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The Best Deals for a Vacation in Japan

When in Japan...


Vacation in Japan: Travel to the Land of the Rising Sun

The island state of Japan in East Asia impresses vacationers across the world with its western standard of living combined with the mystical and exotic character of the country. Different climate zones await you, giving you a choice to swim, hike, or even ski in Japan. Culturally, the country offers thousands of templesimperial cities, and vibrant cities like Tokyo with a skyline of skyscrapers, lots of shopping opportunities, and a unique pop culture.

Entry and Arrival to Japan

If you travel to Japan with a US passport as a tourist, you don't have to worry about a visa. If you do not want to stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Flights to Japan

You can find direct flights to the land of the rising sun from the US. For example, there are regular direct flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo with a journey time of around 12 hours.

When is the Best Time to Travel to Japan?

It can be said that you can travel to Japan all year round - depending on what you want to do. Since the country has different climate zones from tropical latitudes to Siebirian land lines, there are always regions that you can travel to. But it is not possible to generalize "the best time to travel" for the whole country. Therefore, it is best to look at where exactly you want to go and look at the climate of the specific regions accordingly and choose the right travel time for you.

The Cherry Blossom (Hamami)

The cherry blossom lasts from mid-March to early April. Half of Japan is on the road during this time, so you should book hotels well in advance – and expect higher prices.

The Ascent of Mount Fuji

Would you like to visit the famous Fuji near Tokyo? This is only accessible without a mountain guide from the beginning of July to mid-September - and then it is accordingly full. Plan about six hours for the ascent to the summit and the way back.

Travel Destinations: Where to Go in Japan?

Japan offers dozens of great travel destinations with many different sights and types of scenery. We have put together our top recommendations for your visit to Japan here:

  • Tokyo: one of the most exciting metropolises in the world

  • Kyoto: traditional Japanese city

  • Hiroshima: City with a young national history and dealing with the destruction caused by an atomic bomb attack in World War II

  • I tsukushima or Miyajima: Island known for its huge shrine in the water

  • Nikko National Park: Park with mountains, hot springs and waterfalls

  • Mount Fuji: Snow-capped volcano and the highest mountain in Japan

Sights: The Highlights of Your Trip to Japan

Depending on how much time you have, you can travel all over Japan or focus on a few highlights. You should definitely not miss these places on your vacation in Japan:

The City of Tokyo

Vacation in Japan without a visit to Tokyo? Unthinkable! Since the imperial court only moved to Tokyo (then Edo) in the 19th century, the city is relatively young and offers few historical sights. On the other hand, Tokyo is a paradise for shopping and dining: You will find the latest fashion trends in the youthful district of Harajuku, while Akihabara is the Mecca of all manga and technology fans. There are designer labels on the high-end Ginza mile .

Our pirate tip: You can enjoy the most beautiful view of Tokyo from the 2,080 feet high in a Sky Tree.

The Imperial City of Kyoto and Its Surroundings

Kyoto is a must on any vacation to Japan. The old imperial city is still considered the cultural center of the island state and overwhelms with hundreds of magnificent shrines and temples, such as the golden pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), Nijo Castle and the Inari Shrine with the avenues lined with thousands of red torii. Traditional Japan lives on in the old town of Gion. Do n't miss out on taking part in a classic tea ceremony!

From Kyoto you can visit many well-known sights as part of a day trip:

  • The magnificent Himeji Castle

  • Hiroshima with the Peace Park

  • The shrine of Miyajima with the torii "swimming" in the water

  • Nara with the sacred sika deer

  • The ultra-modern Osaka with the party mile Dotonbori

Be Enchanted by the Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Every spring, Japan is transformed into a sea of ​​pink and white, because between late March and early May, the fascinating blooms herald the awakening of new life after winter. The blossoming trees stand for new beginnings and beauty. It's no wonder that Japan even has its own word for the cherry blossom season: sakura.

The big cities of Japan are then hardly recognizable, since almost half of all deciduous trees are cherry trees. During the cherry blossom festivals, picnics, all kinds of events are organized - Hanami (The Cherry Blossom Festival) is definitely one of those experiences that must be had at least once in a lifetime.

If you visit Japan in spring, the cherry blossom show is a must. With more than a thousand known places, however, the choice is difficult. For many Japanese and tourists, the forecast of the cherry blossom front, which moves from south to north every year, is definitely more interesting than the weather report.

For example, to get hold of a patch of grass in the parks of Tokyo, you have to get up early: the first guests are already spreading their blankets and tarpaulins on the green areas in the early morning hours. A picnic during the cherry blossom season in Tokyo is certainly not contemplative - but it is definitely an experience.

Osaka and Surroundings

Osaka is the third largest city in Japan. It's said to be a little more informal compared to Tokyo. One of the top sights is the castle. Its main building has eight floors and is surrounded by beautiful parks. For those who find the Shinsekai and Minami entertainment districts too exciting, a trip to Mount Koyasan with its temple complex and the natural beauty of its forests will balance you out and feel the mystical atmosphere of Japan .

Continue west via the town of Himeji, whose castle complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hiroshima and Environs

Not much needs to be said about the sad fate of this city. In addition to the thought-provoking stations such as the memorials in the Peace Park and the A-Bomb Dome (a building that survived the atomic bombing in 1945), Hiroshima is now a lively city with urban flair. A landmark is the (true to the original) rebuilt Hiroshima Castle. From Hiroshima, it is worth crossing over to the island of Myajima with its spectacular Itsukushima Shrine.

If you want to go all the way west, you can complete the road trip in Japan in Nagasaki. Worth seeing in the city, which was also destroyed by the atomic bomb, are the Suwa Shrine (which remained undamaged at the time) and the Peace Park with its sculpture collection.

Beach Vacation in Japan? Of Course!

Did you know that you can also lie in the sun on the beach in Japan? However, you have to travel to the southernmost island of Okinawa, which is known for its beautiful sandy beaches. You can plan some final beach days here before you start your journey home via Tokyo.

Accommodations in Japan

Be sure to book accommodation in Japan in advance. They don't like it very much if you just show up spontaneously at the hotel and ask about rooms. In addition, the rooms in the big cities are often fully booked on weekends and public holidays, so you should call ahead or book online. Of course, you can do the whole thing during a longer trip. But the following applies: those who book earlier usually get the better prices.

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Means of Transport for a Japan Tour

For individual tourists, a road trip with a rental car is not only an option for reasons of luggage transport. But keep in mind: In Japan, traffic drives on the left , the road layout and signage are confusing for foreigners and parking spaces are also rare. So that the road trip does not turn into an adventure trip, it is worth using the train and public transport for stress-free travel, especially in Japan. If you still want to venture into Japanese traffic and camp out, you can rent a mobile home: around 2,800 official campsites, some of which are very luxuriously equipped, are spread across the country, but often only open in summer.

The safest, quickest, and most comfortable way to travel around Japan is by train or metro within the city. Japanese trains and local transit are extremely punctual and reliable. The transport network is excellently developed. With a ride on the famous Shinkansen, a train that reaches up to 186 miles per hour, you can also experience a Japanese technological marvel up close.

Our pirate tip: As a road trip you should choose the Japan Rail Pass, a time ticket for one, two or three weeks on all domestic train routes in Japan. There are corresponding season tickets for the local transport network, which are cheaper than single tickets.

Road Trip through Japan: How Much Time Does it Take for a Road Trip in Japan?

Due to the long journey to Japan alone (you will be on the plane for about twelve+ hours), you should plan at least ten days for your stay. Even with that you would have a tight sightseeing program ahead of you. Trips lasting two or three weeks are better; enough time to acclimatize and then systematically explore the country. You are free to decide in which order you proceed and which priorities you set. But there are of course various sensible travel routes that you can use as a guide. The starting point for all tours is Tokyo Airport, the destination for direct flights from the US

  • Road Trip 1: Tokyo (excursions: Nikko, Mt. Fuji, Kamakura, Yokohama) - Nagoya - Kanazawa (detour to Takayama) - Kyoto (Nara) - Himeji - Hiroshima: You should plan fourteen days for this trip.

  • Road Trip 2: Tokyo (Nikko, Mt. Fuji, Kamakura, Yokohama) - Nagoya - Kanazawa (excursion to Takayama) - Kyoto (Nara) - Osaka (Koyasan) - Himeji - Hiroshima - Myajima - Nagasaki: You should spend three weeks in the country for this spend.

  • For Short-Term Visitors: Tokyo (Nikko, Mt. Fuji, Kamakura, Yokohama): With this variant, you set up your base camp in Tokyo and plan day trips to nearby destinations from there.

Book an Organized Tour or Discover Japan on Your Own?

Of course there are a number of providers who offer guided tours through Japan. Group trips with a English-speaking tour guides and excursions with coaches usually cover all tourist highlights and offer community experiences. In Japan in particular, however, it is no problem at all to explore the country with your own research and schedule. If you find out about the country and its people in advance and have a rough idea of ​​what you want to experience in Japan, you can embark on individual travel routes and also flexibly change plans.

Don't be afraid of the language barrier! Even without knowledge of Japanese, you can get through everyday life in Japan. Many Japanese speak English, official information such as street signs, information boards at train stations and airports are mostly bilingual .

Our pirate tip: In Japan it is considered very polite if you know a few words of Japanese. “Konnichiwa” means “good day”, “gomennasai” “sorry” and “kuukou wa doko desu ka?” “Where is the airport?”