Reasons to Visit
Modern and exciting cities make up much of the Japanese landscape, encapsulated by sleek bullet trains, flashing neon lights and dizzying skyscrapers. Scratch the surface to find hidden temples, preserved samurai quarters and local markets.
From delicate sashimi to prime grade steaks washed down with a local beer or a cup of hot sake, every mouthful you try in Japan will certainly be memorable and more often than not, delicious.
A stay in a Japanese ryokan inn is an unbeatable opportunity to experience true Japanese hospitality, including kaiseki cuisine, hot onsen baths and sleeping on a tatami mat.
Although the image of Japan is that of skyscrapers and flashing neon, most of the country is rural, rugged and mountainous, providing excellent walking and hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Kyoto alone has over 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines paying homage to a number of different deities and gods. Enter the through the large torii gate and contemplate.
From tea ceremonies and flower arrangements to lavish Geisha attended kaiseki banquets, Japanese culture is the most refined and elaborate in the world.
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The northern region of Honshu Island is known as Tohoku, an area that the Japanese equate with a slower, more traditional way of life. The tourist infrastructure is less developed here, but this is part of the area’s charm.
The northern region of Honshu Island is known as Tohoku, an area that the Japanese equate with a slower, more traditional way of life.
The tourist infrastructure is less developed here, but this is part of the area’s charm; fewer visitors mean it is easier to see life proceeding in rhythm with the seasons as it has for centuries past.
Amongst Tohoku’s highlights are the scenic splendour of Lakes Towada and Tazawa, the picturesque samurai town of Kakunodate and the hidden temples of Yamadera and Dewa Sanzen.
This area is known as ‘Snow Country’, and the long mountain winters are brightened by countless local festivals.
Much of the region is readily accessible by JR train, but car hire provides the freedom to reach the secluded hot spring resorts and traditional farming villages that make the area such a joy.
During the steamy summer months Tohoku plays host to a number of Japan’s most extravagant and spectacular festivals, offering a tremendous opportunity for the visitor to experience the true soul of the nation.
To a backdrop of traditional song, pounding taiko drumming, roaring bonfires and countless stalls serving local delicacies, the great summer festivals of Kanto in Akita, Nebuta in Aomori and Tanabata in Sendai play out to crowds of hundreds of thousands.
With smaller local events taking place throughout early August this is truly a magical time to visit this wonderful but often overlooked part of the country.
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