sapporo. Total of 3.6 km of pistes and an 8-seater gondola to the summit makes for less crowded slopes and minimal waiting times for lifts.
Sahoro. Experience the scale and expanse of the Tokachi Plain from the summit of Mt. Sahoro above this resort. The base station itself is at altitude, making for good quality, light, dry snow conditions even at the bottom of the slopes. The entire resort is covered with the finest powder snow.
Niseko Hanazono. Located on the eastern slopes of Niseko Annupuri, pistes at this resort are surrounded by virgin forests, and the high-quality powder snow of the courses on the eastern side is particularly popular. The free-ride ski park at the foot of the slopes is the best in Niseko!
4 Sake Brewery, Sake Tours
Sake Tours’ hands-on excursions—available in Fukuoka, Kouchi, Kyushu, and Niigata—will let you meet the masters, visit breweries, and see how Japan’s most famous rice wine is made. The tours aren’t just about drinking. You can also learn about Japan’s culinary culture through a soba class, a ramen crawl, a fugu (blowfish) BBQ, and a visit to an artisanal salt maker in the seaside town of Itoshima. The Kyushu tour even brings you to an art studio in Karatsu (a famous pottery region), where you can buy intricate ceramic and glass sake sets as a souvenir.
5 Island Hopping, Inside Japan Tours
If you’re more of a beach seeker than a city slicker, head south to Okinawa. Miyako Island (宮古島, Miyakojima), located 300 kilometers south of Okinawa Main Island and 100 kilometers north of the Yaeyama Islands, is known for some of Japan’s best beaches and as a great destination for snorkeling and diving in the coral reefs. The sub tropical climate provides mild weather year around. Miyako is the fourth largest island in Okinawa Prefecture. It lacks any major hills or mountains and is mostly covered by sugar cane fields and a few towns, among which Hirara is the largest with a moderate range of restaurants and bars. Resort hotels and pensions are found across the island. Unlike other parts of Okinawa, Miyako is free of habu snakes. Beaches are Miyako’s most famous attraction. There are picturesque sand beaches for swimming and relaxing and coral reefs that provide excellent snorkeling. While the beaches are open year round, they are best enjoyed from April to November when the air temperature consistently tops 25 degrees and the water is very warm. When enjoying the beaches, beware of strong currents that can pull you out to sea and poisonous creatures such as Habu Jellyfish, a type of box jellyfish, that is most prevalent from June to October. Although jellyfish stings are rare, if stung you should pour vinegar over the sting, remove any tentacles, and seek medical help as it may become life threatening if left untreated.
Ultimate Japanese Guide
Ultimate Japanese Guide offers premium private luxury guided tours of Japan, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. With cabin attendant, each tour can be personally customised, providing a unique opportunity to see most of the beauty that Japan offers. If you need to hire private guide, Please contact us.
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