Be prepared to be swept off your feet by the beauty, charm and frankly bizarre sights on display in magical, mystical Japan.
If ever a country was awash with fascinating culture and traditions, it’s Japan – and you’re guaranteed to be utterly bewitched by it.
From the dazzling lights of Tokyo to the serenity of Kyoto, the ski resorts in Sapporo, the stunning natural sweeping sand dune landscapes of Tottori and even the blood-curdling history of Hiroshima, holidays in Japan truly have something for everyone.
Whatever your interests, Japan holidays aren’t complete without experiencing a sumo wrestling event, relaxing in an onsen (though maybe not for the modest!), or seeing the beautiful cherry blossoms which decorate the country throughout spring.
Hardened adventurers can tackle the breath-taking Mount Fuji, just a short trip from Tokyo, or perhaps you’ll opt for the more peaceful outlook from the relaxing vantage point of Lake Kawaguchi.
And there are even options for Japan beach holidays too. While pristine white sands and beautiful blue waters may not be the first things that spring to mind when planning family holidays in Japan, the islands of Okinawa, which lie between Japan and Taiwan, are simply postcard-perfect.
If something a bit more on the chilly side is your scene, Japan also boasts more than 500 great ski resorts. So, grab your salopettes and head north to Hokkaido for perfect powder and eye-popping mountain scenery.
When it comes to cuisine and customs, visitors to Japan are in for a real experience. Noisily slurping down noodles is considered a compliment to the chef, while pre-made strawberry and cream sandwiches can easily be purchased in the local Seven-11s. Fish is obviously a staple for this island nation, so sushi-lovers are in for a ‘whale’ of a time, while alcoholic beverages such as sake and umeshu are worth a try.
Sunny Heart Holidays can help you find your inner zen with a simply magical trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.
From the bizarre to the brilliant and the breath-takingly beautiful, Tokyo is a world away from a typical city break destination, but its charming, enchanting ways will leave you absolutely mesmerised.
When it comes to holidays in Japan, the capital city of Tokyo is probably everything you imagine. Polite, friendly locals, delicious – and sometimes questionable – cuisine, late night karaoke bars, vibrant lights, religious monuments, stunning scenery and plenty of crazy and quirky things to do, city breaks in Tokyo have the lot.
But even knowing all this, you somehow still feel underprepared when you’re among it.
If you want to dive straight in at the deep end, make Robot Restaurant your first stop. Watch as giant robots dance amid lights, lasers and loud music (storyline not entirely clear), while you tuck into a typical bento dinner. This should set the scene nicely for the remainder of your Tokyo holiday.
For great views of the skyline, head to the top of Tokyo Skytree, while back at ground level, a trip or three across the infamous and crazy Shibuya crossing is a true Toyo experience. In the heart of the city’s business district, it’s estimated that more than 2,500 people cross the road at any one time, all heading to and from multiple directions. Pictures don’t do it justice.
During family holidays in Tokyo, Disney Resort is a must. The first Disney park to be built outside of the US, it comprises two parks, Disneyland and Disneysea and is just a short drive or train ride outside the city centre.
And it goes without saying that, like the rest of Japan, Tokyo is steeped in history, tradition and culture. The Edo Tokyo Museum is a great place to learn more about the city’s Edo period, while the Imperial Palace, home of the Emperor of Japan, and Senso-Ji temple balance out the city’s modern sights and sounds.
Tokyo is also a great base from which to enjoy a number of unmissable days out. Within easy reach are the city of Yokahama, ski resorts and of course, the stunningly beautiful Mount Fuji and its surrounding lakes.
The former capital of Japan, Kyoto presents a serene and intensely spiritual contrast to the lively and vibrant Tokyo, but still with an abundance of wonderful things to see and do during holidays in Japan.
With more than 2,000 temples and shrines across the city, it’s hard not to be enchanted by Kyoto’s cultures and values. The infamous Fushimi Inari Shrine is a must-even site, while Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji Temple and Daigoji Temple are among other incredibly picturesque and peaceful locations, whether you’re of spiritual mind or simply looking for a place to contemplate, relax or bask in the beautiful surroundings.
Kyoto is also famous for its sake – an alcoholic drink made by fermenting rice (it’s nicer than it sounds) – and the Fushimi Sake District is the perfect spot to sample the produce of different breweries.
Beyond shrines and sake, if there’s one thing holidays in Japan are famed for, it’s green tea. And the Uji City region of Kyoto is one of the country’s main producers, with numerous plantations. Many offers tours where visitors are not only taught the delicate art of picking the leaves, but can also end the experience by brewing their own cup of green tea too.
History enthusiasts will also revel in the abundance of famous sites to be visited during city breaks in Kyoto. Nijo Castle was the shogun’s former Kyoto residence, Kyoto Imperial Palace was the home of the Imperial Family until 1868, while the beautiful Sento Palace, built in 1630, is also worth a visit.
A walk around the legendary Gion neighbourhood is also a must. Also referred to as the Geisha district, here you’ll find quaint wooden machiya merchant houses, exclusive tea houses, expensive restaurants and private clubs – and it’s not unusual to spot a geisha in full traditional dress.
While usually museums wouldn’t be high on the agenda during family holidays in Kyoto, kids won’t turn down an opportunity to visit to the Samurai and Ninja Museum.
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