Latest Posts

  • 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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  • Ryokan round-up: the best of the best Japanese inns

    Japanese hospitality is legendary, but what makes it so special? We have one word for you: ryokan.  In its most basic sense, the ryokan is a traditional Japanese guesthouse — but that doesn’t even begin to sum it up.  A ryokan isn’t just a place to lay your head. Whereas a hotel is a base for activities and excursions, a ryokan is the destination. It’s a respite from the world, where you go to check in, throw on your yukata bathrobe, and sequester yourself from the daily grind. The quality of a ryokan isn’t measured in fancy furniture or plush trimmings — in fact, the very fanciest ryokan guest room might contain nothing but a futon mattress on a tatami-mat floor. Instead, quality is measured by the warmth of its welcome, the character of its hot-spring baths, and the flavour of its ...

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  • Tokyo for ‘returners’: the art of the day trip

    So you’ve been bitten by the Japan bug. We’ve been there. (Actually, we’re still there). You’ve come back from your first (or maybe second? Or maybe third?) trip, and all you can think is that you have to go back. Like, now. The good news is that Japan is even better the more you get beneath the surface. Now that you’ve ticked off your big-ticket, bucket-list sites, you’ve got time to really explore — to dig into the lesser-known stuff, and step away from the beaten path. When it comes to Tokyo, if you ask us, your next visit is all about embracing the day trip. Tokyo is surrounded by towns, villages, beaches, mountains and countryside — all beautiful, all fascinating, and all incredibly easy to access via Japan’s brilliant public transport network. There are literally countless spot ...

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