From the bright lights of Tokyo to the traditional samurai town of Kakunodate, Japan is a fascinating fusion of high-tech and history. Its traditional culture, cuisine and ancient temples make it one of the most intriguing places in the world to visit.
Japan is famous for its sense of tranquility. As spring approaches, seas of cherry trees begin to blossom, colouring the nation a shade of pastel perfection. Combine this stunning sight with one a piece of history at Takeda Castle – its walls surrounded by thousands of the blush-hued flora. Intricate landscape gardens are another wonderfully serene sight, with the top three including Kairakuen in Mito, Kenrokuen in Kanazawa, and Korakuen in Okayama. If you’re feeling adventurous, Mount Fuji’s climbing season runs between July and August and offers out-of-this-world views from its summit at 3,776 m.
As you stroll though one of Japan’s vibrant cities, millions of brilliant neon lights create a dreamlike glow over the sleepless streets below. Non-stop capital Tokyo is a core of culture, with wildly diverse districts ranging from the serene shines of Chiyoda to the youthful energy of Shibuya. If you have time, pay a visit to the former capital Kyoto, famed for its ancient temples and gardens. Japan’s third-largest city, Osaka, is a hotspot for traditional food and a great place to try out delicious sushi, Okonomiyaki (fried cabbage cakes) and takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings).
To immerse yourself in the Japanese culture, try staying in a typical ryokan or capsule hotel. A huge number of hotels, apartments and guest houses are also available throughout the country.
The 12 best places to stay in Japan: Top hotels, B&Bs, inns, and vacation rentals — Based on real reviews from real guests