Holidays to Japan
Japan is an utterly beguiling place, not just for its distinctive culture but for its incredible geology and intriguing history. It’s spread across a vast archipelago of almost 6,800 islands, giving it a geographical diversity quite unlike any other place on our planet. Whether your ideal holiday involves plenty of adventure, downtime, or a mixture of both, Japan has it all. And with the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics taking place here, the Land of the Rising Sun is certainly the place to be!
Capital City: Tokyo
Currency: Japanese yen
Time difference: GMT + 9 hours
Flight time: 12 hours to Tokyo
Japan trip ideas
Japan offers fast-paced, neon-lit cities, fiercely forward-looking but equally protective of their history and traditions. But surrounding Japan’s vast metropolises is an expansive and tranquil countryside. In the north, volcanic mountains entice skiers with their challenges, and the south has long beachy stretches. Our expert Travel Designers have curated the trip ideas shown below to inspire your next trip to this spectacular land. Whether you're looking for a family adventure sleeping in a traditional ryokan, or culinary classes in the art of sushi making, we will create and adapt your bespoke itinerary to Japan until it's perfect for you. Call us now to book: 020 3510 5777
Places to go in Japan
Japan’s main island is Honshu, hosting the mesmerising Tokyo – the starting gate of most adventures through Japan – as well as the iconic Mount Fuji, Japan’s biggest volcano. Visitors explore it from the small town of Hakone, where there’s the opportunity to stay in a traditional Japanese inn known as ryokan. Elsewhere on Honshu is Kyoto, Japan’s cultural hub. It’s a low-rise city in sharp contrast to lofty Tokyo, and home of grand palaces, ancient streets, oriental gardens and geishas dressed in kimonos.
The northerly island of Hokkaido is where snow-capped volcanoes dominate the landscape, skiers flock to luxury resorts in winter, and is home to some of Japan's best wildlife. In summer, visitors come to hike and cycle in the wilderness.
The southern island of Kyushu is connected to the rest of the country by Japan’s impressive bullet train network. Here, up-and-coming Fukuoka is a metropolis worthy of exploration, as is pretty Nagasaki, and you'll also find an abundance of hot springs, volcanoes and lakes.
Things to do in Japan
It’s the unique experiences which make a VIVID trip special, and here are just some of the things you can do during your trip to Japan. Experience the real country beyond the obvious, whether it’s pedalling your way along the riverbanks of Kyoto’s Geisha districts, tasting your way through Osaka’s foodie havens, or visiting the mountaintop castle of Matsumoto to catch the dramatic reflections of cherry blossoms in the lake. To incorporate your favourite experiences into your dream trip, or learn more about the itineraries that we can create for you, just give our Travel Designers a call: 020 3510 5777
Explore Tsumago and trek the famous Nakasendo Highway waking trail.
Map of Japan
When to go to Japan
The most famous and popular time of year to visit Japan is during the cherry blossom season, when the entire country turns a shade of pink as the trees burst into bloom. You’ll generally catch this iconic image of Japan from the end of March to the beginning of May, and will need to plan a visit well in advance as it’s a very busy time. Keep away from the crowds but still catch beautiful weather conditions by visiting during May. The country is thriving with greenery throughout May, but it’s best to avoid the Japanese national holiday of ‘Golden Week’ during the first week of the month as it will be very busy.
To see the national parks bursting with alternative colours, visit during the Autumn months September, October and November. The height of summer is probably best to avoid, with hot weather and higher rainfall, although July to mid-September is the official period if you’re aiming to escape the humid cities and climb Mount Fuji. Alternatively, catch the snow monkeys and enjoy beautiful resorts for winter sports if you visit Japan during the chilly winter months.
January offers cool temperatures and many crisp dry days. Experience heavy snowfall if you venture into the north of the country, with perfect winter conditions in the mountains for skiers and wildlife-lovers alike.
Similar to January, the snowy mountains in the north of Japan offer prime conditions to visit in February, with plenty of powdery snow. The rest of Japan usually remains cool, with temperatures in single figures.
The first of the cherry blossoms mark the arrival of spring, with temperatures rising slightly. Cooler temperatures and snow prevail in the northern mountains, whilst conditions in the southern islands can reach balmy 20’s.
April offers perfect weather conditions to visit almost all of Japan’s regions. The mountains are warming up nicely for spring hiking, and cherry blossom season is in full swing across the country.
Typical dry, sunny conditions during May make it a perfect month for touring, with prime temperatures for hiking (typical averages of 13°C in the mountains) and plenty of clear sunny days throughout the country.
The rainy season starts for the majority of the country, with rising temperatures and tropical bursts of rain typical in many regions (including Tokyo). To avoid the rain, venture into the north for clear skies.
Head to the mountains in the north or beaches in the south to catch sunny days. July is one of the hottest months of the year but central Japan is likely to be soggy, as the rainy season continues until the end of the month.
The hottest month of the year, average temperatures reach 35°C, bringing some regions the risk of typhoons. For fresher conditions, stick to the national parks. August is also peak season for those tackling the climb of Mount Fuji.
September brings the hottest and wettest conditions of the year, with typhoons often hitting the country’s southern islands – so best avoided. Head instead to the northern islands for the first of the golden autumn colours in the national parks.
October often brings crisp sunny days – the perfect conditions to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and autumn trees. Average temperatures across the country range from 16 - 25°C.
November offers slightly cooler temperatures but still many sunny Autumn days. The autumn foliage makes the country a photographer’s paradise, and this is one of the best times of year to visit Tokyo.
Skiers head to the north as December’s snowfall turns Japan into a winter wonderland. This month sees the least rainfall, and temperatures drop but remain pleasant across central and southern Japan.