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  • Japan and South Korea: what makes them unique?

    Japan and South Korea are longtime rivals that, at first glance, can appear a bit alike; after all, both are modern, mountainous East Asian countries with rocky coastlines, rich cultures, and temples galore. However, if you scratch beneath the surface, you will find that these are actually two very different places, each offering up its own unique splendors. Here we take a look at their surprising similarities and key differences as we size them up, side-by-side. Similarities Let’s start with the similarities. Japan and South Korea are lands of rugged natural beauty, where the ancient meets the hyper-modern. The mountains offer up countless opportunities for hiking and winter sports, while the coasts are dotted with sandy beaches, sleepy fishing villages, and islands ripe for explora ...

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  • Recipe for an InsideJapan Small Group Tour

    After everything the pandemic has thrown at us, we’re wishing things could be straightforward and trouble-free once more. Do you feel the same? Then you may want to direct your pent-up wanderlust into choosing an adventure that keeps things simple as can be, while providing you with the experience of a lifetime. Perhaps you need look no further than our Small Group Tours!  We've spent the last twenty years honing the perfect formula, ensuring that our group tours immerse you in everything that's remarkable about Japan – in the most unforgettable way.  Here's the secret recipe.  They're not too big, and not too small We’ve found the perfect size for our group tours. And let’s just say, they're called ‘Small’ Group Tours for a reason.   Most of our tours have a maximum ...

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  • Hiking in Japan: 8 of the best hiking trails

    A fact that surprises people about Japan? Over 70% of the country is covered in mountains. And though hiking isn’t necessarily the first pastime that springs to mind for most people when planning a Japan holiday, between the dramatically diverse landscapes, unique Japanese twists (bear bells, vending machines in unlikely places and hot spring baths), hiking in Japan is an unmissable treat for anyone who loves to travel on their own two feet.  To celebrate the launch of our brand-new Walking the Nakasendo and Beyond small group tour – which is all about slowing down, savouring the moment and seeing Japan’s spectacular scenery up close on the likes of the Shin-Etsu Trail and Nakasendo Way – our team rounds up the best routes they've tried, and who/ what they're great for.  If you're tr ...

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  • Contemporary art in Japan: a roundup of weird, wonderful exhibits and installations

    This year, teamLab – the world-famous Japanese art collective – is celebrating 20 years of bringing together art, science, technology and nature with its mesmerising, immersive installations. So, in the name of all things contemporary, arty, and sometimes ultra-futuristic, we've decided to mark the occasion by taking a look back at our favourite Japanese art encounters from over the years. There's a time and a place for ink paintings and ukiyo-e woodblock prints... but suffice to say, this isn't it! From teamLab's technological wonders to Yayoi Kusama's distinctive colourful creations, these are the exhibits that have really stuck in our memory. teamLab's Chrysanthemum Tiger "This was taken during my first visit to teamLab in Tokyo in 2019. I’d seen so much hype online – videos, p ...

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  • Regional Japan: slow travel in Setouchi

    We’re often asked the best way to get off the beaten track and experience the evocative Japan that everyone pictures in their head. The answer? Pick a region, and explore it in depth! Japan’s regions often have everything you could ever need, all wrapped up in their cities, culture, blissful rural areas and unique foodie scenes – and all unmarred by mass tourism.   In this series, we’ll introduce you to our favourites. If you’re hankering for slow travel and the ‘real’ Japan, this is for you! First up: Setouchi.  Introducing the Setouchi region Setouchi’s geography couldn’t be more diverse if it tried, comprising the island-dotted Inland Sea, mountainous central Shikoku, the rice fields of rural Hiroshima and the rocky plateaus of Yamaguchi’s Akiyoshidai area. If that’s not enough ...

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