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.
Join our exclusive Small Group Tour, fully escorted by an expert Tour Leader to experience the Land of the Rising Sun. Travel around the country by world-famous bullet train and uncover Japan’s unique culture as you discover its ancient traditions fused with modern life including Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and beautifully-clad geisha. There is plenty of opportunity to sample Japan’s world-renowned cuisine too. Some departures coincide with the iconic cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.
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.
Hiking in Japan is one of the world’s best kept secrets. Whether its paving the way from village to village in the Japanese Alps, traversing the Big Snow Mountain of Hokkaido, climbing the volcanoes of Kyushu or simply walking in the hills of Kyoto, there is something for everyone to enjoy. We’ve compiled our favourite walking destinations in Japan, ideal for seasoned walkers and wanderers alike.
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.
Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel
Best for: Culture History, Family, Highlights
Kanazawa Tokyu hotel offers an elegant base in the city of Kanazawa. Enjoy comfortable rooms, delicious French and Japanese cuisine, exceptional service, and close proximity to all the city’s attractions.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Kanazawa Tokyu is a modern, richly decorated hotel, perhaps not the right style for those that prefer minimalist design and simplicity. Expect a warm and friendly welcome and an excellent concierge team, who strive to help you make the most of your time in Kanazawa. The hotel has large public spaces, including its vast sweeping lobby. With a great location near to the historic Samurai district, the hotel is just a six-minute drive from Kanazawa station and a five-minute walk from the famous Kenrokuen garden and castle.
The rooms are spacious with enormous comfortable beds, and the décor is busy and grand with heavy drapes and colourful linen. The hotel is split into standard floors and a luxury floor where the suites are located. Each room comes with complimentary Japanese tea, modern amenities and a traditional yukata to lounge around in.
There are many choices of cuisine at the Kanazawa Tokyu, including the Marais D’or restaurant, where guests can enjoy casual French food. For high-end local Kaga cuisine, try the Kincharyo restaurant. Breakfast is served buffet-style with a wide selection of western and Japanese food, as well as omelettes or eggs made to order. The hotel also has a large lounge and bar, where guests can enjoy an extensive cocktail list and good happy hour deals. The hotel provides a great combination of comfort and convenience, with a little bit of luxury thrown in for great value in the heart of Kanazawa.
When to go
The best and most popular times to visit Kanazawa are the climatically stable seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (late September to November). The highlight of spring is the cherry-blossom season, which usually arrives in Kanazawa in early April.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Things to do
Tea Ceremony in Kanazawa
One of the most fascinating of Japanese customs, the tea ceremony has a rich history and is still an important part of contemporary Japanese life. This experience allows you to practise the ceremony yourself in a teahouse hosted by a tea-master.
Visit Shirakawa-go from Kanazawa
Just over an hour from Kanazawa, Shirakawa-go is a wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Site, taking you back in time with its iconic triangular farmhouses. This full-day tour explores the village and its scenic highlights, including a delicious lunch.
Full Day Kanazwawa Highlights Tour
Famed for its excellently preserved heritage, Kanazawa is a wonderful and manageable city to explore and this full-day guided tour will take you through some of the highlights of the city using the brilliant public transport network.
Kanazawa 21st Century Museum
Unique in its architecture and exhibits, Kanazawa’s 21st Century Museum offers a dramatic change to traditional city highlights. With temporary and permanent displays from Japanese and international artists it is one of Japan’s most popular museums.
Kanazawa Craft Experience
Kanazawa is home to many fine gardens and architectural marvels, but is also the birthplace of several fine art and craft techniques, which are highly treasured across Japan. On this half-day tour, you will get to try your hand at two of them.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
Tokyo, Nakasendo, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Tokyo
The perfect itinerary for those wanting to combine Kyoto and Tokyo with some of Japan's more authentic destinations. Trek along the ancient Nakasendo Walking Trail for two nights along with visiting Kanazawa, one of Japan's more historic cities.
Tokyo, Nakasendo, Kyoto, Miyajima, Kanazawa
One of our favourite in depth journeys, this unique itinerary explores the best of Japan. From Hiroshima to The Nakasendo Walking Trail and from Kyoto to Kanazawa, this wonderful two-week journey really brings the true essence of Japan to life.
Tokyo, Yudanaka, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Hakone
Brilliantly designed with families in mind, this journey really keeps the kids entertained. From Snow Monkeys to Anime and from cycling adventures to dressing like a geisha, this trip really packs a punch and is sure to impress.
Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto
This is a fantastic option for first time travellers to Japan, wanting both highlights and variety. Enjoy the neon lights of Tokyo, the ancient gardens and geisha districts in Kyoto, the samurai quarter in Kanazawa as well as idyllic Takayama.
Tokyo, Hakone, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Kyoto
For those wanting to get under the skin of Japan and explore the country in a bit of depth, this journey takes in the best of both urban and rural Japan without rushing. Explore Tokyo, Kyoto and Mt Fuji, as well as coastal Kanazawa and historic Takayama.