The Tokyo Metropolitan area is a mega-city, home to some 35 million people and the driving force of Japan's economy and rapidly shifting cultural trends. However, less than 90 minutes away you will find Mount Takao, a peaceful retreat for walking and quiet reflection with views of the distant urban landscapes.
To the southeast in Chiba Prefecture lie hidden beaches, whilst to the north in Nikko you will discover the spectacularly ornate temples and shrines of Toshogu, the resting place of the first Tokugawa shogun; the man who began the transformation of Tokyo into the city you will find today.
With the Tokyo metropolis at its heart, the Kanto region is in turn an urban phenomenon of striking modernity, whilst at the same time offering rural retreats, soaring mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches.Claire Brothers - Sales Team Leader
It is impossible to sum up Tokyo in a line, a paragraph, a page or even a book. The city has a force and power all of its own. It creates its own gravity as a centre of everything: politics, industry, finance, shopping, the arts, architecture, scientific study, nightlife and food.
Just half an hour from Tokyo, Japan's second-largest city is where Commodore Perry first landed in 1853, demanding Japan end its 300-year policy of self-isolation and open up to foreign trade. Yokohama soon grew into one of Asia's major ports, and remains a popular international city today.
Meaning “sunlight”, the name Nikko is synonymous with splendour. This is mainly thanks to the elaborate and highly decorative mausoleum of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, which lies surrounded by forest in a stunning national park.
Although relatively unheard of by most foreigners, in a country known for its volcanic activity and where one of the favourite cultural past-times is onsen (hot spring) bathing, Kusatsu is perhaps Japan's most famous onsen town.
The town of Mito is just an hour train ride north of Tokyo, in the middle of low lying Ibaraki prefecture. Mito is famous amongst the Japanese for its large public garden, a historic school and a uniquely pungent health food - natto.
Japan's de facto cultural and political capital from 1192 until its bloody and violent razing of 1333, Kamakura is a treasure trove of eccentric temples and interesting shrines.
With an international - but still uniquely Japanese - atmosphere, a stay in Narita can be the perfect way to ease yourself into Japan, or prepare yourself for the journey home; think of Narita as something of a portal between East and West.
Mount Takao (known as Takao-san in Japanese) is a green oasis just an hour west of central Tokyo, making it a great day trip for those wishing to escape the conrete and neon of the city for a few hours.
Omiya is a located just north of Tokyo, in Saitama prefecture, a mainly urban prefecture that houses a huge number of Tokyo's city workers. Omiya's star attraction is the Omiya Bonsai Village, one of the best places in Japan to get an in-depth insight into the art of aesthetic miniaturization.
Little more than an hour away from Tokyo by shinkansen, Karuizawa offers a cool mountain retreat in summer and easy day trip skiing in winter. A favourite amongst the wealthy of elites of the capital, Karuizawa is the perfect antidote to the constant hustle and bustle of Tokyo