Enter a world of towering mountains, breathtaking landscapes and ancient culture in Japan.
Closed to the world for over 200 years, today the ports of Japan glimmer with an otherworldly beauty. Jump onboard a Japan cruise to view digital billboards plastered with the latest anime cling to high-tech skyscrapers in Tokyo, or enter into the serene Meiji forest that dominates the city center. In Japan, you'll find an explosion of culture in every season, from the iconic pink cherry blossoms that line Kyoto's Philosopher's Path in the spring to the powerful temples and beach barbecues that shine in Okinawa in the summer. In autumn, head up Kobe's Mt. Rokko for a view of fiery orange-yellow treetops, and in winter, soak in the natural onsen of Beppu, Arima or Niigata. No matter where you end up, be sure to take in the eclectic architecture along the way, as temples and shrines give way to apartment blocks and izakaya pubs specializing in sushi rolls and sake rice wine.
Climb skyscrapers and scale mountain peaks with a culturally immersive cruise to Japan.
Japan's ancient culture will capture a piece of your soul. Old temples wafting with incense, impressive castles jutting into the sky and tatami-clad wooden homes await you with an air of magnificence.
Get in touch with your spiritual side in Tokyo as you pass under the giant lanterns of Sensoji temple to pay your respects. In Hiroshima Bay, witness the majesty of the otherworldly Itsukushima shrine that floats alone on the water, backdropped by rocky mountains. See the rich gold pavilion of Kinkaku-ji temple in Kyoto, best appreciated with a freshly prepared cup of matcha tea.
Japan is an island nation at heart, and the surrounding seas hold astounding sights. Sail among the 99 Kujukushima Islands on a bright red and yellow hybrid tour boat in Sasebo. Next, dive into Okinawa's perfect sky-blue waters and relax on unknown island beaches. For a peek into the past, see Nagasaki's eerie Battleship Island, or make the pilgrimage to Tokyo's Enoshima, an island of shrines.
The Samurai and feudal lords built impressive castles all over Japan, most of which were reconstructed in the Meiji Restoration Era. For some firsthand history, stop by Osaka Castle near Kyoto, or head to Okinawa, where the Ryukyu kingdom reigned supreme, to visit Shurijo Castle, a UNESCO site that will enlighten you to the sub-tropical splendor that put the island on the map.
The Japanese way of life is a pure appreciation of the small things. Explore the islands as the Japanese would by eating good food, viewing beautiful landscapes and making acquaintances with the friendly locals.
Feel on top of the world as you explore the tallest mountain in Japan. Start the climb up Mt. Fuji in Shimizu, and let yourself be wowed by the volcano's incredible scale. For a smaller mountain vacation adventure, take a cable car up Mt. Rokko in Kobe, and delight in the mountaintop town that overlooks Kobe city, or walk the steps leading through the 10,000 bright-red torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine that climbs up the gentle mountainside.
Every single city or prefecture in Japan has a specialty ingredient. Be bold in Shimonoseki, and taste thin slices of blowfish sashimi, prepared by skilled chefs who have trained for 10 years to make this specific dish. Indulge in the world's most premium beef, a melt-in-the-mouth wagyu steak from Kobe, or delight in the detailed dishes of Kyoto's seasonal multi-course style of cooking.
Onsen, natural hot spring baths, are a widely appreciated pleasure in Japan and a must-try on colder days. Take a cable car up Mt. Rokko in Kobe to find the steamy Arima Onsen town, famous for its medicinal properties. In Beppu, take your pick of over 2,000 onsen, or gaze at the steaming azure waters of Jikoku Onsen, also known as the "Hells" of Beppu.
Japan is a unique, eclectic country with distinct customs and an adventurous landscape ideal for travel.
Politeness is a way of life in Japan. To avoid insulting the locals, always make sure you take off your shoes when you go inside a house or Japanese-style establishment. Eating sushi with your hands, however, is fully allowed — in fact, it's considered rather sophisticated.
The weather varies quite a bit in Japan depending on the season. Wear loose, breathable clothing in July when summer is at its hottest and most humid. From December to March, warm clothing is recommended, as you can expect snow in all but the most southern parts of Japan.
Japan is synonymous with culinary excellence, and its cuisine is all about whole ingredients and locally sourced food, served as fresh as possible. From gleaming gems of sushi to steaming hot bowls of soba to specially cared-for wagyu cows, you won't be disappointed.
Looking to add some thrill to your dinner? Japan's chefs have mastered preparing poisonous blowfish in a safe and delicious way. Although the best blowfish is found in Shimonoseki, it's prepared by expert chefs all over Japan. With a subtle flavor and firm texture, you'll be hooked to its dangerous taste!
When you're exploring the city streets of Tokyo, be sure to grab some top-notch street food. Feast on takoyaki, fried balls of dough flavored with dashi stock and stuffed with fresh octopus, or okonomiyaki, a savory pancake made with flour, cabbage, vegetables, your choice of seafood or pork and topped with a savory condiment that includes ketchup, Worcestershire and oyster sauce.