My love for Japan is well documented, and I’ve traveled here more than I have any other country. It’s a truly timeless destination where ancient traditions, futuristic technology, and modern culture have all been thrown into the same melting pot.
Japan might seem small on a map, but don’t be fooled – it’s a very large country. And the mainland is absolutely jam packed with cultural icons. So I don’t blame you if you initially find it hard to decide which cities you’ll focus your attention on.
Thankfully though, you don’t need to settle on a single destination when visiting Japan, since their extensive railway network means you can explore the whole archipelago in a way that’s easy, fast, cheap, and comfortable.
There’s genuinely no better way to get around Japan than by rail, and thanks to the JR Pass for foreign visitors, you can do so quite economically. Read on for everything you need to know about the JR Passes and traveling around Japan.read more
Come 2020, travelling to Japan will suddenly become a lot easier for those who require a tourist visa.
Unless you’re a citizen of one of the 68 visa-exempt countries, you’ll need a visa to travel to Japan. Until now this has meant applying at a Japanese embassy or consulate. However the government has decided to introduce a new Japan e-visa to simplify the process.
Available to the general public from next year, a tourist visa for Japan will grant you access to the hidden treasures of an intriguing destination; this is a country where traditional culture blends seamlessly alongside and modern dynamic cities; a bucketlist destination it would be a shame to miss.
In the lead up to its much anticipated launch, read on for more information about Japan’s new travel e-visa application process.read more
People have long fell in love with the beauty of cherry blossom season in Japan. These pink and white flowers bloom en masse every spring, enveloping the country in soft magnificence.
The Cherry Blossom Festival, or Hanami, takes place from March to May and during this time, locals come out in full force, staging picnics, meeting for walks, and other outdoor activities beneath the blossoms to appreciate and enjoy their beauty.
But the blooming season varies across Japan, so picking your destination at the right time is an important part of planning. For example, blooming in Kyoto usually happens around April, while Sapporo experiences their blooms around May.
If you’re planning your Japan trip for April, make sure you visit Kyoto to catch the cherry blossom bloom.read more
My first ever trip overseas was to Japan when I was 15. It was a language immersion trip with my High School, and my name was pulled out of a hat for one of the coveted places.
And while this introduction to travel involved many cultural highlights like attendance at a local school, a homestay with a Japanese student, and traveling to Hiroshima to place 1,000 cranes, the one day I was most looking forward to was Tokyo Disneyland.
Fastforward 15 years, and I would find myself traveling back to Tokyo, with the sole purpose of visiting Tokyo DisneySea®. And, in a country where embracing worlds of fantasy is part of the cultural fabric, I discovered the same sense of pure joy and wonder as I had felt at age 15.
Tokyo DisneySea is an incredible theme park inspired by the myths and legends of the sea. And in the lead up to my trip, fellow adults would lose their composure and absolutely gush about how incredible their time at the park had been.
In the fierce debate about the best Disney park in the world, I feel confident awarding the title to Tokyo DisneySea. Here’s why.read more
My love for Japan is well documented; it’s a timeless country that captures your heart, soul and imagination; a place where ancient traditions come together with futuristic technology and modern culture.
Tokyo is a tourist favorite, but did you know that Japan has a whopping 6,852 islands?!
Most travelers stick to the main island, and take in the classics like Yokohama, Osaka and Kobe. But it’s so easy to travel between islands in Japan, that it’s well worth mixing up your itinerary to explore further out.
One island it would be a shame to miss is Kyushu. This is Japan’s third largest island, though sitting in a sub tropical climate on the southwest end, Kyushu remains a hidden gem.
You might picture ancient temples, neon lights, and dizzying skyscrapers when you think of Tokyo, but Kyushu allows you to discover a side of the country you don’t expect; one of Jurassic looking volcanoes, ultra lush forests, tropical coastlines, and bubbling hot springs.
So, after you’ve experienced everything Tokyo has to offer, let Kyushu show you a different side of Japan. Check out these 6 short videos for a virtual trip to both Tokyo and Kyushu Island.read more
I typically don’t live life with regrets, though if I was pushed to name one regret, it would be not being able to speak a foreign language.
Especially since I used to be able to.
And to be honest it’s quite embarrassing. Being in a foreign country where the locals are making all the effort to speak in English and I can’t string a sentence together in theirs.
Telling people that yes, I did learn Japanese in High school, but now it’s all but disappeared.
So on my most recent trip to Japan I decided that enough was enough. I was done with feeling ashamed and guilty that I hadn’t put the effort into retaining Japanese as a second language, and I wanted to replace that with a feeling of pride at being able to thrive in real world conversations.
I told myself I wasn’t going to travel with a portable translator, and a couple of months before I left I downloaded Rosetta Stone on my desktop and phone.read more
It’s one thing to see pictures of incredible wildlife online, but getting up close and personal with them is another matter entirely.
From meeting pandas in their natural environment, and snow monkeys in Japan to ethical experiences with elephants in Thailand, here are six amazing travel ideas for animal lovers.read more
If you’ve ever heard of the Silk Road, this refers to an ancient network of Eurasian trade routes that once connected the East to the West. These were routes that emerged across both land and sea, along which silk and many other goods were imported and exported.
For many years, this was the primary source of cultural crossover between Europe and Asia. And while the Silk Road stretched all across Europe and the Middle East, it is the Asian stops of the Silk Road that are most worth the trip today.
This is where the Silk Road originated, when China opened up to trade in the first and second centuries B.C. But while goods were obviously traded, imported, and exported in and out of Asia, it has a much greater cultural significance. The constant movement and mixing of populations also brought about the transmission of knowledge, ideas, cultures and beliefs, which had a profound impact on the history and civilizations of the Eurasian peoples.
For those with an interest in history and cultural heritage, the Silk Road is a great path to follow when travelling in China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. Here are 3 must-see destinations you shouldn’t miss.read more
Japan could easily be considered to be among the world’s most desired destinations. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of watching the sun set over a tori gate, visit the thousands of shrines in Kyoto, or witness dawn from the top of Mt. Fuji?
And in terms of getting around, the country has one of the safest, cleanest, fastest, most efficient, punctual and convenient public transportation networks in the world. But while you might be tempted by the city subways, bullet trains, or even by catching a flight, we opted for an entirely different way of seeing Japan: by bike.
With considerate drivers, great infrastructure, and a well connected network of roads, Japan is a perfect destination for bicycle touring first-timers. We spent 3 months on our bikes exploring Kyushu, Shikoku, and Southern Honsu, but you still can easily cover a wide cross section of Japan in 7 – 10 days.read more
If you could only ever explore one region of Japan, Kansai would be a good choice. The cultural heartland of the country, which includes the cities of Osaka, Sakai, Kobe, Nara and Kyoto, no other region offers as much cultural and historic significance into such a compact size.
This has been the cultural center of Japan for centuries, having given birth to traditional Japanese theatre styles, Japanese Buddhism, the tea ceremony, and hosted many Japanese capitols throughout time. It is a patchwork of intense urban life mixed with traditional sites; exciting modern architecture sits next to a diverse legacy of beautiful castles and temples from ancient times.
It is a hub of Japanese experiences in food, religion, and ancient tradition, and is the perfect region to sample Japan’s diversity. No other region of Japan offers as much variety as Kansai.read more