Japan is a country of contrasts, a place where futuristic cities and centuries-old traditions co-exist side by side. This fusion of old and new has put Japan on plenty of travellers wish lists, desperate to see this bewildering blend for themselves. While Tokyo is like a bright, neon scene from a sci-fi blockbuster, it can be a surprise to find such peace and serenity outside hectic urban areas. Nevertheless, Japan’s great outdoors is as epic as its 24hour cities, with experiences that range from skiing in Hokkaido to swimming in the tropical waters of Okinawa.
Hidden within the emerald forest of Japan’s mountains are plenty of bubbling hot springs, temples and shrines. Japan is a hiking mecca, there are ancient pilgrimage routes to shrines for visitors to enjoy like Kumano Kodo – the only UNESCO-listed pilgrimage route other than Spain’s Camino de Santiago. Admire Japan’s most iconic peak, Mt Fuji, from across Lake Kawaguchiko, explore Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital, the beautiful Toshogu Shrine in Nikko and eat delicious sushi, ramen and other exquisite regional dishes at every single stop you make.
Japan is a highly volcanic archipelago, in fact mountains are spread over two thirds of the country. With Japan’s unique traditions come complicated etiquette, it’s sensible to learn some key Japanese customs before you visit. One of the best places to witness Japanese tradition is Kyoto, from kimono wearing geishas stepping out of wooden tea houses, to raked gravel Zen gardens, graceful tea ceremonies and the sounds of gongs and chanting from the many temples and shrines.
I was so nervous about embarking on my first Solos Holiday, but I shouldn’t have been – it was the best thing I have ever done!
Wow! Got to see the famous shipwreck beach in Zakynthos with Solos. Can’t wait to discover more of their destinations!
Our tour leader Monica was exceptional! Had such a good time and will be rebooking with Solos. Thanks for a great holiday!
Had the best time with Solos! Discovered beautiful destinations and met some lifelong friends.