Japan Vacations

Just mentioning 'Japan' conjures up so many images for people across the globe, spanning from the ancient to the modern. Japan is geisha in flowing kimonos and wooden shoes for some, Harajuku schoolgirls in Gothic Lolita petticoats and Hello Kitty headbands for others. Some might think of ancient temples and Shinto shrines, while others might ... Read more
envision Tokyo's iPod vending machines or apartment dwellers' robotic pets. Just by Japan's geography -- an island archipelago buttressing Asia's far eastern coast -- the Land of the Rising Sun was perhaps destined to greatness. The homogenous culture grew in relative isolation for many centuries, and the resulting culture boasts untold unique facets. Visit Kyoto to walk back through time, whether temples, geisha and kabuki theatre fascinate travelers. Tokyo has more people (and money) than just about any place on the planet. Although Japan is not a cheap destination, the non-claustrophobic can stay in a capsule hotel to save costs, or try a traditional Japanese hotel called a ryokan, where communal baths and traditional meals are part of the experience.

Japan places to stay and top hotels

Japan things to do and experiences

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  • Sensō-ji Temple
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  • Harajuku
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  • Kinkaku-ji
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Japan

Weather

The Japanese islands stretch out over 20 of latitude, which means the weather in the northern regions is often vastly different than in the south. Most of the principal areas visited by tourists (Tokyo and ... Read more
Kyoto, for example) are in the middle of the country, where there are four distinct seasons: a cold winter, hot summer and mild spring and fall. The latter two mark the best times to visit. The famed cherry blossoms begin to bloom in March and April, turning the country a beautiful shade of pink for a few sweet weeks. Fall is equally as colorful when the foliage begins to turn shades of red and orange. Be aware that the Japanese love to travel domestically, and they do so en masse around major holidays, including New Year, Golden Week (late April/early May), and the Obon Festival (mid-August), so book early if you plan to visit during these times.

Top Japan restaurants

Japan

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Safety

Solo Female Travel Tips

Japan is generally quite safe.The trains in cities like Tokyo and Osaka are packed; pay attention. Some recommend "avoiding rush hour." The locals are famously friendly, polite and helpful: "I never had a concern for my safety." Japanese culture is ... Read more
overall modest, so travelers "highly suggest bringing clothing that wouldn\'t attract too many stares when walking down the street."

Trip by Skyscanner surveyed its Solo Female Traveller Tribe to compile woman-to-woman safety tips for this destination. While no one destination is ever completely safe or unsafe, our hope is that this information will allow users to make their own decisions with better information.

LGBTQ Tips

While Japan is 'rather liberal in terms of policies (like same-sex unions) it's 'outwardly conservative in terms tolerance of PDAs (of all kinds, not only same-sex).' Overall, the 'Lgbtiq community is not very visible'.

Trip by Skyscanner surveyed ... Read more
its LGBTQ Tribe to compile safety tips for this destination. While no one destination is ever completely safe or unsafe, our hope is that this information will allow users to make their own decisions with better information.

Japan reviews & trip reports

  • 9.8
    Foodies
  • 8.1
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • 7.2
    Backpackers
  • 7.2
    History Buffs
  • 7.2
    Art & Design Lovers

Member Reviews(146)

Pro 2018
San Francisco, California, USA
Ambassador

Trip.com should have an extra five stars just for Japan. This is really a ten-out-of-five-star country. The people are so polite, the reverence for nature is so profound and everything is organized. I cannot stop raving about what a pleasure it was to experience life in this country. I know that every place has its problems, but, as a visitor, Japan is the place to be.

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London, UK

Generally quite safe. Keep an eye on your belongings, particularly on busy public transportation. The streets in cities like Tokyo and Osaka are packed; pay attention. Some reported being "groped on the busy trains" and recommend "avoiding rush hour." The locals are famously friendly, polite and helpful: "I never had a concern for my safety." Japanese culture is overall modest, so travelers "highly suggest bringing clothing that wouldn't attract too many stares when walking down the street."

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Los Angeles, California, USA

you must go to Japan during cherry blossom season which is between March and April, But try going sometime end of march and beginning of April. In Osaka or Kyoto. Give your self at least 6 days there because sometime it's stars early or late. It does get very packed.

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Pro 2018
Brooklyn, État de New York, États Unis

One of the most sophisticated societies on the planet. Japan has something for everyone and is the world's premier foodie destination -- even the French flock here for perfectly prepared seasonal food using the highest quality ingredients. An ancient history coupled with an extended period of isolation have helped Japan maintain a distinctive culture despite rapid modernization after World War II. As different as you can get from the West without having to sacrifice safety or comfort. The Japanese people are incredibly gracious and those who travel here on their own are likely to leave with a few friends.

Tokyo and Kyoto are the focus for most visitors but the countryside is spectacular and a visit to an onsen (hot springs) is a must. Escape the cities and you'll find stunning beaches (Okinawa), volcanoes (Kyushu, Hokkaido and just about everywhere), mountain scenery (Chubu), great skiing (Hokkaido) and plenty of historic sights (Kurashiki, Nikko, Kamakura, etc). As of 2015, the weak yen means that all of Japan is on sale and there are plenty of airline and train promotions to make Japan the most affordable it has been to foreign visitors in at least a decade.

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Chicago, Illinois

Lovely and interesting country. A few tips:

Spend as much time as you can in Kyoto. Beautiful city, lovely temples and other sites, manageable place to get around.

Tokyo is like any monstrous city. You might spend 3-4 days here, but any more is unnecessary.

Get a JapanRail pass. They are not cheap, but the best way to get around the country, and very efficient.

Japanese people are very difficult to get to know. They are good at hiding their feelings and emotions based on my experience and what I read.

Japan is one of the safest countries to visit. Never felt unsafe there at any time or any place.

My itinerary included: Tokyo, Kyoto, Nikko, Nara, Hiroshima, and Okayama.

If possible, stay at one or two Ryokans instead of a regular hotel. These are traditional Japanese inns, and you can find reviews for them in most travel guidebooks. You can expect tatami mats, serene surroundings with maybe a rock garden, Japanese screens for room doors. Lovely!

Lonely Planet has great guidebooks to individual Japanese cities and the country. I used their books exclusively in Japan, as did most of the people I encountered there.

Go to a traditional Japanese steam/sauna. Interesting!

See a sumo wrestling match.

Have fun!

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New York City, New York State, USA

After a few days in the fascinating megalopolis of Tokyo, hop a bullet train ride past Mount Fuji to experience the contrasting tranquility of old Kyoto. Lodgings, from venerable ryokan inns to modern hotels, are designed with single travelers in mind. You can enjoy a communal hot spring bath, meditate in a Zen garden, and dine at the counter of a sushi restaurant—a classic favorite of solo travelers.

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Samarinda, Indonesia

extraordinary country. if I go there, I'll use a very thick jacket so I'm not freezing.

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Sydney, Australia

One of the most refined cultures on Earth, Japan is an easy place to like -- clean, polite, beautiful and crime-free, with excellent transportation, food, and sightseeing. Still Japan is expensive, and careful planning will save the traveler a great deal. Centuries-old temples and hot spring villages exist alongside shinkansen bullet trains and acres of glittering neon, a melding of the traditional and the hyper-modern unlike anywhere else on earth. The biggest surprise though? Stunning natural beauty, whether gnarly hikes in the Northern Alps or skiing deep powder far above the lavender fields of Hokkaido.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Japan is a big country and it’s hard to decide what to see and do on your first visit. I’ll share our itinerary – hopefully, it will help others plan their trip. We were happy with our trip. We wanted to visit Japan when cherry trees were blooming, so it took some research to figure out when we should book the trip so we can hit the blooming time. There are websites that show blooming dates in the past and predicted dates for the upcoming season (for example, http://www.jnto.go.jp/sakura/eng/city.php?CI=10).
This was our itinerary (11 nights total):
• Arrived in Tokyo at 5 am; took a train to Kyoto; checked in at our hotel near the Kyoto Station around 9 am and went exploring the city
• Stayed for 5 nights in Kyoto
• Day trip to Nara from Kyoto
• We had 1 night booked at a ryokan in Hakone (between Kyoto and Tokyo); we shipped most of our luggage to Tokyo (arranged through our hotel) and with an overnight bag took a train to Hakone.
• 1 night relaxing at a ryokan with hot springs; then exploring the Hakone area
• Took a train to Tokyo, arriving late at night (our luggage was at the hotel already)
• Stayed for 5 nights in Tokyo; planned to do a day-trip to Nikko but it didn’t work out (unfortunately).
Some practical tips:
• It’s hard to find an ATM machine that take international cards; so don’t count on refilling your wallet with cash frequently, like you would do in Europe; look for 7-11 stores; there is a machine at the post office near Kyoto station
• No worries about carrying lots of cash with you – there is no petty crime in Japan
• Great public transportation – busses, subway, trains; figure out how to use it and you will do just fine getting anywhere you want
o For example, busses in Kyoto: 220 yen ticket price within city line, if you have exact change – put it in the machine near the driver; you can get a day pass for 500 yen;
o Get in line at the bus stop, even if there are only a couple of people waiting
o Get in line at the designated spaces marked on the pavement at the train station
o It is easy to arrange to have your luggage shipped from one city to another ($15 a bag); It will arrive on the second day - works well if you take a side trip to a smaller town for a day or two.

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Hands down one of the most unique places in the world. Japan, to say the least, has a style all it's own! The special blend of modern and traditional achieved by these people is truly one of a kind. The cities are bustling, the countryside is spectacular and the you could not find kinder people.

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