To get the most out of your time in Sapporo, we really recommend taking a visit to Sikotsu-Toya National Park which is to the south-west of the island, not too far from the city of Sapporo. Aside from the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Sikotsu lake and Toya lake, and the three volcanoes, Mount Eniwa, Mount Fuppushi and Mount Tarumae, one of the biggest attractions in this region are Noboribetsu and Jozankei, two towns famous for their hot springs or ‘onsen’.
While in Kamaishi, we recommend visiting the Chusonji Temple which is found in the nearby city of Hiraizumi. This UNESCO world heritage site, also known as the Kyoto of the East, is the perfect place to get a feel of Japan’s history. To reach the temple, you must first ascend through forested pathways wending up Mount Kanzan. Though the journey is challenging, it’s worth the effort to reach the summit where you’ll find spectacular views of the region, as well as an ancient mausoleum and the ornate Hakusan shrine.
While in Saitama, don’t miss the chance to visit Nagatoro, a town nearby that’s set high up in the mountains. Here you can travel along the Nagatoro River on a traditional Japanese boat steered by men using long poles to push from the river bed. Along your journey you’ll travel through the Nagatoro gorge, a steep-sided ravine that passes through the middle of a forest celebrated for it’s awe-inspiring natural beauty no matter what time of the year you go.
Alongside catching some of the biggest matches in the tournament at Tokyo Stadium, the capital city is a delight to explore. Bursting with markets, restaurants and unique points of interest, many a day can easily be filled wandering through the streets.
For a day away from the bright lights and excitement of the city, we recommend taking a trip to Nikko, a nearby city that is characterised by its historical architecture and natural beauty. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, here you’ll find lush landscapes and dozens of traditional shrines and temples.
This historic port town is perhaps most famous for its harbour district known as Minato Mirai 21. With a vast array of shops, fine-dining restaurants, amusements and pier head, we recommend travelling around on foot to get the most out of the area. While you’re there, make sure you don’t miss a chance to travel up the Landmark Tower. This 70 floor building is the fourth tallest in Japan and has the second fastest elevator in the world. Once you reach the top (in just 40 seconds), head out onto the Observation Deck where you can enjoy incredible views of the city and Mount Fuji in the distance.
Aside from its breathtaking natural vistas, Shizuoka is perhaps most famous for its cuisine, so getting the most out of your visit to this city is all about eating your heart out. Edible highlights include Shizuoka’s wasabi, green tea, gyoza, oden and Sakura shrimp, which can only be caught locally.
Located near Nagoya in the Aichi prefecture, it’s impossible to visit this region without stopping to see what this city is so famous for - Nagoya Castle. In addition to spectacular surrounding gardens and a number of historical artefacts inside, you’ll also find incredible views overlooking the city and the castle’s famous golden tiger-headed dolphins.
Also known as the ‘Big Eye’, this distinctive stadium is in Oita, a region well-known for its hotsprings or ‘onsen’. To get the most of the area, we recommend visiting a hot spring resort. Beppu is popular among tourists, however for a more rural and picturesque experience we recommend Yufuin, where you’ll find hot spring baths and a collection of restaurants and shops surrounded by soaring mountains and striking rice-paddies.
One of the most popular things to do while in Osaka is taking a trip to Dotonburi, a region of the city known for its distinctive bright lights, restaurants, theatre shows and lively nightlife. Most of all it’s famous for its gastronomy – to get the most of your visit, go in the evening to experience the bright lights and then live up to the famous Osaka phrase “kuidaore” or “eat ‘til you drop”.
No trip to Kobe would be complete without trying what the region is most famous for, Kobe beef. Famously one of the most expensive beefs in the world, it is produced from Tajima-gyu cattle which are massaged and fed beer (among other things) while they are growing. To make sure you end up trying real Kobe beef, speak with one of our Travel Specialists who can book you a table in advance at one of Kobe’s best restaurants.
While in Kumamoto, we recommend taking a day trip to Takahiho, a small town that’s famous for its natural beauty and mythology. Take a boat ride through the gorge, a deep ravine fed by the Gokase River that’s known for its stunning waterfalls and blue waters bordered by deep gorge walls and rich foliage. Then, make sure you try Nagashi Soumen – a meal where you will need to catch the noodles you eat as they flow past in lengths of bamboo.
This traditional city is filled with unmissable cultural highlights but while you’re here we really recommend taking the time to visit the beach on a day trip to Itoshima, a small beach town that’s celebrated for its tropical climate. It’s truly one of the best places in the country to see the sunset and an absolute must while you are in the area. Simply wander the beach or head to the famous Keya-no-oto cave or the Shiraito waterfall.
Wish to plan your own trip to Japan? Get in touch with our team for more information - call 01244 355604 or click here.