Made up of over 6,800 islands and located in the Pacific Ocean, Japan is a mystical country in East Asia that expertly blends the traditional with the modern and futuristic. This fascinating region is home to snow-capped Mt. Fuji, world-class cuisine, vibrant fashion, and eccentric culture. From towering and glittering skyscrapers in the heart of bustling Tokyo to the still ponds and pristine gardens surrounding some of the most well-known ancient temples and pagodas, Japan impresses all travelers alike.
Tokyo, Japan's capital city, illustrates a cohesive blend of towering skyscrapers and ancient temples. Locals and travelers can find numerous art galleries and museums, historical gardens and shrines, an abundance of nightlife, and cutting-edge technology within this city. Additionally, Tokyo is known for some of the best Japanese food in Japan and even contains over 230 Michelin-starred restaurants -- more than any other city! One landmark that will catch your attention is the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world, jutting into the sky at over 2,000 ft. high! Take a step back in time as you visit Tokyo's oldest and most famous temple, Sensoji, and the Imperial Palace and its lush gardens.
- Mt. Fuji
Mt. Fuji is one of the most famous mountains in the world, sitting about 60 miles southwest of Tokyo. This famous landmark stands at an astonishing 3,776 meters and is considered one of Japan's three sacred mountains and an iconic symbol of Japan. Mt. Fuji remains one of Japan's most popular and most visited sites for both local and foreign tourists. Summit hikes on Mt. Fuji remain a prevalent activity. Over 200,000 people climb the mountain annually, typically in the summer months, and they usually start the trek at night to ascend during the sunrise (Japan is known as "the Land of the Rising Sun," so it makes sense!). Although it has not erupted since 1707, the mountain is still an active volcano today.
- Asakusa Kannon temple (Sensoji)
With a history dating back to the 7th century, Asakusa Kannon temple (also known as Sensoji) is Tokyo's oldest and one of the country's most colorful and famous temples. According to legend, two fishermen caught a small figurine while fishing in the Sumida river in 628. Their village head recognized this caught treasure as Kannon, Goddess of mercy, so the temple was built to worship the Kannon statue. The outer gate of Sensoji Temple is known as the Thunder Gate, and it is truly a symbol of the entire city of Tokyo as well as the symbol of Asakusa. After entering through the gate, a shopping street stretching over 200 meters long called Nakamise welcomes you. Vendor stalls line the street, selling goods to those on their journey to the temple. As you approach the temple, you'll be mystified by the towering 5-story tall pagoda. Various events are held in this area, such as Sanja Matsuri, the Asakusa Shrine annual festival held in May.
- Golden Pavilion
The Golden Pavilion is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan, and is one of the most famous buildings in the entire country. The gorgeous temple was originally the retirement villa of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, who decided in his will that this building would become a Zen temple after his death. Although it has burned down several times throughout history, the present 3-storied structure was rebuilt overlooking Kyoko-chi, the Mirror Pond, in 1955. The Golden Pavilion consists of 3 floors, each representing a unique style of architecture. The first floor, The Chamber of Dharma Waters, illustrates Shinden themes with its white walls and wooden beams throughout. In addition, there are statues of the Shaka Buddha and Yoshimitsu on this floor. Although visitors are not permitted to enter the temple, they can stroll the grounds and gaze at the first floor through open windows. The second floor, The Tower of Sound Waves, represents buke-zukuri themes used in samurai residences and holds a seated Kannon Bodhisattva surrounded by statues of the Four Heavenly Kings. Finally, the third floor, The Cupola of the Ultimate, showcases a Chinese-Zen style and is crowned with a golden phoenix.
Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto is a city that settles on the island of Honshu. Kyoto is the cultural and historical heart of the entire country. Here, travelers and locals experience traditional temples, Shinto shrines, decorated gardens, indulgent restaurants, and fun festivals. Kyoto is well-known for centuries-old traditions, such as kaiseki dining, which consists of numerous courses of specific dishes, and geisha, the female entertainers, often found in the Gion district. This city is home to the magnificent Pure Water Temple, whose name comes from the Otowa waterfall that runs through it. This temple was built and perfected by master carpenters in 1633 without the use of nails or glue! The verandas and sprawling stage are held high at 42 feet in the air, overlooking the forest surrounding the temple below.
- Cherry Blossoms
Did you know that the cherry blossom is Japan's national flower? No matter where you travel in Japan, you're likely to find these beautiful flowers blooming on the trees above, whether near the city's center or in the countryside. The cherry blossoms typically bloom in April in cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. On the southern island of Okinawa, the flowers can open as early as January, whereas on the northern island of Hokkaido, the blooming can occur as late as May. Even though the blossoming period is short-lived, this time is celebrated with Hanami, the cherry blossom viewing party. Friends and family gather around and sit under the breathtaking pink hues of the blooming trees above to drink, sing, mingle, or admire the spectacular view. The cherry blossom season is highly sacred to the Japanese, and the blooming of the trees symbolizes a time of renewal and beauty. When the petals eventually begin to depart the trees, it is said that if they are caught mid-fall, the catcher is assured of good fortune for time to come.
Already booked on one of our packages to Japan? See everything you need to know before you go.
|Entry requirements||Please see our Entry Requirements page.|
Immunizations are not currently required for travel to Japan. However, you may wish to consult your doctor regarding any concerns or recommendations prior to departure.
Note: Many over-the-counter cold medicines like Vicks Inhalers and Sudafed contain small amounts of amphetamines and are illegal in Japan.
Temperatures vary in Japan depending on location. During the months of May and October, the temperature averages in the 70’s. During the months of July through September, the temperature is generally in the 80’s. In November, the temperature is in the 60’s. The winter is very cold.
|What to wear||
You will spend most of your time touring, and if you have two pairs of comfortable (broken in, not brand new) walking shoes, by all means, take both pairs. Shoes with good traction are also recommended. Packing to dress in layers is another way to prepare for a variety of weather conditions. Natural fabrics such as cotton are particularly comfortable in the warm, dry climates. Please be sure to pack a hat to protect you from the sun. Overnight temperatures are cooler, so pack a light sweater to keep you warm during the evenings, and an umbrella or a poncho for the unexpected rain that may come your way. You will be required to take off your shoes when visiting some temples. Finally, remember that comfort and convenience should dictate your wardrobe for the tour, and casual clothes are in order for most every occasion as you travel.
|Money & Credit Cards||
The official currency in Japan is the Yen. Hotels and some stores and restaurants accept major credit cards. For “street shopping,” you will need the local currency. Many ATMs do not accept credit/debit cards that are issued outside of Japan. Notify your bank prior to departure to avoid problems using your credit or debit card abroad.
Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card while traveling.
Japan has a wide range of items that will appeal to a variety of tastes and budgets. From high-end items such as porcelain to local packaged seaweed, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to shop for one-of-a-kind items you can’t find anywhere else!
The best items to shop for in Japan are pearls, silks, pottery, cloisonné, lanterns, furniture, lacquerware, dolls, red coral, cameras, karate gear, green tea, carp kites, Imari porcelain, good-luck charms from shrines, and packaged seaweed.
|Electricity & Power Adapters||
You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. The electrical current in Japan is 100 volts with 50 cycles; the plugs are A and B.
Learn more about electrical standards around the world.
|Cell Phones & Internet|
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- Destinations: Japan
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