View Map

Overview

As familiar as Japan may seem, a journey there can often feel like a trip to another planet. Start with a bang in the hyperkinetic capital Tokyo, center of all that is contemporary in this island nation. From breakfasting on sushi at Tsukiji fish market to the blazing neon of Shibuya, Tokyo is a full-on assault on the senses. Board a speedy Shinkansen for the two-hour trip to Kyoto, the old capital, graced with Imperial palaces, venerable temples and shrines and a refined culture embracing delicious food and the performing arts practiced by geishas. For a taste of both old and new Japan, the Japan Sea coastal city of Kanazawa is a perfect ...

As familiar as Japan may seem, a journey there can often feel like a trip to another planet. Start with a bang in the hyperkinetic capital Tokyo, center of all that is contemporary in this island nation. From breakfasting on sushi at Tsukiji fish market to the blazing neon of Shibuya, Tokyo is a full-on assault on the senses. Board a speedy Shinkansen for the two-hour trip to Kyoto, the old capital, graced with Imperial palaces, venerable temples and shrines and a refined culture embracing delicious food and the performing arts practiced by geishas. For a taste of both old and new Japan, the Japan Sea coastal city of Kanazawa is a perfect choice with its classic formal garden Kenroku-en and dazzling contemporary art museum. Natural landscapes rarely come more spectacular than those of the Japan Alps or the national parks of Hokkaido, the large northern island of the archipelago. In either location, come winter there are great ski resorts, such as Niseko and Hakuba. Any time of the year is perfect for enjoying one of Japan's many onsens (hot spring areas): try Dogo in Matsuyama with its historic bathhouse or Takaragawa near Minakami for its riverside rotemburo (open air baths).

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

view full overview

Simon Richmond for Triporati

Must See, Do

Save It for Next Time

info

If time is short, save these attractions for a second visit.

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Now Happening in Japan

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of China, Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea in the south.
  • Language: Japanese
  • Currency: Yen
  • Research: Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall