We've put together a guidebook with everything you need to know about Japan. Written by our specialists, it details destination information, some suggested itineraries and plenty more to inspire your holiday. Fill in the form below and if you live in UK, your guidebook will arrive by post within the next couple of days. For those who live abroad, we will send you a link by email which will allow you to download your own copy.
Found across Japan, ryokans are traditional Japanese guesthouses which offer the perfect glimpse into Japanese history and culture. Most predominantly located near onsen towns, they are the perfect place to rest travel weary legs along the Nakasendo Way or as an addition to your itinerary on a tour of Japan’s highlights.
Japanese cuisine has taken the world by storm. And whilst sushi bars revolve their way around eateries in cities across the globe, the original home of this deliciously fresh and seasonal delicacy is a culinary force to be reckoned with. With its humble beginnings in street food, sushi has earned its stripes in haute cuisine and now claims many a Michelin star in decadent eateries across Japan and further afield. You only have to watch a sushi master chef in action in Japan to see why. Japanese food is an art form, it is an intrinsic part of the country’s cultural identity and motivation enough to visit.
Japan is abundant in unique experiences. From learning the art of the samurai sword, sushi or sumo, to dressing up as a geisha, discovering the world of anime, visiting a sake brewery or trying your hand at calligraphy, there are so many activities to squeeze into your Japan itinerary.
With its stunning and varied landscapes, Japan is a walker’s paradise. From a self-guided trek along the Nakasendo Highway to tackling the imposing peak of Mount Fuji, there are endless opportunities to get out and about on foot. Here are a few of our favourites...
The secret world of the geisha has long been lived out behind the sliding doors of exclusive teahouses across Japan. For generations, kimono clad women have been an enduring image of Japanese tradition, culture and sophistication with their elaborate dress, striking appearance and towering wooden platforms. The geisha has become an icon of Japan’s fascinating past, a stark contrast to the country’s sleek, shiny and futuristic present.
Beyond the neon lights, soaring skyscrapers and high-speed travel of Tokyo, Japan is a country where natural wonder knows no bounds. Outside of its cosmopolitan hubs, the country is a patchwork of meticulously landscaped gardens, historic castles, ornate temples and vast national parks. There, ancient walking trails connect forgotten villages, whilst its higgledy-piggledy coastline remains all but explored. Steeped in tradition and with both feet firmly planted in the past, this is a Japan almost unrecognisable from its glorious, glittering cities. Hike along the Nakasendo Way, stay in a traditional ryokan or soak in a natural onsen for the perfect antidote to a city escape in Japan.
Time is precious, but we are convinced that even with ten days to spare, you can really get under the skin of a complex and captivating destination like Japan. Acquaint yourself with its ancient traditions, otherworldly cities and extraordinary landscapes for the perfect introduction to Japan and its fascinating culture.
Whilst ticking off everything Japan has to offer in fourteen days is a near-impossible feat, this curated selection of itineraries showcases the astonishing diversity of Japan. For first time visitors or those returning time after time, these itineraries are just the start when it comes to planning your next adventure to Japenese shores.
Gliding into the forefront of train travel in 1964, the bullet train, or Shinkansen, has continued to wow the world with its blistering speed and soundless stealth ever since. Now linking the very north to the south, the Bullet Train has become the reliable backbone of Japan, joining the rural to the cosmopolitan in the blink of an eye. Snaking its way across Honshu, the largest island in the Japanese archipelago, the bullet train rattles up and down the country at a staggering speed of up to 320km an hour. As synonymous with the Land of the Rising Sun as Mount Fuji, sumo or sushi, the bullet train is arguably the only way to travel in Japan.
Japan is a place of contradictions – visitors often describe it as both comfortably familiar and endlessly surprising at the same time. It’s an intricate blend of East and West, and past and present. The delights on offer range from Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, tea ceremonies, sumo tournaments, and beautifully clad Geisha, to sleek, modern shopping malls, high-tech gadgetry and delectable cuisine – not to mention the raft of intricate customs, etiquette and traditions. We spoke to Pete, our Imagine Asia specialist, who recently returned from this intriguing country.
Think of the Japanese Alps and world class skiing, traditional ryokans and steaming onsens spring to mind. Yet few places are as unique to the area as the Jigokudani Monkey Park, located between the onsen towns of Shibu and Yudanaka and home to Japan’s indigenous primate, the Japanese macaque. Otherwise known as snow monkeys, these playful creatures have frolicked and bathed in the natural hot springs of Jigokudani for centuries, continuing to fascinate locals and visitors alike. A favourite for families, but also amongst active and adventurous travellers, visiting the park is best paired with a stay in a nearby ryokan.
Fujiya Ryokan, Kumano Kodo
Wakayama, Kumano Kodo, Japan
Best for: Culture History, Highlights, Walking Trekking
Located in Kawayu Onsen, the gateway to Kumano Kodo, Fujiya Roykan provides a relaxing stay. With beautiful views overlooking the river, complete with large open-air baths, the ryokan is a great option to enjoy this stunning area.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Fujiya Ryokan offers a beautiful location, perched on the edge of the Oto River where the hot springs naturally bubble to the surface of the water. As a ryokan, the property is fairly large with 31 rooms all of which have lovely views of the Oto River. The majority of the rooms, bar three, are traditional Japanese in style with tatami mats and futo beds. The three western rooms provide a more international design and feature private baths and balconies.
As a larger ryokan all meals are served in the main dining room and offer the traditional Japanese Kaiseki cuisine, which is an extensive multi course feast spread out over several hours for dinner. Breakfast is a choice of either Japanese or western cuisine. As the gateway to the Kumano Kodo there are plenty of walking trails available in the beautiful surrounding area. However, where the property truly excels is its relaxation options. Fujiya Ryokan offers both traditional private and shared onsens but a large open air bath in the river itself right outside the property. Further there is also the possibility to dig your own onsen right on the banks of the river for an even more unique experience!
When to go
Kumano Kodo can be visited all year round, however the weather does fluctuate widely during the year. Like the rest of Japan, Spring (March and April) and Autumn (October and November) are particularly popular times to visit due to the mild temperatures and the beautiful colours of the Cherry Blossom and Autumn leaves. June, July and August will see higher and more humid temperatures from 25-30°C as during winter, December, January and February except colder temperatures and the small chance of snow. Trails are open all year round, but due to the shorter days and less daylight we do not recommend the walking trails unless you are a very experienced hiker. The Kii-Peninsula is also one of the wettest areas of Japan and you should be prepared for rain any time of the year.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916