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Experience Japan

Introduction to Japan

Japan is a clean, ordered country with sleek, modern cities, but scratch the surface and you will find ancient traditions, monuments and myths ready to be explored. Package holidays to Japan are like no other: where else in the world can you find owl cafés, robot-staffed restaurants, and noodle-themed amusement parks?

Best Places to Visit

Buddhism is widely practiced in Japan. Mount Koya holds huge importance to Buddhists as the starting and finishing place of the Shikoku Temple Pilgrimage, which encompasses 88 temples. You can even gain an insight into how monks live, by spending the night in the serene and tranquil mountain-top temple.

If you want to visit sun-kissed beaches and crystal clear waters on your holiday to Japan, Ishigaki is the place to go. Here visitors can enjoy both secluded tranquillity in the day, and top nightlife in the evening.

Top Landmarks

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and is one of Japan’s most popular tourist attractions. For those seeking an activity holiday, try taking the inimitable mountain trek. Although it takes five-hours on its ascent and three-hours on its descent, the scenes at the top make it worth the effort!

Himeji Castle is considered one of the finest examples of traditional Japanese architecture. Frequently referred to as the ‘White Heron Castle’, the castle was designed to resemble a bird taking flight.

Entertainment in Japan

Japan package holidays would not be complete without a visit to a genuine karaoke bar. The Japanese take karaoke very seriously and, even if you don’t make it to the mic, you will find yourself enjoying some of the best (and a few of the worst!) karaoke singers you have ever heard.

For something a little more refined, hunt out one of the Japanese Noh theatres. Noh is a form of classical musical drama and is one of the oldest theatre styles performed to this day.

If you want your package holidays to Japan to feature a dose of the country’s hectic nightlife, then you need to head to Tokyo. In addition to glamorous restaurants, Tokyo is packed with cool, classy bars and futuristic nightclubs. With so much to see and do, no two Japanese breaks ever need to be the same.

Our best deals in Japan

Need to know

Language

The official language of Japan is Japanese. However, take a flight to Japan and you will discover a fascinating and complex culture, reflected in a range of dialects and other languages. In Okinawa, you can expect to hear Okinawan, whereas in Hokkaido, you might well encounter one of the Ainu languages, a language which is gradually dying out in Japan.

However, if you are trying to work out which phrasebook to pack, opt for Japanese, as this is the language most widely spoken.

Currency

The Japanese yen is the nation’s official currency. To get the best exchange rates, it is best to change up your sterling before flying to Japan.

If you find yourself short on cash, you are going to need an ATM. While there are plenty to be found in Japan, not all of them accept foreign cards. Look out for ATMs in post offices and convenience stores. Major department stores and airports also offer ATMs, so withdrawing some money should not be a problem.

Visas

If you are taking your holiday in Japan and you own a British passport or a British National Overseas passport, you will not need a visa as long as your visit lasts less than 90 days.

However, entry to Japan can be refused if you do not meet the right criteria, so it is worth packing your return ticket along with evidence that you have enough funds to support your stay. For holidays of less than a month, this sort of evidence is not usually required.

Climate

Japan is a vast country and, as a result, a range of regional climates are there to be experienced. Typically, Japanese weather is best described as hot and humid. However, Kyushu, Shikoku and Honshu enjoy the hottest but rainiest weather, which can be classed as tropical, while the temperature in Hokkaido can reach below zero.

If you visit the islands in the south, such as Okinawa, you can expect plenty of sunshine and a subtropical climate. Japan does have its rainy season which lasts from May to July but, again, its total duration depends on where you are holidaying.

Main Airports

If you are flying to Japan as a tourist, you are likely to arrive at one of the three main airports: Haneda Airport, Narita International Airport, and Kansai International Airport. Of these, Narita Airport is the busiest, welcoming and waving off to around 40million passengers each year.

Narita International Airport has three terminals, two of which are used for international flights. These terminals are entirely separate from one another and the only way to get from one to the other is via the onsite shuttlebus.

You will find restaurants, bars, and cafés in Terminal 1, on the fourth floor. Terminal 1 is also home to the ‘Narita Nakamise’, the largest duty-free shopping mall in the country.

The check-in desks are located on the fourth floor of the Central Building in Terminal 1. The airport recommends you check-in at least two hours before take-off.

Flight Options

Direct flights to Japan are available from most of the UK’s major airports. Typically, flying to Japan takes around 12 hours, although this can be longer if you opt for a flight with stop-overs as part of the route. From Japan’s major airports, you can catch connecting flights to the smaller airports dotted across the country.

Other Advice

One of the biggest factors to consider when flying to Japan is the price. Christmas, New Year, and the week at the end of April, leading into May are peak times and, consequently, carry peak fares. Avoid these and you could find yourself paying much less for your Japanese holiday.

Narita International Airport is just an hour’s drive from Tokyo and there are plenty of taxis on hand. However, if you want to make it on your own, there are car hire companies at the airport.

Bus

It is worth buying an IC Card if you are travelling by bus in Japan. These are smartcards that can be topped up and used to pay bus fares quickly and conveniently. They can be bought at convenience stores and bus stations.

If you are using local buses, it is worth remembering that you enter the bus using the back door and tap your IC Card against the sensor to pay your fee. When your stop is coming up, press the button on the wall to let the driver know that that is where you want to get off.

Taxi

There are plenty of taxis in Japan, offering a cost-effective and convenient way to get from A to B – particularly after midnight, when the buses and trains cease to operate.

Using your IC Card is an easy way to pay, but Japanese taxi drivers also accept cash or credit card. Look for the taxis with green license plates, as these are fully-licensed.

Tram

Trams only operate in Japan’s major cities. They are designed mostly for tourist travel, and can be a pleasant way to see the sights.

Rail Services

If you want to use the train on your holidays to Japan, you will need a Japan Rail Pass which, much like the IC Card, makes life a lot easier. There are extensive rail services across the country, including the world-famous bullet train, which is a must for any locomotive fans. Japanese trains are clean and comfortable and renowned for their safety and reliability.

MAP

FACTS

  1. Sumo is the national sport of Japan.
  2. Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market is one of the world’s largest fish market in the world.
  3. Japan is made up of over 6,000 islands.
  4. In Tokyo, you will find the world famous Cat Café, where you can enjoy a coffee – surrounded by cats!
  5. Most Japanese streets are unnamed.

FACTS

  1. Sumo is the national sport of Japan.
  2. Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market is one of the world’s largest fish market in the world.
  3. Japan is made up of over 6,000 islands.
  4. In Tokyo, you will find the world famous Cat Café, where you can enjoy a coffee – surrounded by cats!
  5. Most Japanese streets are unnamed.

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