The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan is a country of captivating contrasts where the traditions, heritage and culture are truly unique. Even the cuisine is quite different to anywhere else in the world. On a Travelsphere escorted tour we’ll ensure you experience the very best of this fascinating country all in the company of our knowledgeable Holiday Directors. Here are some of our favourite Japanese destinations and experiences:
One of the world’s great cities, Tokyo is an amazing kaleidoscope of colour, where ultra-modern skyscrapers rise from the bustling streets below. Amid the 21st century non-stop lifestyle pockets of tradition and serenity can still be found and shrines and temples provide a haven from everyday life. You’ll see all the highlights on a Travelsphere holiday and we also give you time to discover the city at your own pace too. Why not rise early for a visit to the extraordinary Tsukiji fish market, stroll through the shopping district of Harajuku or hop on board the metro. For a different perspective make a night time visit to the towering skyscrapers and flashing neon of Shinjuku district. Here you can dine on sushi, tempura and teriyaki and maybe sip a sake in one of the many karaoke bars.
Magnificent Mount Fuji
The snow-capped volcanic cone of Mt Fuji has been portrayed in countless works of Japanese art and literature. It is Japan’s most iconic site and on a clear day can be viewed from as far away as Tokyo. You’ll take a cable car ride and a cruise on the tranquil waters of Lake Ashi, ensuring you get to experience the best of Mt Fuji and Hakone National Park too. A relaxing dip in the hot springs at your Travelsphere hotel is surely the perfect way to end the day.
Bullet Trains and bento
A Travelsphere tour would not be complete without a ride on the world-famous Bullet Train. Step aboard and you’ll encounter immaculately dressed guards who move through the compartments, often bowing to passengers as they leave the carriage. As the world outside your train window flashes by follow the lead of local travellers and picnic from a bento box, you can pick one up at the station before you board the train.
Kyoto - The cultural heart
Kyoto is home to the nation’s most magnificent treasures and is the cultural heart of Japan. In the company of a Travelsphere Local Guide you’ll stroll through classical gardens, serene temple complexes and elaborate palaces. You’ll also pick up some tips on the skills of sushi-making along the way. For more foodie adventures visit Nishiki Market with its colourful stalls of Japanese delicacies and specialist cookware. Don’t leave the city without exploring the ancient lamp-lit streets of Gion, immortalised in the highly acclaimed Memoirs of a Geisha.
The poignant history of Hiroshima
Rising from the tragic events of August 1945 the Hiroshima of today is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. Your Travelsphere Local Guide will ensure you see all the most important reminders of the past which are sensitively commemorated. You’ll also travel by ferry past the ‘floating’ red Torii Gate, the symbol of Japan which rises out from the sea. Your destination is the forest clad island of Miyajima, one of the most beautiful settings in Japan.
The changing seasons
The cherry blossom front starts its Japanese journey in February, moving from the south and finishing in the north at the end of May. The peak viewing times in Tokyo and Kyoto fall in late March and early April and coincide with Travelsphere departures. After a spring walk in either of these cities you’ll appreciate the Japanese love affair with the delicate cherry blossom flower. If you choose to travel in the autumn you will be rewarded with a glorious display as the leaves of the maple and other indigenous trees blaze with their red and gold hues across huge swathes of the country.