Japan's culture, traditions and destinations!
Japanese holidays give you a wonderful Eastern experience. Japan is one of the most fascinating travel destinations I have been to....intriguing, yet comfortable to travel in. One of the oldest cultures, it dates back to 10,000 to 300 BC.
HEINAN ARCH - KYOTO
Your Japanese holiday in this truly fascinating destination, with a rich culture and heritage, will have you wanting to return for more.There is such a variety of experiences here.
Japan has a population of around 127 million people, 38 million of whom live in Tokyo. It is a country that is certainly alive with people! Yet it is surprisingly easy to get away from the crowds, and enjoy rural areas in the mountains, lakes, beaches, gardens, temples and many historic sites.
My outdoor activities mad son, who lives in Tokyo, loves it. Why, you might ask! His answer - he can be snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, or deep sea diving, all no more than 2 hours by train.
Honshu - the Biggest Island
The biggest and most populous island....... Honshu being home to Tokyo is the most visited. The majority of tourists will opt for some time in Tokyo when they choose their Japanese holiday destination. From here they may go on to visit :
I encourage you to be a little more adventurous as there are so many lovely smaller towns and cities, well worth the stop, such as
where the famous UNESCO Heritage Castle is.There is also a very lovely shrine you can reach by cable car.
A country with a multitude of small islands, there are four main islands.Unless you have a lot of time, when planning your Japanese holidays, you will probably need to limit yourself to one area.
Okayama has one of Japan’s top rated three gardens, Koraku-en, while nearby Kurashki built in the 16th century Edo period, is just beautiful! Few tourists go there, yet I recommend it as a must visit destination on your Japanese holiday, if you are passing through!
Hokkaido - Winter Skiing and Summer Hiking
Located in the north, Hokkaido is the destination for keen skiers, snowboarders and in summer, hikers to take their Japanese holidays.
Sapporo has the famous Yuki Matsuri Ice Festival – the annual ice carving festival – which I am going to get to one day! Hokkaido is a destination many who live and work in Japan as expatriates love to visit for their Japanese holidays for the outdoor adventures, and its unique beauty. It is very different to other parts of Japan. Wide open spaces but a very small population.
Kyushu - Thermal Activity and Peace Parks
Kyushu is situated below Honshu and offers a quite different experience to the other islands. Famed for the city of Nagasaki devastated by the Atomic bomb and now a big promoter of peace with a thought provoking Peace Park and museum, there is plenty to see and do on Kyushu.
Fukuoka is the main city, while Kagoshima further south is also a popular old city to make a base as you explore the area.
Onsens, Beppu being the most well known area, steaming Mt Aso caldera and Takachiho Gorge are just a few of the great places to visit.
You can spend a good week exploring this lovely island....the third largest in Japan.
Shikoku -Shrines and Outdoor Activities
Probably the least visited by international tourists on their Japanese holidays Shikoku has so much to see and do, especially if you love the outdoors and Japanese culture.
It is here you can experience adventure activities such as white water rafting, mountain biking and the like. You can thoroughly enjoy a few days on Shikoku touring any of the 88 shrines, or trying some outdoor adventure activities.
With stunning mountains, gorges cut by beautiful rushing green rivers, onsens and narrow mountain roads, this is a lovely part of Japan.
If beaches must be part of your Japanese holiday experience, Shikoku beaches offer the best surfing in Japan. It is also a very traditional area and the 88 shrines are visited by Japanese pilgrims, who walk between them.
This is a look at a Japan relatively untouched by outside influences compared to the bigger cities.
Vine bridges – kazura bashi - stretch across the Ira Valley, and are a special feature of this stunning area, where you can camp, soak in wonderful onsens-the traditional Japanese hot pools, do white water rafting and have a Japanese holiday with a difference.
Tokushima is a pleasant city easily accessed from Kobe by bus. This is where thousands of Japanese and tourists head for the famous Awa-dori held in September.
Shikoku may be an island but this is Japan! It has three bridges connecting it, to the main island.Access is easy! A trip many like to do is cycle over a bridge to Hiroshima-ken.The views are apparently magnificent.
Knowing What to Expect!
Travelling in a country like Japan may seem a little daunting for some people. Reading about what to expect will be invaluable, when you are there! Knowing what to expect in the way of unusual customs, how transport systems work, Japanese food, and all those little differences that make any destination so fascinating, ensures you will enjoy the experience so much more.
Japan Culture - The Old and The New
Japan is a country of surprising contrasts. The Japanese love to have the latest modern, technology. Yet Japan's culture and traditions are still very much intact and visible, as your Japanese holiday takes you through the country.
There are regular traditional Japanese festivals throughout the year, meaning most tourists are sure to get to experience at least one in their travels.
Wonderful modern architecture, especially in Tokyo, displays a total contrast to the beautiful historic buildings, temples, and homes.
Kyoto is an amazing city that has retained the history and exudes tradition, quite literally at every turn! Much of it can be walked. Your head will be like a corkscrew. It is such a fascinating place.
But the old and the new is really what Japan is all about. You will see the locals wearing kimono’s walking the streets in some areas. You will also see some pretty strange fashion fads! Yet, Tokyo is considered one of the fashion centres of the world.
TRADITIONAL RYOKAN - JAPANESE ACCOMMODATION
It is a real treat to see Japan's culture has preserved so much of its traditions, yet also has such up to the minute conveniences, styles and architecture.
Ryokans – the traditional Japanese guest house. Your holiday should include at least one night where you eat traditionally, and sleep on a futon – a thin mattress on the floor........for this is a wonderful way to experience the culture.
And generally ryokan's can be an inexpensive type of accommodation. The meals are usually included in the quoted price.
More Japan Information
Tsukiji Fish Markets
12 Tips on how the Tokyo Train System works
Kamakura Day Trip
Fuji-Go-Ko ( Fuji Five Lakes)
Japan Rail Pass
Japanese Lessons and Ipod Phrasebook
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