Wildly mysterious and endlessly fascinating, the stratovolcanic archipelago of Japan is a country of remarkable contrasts.
From the serene Zen gardens of Kyoto to the futuristic lights of Tokyo, Japan is at once proudly traditional and unfathomably modern.
Lying on the far eastern tip of Asia, the 6,852 islands that form Japan are almost entirely uninhabitable, covered by densely forested mountains. Despite this, the country has the third largest economy in the world, and the 10th greatest population. Its unsuitable terrain has forced the population into sprawling coastal cities that line the four main islands, leaving cities such as Tokyo and Osaka with highly dense populations.
The cities are incredibly trendy – a walk down an urban street will unveil fashions and gadgets unseen anywhere else in the world – and served by an unbelievably well-run public transport system. The high speed train perfectly represents Japan: fast-moving, efficient and forward-thinking. A journey on these bullet trains will whizz you past paddy fields, orange groves and tea plantations before rocketing you into another unique metropolis. The trains are, naturally, impeccably clean and comfortable, and the definite transport of choice when exploring the islands.
A wealth of natural parks cover a wide range of stunning landscapes, from simmering volcanoes and thick forests to tropical coastlines and coral reefs reminiscent of exotic Thai isles. Rural areas don’t just look good, they also offer activities such as hiking in the Japanese Alps, white water rafting down the Tine River and even surfing in various locations across the islands. You’ll never be bored in Japan.
Japan is the ultimate example of a strange beauty, and the perfect place to stray out of your comfort zone. Sitting cross-legged on a tatami whilst wearing a robe and eating sushi is a thousand miles away from the Westernised cultures back home. Oddly alluring, after a while taking part in these curious Japanese traditions you’ll begin to understand the quirks and nuances of this wonderful nation.
A whirlwind regeneration has transformed a World War victim into an economical giant, without losing its heart along the way. Consider Japan for your next multi-centre holiday and prepare to fall in love – the Land of the Rising Sun is full of stunning surprises.
11 hours 20 minutes
Best Time To Go
March to May