For many of us, Japan represents a parallel universe of cultural remoteness and a window into a different world.

It is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating, unique and diverse places on earth. A country where soaring buildings and neon cyberworld meet ancient forests, sacred volcanoes and pink cherry blossoms. The key is being informed and knowing exactly what’s available (and there is plenty!) to create an epic trip with your allocated time.

Forward-thinking Tokyo stuns with its futuristic architecture, high-speed railway system, other-worldly fashion scene of Harajuku, world-class city hotels and exquisite dining. Anyone with an interest in urban design will love exploring the city’s architecture alongside a specialist private guide. But there are also some rather unusual experiences, including a traditional tea ceremony, the art of calligraphy, attending a sumo tournament or spending an evening with a sake expert.

Hokkaido can be reached by flight or bullet train. A region of immense snowfall due to the combination of warmth from the Sea of Japan and winds from Siberia. We have full chapter and verse on how best to ski or snowboard from this region.

Kyoto, the heart of traditional Japan, with an incredible seventeen World Heritage Sites. There’s a great food scene here and our local contacts take guests behind the shop fronts to meet sake brewers, miso makers, confectioners, tea connoisseurs, and masters of pickling, preservation and umami. The city is also a good place to witness the Geisha tradition and gain basic insight into the dedication and craft of this ancient lifestyle and art form.

Ishikawa is a wonderful place to explore Japanese heritage, including the Geisha and Samurai traditions, as well as offering Ryokan hospitality at its warmest. While the unique island of Naoshima, best explored by bicycle, is a “must” for lovers of art and architecture with some beautiful lookout points over the Seto Inland Sea.

For the truly adventurous at heart, Shikoku is utterly magical for its scenery, particularly the remote, mountainous Iya Valley, known as one of Japan’s “hidden regions”. Ritsurin Garden is one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan and there is also the opportunity to visit a bonsai master and learn about the Japanese art of growing and training these miniature trees in their pots.

If Japan is on your radar for 2023, now is the time to lock down dates and ensure you have the top accommodations, restaurant tables and specialist private guides (genuine masters in their fields). Believe us, the best of Japan books up well in advance so we urge you not to delay.