When to Go on a Japan Vacation
When is the perfect time to visit Japan? Anytime! No matter what season you choose for your visit, you will have an amazing experience. In springtime of course there are the cherry blossoms, while in summer you can enjoy festivals and outdoor activities. Fall foliage is incredible, and winter is the ideal time to pamper yourself in the onsen (hot springs).
What to Do
Tōdai-ji – This Buddhist temple in Nara contains the Daibutsu (Great Bhuddha) statue. First cast clear back in 746, it is among the largest bronze statues in existence. The modern statue was recast during the Edo period. 130 kg of gold and 437 tons of bronze went into its construction. The temple itself features gorgeous architecture and lovely grounds.
Kiyomizu-dera – This Buddhist temple in the hills over the Kyoto basin is an ancient and celebrated spiritual destination. Drink from the blessed Otowa-no-taki waterfall, or simply pray or meditate. Also be sure to shop for souvenirs in the shops which line Chawan-zaka, the avenue leading up to the temple.
Himeji-jō – Known as the “White Egret Castle,” Himeji-jō looks stately and elegant—but don’t let that fool you into thinking there is anything delicate about this beautiful structure. It was built for defense and is fortified by moats and notched windows for archers and marksmen.
Tokyo – An experience in itself, this bustling city features an ever-changing landscape of markets, restaurants, rooftop bars, clubs, and shopping districts, all well worth exploring.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – This dense bamboo forest is an extraordinary place to visit. The stalks grow so close together that they filter the light, giving it an otherworldly green hue. Try as you might though, this is a magical spot you’ll have a hard time capturing with any camera other than the one in your memory.
There isn’t enough that can be said about Japan’s amazing shopping districts. If you’re a fashion aficionado, head to Harajuku or Shibuya for youth fashion, or hit Ginza for affluent designer brands. You’ll also find two huge underground malls to explore in Shinjuku, and you can visit the man-made island of Odaiba for even more incredible shopping opportunities.
Accommodations in Japan are on the whole expensive wherever you go. That said, it is well worth it to budget some extra money for top-notch accommodations, especially if you can manage to sleep in an inn which features traditional décor and furnishings. Feeling adventurous? Stay in a tiny capsule hotel room in Tokyo.
Japan is famous for its traditional cuisine, collectively known as Washoku and recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. While Japanese food is now popular around the globe, you haven’t really had the authentic experience until you’ve eaten it in Japan.
Sushi – Japan’s most famous food is sushi, which is raw fish served on sticky rice with seaweed.
Onigiri – These rice balls contain a tasty filling like smoked tuna, salmon, kelp, or roe.
Noodles – Many delicious varieties of noodles are served in Japan, including soba, udon, and ramen.
Yakitori – This is a form of skewered meat served as a street food.
Katsudon – This is a rice bowl dish with egg, veggies and deep-fried pork.
Sukiyaki – You get to cook this dish at the table yourself. You’ll not soon forget the delicious taste of thin slices of beef served with veggies and raw egg.
Rice snacks – These also can be purchased internationally, but are often westernized for sale around the world. Now is your chance to try the real thing.