As a seasoned expert in Japanese culture and custom my specialty is helping travellers who believe that travel is about a unique and memorable experience.
Whether travelling for work or pleasure I seasonally travel to Japan and have a treasure trove of secrets to share. This week I am delighted to share my top ten bucket list.
- LIVE IN THE LUXURY OF A TOKYO HOTEL
Whether Lost in Translation at the Park Hyatt Tokyo (made famous in Sofia Coppola’s marvellous movie) or one of Tokyo’s other luxury hotels including Aman Tokyo, Andaz, Conrad Tokyo or the Ritz Carlton the electric lights of Tokyo will mesmerise and deliver a perfect introduction to a enlivened Tokyo experience.
- REVEL IN RAMEN
From Fukuoka in the far west, to Sapporo in the far north a Ramen dining experience is always high in dining demand. Consult with Plan Japan to find the underground secrets of Ramen known only by locals tried and tested from a seasoned western dining darling.
- VISIT THE BEAUTY OF KYOTO’S BAMBOO
The perfect half day trip while in Kyoto on the city’s western outskirts is the home to Zen temples and Coyote’s iconic bamboo forest. As the ancient capital from 1200 years ago the Japanese see Kyoto as the cultural heart of the country and a trip to visit the bristling beauty of this bamboo forrest is a must see.
- RIDE THE BULLET TRAIN
The Bullet train is almost the best way to travel the length and breadth of the Japan mainland. A ride along the shinkansen racing rails takes travellers from Tokyo to Kyoto at speeds of 250km. And makes the 500km journey in just 138 minutes!
Before hopping on the train pick up a delicious seasonal bento and a bottle of sake (eating and drinking on the train is a national tradition), and enjoy the magical landscapes as it bullets by.
- ONSEN (HOT SPRINGS) IN WINTER
Experiencing snow falls in hot spring is perhaps one of Japan’s most magical experiences. It makes braving the cold all the more worthwhile. Combined with a stay in a traditional ryokan (Japanese-style inn) you have all the makings of an unforgettable trip.
- SEE THE SNOW MONKEY’S SOAK IN HOT SPRINGS
After experiencing the beauty and heat of the springs Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys, warm up in natural hot springs which offer a truly rare natural experience of how these cute creatures make a home in Japan’s winter wonderland.
- SKI THE PEAK’S
The best resorts and snow conditions are found in northern Japan (Hokkaido and Tohoku) and in the mountains along the Sea of Japan Coast (especially Niigata and Nagano). You can even be on the ski fields within an hour from leaving Tokyo’s Shinjuku station. Japan offers envious conditions to enjoy the explosion of powder which is part of a memorable winter experience.
- LIVE THE JAPANESE NIGHTLIFE
Whether you’re enjoying craft cocktails at a tiny bar, drinking with locals at a casual tachinomiya (stand bar), singing all-night karaoke, or catching the show at Robot Restaurant Japan has some of the most varied and entertaining nightlife in the world. At Plan japan we can help you discover the wonderful underground bar experiences through my network and experience as a cultural guide and translator.
- SEE THE SUMO
Attend an asageiko session and see just how physical and perhaps surprisingly technical sumo training can be. We can help you get there as calling ahead is a necessity by a Japanese speaker.
- CHERISH THE CHERRY’S IN BLOSSOM
Hanami season is arguably the most magical time of year in Japan. The country is covered in pink blossoms, and parks and gardens are filled with revellers celebrating over sake and seasonal bentos. Ask us how to book well in advance. Sight-seeing tours fill up sooner than the average traveller thinks.
We will revise our top ten list of Japanese must see marvels every month, this is just the start of what Japan can offer. I look forward sharing much more with you.
As a cultural guide and Japanese translator I can plan for the best itinerary during any one of Japan’s exciting seasons. I look forward to unlocking a treasure trove of travel secrets that can create a masterful experience for work and pleasure, alike.