Your Plan for Japan

Are samurai, sushi, and tea ceremonies what springs to mind when you think of Japan? Yep— we think of those things too!

Japan boasts an incredibly rich and distinctive culture, with national icons that are among the most recognisable in the world.

But when comparing these to the UK's own national icons: perhaps the guards at Buckingham Palace could be considered the equivalent of samurais. Fish and chips could stand in for sushi and as for tea ceremonies? Well, we have our own. Mine's milk and one sugar, please!

The point here is that the UK offers much more beyond its well-known clichés, and Japan is no different.

Get Ready to Experience Japan Differently

In this article, we aim to show you how to unlock an authentic Japanese experience, tailored to your travel preferences. Now, don't get us wrong—seeking out cherry blossom experiences and visiting famous landmarks is all well and good; they're popular for a reason!

However, by approaching Japan from a different perspective right from the planning stage, we believe you can gain a deeper appreciation for the country than those who stick to the conventional tourist trail.

How Do You Like to Travel?

If Japan is on your radar for an upcoming trip, ensuring you've crafted the perfect itinerary is key—it's on the other side of the world, after all!

Firstly, consider your travel style. Are you a hands-on travel hacker, always hunting for the best deals? Do you relish the adventure of crashing in a hostel for a night or two, prioritising adventure over luxury?

Whether you're a seasoned backpacker or simply someone who craves freedom in their travels, you'll find plenty of useful tips here.

Alternatively, perhaps you prefer the convenience of having everything taken care of. Do you thrive in the company of like-minded travellers, guided by knowledgeable tour leaders, and appreciate the reassurance of knowing your accommodation and itinerary in advance?

In that case, a guided tour package might be the perfect fit for you.

For those fortunate enough to indulge, Japan offers a realm of 5-star (and beyond) luxury experiences. From opulent resorts to exclusive dining experiences, Japan knows how to cater to the most discerning travellers.

Cruise operators like Scenic Cruises offer breathtaking ultra luxury cruises that traverse Japan and its subtropical islands on a sleek yacht-like ship. You can even get your own butler!

Perhaps you want a blend of all three ways of travelling. That’s where we come in, tailoring your perfect trip at no extra cost.

Getting There

For travellers from the UK, we’re most likely to touch down in one of Tokyo's two major airports, Narita and Haneda. Upon arrival, you'll encounter a well-connected network of trains and buses, facilitating seamless onward travel.

Those seeking to economise may consider a lengthy stopover at a connecting airport. The good news? Potential savings of hundreds of pounds. The bad news? A potential wait of up to 10 hours!

However, if time is on your side, this presents the ideal opportunity to indulge in an airport lounge equipped with showers, food, and comfortable seating.

Surprisingly, this option could still prove more cost-effective than a direct flight. we will be more than happy to chat and explore your options.

Where To Begin

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, marks the beginning of the legendary Golden Route, a historical road that traverses from Tokyo in the Kanto region through Hakone and Nara in Chubu, also home to Mt. Fuji, and onwards to Kansaii, where Osaka and Kyoto can be found.

While Tokyo may be the tempting starting point, diving straight into its hustle and bustle can feel like jumping into the deep end.

Consider venturing onward to the tranquil and culturally rich city of Kyoto, where the pace is slower, and traditions are outwardly visible. Here, you can immerse yourself in the Japanese way of life with leisurely strolls along the Kamo River or choose from the plethora of dining options lining the mile-long alley of restaurants.

Hakone and Nara offer similar respite from the pace of Tokyo. too.

Though it may entail a bit of extra travel after a long flight, Kyoto or an equally chilled-out alternative will be well worth it in the end.

To streamline your journey, pre-arranging your Suica or Pasmo travel card can be immensely helpful. Alternatively, romantics might opt for the old-school physical Japanese Rail Pass, granting access to most trains across the country..

Once aboard the Shinkansen Bullet Train, with majestic views of Mt. Fuji unfolding outside your window and courteous staff bowing as they exit the carriage, you'll find the extra energy to power on through, trust us!

Trust In Japan’s Amazing Infrastructure

Wait! Don’t go. Yes we’re talking about infrastructure but knowing about it can make for a bigger, better Japanese adventure.

Living in the UK, it's hard to believe you could get from one end of the country to another quickly, efficiently and cheaply. But with Japan's incredible train network - you can.

This opens up the possibility of day trips to destinations hundreds of miles away, encouraging you to broaden your horizons and explore beyond the cities, as captivating as they may be. That’s why we encourage everyone to create a plan with plenty of encounters with Japan’s incredible nature experiences.

Find Time To Be In Nature

While a serene Shinto shrine nestled amidst a bustling metropolis is awe-inspiring, the power is magnified tenfold when discovered amid remote countryside.

Japan's rural landscapes, comprising a staggering 70% of the country, are a unique blend of verdant beauty and untouched serenity, offering a rare opportunity for exploration.

Whether you're interested in skiing, kayaking, hiking, surfing, or soaking in hot springs, Japan's countryside offers an array of activities to suit every adventurer.

Hot springs, known as onsens, are an integral part of Japanese culture, with numerous locations scattered across the country. One such renowned onsen town, easily accessible from The Golden Road is Hakone, nestled in the southern part of the Chubu region.

Venturing further south, you'll encounter the breathtaking Kii Peninsula, celebrated for its UNESCO World Heritage ancient pilgrimage route, the Kumano Kodo. Here, verdant valleys and towering waterfalls await, offering an idyllic setting to connect with Japan's untamed wilderness.

For snowboarders and skiers, Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, boasts world-class skiing destinations. Alternatively, explore the skiing opportunities in Japan's Northern Alps, situated in the Chubu region, north of Kyoto.

If chasing waves is more your style, head south to Miyazaki in the scenic southern region of Kyushu, where surfing enthusiasts will find their paradise.

Want to hear more about Japan?

Listen to this jam-packed episode of The Travel Podcast, where we welcome Japanese expert Holly from Inside Japan to share her insights into a country close to her heart.

Having lived in Japan for many years, she unveils the hidden gems and insider secrets that make Japan such an irresistible holiday destination!

So, What’s Your Plan?

Whether you're going solo, on the hunt for the perfect package, or ready to flash the cash on something truly incredible, it always pays to have help planning your perfect holiday.

 

Get in touch with your Not Just Travel Consultant today who can put your very own Japan Plan into action!

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