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Destinations >> Japan Overview

The Pacific island archipelago of Japan has it all: dynamic cities, awe-inspiring mountain landscapes and other natural attractions along with shrines, temples, and an enviable food culture.

Cheat Sheet

Sleep and spa in supreme luxury at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto – Eat at two of the world’s best restaurants in Tokyo at Narisawa and Den – Drink at sleek, newly expanded High Five in Tokyo – See cherry blossoms in full bloom at Maruyama Park in Kyoto and view the largest collection of Japanese art at the Tokyo National Museum – Shop for souvenirs in Shibuya and fashion in Harajuku – Get up early to see the fish at Tsukiji Market, make your own custom cup of noodles at Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka, and stroll through Gion — Kyoto’s geisha district for shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and teahouses.

How it Works in Japan

The Pacific island archipelago of Japan has it all: dynamic cities, awe-inspiring mountain landscapes and other natural attractions along with shrines, temples, and an enviable food culture. Its capital city of Tokyo and large port city of Osaka fuse historic temples of the past with futuristic digital displays of sweeping skyscrapers. More serene Kyoto invites travelers to breathe deeply among its shrines, temples, and breathtaking hikes. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re likely to find it in Japan.

What to do in Japan

No visit to Japan would be complete without a visit to its capital Tokyo. Embrace the sensory overload by orienting yourself with Tokyo’s massive sprawling skyline and Mt. Fuji by ascending the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. Other top experiences in Tokyo include the Tsukiji fish market, shopping in Harajuku, and visiting the Tokyo National Museum. Food and fun come alive in Osaka at its Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum and with hip shopping, entertainment, and nightlife that you can find in the Amerika-Mura and Dotombori neighborhoods. Visitors flock to Japan in April to view Kyoto’s stunning cherry trees in bloom and Maruyama Park is its epicenter. The city’s Gion geisha district offers plenty of shopping, dining and teahouses where you can be entertained by geishas and their apprentices. Kyoto also has a number of other temples and shrines to wander and find a peaceful respite during your stay.

What to bring to Japan

The weather varies across Japan so its best to check ahead before you go and pack accordingly. Overall, winters are cold and summers can hit tropical heat, but can still be on the cooler side if you’re in higher elevations and in the northern part of the country. Dress to impress in Japan’s larger cities, especially if you’re going out at night. No matter when you go, you’ll want to bring shoes that you can slide on and off as many places throughout the country ask that you remove your shoes before you enter. Shopping is exciting and plentiful throughout the country — pack lightly so you have plenty of room to bring back new wears.

What to bring home from Japan

Ranging from the quirky and cute to the refined you have plenty of options when it comes to shopping for souvenirs in Japan. Start with high quality folding fans made from wood and fabric. Japanese cotton hand towels Tenugui come in a variety of patterns. Kimonos or more casual yukatas are beautiful traditional garments. Shop Shibuya’s vending machines for souvenirs ranging from earrings, to handkerchief to phone bling. Makanai Cosme skincare products are also perfect to take home and use along the way.

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