The Cruiser’s Guide to Japan: All You Need to Know Before Visiting

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A seamless synthesis of old and new, Japan neatly weaves time-honoured traditions with some of the most vibrant modern life on the planet. A deft balance of both means tourists can explore the country’s storied ancient history one day and then immerse themselves in the technological splendour of its modern cities the next.

Whether it’s sake from one of Kobe’s famed wineries, a roam through the lava fields of Kagoshima or getting to know its nightlife via futuristic, neon-lit streets, Japan’s varied lands offer up a plethora of riches to experience.

Whatever you do with your time, a trip to Japan is an enriching, life-affirming adventure. Looking to go there as part of your next journey? Take a look through this handy guide to the city, it’s got everything you need to know about it before you go.

City Guides

Made up of cities with distinct personalities and atmosphere, the variety here means there’s something to cater to everyone’s travel style. Set your pulse racing amidst Tokyo’s fast-paced hustle and bustle, or dial it down with a visit to Aomori’s sleepy, serene climes – Japan’s differing natures are made for impulsive travellers.

City Guide: Tokyo – Japan’s Million-Miles-a-Second Capital

Japan

With its rapid advancements in technology and millions of pedestrians endlessly navigating vivid, neon-soaked streets, Tokyo is a city that’s always on the move. Stay ahead of the rush with this handy guide that touches on its sightseeing highlights, choice culinary venues and of course, recommends you try a tot of sake while you’re there.

City Guide: Kobe – A Modern Maritime Gateway

A contemporary, cosmopolitan sprawl, the energy of Kobe’s varied cultural make-up is infectious. Tourists will find it a unique, rewarding experience, one whose international influence means diverse cuisine, a mix of modern flourish and traditional history, as well as plenty of refreshing greenery to take in – be sure to travel on its ropeway to take in the city’s unbelievable vistas from up high.

City Guide: Yokohama – Tokyo’s Chilled-Out Cousin

Yokohama Japan

For a serene stop-off, Yokohama slows down the pace and thins out the crowds, so it’s perfect for leisurely strolls and sightseeing. Easily traversable on foot, visitors will find themselves amidst charming cherry blossom gardens and plenty of local curiosities, like the Cup Noodles Museum, a museum dedicated to, yes, the popular instant snack food.

If you’re feeling hungry, Yokohama takes culinary cues from plenty of other countries, with hearty curries and the Japanese take on a hot-pot filling up many a stomach here.

City Guide: Aomori – A Slow-Paced Wintry Wonderland

Relatively untouched by tourism, Aomori is another Japanese city whose easy going, laid-back surroundings make it an excellent retreat from the country’s busier areas. Wander around its delightful downtown area and roam around its cute antique shops, or stop by Asamushi Aquarium for an immersive look at over 10,000 sea-dwelling animals. When you’re done, swing by Hotate Goya, a seafood restaurant that lets you catch your own scallops!

City Guide – Nagasaki: Wartime Heritage in Japan’s Long Cape

Japan skyline at the bay

Featuring a cultural and historical significance without compare, Nagasaki offers up a storied past and a Western-inspired present to all who visit. At turns sombre and haunting, at others colourful and vibrant, Nagasaki is always impressive. Stock up on its history at the Atomic Bomb Museum, or for something more off-kilter, Huis Ten Bosch is 1.5 million sq. metres of land that recreates the streets of Middle Age Europe.

In-Depth Guides

Looking to delve into Japan’s culture as much as possible? From minding your Ps and Qs Japan-style to tracking down its most iconic temples, these last-minute pointers are sure to truly make your visit one to remember.

10 Customs You Need to Know for Your Japan Trip

Bowing, minding your manners at the table, wearing surgical masks. Frequent faux pas might occur if you’re not well versed in how the Japanese do things. Brush up on your Japanese etiquette with this handy guide to the country’s customs and traditions.

Where to See Japan’s Breath-taking Shrines, Temples and Castles

Temple in Japan

When it comes to places of worship, Japan is rich with all manner of spiritual sanctuaries to roam around. With numbers in the thousands, the hard part is choosing which ones you visit. Luckily, this extensive walkthrough highlights the best of each city, from Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu to the Kenrokuen Garden of Kanazawa, one of the most tranquil places on Earth.

Even if you aren’t particularly spiritual, a visit to any of Japan’s temple offers a fascinating glimpse into an entirely different culture, so be sure to make time for a visit while you’re here.

8 Must-Eat Dishes You Need to Try in Japan

Famed the world over for its delicious, adventurous cuisine, gourmet delights await you around every corner. Catering to a range of tastes and budgets, no stomach will be left wanting here. But don’t take our word for it, we asked our favourite travel and lifestyle bloggers for their foodie favourites that any well-seasoned traveller should pull up a chair for.

The Ultimate Day-Tripper’s Guide to Mt Fuji & Lake Ashi

An eye-opening journey to one of the country’s most awe-inspiring sights is an unforgettable experience. A superb finale to your Japanese journey, a day trip to Mt Fuji and nearby Lake Ashi is a pilgrimage many an explorer dreams about. Get your boots on and check out this guide; you’ll find how to get there, when the best time to visit is and the best places to eat nearby.

And if you’re looking for something to bring back, then we’ve run through the best souvenirs too, including sending a postcard from Japan’s highest post office.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this extensive guide to the superb highlights Japan offers all who visit. Looking to start exploring this wonderful part of the world? Check out our selection of Japan cruise deals here or give our friendly customer care team a call on 0808 274 6777.

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About Author

Claire Wilde

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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