Japan destination research – start planning your trip to experience rich culture and nature!

The “Land of the Rising Sun” is a country where the past meets the future. Japan’s location on islands at the outermost edge of Asia has had a profound influence on its history. Being just close enough to mainland Asia, yet far enough to keep itself separate, has influenced alternating periods of closure and openness. Japanese culture stretches back millennia! The people of Japan are well known for their politeness, and visitors can expect a friendly welcome. Many Japanese are thrilled to have visitors to their country and are incredibly helpful to lost and bewildered-looking foreigners.

Why Visit
This fascinating destination is a treasury of traditional cultures, architecture and arts, and 19 world heritage sites (15 cultural and 4 natural). Japan is richly endowed with nature: beautiful mountains, trees, rivers, lakes and seas, which show distinctive beauty in each season. Also, one can celebrate the unique aesthetics found both in landscape and in zen rock gardens. Cultural and natural history opportunities abound, as well as some of the best food on earth. Food lovers will delight in Japanese style dishes, such as sukiyaki, tempura and sushi. Alongside nature and culture, visitors can marvel in a nation known for cutting edge technology and innovations.

When to Visit
Japanese are proud of their four seasons. Spring is the overall best time of year, from March-April. The temperatures are warm but not hot, and there’s not too much rain. Also, this season brings the justly famous cherry blossoms (sakura) and is a delightful time of revelry and festivals. Another excellent time is around mid-to-late September, when temperatures and humidity become more tolerable. During autumn, fair days are common and fall colors can be just as impressive as cherry blossoms. However, in early autumn typhoons often hit the southern parts of Japan.

How to Choose a Trip
Japan offers a multitude of fascinating tour ideas and can be experienced by land or by sea. A small ship cruise can offer up close and personal excursions through the inland sea to visit local neighborhoods, landscaped gardens, temples, culinary delicacies, and fish markets. Or, choose to explore off the beaten track by land. Staying at a Japanese-style inn will be a unique experience. Visit snow monkeys and cranes in their natural environment, while soaking in an onsen. Japan offers a wide variety of accommodation, from guesthouses to luxurious hotels, so that you can choose where to stay according to your needs and budget.

What to Expect
One of Japan’s signature experiences is lodging at a traditional inn, known as a ryokan, where rooms feature sliding paper walls, straw mats and Japanese versions of futons. Avid eaters can indulge their palates, where the most luxurious dining experience is the kaiseki meal that consists of a series of dishes. Antiquity and modernity vie for attention in Japan, whose monarchical and feudal history contrast sharply with its current pro-Western attitude and technological innovations.