A JAPAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Japan is a country of contrasts. From the snowy northern reaches of Hokkaido to the sub-tropical islands of Okinawa. From the historic shrines and castles of the feudal towns to the futuristic electronic superstores in Tokyo. And as a foodie who could ignore the contradictions of a simple bowl of rice that must remain completely unadorned to the complex and perfectly balanced traditional kaiseki-ryōri menu. You are never quite sure what to expect next in Japan but it’s almost certainly going to be an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
If you’re here in the early stages of planning your trip you may want to browse the full content – click the link or the banner above and you’ll head directly to our archive of Japan Travel articles. There are now hundreds of posts on this incredible country on the site so if you scroll down below we’ll group it into regions and categories that should help you find what you are looking for much faster.
If you’re looking for something specific you can also try the search function. There’s a search box in the sidebar to the right, just type a word or phrase and it will return the nearest matches. If you’re really stuck or have specific questions you can get in touch through our contact page.
Which cities and regions are you most interested in?
If you’re planning to travel in a specific city click the button below to read articles related to that region. We’ve made 2 more visits to Japan this year and are adding new content regularly so check back regularly or follow along with 2 Aussie Travellers on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter to see the latest articles as they’re published.
Getting around in Japan
We have a range of posts to help you get around in Japan and understand the value and convenience of different transport options. You might have heard of the JR Pass for getting around the country, we love it but it’s not a cost effective option for every visit. There are also a whole range of alternatives that you’ll want to understand, especially if you’ll be mostly exploring one city.
- Top tips for transport in Japan, all you need to know for getting around easily, efficiently and cost effectively
- Answering all your questions on the Japan Rail Pass
- Mastering the Tokyo subway system – get around like a local in no time
- A 14 day Japan itinerary for cherry blossoms – Tokyo to Hiroshima
- Is the Hakone free pass good value for single or multi day visits to the Hakone / Fuji region?
Japan Travel tips for visitors
- Understanding what happens in a Shinto Shrine and the etiquette for visiting one
- My Japan travel bag essentials and some useful tips on what to pack for Japan
- The elaborate wedding kimono of Japanese brides
- Is the Hakone Free Pass worth buying and a sample itinerary
- Is the Osaka Amazing Pass worth buying and a sample itinerary
Seasons Matter for Japan travel
In many countries within the Asia Pacific region, the seasons aren’t clearly defined. That’s not the case in Japan. Each season is defined not only by the change in the weather but by the food that is enjoyed, the natural landscape, festivals, events and even everyday activities. Structuring your itinerary to take in some of the seasonal highlights is strongly recommended.
- Read more about Spring in Japan
- Read more about Winter in Japan
- Read more about Autumn in Japan
- Read more about Summer in Japan
Festivals across Japan
There are so many fabulous festivals in Japan and they are a great way to interact with the local community. They also provide an opportunity to learn a little about the history and culture of the country. This link will take you to a full list of our festival and event posts or you can follow the links below to some of the more popular ones.
- Setsubun Eve celebrations on the 2nd February in Kyoto and Setsubun Eve celebrations on the 2nd February in Kyoto
- At Kiyomizudera celebrate Seiryu-e with the dragon that protects Kyoto
- The Nagahama Matsuri is a truly local festival with an interesting history and where the children take a lead role
- The Sapporo Snow Festival and Otaru Snow Gleaming are winter festivals in the northern island of Hokkaido
- Honouring the traditional art of ikebana at Kenka-Sai in Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto
- The colour and celebration of the Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori
An Adventure in Japanese Food
Finally one of the essentials of travel is to enjoy, or at least try, the local cuisine. In Japan there are so many dishes that I love, a handful I was happy to try once or twice and very very occasionally something that I refuse to eat such whale meat in a tiny specialist restaurant in central Sapporo. It might have been a once in a lifetime experience but I just couldn’t do it. With so many incredible options and a cuisine that has earned itself a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list there are just a few of our foodie picks.
- Nishiki Market in Kyoto
- Kuromon Market in Osaka
- Hakodate Morning Market
- Omen Restaurant in Gion
- Japans incredible tea culture
If you are unfamiliar with Japanese food, or where to eat in a particular part of the country we’ve found the small-group food tours here are excellent. These are a few we recommend in Osaka, Kyoto, Ueno, Asakusa and Ginza.