HIGHLIGHTS OF JAPAN
The stunning natural landscapes of Hakone National Park. Serene and secluded yet just a short hop on the bullet train from the urban sprawl of the capital, this is where Tokyoites come to relax and recharge away from the chaos of the city. It’s also home to one of the great icons of Japan: Mount Fuji.
The ancient streets, temples and shrines of Kyoto. The greatest of Japan’s former imperial capitals, Kyoto has managed to preserve the spirit of old Japan remarkably well while continuing to thrive as a modern city in its own right. Home to no less than seventeen UNESCO world heritage sites, particularly stunning are the shimmering Golden Pavilion and the gravity-defying Kiyomizu-dera.
The food! Japanese cuisine is now a firm favourite in the landscape of international cuisine, but there’s more to it than sushi. The cultural hotspot that is Osaka is rightly considered to be a foodie haven, and even by some to be the culinary capital of the world – its street food is unmissable.
Getting away from it all in the mountains. Japan is full of contrasts, and there are none more marked than that between the bright lights and chaos of its big cities and the mountain seclusion of the Japanese Alps, which run down the spine of the main island of Honshu. Takayama and Kanazawa are beautifully preserved Edo-period towns, while the snow monkeys of Yudanaka are well worth a visit.