Mount Fuji in the haze towering over the city of Tokyo, Japan
Photo by Manuel Cosentino  –  Link

Japan

Asia

  Japanese Currency:  Japanese Yen

With record breaking numbers of visitors to the country each year, Japan is constantly growing in popularity. This island-nation is an exciting mix of vibrant modernity and quirky popular culture, with exquisite natural beauty and fascinating ancient traditions to boot. No wonder Japan is considered one of the most fascinating and diverse travel destinations in the world.

Where to go

Hypnotising neon lights and modern architecture entice the crowds to the country's capital Tokyo, a city whose futuristic appearance masks decades of history and tradition. Osaka, Japan's second city, shares the vibrant modernity of Tokyo on a somewhat smaller scale, whilst Kyoto is bursting with temples and shrines.

Food plays a key part in Japanese heritage, and Osaka, dubbed 'the nation's kitchen', is a leader in Japan's foodie scene, with the Kuromon Market as the go-to spot for the freshest sushi. Obviously, the food is incredible all over the country, with eateries sourcing the freshest local ingredients and focusing on just a few dishes, making everything perfectly presented and mouth-wateringly delicious. Plus, Tokyo is the city with the most Michelin stars in the world... need we say more?

Away from the cities, the wide range of places to visit and things to do encapsulate this country's diversity. From exploring artwork overlooking the Inland Sea on Naoshima Island, to skiing in Niseko, exploring the holy Koya-san mountain, or visiting a sake (Japanese rice wine) brewery, Japanese itineraries will always be eclectic and exciting.

Aside from all the amazing things to do, any mention of Japan wouldn't be complete without raving about its natural beauty. As well as the magical (and highly Instagram-able) cherry blossom season, the country is over two-thirds volcanic mountain, has 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a coastline of dreamy beaches.

You name it, Japan has it.

When to go

Peak season in Japan tends to be during cherry blossom and autumn foliage times, in early April and mid-November respectively. This is when the weather is at its driest and most reliable, and temperatures are mild. However, it's also the busiest tourist time and flights tend to be more expensive during these periods. If you want to save money and avoid the crowds, try visiting in the early winter (late November to early December) or just before spring, in February and March.

Summer in Japan tends to be warm and humid, but it's also prime time for outdoor adventures like hiking and beach-hopping. On the other hand, during the winter months you can explore Japan's skiing destinations (there are more than 500 ski resorts in the country!)

Explore cities in Japan