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Japan Travel Guide

Japan is timeless: its ancient temples, soaring skyscrapers, progressive technology and abundant nature from forests to idyllic beaches can keep the pickiest traveller busy. Even when you’ve conquered the spring flowers, fall colours, Geisha dances and Tokyo’s hustle, you’ll find the reason, again and again, to return to the fascinating, ever-changing Land of the Rising Sun.

The Highlights

  • Mount Fuji

    Mt Fuji is more than just a tall mountain - it’s an active volcano and the country’s tallest peak at 3,776m. It has been a pilgrimage site for centuries, considered a sacred mountain amongst the Japanese. Easily reachable from Tokyo, many people hike to the summit to this day.

  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto

    This bamboo forest in Kyoto is open 24/7 and admission is free, making it a breathtaking destination for a traveller of any budget. It’s hard not to be impressed by the endless streams of bamboo towering around you - go early to avoid crowds and get the most out of this serene location.

  • Kiyomizu-dera Pagoda, Kyoto

    Translated as “Pure Water”, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a Buddhist temple where worshippers believe the Goddess of Mercy resides. Over 1,200 years old, it was built around the Otowa Waterfall, where it is said that visitors who drink from the waterfall can get their wishes granted.

  • Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo

    One of the world’s busiest intersections with over 250,000 people using it every day, it’s no wonder this Tokyo intersection is nicknamed the “scramble”. If you want to experience the eccentricity of the capital city, the Shibuya Crossing is a good place to start.

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha

    This shrine at the base of Mt Inari is famous for its bright vermilion torii gates forming a tunnel leading to the summit. You’ll find numerous fox statues around the site as it is said to be the messenger of the god of rice, Inari, who the mountain is named after.

  • Jigokudani Monkey Park

    Jigokudani is home to about 200 macaques, or “snow monkeys”, which gather in the hot springs, soaking up the warmth they provide. Visitors can’t bathe with them, but the surreal scene has become a popular attraction, especially during the picturesque winter.

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    April to May and August

    Naturally, as the temperature increases, so will the number of visitors in Japan. Over the peak season, visitors can experience cherry blossom season that will last for a couple of weeks across April along with other festivals such as Golden Week. Weather in April and May is ideal for travellers with average temperatures of 22-25°C and lows of 10°C in some parts. August is when travellers will experience hot and humid weather, however, there are plenty of festivals to enjoy including Obon Festival, Kyoto's Daimonji Fire Festival and the Yamagata's Toro Lantern Festival.

  2. Low Season

    January to March

    For skiers and snowboarders, this is one of the best times to explore Japan and enjoy a range of winter activities. The closer you are to the Japanese Alps, the greater the chance of snowfall. If you’re planning to stay in Tokyo and surrounding areas, you can expect little to no snow. Due to the drop in climate, including lows of 2°C in some parts, visitors will enjoy smaller crowds and more affordable prices. It is also worth noting that many businesses in Japan will close over the New Year period or operate with reduced hours.

Japan Tours

FAQs about Japan

  • Do you tip in Japan?

    It is not customary to tip in Japan and might be taken as an insult if you do.
  • What is the internet access like?

    The majority of hotels offer free wi-fi, although some will still charge in 24-hour increments. Train and subway platforms and Starbucks offer free wi-fi, although sometimes the signal is weak. You can pay to go online at Internet Cafes, prices ranging from 200 to 700 yen per hour.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Tap water is safe to drink in Japan, although varying regions have different tasting water, so you may prefer to buy it bottled.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    The use of cash is prevalent in Japan and some places do not accept credit cards. Look for foreign-friendly ATMs (usually at post offices and 7-Eleven stores) and take out enough cash in case you can’t use your credit card.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Japan has a total of 16 public holidays, many with interesting backstories. To name a few, there is Greenery Day (to give thanks to nature; many parks and gardens waive entrance fees), Children’s Day (to wish kids good luck on their journey to adulthood) and both Spring and Autumnal Equinox Days.
  • What are the toilets like?

    Toilets in Japan are some of the best and high-tech in the world. The bidet, a toilet and post-restroom cleaner - or ‘freshener’ - combined, is common in Japan, but you may also encounter a squat toilet. Both of these are extremely hygienic.
  • When and where can I see cherry blossoms?

    The cherry blossom season changes a little year to year, but the peak is March and April over roughly two weeks. It takes place throughout Japan, but the best places are Mount Yoshino, Mount Fuji, Kyoto and Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo.
  • What is the Golden Week in Japan?

    Golden Week refers to a rare accumulation of Japanese national holidays where students and the working population enjoy the longest vacation period of the year. Tourists should avoid travelling to Japan during this time (typically end of April through May).
A TRAVEL MAGAZINE BY TOURRADAR

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Japan: The Ultimate Travel Guide by TourRadar gives you all the info you need to explore the land of the rising sun. Learn some basics about the country, including what you have to do & see once you arrive when it's best to travel and which food & drinks you definitely need to enjoy throughout your journey.
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