Japan Highlights

A country rich in history and culture, and of stunning natural beauty, Japan is as unique as it is special.
In Kyoto, Japan’s cultural heart, Geishas promenade cobbled lanes as they have for centuries. Great national parks, Hakusan, Aomori, reveal glimpses of ancient Japan against a backdrop of breath-taking mountain scenery. And everywhere, historic Nara, dazzling Tokyo, from the snow festivals of Sapporo to the warm, sub-tropical beaches of Okinawa, the warm and ever-courteous Japanese welcome awaits you.

Akan National Park: stunning nature and abundant wildlife

Located to the east of the island of Hokkaido, the national park is an area of stunning natural beauty, particularly noted for the pristine majesty of its lakes.
Hike or cycle Lake Kussharo, a forbidding and darkly beautiful caldera lake 57km round, shrouded in fog.

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Aomori: host of the Nebuta summer festival.

Located on Honshu’s northernmost tip, Aomori Prefecture looks out across the Tsugaru Strait, to Hokkaido. Culturally and historically important, Aomori is also an area of outstanding natural beauty.

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Hakodate: spectacular views

Located at the southern tip of Hokkaido, Hakodate is the island’s third city, and is celebrated for the quality and freshness of its seafood cuisine.
Explore on foot or by tram this charming port town, set between Mt Hakodate and the waters of the Tsugaru Straits

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Hakone: Mt Fuji and hot springs

Set picturesquely within the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, with fine views of Mt Fuji, the celebrated hot spring resort of Hakone is located a short journey by road from Tokyo.

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Hiroshima and Miyajima

Miyajima, a small wooded island offshore from Hiroshima is the setting for one of Japan’s most ethereal and photographed images, the Floating Gate of Torii. The shrine, pier like in structure and dating to the 6th Century, appears to float on the surface.

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Hokkaido: Japan's Wild Frontier

Hokkaido is a region of year round cultural festivals, and stunning natural beauty.

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Kamakura: Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines

Known as the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura’s historic prominence as Japan’s mediaeval 12th Century capital is reflected in the rich abundance of temples, shrines and monuments.

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Kanazawa: City of Crafts and Folk Art

The delightful town of Kanazawa is set on the north coast of Honshu, looking out over the Sea of Japan, and is rich in history, culture and natural beauty.

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Kushiro: red crowned cranes

Located on the Pacific coastline in Hokkaido’s south west, Kushiro is of both cultural and natural significance.
Explore the charming, narrow early 20th Century streets of this atmospheric, mist-shrouded seaport.

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Kyoto: Shrines and Temples

Kyoto is home to an astonishing 2000 shrines and temples, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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Magome: a post town on the Nakasendo Way

Located on the Nakasendo Road, an easy trek from Tsumago, Magome is a beautifully restored Edo period post town on the Tokyo-Kyoto trade route.

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Matsumoto: Castle town in the Japanese Alps

Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture’s second city, is an ideal base for discovering the Tateyama-Kurobe alpine route. It is also famous for Matsumoto, one of Japan’s finest and most original castles.

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Mt Koya: centre of Shingon Buddhism

Located within the Koya-Ryujin Quasi-National Park, in Wakayama Prefecture, Mt Koya is both culturally important, and a place of stunning natural beauty.

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Nagasaki: a centre of Portuguese and Dutch influence

Nagasaki is respected and remembered for its recent tragic past. The city also has a rich, colonial history, its dynamism, and cosmopolitan outlook reflecting modern 21st Century Japan.

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Nara: Ancient temples and Shrines

The ancient city of Nara is celebrated for its fine art and architecture, natural beauty, and wonderfully preserved ancient wooden structures.

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Nikko: World Heritage Site

Located along Japan’s celebrated Romantic Road, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Nikko, and the surrounding national park, is rich in culture and natural beauty.

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Okinawa: Beach, history and culture

Experience the warm, year-round sub-tropical climate. Swim or snorkel crystal blue waters from pristine, white sand beaches.

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Osaka: Historic city and Castle

Sheltered on three sides by mountains, the historic city, the second most populous after Tokyo, looks out over the broad crescent of Osaka Bay.

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Sapporo: setting for the Snow Festival

Host to the 1972 Winter Olympics, Sapporo is the largest city on the island of Hokkaido, and the setting for the fabulous annual Snow Festival. Take a photo beneath the iconic, 100 year old Sapporo City Clock

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Shirakawago: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Set at the foot of Mt Haku-san, among picturesque rice fields bisected by a winding river, the pretty mountain village of Shirakawa-go is home each autumn to the celebrated Doburoku Festival, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Sounkyo: gateway to Daisetsuzan National Park

Located to the north of the Daisetsuzan National Park on the island of Hokkaido, Sounkyo is set dramatically within a wooded, steep sided gorge.

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Takayama: Museums and Festivals

Located on the edge of Hakusan National Park, Takayama is a historic and picturesque town famed for its traditions of artistry and craftsmanship, celebrated at the bi-annual Takayama Festival.

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Tokyo: Bustling capital

Japan’s capital is a place of wondrous contrast. A cruise through Tokyo on the Sumida Gawa River reveals Hamarikyu-tien, the fabulous private garden of an Edo lord set now within a canyon of glittering skyscrapers.

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Tsumago: post town on the Nakasendo Way

Located on the historic Nakasendo route between Kyoto and Edo, Tsumago remains one of Japan’s best preserved post towns. With all power and phone lines running underground, and the street clear of cars, the local community contribute to the illusion that the visitor has been transported to Japan in the Edo period.

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Yoshino: UNESCO World Heritage Site

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Yoshino is culturally important. It is also a place of immense natural beauty and visited on the Nakasendo Way.

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Yudanaka: Onsen and Snow Monkeys

The tradition of bathing in hot springs dates back centuries, when priests, poets and samurai would travel from throughout Japan to Yudanaka.

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