Table of Contents
A Japan Travel Guide
Japan is a country of contrasts. From the snowy northern reaches of Hokkaido to the subtropical 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. We love to travel in Japan, to share what we’ve seen and planned our own future trips – we hope this Japan Travel Guide will be helpful to you too.
If you’re here in the early stages of planning your trip you may want to browse the full content – you can click the link to head directly to our archive of travel in Japan articles to browse for inspiration. However, there are now hundreds of posts on this incredible country 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 magnifying glass icon at the top right of every page to start searching and articles have a search widget in the sidebar. Just type a word or a phrase and it will return the nearest matches.
If you’re really stuck or have specific questions about Japan travel you can get in touch through our contact us page or leave a comment below or any of our posts. We try to respond to all comments within 48 hours.
Where to visit in Japan
From the big cities to the small towns, regional cities, onsen towns, ski villages and island beach resorts there is so much to discover in Japan. These are some of our favourite destinations to travel to in Japan, with linked articles on things to do, what to see, self-guided walking tours, best spots for foodies and more. Just click the button to view content from that region.
Tips on Transport 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.
- Our top tips, an overview of transport in Japan
- Is the Japan Rail Pass right for your trip
- Getting around like a local on the Tokyo subway
- The Hakone Freepass
- The Osaka Amazing Pass
Japan Cultural & Travel tips for visitors
- Understanding what happens in Shinto Shrine and the etiquette for visiting one
- The elaborate wedding kimono of Japanese brides
- Celebrating the New Year in Japan
- A special festival for the 3, 5 and 7-year-olds
Which Season to Visit Japan
In our local sub-tropical climate the seasons aren’t clearly defined so it’s such a novelty to experience them in Japan. They are each unique and something to celebrate, no just for the change in weather but you’ll find the natural landscape, the festivals and styles of food are all quite different.
Festivals & Events in 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 in Kyoto and all about the spring Setsubun celebration across the country
- Held at Kiyomiudera Temple Seiryu-e acknowledges the dragon of the eastern hills that protects Kyoto
- The Nagahama Matsuri is a truly local festival with an interesting history in a small historic castle town
- The Sapporo Snow Festival and Otaru Snow Gleaming are winter festivals on the northern island of Hokkaido
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 choose not to eat such as at the whale meat restaurant in an arcade in Sapporo. It might have been a once in a lifetime experience but I just couldn’t do it.
Foodie markets are held all across the country and are great places to explore the food culture and try some specialty local ingredients and dishes. We share all our top Japanese food markets and take a deep dive into the Nishiki market in Kyoto or Kuramon Market in Osaka.
For a few more ideas for the foodie traveller, you might find these articles useful.
- Omen Restaurant in Gion
- Japan’s incredible tea culture
- A tea lovers guide to Japanese tea
- A tea ceremony in Kyoto
- The delicious dishes you must try in Kyoto
- 20 street foods to enjoy in Japan and where to find them