With a COVID-19 vaccination on the horizon, your future travel dreams might become reality before you know it. For now, we understand the hesitation to make firm plans - but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore your options, so that you are ready to go when the time comes. We’ve put together our favourite Japan must-knows for any traveller, whether you’ve been there before or not!
What to know before you leave
Japan is known for being a very safe place to visit - the perfect option for solo travellers. That’s not to say you should be overly relaxed though - like any destination you’re not completely familiar with, make sure you have your wits about you, avoid dangerous areas and keep your cash somewhere discreet.
Buy a rail pass - you won’t regret it. The experience itself is fascinating, the Shinkansen or ‘bullet train’ is not to be missed and it’s the most efficient way to get around the country. If you’re moving around a bit, a pass for the duration of your stay will likely be much more cost-effective than buying individual tickets for each trip.
Learn a little Japanese before you get on the plane. It’s always polite to at least attempt the local language in a country that is foreign to you. Even if your accent isn’t quite right people will appreciate the effort. Start with the basics - hello, please, thank you, excuse me - and go from there.
Plan the trip of a lifetime!
First thing’s first, it’s time to school up. Talk to your travel agent for their invaluable firsthand advice, and read guide books and blogs to absorb the information you’ll need for a trip that suits your style. Japan’s national tourism website is also a great resource - you’ll get lost in all the inspirational information for your dream getaway.
Here are some of the most popular destinations to explore in Japan - which ones will you be adding to your list?
You’d be remiss to go to Japan and not have at least a night or two in Tokyo. The high rises, the neon lights and fast-paced city life is the perfect mix of futuristic and historical. Home to tens of millions of people - you will be inspired by the fashion, the food and the frenzy of Tokyo!
Come for the ramen, stay for the incredible art! Perhaps even more well known, Sapporo is home to insanely good snow and stunning green spaces. You can get there by train, plane or ferry and easily travel on to nearby Northern Japan towns.
If natural and spiritual Japan is what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in the Kansai region. Paired with fantastic nightlife, you’ll find peaceful temples and shrines and maybe even rediscover yourself on a traditional pilgrimage.
Home to the 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano is known for its outdoor sports including skiing and snowboarding. Here you’ll also find stunning townscapes from the samurai era and abundant hot pools - the perfect way to relax after a day on the slopes.
Head to the shoreline and enjoy exquisite Japanese seafood cuisine. While you’re in Fukuoka, you have to include a visit to Dazaifu Tenmangu, a shrine dedicated to scholar Michizane Sugawara with over 6,000 plum trees that blossom each spring.
Have we missed any of your favourite places to visit in Japan? Make sure you tell us on our Facebook page!