Take a tour of Japan with us and discover a country where blisteringly modern life meets ancient tradition. Where cities look like futuristic film sets while never actually losing sight of the traditions of the past.
At first glance Tokyo is a city of the future, a hypnotic mix of neon lights, city sounds, glass steel and a million bodies. But a walk around the bustling city will reveal pockets of history, tradition and custom – reflected in grand palaces, exquisite gardens and ornate temples and shrines. Take in the eye-popping sights of high-tech Tokyo and its hurried pace. Catch your breath as you take in the serene sights of sacred shrines and the soaring beauty of Mt Fuji.
Catch sight of geishas hurrying along in cultural Kyoto and walk through the blazing orange tori gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine. Experience a tranquillity and peacefulness far removed from the frantic pace of Tokyo and wander through the city’s zen gardens, or marvel at the architectural masterpieces of temples and Shinto shrines.
Kyoto is the cultural heart of Japan, immerse yourself in the practices of Japanese culture and a traditional tea ceremony or discover the art of sushi-making.
Ancient wonders and futuristic cities aren’t all that The Land of the Rising Sun has to offer. Take an escorted tour to Japan with Newmarket Holidays and be stunned at the country’s stunning works of nature, from the hot springs and the natural beauty of Hakone National Park to the horticultural treasures of Kanazawa.
Wherever your holiday to Japan takes you, you’ll experience an intoxicating mix of history, tradition and culture, spectacular works of nature and the contrasts of an ultra-modern world. With our friendly, experienced Tour Manager there to guide you along the way, let us take care of you.
You will find no shortage of things to do on your Japanese holiday. This is a country with pulsating non-stop cities and startling UNESCO-listed sites. Get an insight into another world as you explore this timeless country. If you’re planning your holiday to Japan, we think that experiencing at least one of the below is an absolute must.
With the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, Japan is justifiably the food capital of the world. Many restaurants specialise in a single type of dish, so you can be sure of one thing – the signature dish on your order will be prepared to perfection. But this doesn’t mean Japanese cuisine is small or limited, in fact, it offers a wealth of gastronomical pleasures with an endless variety of regional and seasonal dishes.
Refined and elegant, Japanese cuisine celebrates and highlights simplicity, fresh produce and pure flavours. Where possible, food is eaten in as natural a state as possible and as fresh as possible – making raw fish or sashimi a quintessentially Japanese delicacy. Rice is also a staple in Japanese gastronomy, often steamed and served with main or side dishes.
Although the Japanese have honed the preparation and presentation of their traditional foods for centuries, they too, have taken inspiration from other countries. Ramen and gyozas are staples, inspired from neighbouring country, China. Taste the variety of flavours and textures of sushi and sashimi, enjoy delicate tempura deep-fried in light batter or slurp down steaming bowls of ramen.
No holiday to Japan is complete without a cup of matcha to complete your meal. Somewhat less famously Japan also does an impressive turn in more casual foods such as okonomiyaki, a fried savoury pancake with pork and cabbage filling and yakitori, the nation’s kebab equivalent – generally enjoyed with a beer or two. These casual classics offer a glimpse of a more relaxed Japan and are both well worth a try. Whatever pleases your taste buds, you won’t be too far away from a great meal.
Be inspired to travel solo. Newmarket Holidays welcomes solo travellers on all our group tours. In fact, many of our customers choose to join our tours on their own. And the best part is: you won’t really be alone. With a group of like-minded travellers and a friendly, informative tour manager (as well as incredible locals all over the world!), you will love your holiday experience. Joining a tour as a solo traveller is also a guaranteed way to feel safe and confident when travelling alone. While you can join any of our regular tours on your own, we also have a range of tours designed exclusively for solo travellers.
First holiday to Japan? Here are a few questions you might have.
Japan is known for its ultra-modern cities, high-speed bullet trains, and for its fascinating culture and history. The country is home to many traditional Buddhist and Shinto shrines and temples, many of which include unique Japanese gardens. Japanese food is popular throughout the world, and attracts many visitors. Japan is also famous for its outstanding natural beauty, including Mount Fuji and the Hakone National Park.
In Japan they speak Japanese, which is spoken by an estimated 120 million people worldwide. The Japanese language is complex and encompasses several different non-cyrillic alphabets and dialogues. Below are a few useful phrases, with pronunciation in brackets.
Hello – こんにちは (kon'nichiwa)
Goodbye – さようなら (sayōnara)
Please – おねがいします。(o-negai shimasu)
Thank you – ありがとう。(arigatō)
Do you speak English? – えいごをはなせますか。(eigo o hanasemasu ka)
Japan once had a reputation as being one of the world’s most expensive countries However, in recent years prices in Japan have stabilized. By planning carefully or booking onto an escorted tour, it is possible to visit Japan and not spend too much. Buying a rail pass in advance and eating at local food markets are also good ways to cut costs.
In Japan they use the Japanese Yen, which is abbreviated as JPY and has a symbol of ¥. For up-to-date exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Given its position off the coast of mainland Asia, flying is by far the easiest way to reach Japan from the UK. It is possible to fly direct to Tokyo from Londo in around 12 hours. However, most flights have a stopover, with an average journey time of around 15 hours.
Japan observes Japan Standard Time all year round, which is nine hours ahead of UTC and eight hours ahead of BST.
British citizens can enter Japan as a visitor for up to 90 days without a visa. You may need to show proof of onward travel and you will need at least six months’ validity in your passport. If you wish to stay for longer, you should apply for a visa in advance.
Generally speaking, Japan is a year-round destination, with four distinct seasons that offer something for everyone. The mountains in the north get snow during the winter, but pleasant temperatures of around 20°C attract hikers. In the south, beaches are busy during the summer, with temperatures around 30°C. Spring and autumn are mild, and boast sakura (cherry blossom season), and koyo (autumn leaf viewing), make them popular times to visit, with temperatures ranging from 10 to 21 °C
Autumn is widely considered to be the best time to visit Japan, with temperatures ranging from 10 to 21 °C. Autumn lasts from about mid-September to early December. Cherry blossom season is also a popular time to visit Japan, which differs depending on location, beginning in January in some places, to April, and lasting for around two weeks.
Food in Japan varies significantly by region. Generally speaking, the Japanese eat a lot of fish, rice and noodles. Traditional dishes in Japan include sushi, ramen, sashimi and tempura. That being said, Japan is one of the world’s culinary hotbeds, and international food is also popular, especially in the big cities. Tokyo holds more Michelin stars than any other city in the world.
Travellers visiting Japan should pack appropriate clothing for the season, along with an appropriate travel adaptor. Jet lag can affect visitors to Japan, especially those travelling from Europe, so jet lag pills are advisable. Earplugs can also be useful for lightsleepers.
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