Japan never considers time together as time wasted. Rather, it is time invested.
Your time in this many-sided, fascinating country is an investment in memories that will endure.
Joanna Lumley's TV series has propelled it back into prominence, showing the country's numerous attractions. The food culture tops anything in Europe; standards of service and overall politeness are unmatched anywhere in the world; and the transport infrastructure is second to none. Oh and its capital is hosting the Olympic Games.
In partnership with Wendy Wu Tours (with whom we have also put together a fantastic escorted tour in our new Inspire Me section), we've put together an itinerary to immerse you in a place of wonder.
British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Emirates offer flights from London to Tokyo Narita. Flying time is around 12-14 hours.
Accommodation is selected for convenience of location, comfort or character and can range from an international business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. For a uniquely Japanese experience you can also stay in a traditional ryokan inn, where you are encouraged to wear a kimono, sleep on a futon and eat kaiseki cuisine.
Japanese cuisine is delicious, colourful and healthy. Meals are usually served with a bowl of rice and a bowl of miso soup and consist usually of fish, pickled vegetables and meat. Japan’s other main staple is noodles, most famous being Udon and Soba. Sushi, raw fish wrapped in sticky rice and seaweed wraps, is Japan’s most famous meal.
Japan's transport is well known for being efficient, clean and convenient. Either by an internal flight or on the world-renowned bullet trains, ensuring a speedy and comfortable arrival at your next destination is as quick and comfortable as possible.
When to travel
Japan is a country that can be enjoyed all year round. Cherry Blossom season around the first two weeks of April are the most popular although the deep and rich colours of the autumn are also stunning. You will find March to May and late September to November have milder temperatures, relatively low rainfall and frequent clear days.
Japan is a country that offers a wide variety of attractions and experiences. Here are a few highlights:
Tokyo: A dazzling metropolis and Japan’s capital city. Vast, vivacious and containing every image that epitomises the clash between ancient and modern. Highlights include a trip up the world’s tallest tower - the 634-metre Skytree, a visit to the Sensoji Temple and a chance to explore the delightful landscapes of the Hamarikyu Gardens.
Mount Fuji: With its perfectly proportioned cone, Mount Fuji is Japans most iconic sight. Head up to the 5th station (weather permitting) take in breathtaking views of the Fuji Five Lakes below. Travel to Hakone and take a boat trip on Ashi Lake for more spectacular views of this area.
Takayama: This wonderfully preserved town has an air of old Japan with its traditional houses. Browse the local handicrafts and fresh produce at the Miyagawa morning market.
Kyoto: Former capital for a thousand years and today is the legacy of ancient Japan. Kyoto proudly houses no less than 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and around 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. This is the place to see geikos (Kyoto’s name for geishas) in their costumes of flashing silk, admire pagoda-roofed buildings sprinkled with cherry blossom, to catch a performance of kabuki dance drama, or learn to make perfect sushi or tempura.
Nara: Japans capital before Kyoto. Home to many archetypal pieces of early art and architecture. You will also meet the resident Sika ‘bowing’ deer as you stroll through Nara Park.
Osaka: Japans third largest city. Visit the famous Osaka Castle and take a cruise along the Yodogawa River.