Top 11 reasons to visit Japan

Top 11 Reasons to Visit Japan

Ancient temples, incredible food and unique experiences, Japan is a must-see for any traveller.

1. Food

Gastronomical delights abound in Japanese cuisine, from superbly dressed sushi to traditional Kaiseki and beautiful Yaki-Tori BBQ. You’ll enjoy flavours from every corner of Japan, and you can explore each one through our range of Freechoice Dining options, which include a visit to a ninja-themed restaurant and Kyoto’s Shinensen Heihachi, where you’ll find the thickest noodles in Japan and hot pot dishes cooked in front of you at your table. You’ll of course also find Italian, French Fusion and western dishes during your Japan visit, should you be craving a taste of home.
Sample the delicious Japanese cuisine

Relax your body and mind in an onsen, Japan

2. Onsen Culture and Ryokans

Japan is known for its refreshing onsen and ryokan culture, and a soak in an onsen is the perfect way to relax your body and mind after a day of exploring Japans’ many treasures. Onsens are natural hot springs, enriched with minerals for a sublime bathing experience. After indulging in the waters, choose to stay in a Ryokan as an optional upgrade. These are traditional Japanese inns featuring a futon bed and private facilities, and dinner and breakfast made with produce from the region are included. You can upgrade your stay on our 16 day Japan in Focus, 19 day Essential Japan and 20 day Allure of Japan itineraries.

3. Old vs New

A country of striking contrasts, you’ll see old and new side by side in Japan. Towering Tokyo skyscrapers, the quieter Asakusa district, home to Sensoji, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple, and you can discover the old postal towns in the Kiso Valley. Tsumago Juku is the 42nd postal town on the popular Nakasendo route between Kyoto and Edo and dates back to the Edo period. Today it is the best-preserved postal town, lined with small traditional restaurants and with restricted car access during the day. In contrast, the Mazda Car Factory manufactures over one million cars every year. You can visit the factory as part of our Scenic Freechoice programme, and you’ll see , technology and future car developments as well as a look at the fascinating assembly line.
Explore the old postal town of Tusmago Juku, Japan

Look out for the graceful Geishas in Kyoto, Japan

4. Graceful Geishas

Trained in dance and the arts, Geisha’s are beautiful professional entertainers who serve and entertain guests during meals and formal parties. Experience geisha culture in the ancient capital of Kyoto and Kanazawa, and as part of Scenic Enrich, you are invited to enjoy an exclusive dinner served by a Maiko, an apprentice Geisha, to learn what it takes to become a Geisha and discover the art of Japanese hospitality.

5. Cherry Blossom & Red Leaf Season

Discover Japan during the cherry blossom season in spring, and the red leaf season during autumn. Known as sakura, stroll past the cerise blooms and sit under the shade of the leafy boughs while you drink it all in – literally, with the cherry blossom drinks made just for the season. Alternatively, time your visit to autumn for Kōyō, red leaf season and adore the vibrant reds and burnt oranges of the maple leaves within the lush forests and beautiful parks.
Admire the cherry blossoms at Matsumoto Castle, Japan

Admire the majestic Mount Fuji, Japan

6. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest and most prominent mountain, rising 3,776 metres above sea level. If you choose to visit to the colder seasons of the year when the air is crisp, you’ll be awarded the best views. The countryside resort of Hakone, famous for its hot springs and outstanding natural beauty, also offers prime views of Mount Fuji. Those up for the challenge can climb Mount Fuji during the summer season between July and September, with more than 300,000 climbers ascending it every year.

7. Hiroshima

The first atomic bomb occurred 6 August 1945 and caused terrible destruction in Hiroshima. The A-Bomb Dome is a symbolic building which marks the position of the first atomic bomb and is now a World Heritage-listed site, and you can pay your respects at the Peace Memorial Park and the Children’s Peace Monument which commemorates thousands of innocent children including Sadako Sasaki who lost their lives. The colourful folded paper cranes found here symbolise the pursuit of peace and you can make your own special origami crane offering as part of Scenic Enrich.
Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome Hiroshima, Japan

Todaiji Temple, Nara, Japan

8. Ancient Architecture

Japan is home to many remarkable examples of iconic and ancient architecture, in Asuka, explore the ancient tombs of the first Japanese emperors, whilst in Nara, experience Todaiji Temple, first constructed in 752, housing one of Japan’s largest bronze buddhas standing 15 metres tall. Matsumoto Castle, designated a ‘National Treasure of Japan’, is one of Japan’s most beautiful and original castles. Fushimi Inari Shrine, featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha, is the most important Shinto shrine in Japan, dedicated to Inari and is famous for its thousands of Vermilion torri gates leading to the sacred forest of Mount Inari.

9. Sumo Wrestling

Dating back more than 2,000 years, Sumo is considered Japan’s national sport. First watched by the Imperial family as a form of entertainment, Sumo evolved over the centuries with the first professional Sumo wrestlers appearing in the Edo period (1603 – 1868). According to Japan’s oldest historical record, the first Sumo was held in Katsuragi City, Nara. Learn about the history, life and training routine of a sumo wrestler during a private visit to a Sumo Museum in Kahayaza, as part of Scenic Enrich, and after the welcome ceremony, see a demonstration of Jinku and the wrestlers in action in the dohyo.
Watch Sumo Wrestling in Japan

Stroll through Nagamachi and admire the Samurai Houses, Japan

10. Samurai

The Samurai were great warriors with origins to the Heian Period of 710 to 1185. They later became the highest-ranking social caste and military nobility of the Edo Period (1603 – 1867) with their main weapon being the sword, ‘katana’. Living by bushido, ‘the way of the warrior’, Samurai pledged loyalty to their master, were self-disciplined, respectful and behaved ethically. Explore the former Kaga Clan samurai houses, earthen walls and narrow laneways in Nagamachi, a samurai district at the foot of Kanazawa Castle. In Kyoto, be captivated by the samurai spirit during a Kembu show (sword dance) over dinner, and learn the basics of Japanese swordman ship from a noted sword master.

11. Bullet Trains

One of the best and most efficient ways to travel through Japan is by the iconic Bullet Train, known as the Shinkansen Bullet Train, reaching speeds of up to 320 km/h. For even more comfort and peace and quiet, with Scenic you can travel in Green Class with spacious 2 x 2 seating arrangements, featuring electric reclining and in-seat reading lights. Travel along numerous lines from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the west. The Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo - Nagoya - Kyoto - Osaka) is the oldest and most popular route.
Travel by the Shinkansen Bullet Train in Japan

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