Japan Travel Guide


Japan is a place on every traveler’s bucket list, offering lively cities, beautiful natural parks, traditional villages, serene gardens, and sushi delivered on a conveyor belt. From modern cityscapes to ancient temples, Japan seamlessly blends the past and present. And, with a respectful lifestyle and welcoming community, it is a place you are sure to fall in love with.

Official Language: Japanese

Population: 125.7 million

Capital City: Tokyo

Currency: Japanese Yen

Power Outlet: Type A and B

Zion National Park


Day Trips from Kyoto

Tokyo and Kamakura

Top Experiences in Japan

Kyoto: Kyoto is the cultural heart of Japan. Visiting the shrines and temples, with their perfectly landscaped gardens and views over the city, top the list for most visitors to Kyoto. But there are also bamboo groves and small neighborhoods to explore, food markets and shopping streets to visit, and some very cool day trips that you can take. The list of things to do in Kyoto is long. So long, in fact, that it would take you weeks to thoroughly explore this extraordinary city.

Tokyo: The incredible city of Tokyo has so much to see and do. On our one-week visit, we explored the main neighborhoods of Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, and Akihabara, and were amazed by the towering buildings, flashing lights, and dense crowds of people.

Osaka: Osaka is another major Japanese city, with soaring vibrant buildings, traditional backstreets, sites like the beautiful Osaka Castle and ancient temples, and large street markets to sample Japanese cuisine.

Himeji Castle: Himeji Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Japan. If you are staying in Kyoto or Osaka, Himeji is easily accessible, making this a fantastic day trip to consider.

Nara: Nara is a fantastic day trip destination where you can see the beautiful Kofuku-ji and Todai-ji temples, the  Kasuga-Taisha shrine, and join the locals in feeding the deer that wander the streets.

Hiroshima: Hiroshima is the site where the first of two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan during World War II. I had imagined Hiroshima to be a radioactive wasteland, a terrible, lingering reminder of the horror of WWII. As we learned on our day trip to Hiroshima, that is not the case at all. Hiroshima is a thriving city, very much alive and well, with barely a trace of the destruction that occurred here seventy years ago.

Kamakura: Kamakura is a small town located an hour south of Tokyo. Referred to as the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, tourists flock here to visit the Great Buddha and numerous temples. During the summer months, the beaches here attract many visitors. On clear days, Mount Fuji can be seen from Enoshima. A Kamakura day trip is perfect for those wanting to escape the crowds and congestion of Tokyo.

View Mt. Fuji from Hakone: One of the best places to go to see the gorgeous Mt. Fuji is Hakone, a town set in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Here you can enjoy Hakone’s beautiful natural scenery with a cruise down Lake Ashi, wander through gardens lined with sakura trees, and ride a gondola to the steaming volcanic crater at Owakudani.

Japanese Alps: The impressive Japanese Alps look like something you would find in Switzerland, with peaks rising to 3,000m - though replace modern cities with traditional Japanese towns and well-kept gardens. Hikers and adventure lovers should not miss this gorgeous region of Japan. 

Kanazawa: Kanazawa is a historical town in the Japanese Alps with geisha districts, wooden teahouses, a stunning castle, and beautiful gardens. Its traditional culture, delightful markets, and samurai culture make exploring here a delightful experience.

Explore Hokkaido’s National Parks: Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, is a lovely expanse of natural beauty, lakes, volcanos, and glaciers. 6 national parks cover the island, each providing great opportunities for trekking, kayaking, and meeting extraordinary wildlife.

Best Time to Visit Japan

The best times to visit Japan are from March to May and September to November when the weather is pleasant, and you can enjoy beautiful cherry blossoms or colorful autumn leaves. April is particularly busy due to cherry blossom season, so plan accordingly.

Summers can be hot and humid, especially in cities like Kyoto and Tokyo, so consider heading to the cooler Japanese Alps and Hokkaido's national parks.

Winter brings snow and lower tourism, but also festive events.