When to go

The best time for a safari in Kenya is one of the dry seasons, between June and October as well as January and February.  The famous wildebeest herds are in the Maasai Mara in September and October.

African Masai in Traditional Dress

Travel to

japan

Japan is a study in contrasts between traditional and modern. Large bustling cities like Tokyo are only a short journey from traditional villages. Pop culture exists next to the grace of a geisha, bullet trains next to the spare beauty of a Zen rock garden. There is temple-rich Kyoto, beautified by cherry blossoms and fall colours; there are walks in the Japanese Alps and on pilgrim trails, followed by a long soak in a classic Japanese bath; there are stays at ryokans (traditional inns); and there is the food, made of the freshest of ingredients. This is Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun.

When

Best time to go to

japan

Places

Best places to go in

japan

Experiences

Key experiences in

japan

Itineraries

Best tours in

japan

Best time to Travel to 

japan

Japan is a study in contrasts between traditional and modern. Large bustling cities like Tokyo are only a short journey from traditional villages. Pop culture exists next to the grace of a geisha, bullet trains next to the spare beauty of a Zen rock garden. There is temple-rich Kyoto, beautified by cherry blossoms and fall colours; there are walks in the Japanese Alps and on pilgrim trails, followed by a long soak in a classic Japanese bath; there are stays at ryokans (traditional inns); and there is the food, made of the freshest of ingredients. This is Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun.

Must-See Places in 

japan

Signature Experiences in

japan


Tokyo

The neon-lit streetscapes of the capital form the archetypical image of Japan - a modern city rushing headlong into the future.  From the hustle and bustle of Tsukiji Market to the excellent restaurants serving delicious sushi, this is one hyperactive city you must experience.  Beyond the main streets you will find quiet alleys, immaculately tended gardens, wooden shanty bars, raucous festivals and peaceful neighbourhood shrines.

Nikko
The pilgrim town of Nikko, just north of Tokyo, is home to the World Heritage-listed Tosho-gu shrine complex and a host of lesser-known temples, all set among hilly woodlands.

Hakone
Located around a lake, the town of Hakone is home to a torii gate which rises from the waters with Mt. Fuji in the background.  The town with its quiet onsen (public baths) and ryokans (traditional inns) is a blissful escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

Japanese Alps
Craggy peaks, babbling streams and ancient forests are  hallmarks of the Japanese Alps, where Kamikochi is a popular hiking and mountain climbing resort.  Takayama is a compact atmospheric town set along a pretty river, and home to a wealth of galleries, museums, old merchant houses and serene temples. 

Kyoto
Quiet Buddhist temples as old as time, beautiful gardens of every imaginable size and description, ancient palaces and shrines: Kyoto is the Japan of yesteryear and the culinary centre of the country. Wooden sandals hurry down streets lined with traditional wooden houses, see the fleeting image of a geisha as she walks by a shrine surrounded by cherry blossom.

Nara
Second only to Kyoto in its rish heritage, home to the incredible Daibutsu (Great Buddha), the compact town of Nara is the ancient capital of Japan and the birthplace of Japanese civilization.

Koya-san
Japan’s holiest mountain hosts more than one hundred monasteries. Reached by a spectacular train journey and a vertigo-inducing cable car ride, the complex offers the chance to stay at a temple, where you can witness long-held traditions of Japanese religious life.

Himeji Castle
Recently renovated Himeji Castle is Japan's finest example of a feudal-era fortress. Nearby Koko-en is a series of nine meticulously reconstructed samurai houses with their beautiful interlinked traditional gardens.

Naoshima
The island of Naoshima offers some of Japan's best contemporary art, housed in several world-class art galleries and installations set in gorgeous natural surroundings.

Hiroshima
Millions of people visit the city of Hiroshima every year to pay their respect at the Peace Park and museum, commemorating the nuclear holocaust that took place here at the close of World War II.  Completely destroyed then, the city rose from its ashes to become a pleasant modern city with an old-world feel.

Miyajima
Just off the coast of Hiroshima, the island of Miyajima is one of Japan's most visited locations.  The vermilion torii (shrine gate) of Itsukushima-jinja stars in many photographs, as it seems to float on the waves during high tide.  Come early in the morning, or visit in the evening and enjoy the peaceful shrines and the tranquility of the parks filled with tame deer.

Yakushima & Kirishima-Yaku National Park
Ancient cedar trees, high peaks and subtropcial mossy rainforests form the backdrop for some great hikes on the island of Yakushima, just off the southern tip of Japan.

Tsukiji fish market Tokyo

Two million kilograms of fish are traded daily in this lively market. Get there early to witness the action at the tuna auctions.


Hiroshima - Peace Memorial Park and Museum

Being confronted with personal belongings of people that died in the nuclear holocaust of 1945 is a deeply moving experience.


Stay at a temple

Stay at a temple, interact with the monks that run the lodgings, learn about the customs of traditional Japanese accommodation. and experience long-held traditions of Japanese religious life.


Kaiseki-ryori, Japan’s haute cuisine

The crown of Japanese haute cuisine belongs to kaiseki-ryori, a meal with perfectly balanced flavours and textures, expertly presented and designed to appeal to all of the senses. Experience it in the restaurants and ryokan (inns) of Kyoto, Japan's cultural capital.


Climb Mt. Fuji

The picture-perfect volcanic cone of Mt. Fuji can be climbed in July and August. Most people undertake the tough hike from the end of the road halfway up and start at night so they can reach the summit at dawn after a hike of five to six hours.


Experience Kabuki

Japan's best-known traditional theater art, Kabuki plays are dramatic, with fantastic stage settings and gorgeous costumes.


Stay at a ryokan

Walk up through a bamboo grove to your ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. Your kimono-clad hostess will show you to your room, and serve a cup of hot green tea. Golden sliding doors decorated in ornate Japanese images open up to rooms where futons are spread out on wooden floors. Enjoy a meal of kaiseki-ryori, Japan’s haute cuisine, soak in a bath, relax and have the best sleep of your life.


Sumo

A finely tuned combination of brutal force and carefully controlled ritual, sumo wrestling is for many the archetypal Japanese experience. See the best wrestling tournaments in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.


Onsen, sento & rotemburo

Lying as it does in the Ring of Fire, Japan is extremely rich in geothermal pools (onsen). As a result, bathing has become a ritual, deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. Each town has its own sento (public bath), which is the place people come to meet, gossip, catch up and get a darn good scrubbing. And is there anything more gratifying than a dip in a rotemburo (outdoor bath) as the snow falls?


Drink sake

Japan's favourite tipple, sake, or rice wine, comes in many different forms and can be tasted at local breweries throughout the country. Find the best at breweries in Obuse, Takayama or Niigata, or try a variety at a Japanese-style pub, an izakaya.


Nightlife at Golden Gai

Behind Tokyo's neon-lit facades lies Golden Gai, a neighbourhood that is a jumble of tiny ramshackle, atmospheric bars, each with their own outlandish decor. Enjoy a drink standing shoulder to shoulder with locals: kanpai!


Visit a traditional garden

Miniature idealized landscapes form the backbone of the traditional Japanese garden. Visit rustic gardens with teahouses, a meditative Zen garden or stroll around one simply to enjoy the scenery.   Kanazawa is home to Kenroku-en, one of Japan’s best gardens.


Ride a bullet train

Over 50 years ago, the first shinkansen pulled out of Tokyo station and ever since nearly 6 billion people have enjoyed the 320 km/h ride.  Enjoy a bento box lunch, let a white-gloved conductor inspect your ticket, sit back and watch the landscape unfurl.  All aboard!


Hike the Nakasendo Way

The 3-hour hike between the two lovingly preserved old post towns of Tsumago to Magome, northeast of Nagoya, takes you through gorgeous countryside, along a stone-flagged twisting, craggy post road lined with tea houses and plaster and wooden buildings.

Suggested Tours

East African Wildlife Safari

 

Tour code: FEAW

 

Why we love this trip: Our best-selling safari visiting all major game parks in Kenya and Tanzania

 

Places visited: Nairobi, Samburu, Ol Pejeta, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara, Lake Victoria, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara,  Amboseli.

 

Signature Experiences: Lots of game drives, Great Migration, village visit, canoe trip, optional balloon safari

 

Length: 14 days

 

Accommodation: Safari lodges & luxury tented camps

 

Included meals: breakfast in Nairobi, all meals while on safari

 

Transport: Minivan & 4x4 Landcruiser

 

Departures: Set small-group dates and daily private departures

 

Customizable? Yes, price on request

 

Price: Small group departures priced from $3995(low season) - $5280(high season)

Kenya Wildlife Safari

 

Tour code: FKWS

 

Why we love this trip: This popular safari visits all major game parks in Kenya

 

Places visited: Nairobi, Samburu, Ol Pejeta, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara

 

Signature Experiences: Lots of game drives, Great Migration, village visit, optional balloon safari

 

Length: 8 days

 

Accommodation: Safari lodges & luxury tented camps

 

Included meals: breakfast in Nairobi, all meals while on safari

 

Transport: Minivan

 

Departures: Set small-group dates and daily private departures

 

Customizable? Yes, price on request

 

Price: Small group departures priced from $1995 (low season) - $2781(high season)

Gorillas & Maasai Mara

 

Tour code: EWYU

 

Why we love this trip: This popular safari visits major game parks in Kenya and offers gorilla tracking

 

Places visited: Nairobi, Lakes Naivasha & Nakuru, Maasai Mara, Jinja, Lake Bunyonyi, Volcanoes NP, Kigali

 

Signature Experiences: game drives, Great Migration, village visit, optional balloon safari, rafting, gorilla trek

 

Length: 16 days

 

Accommodation: full service camping in campsites, permanent tented camps, hotels

 

Included meals: 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 13 dinners

 

Transport: overland vehicle

 

Departures: set small-group dates

 

Customizable? Yes, we can tailor this in lodges and hotels - price on request

 

Price: Small group departures priced from $3910

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