Japan is Now Open – It’s Time to Experience it for Yourself
On an ancient archipelago on the eastern rim of the Eurasian continent you may find yourself at the crossroads of ancient and modern. Japan will wow you at every turn, from snow capped mountains and cat cafes, to cherry blossoms and some of the most incredible food on the planet.
Japan is now open for travel, and the flood gates are opening (so now is the time to plan!). Read on to discover some of our favorite ways to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and beauty.
Immersing in Japanese Culture
The best way to immerse yourself in any culture and learn about the heritage is to try it yourself!
Peruse the local farmer’s market then learn how to make bento or sushi with a professional chef. Instead of tasting wine in vineyards, here you’ll be trying sake among the rice field breweries. The former capital, Kyoto, is known for its wagashi sweets made with wooden tools paired with a bowl of matcha tea. Try to make your own edible creations or find your favorite flavor around the city!
Master the way of the warrior in a private Samurai training session. You can even personalize a katana longsword with a skilled artisan. Sumo wrestling is the national sport dating back over 1500 years with ritualistic ceremonies of the Shinto religion. At a private experience in a Sumo stable, you can observe the everyday practices of sumo wrestlers. A lesser known martial art of Japan, iaido, is one wielding swords. Train in a traditional uniform to learn the basic techniques of this sport.
Arts & Culture
In the Gion District of Kyoto, meet a professional maiko to discover what it takes to become a geisha. In addition, watch a geisha performance with Japanese tea and sweets. Join a taiko drumming workshop and walk away with a new song to play. Japanese tea ceremonies are a common practice in Buddhism to connect with Zen. Experience it for yourself with a tea master at the Daitokuji Temple.
Visiting Japan’s Iconic Cities
Travel by bullet train to the major cities of Japan—the ultramodern city of Tokyo to the ancient capital of Kyoto and beyond.
This electric city is filled with iconic Japanese architecture, luxurious hotels, and world renowned restaurants that welcome travelers from all around. One of the tallest towers in the world, Tokyo Skytree, stands centerstage in this ancient city. As a tribute to the goddess of mercy, Kannon, Sensoji Temple aromatizes good health around the incense cauldron. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden boasts traditional Japanese gardening with a mixture of French and English landscaping. Stand in awe of blooming cherry blossoms around the Taiwanese pavilion and serene ponds and then head to a cat or owl cafe!
The city of Kyoto comes alive with the pulse of nightlife in Pontocho Alley and lavish shopping in the Shijo district. Settle down with a leisurely stroll through the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Admire the ancient architecture of Nijo Castle commissioned by Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa in the 1600s. The Fushimi Inari Shrine exhibits thousands of vermilion torii gates–-take note not to walk down the center of the pathway, this is reserved for gods. Kyoto is a wonderful city to learn about Geisha and ancient Japanese art forms like tea ceremony.
The powerful warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi took residence here in 1583 to build the Osaka Castle. Today, the castle stands with renovations after wars and holds precious artifacts of Japan’s history. Shinsekai became an entertainment district in 1912 and is now like stepping into a time capsule. The extravagant signs come from the 1960s but advertise traditional shops. Osaka is home to the EDION Arena for the unique sport of Sumo. The national sport continues religious traditions including rikishi, throwing salt into the ring to purify the space.
Exploring the Country’s Beautiful Landscapes
Outside of the city lies the natural scenery of the island. Bamboo forests, volcanic peaks, and cherry blossoms bring the environment to life.
Elevate your Japan tour by visiting the island of Yakushima. The Shiratani Unsui Valley is the perfect place to disconnect. With a private hiking guide, explore the expansive network of trails ranging from leisurely strolls to overnight backpacking.
Continuing the nature exploration of Japan, visit Mount Fuji and the surrounding lakes of the volcano. The five lakes ringing the northern face of the mountain were formed as lava flows cooled and blocked drainage during seasonal flooding. Kawaguchiko is the second largest lake with the most picturesque views. Consider staying at a luxury ryokan for a truly traditional experience.
Japanese cherry blossoms have become a symbol of the country, taking center stage in everything from fashion and decor to art and literature. Between March and May, these delicate pink flowers (“sakura” in Japanese) bloom for only two weeks across the country from south to north. The transient life of cherry blossoms symbolizes the brevity of life. Witnessing this magical emergence brings over two million people each year.
Japan is an unforgettable destination and is always a favorite of our clients. We’d love to personalize a life changing journey to this fascinating country for you. Tell us more about the vision for your trip HERE and start planning with us!