Japan is a wonderful blend of ancient history and the latest technological innovation. Beautiful ancient temples are found near modern skyscrapers and dizzying lights. Meticulously maintained gardens, high-speed trains, mountains and sometimes eccentric culture create a fascinating society that has evolved over thousands of years. Visitors to Japan will never want something new or interesting to explore.
The majority of visitors will arrive at one of the two international airports in Japan, Narita Airport in Tokyo and Kansai Airport in Osaka. From there it is possible to take domestic flights to other regions or to travel by train, rental car or coach. The Japanese rail network is excellent and reliable, making it one of the best ways to travel across the country. It houses the world's first high-speed train, the high-speed train. There is a special Japan Rail Pass for tourists which allows you to travel by train for up to three weeks at an excellent value for money. It is important to note that the pass must be purchased in advance before arriving in Japan and that there are some restrictions, but not many. The cheapest way to travel is by bus, known as the kosoku bus.
Japan has distinct seasons, which makes it ideal for visiting at any time of the year. Spring in Japan is famous for the beautiful cherry blossoms. Summer can get very hot and humid, but the mountains offer fantastic escapes and this is the time of year when many festivals take place. Autumn brings the fiery fire of the foliage. In winter, the mountains and northern Japan offer good skiing. The south and pacific coast is milder than other parts of the country. This time of year is the perfect time to explore Japan's hot springs, the best of which are found in Tohoku, the northernmost region of the main island.
Japan has a lot of accommodation options available in Western and Japanese styles and catering to different budgets. For a truly Japanese experience, try spending at least one night in a Ryokan. These Japanese inns almost always include breakfast and dinner. Another good way to live a Japanese-style life is guest rooms. Western style hotels are common with many familiar names across the country. Budget travelers will find hundreds of hostels to suit their needs. One of the most unique options is to stay in a Japanese temple and participate in the morning Buddhist prayers.
Japan has enough attractions to fill many guides. It has forests, gardens, hot springs, mountains, the sea, museums, shrines, temples and much more. The temples are found in all parts of Japan and are fine examples of traditional architecture. Some temples still function as Buddhist monasteries and are home to sacred shrines. Some of the most beautiful temples are Takkoku no Iwaya, Motsuji Temple, Yamadera, Sensoji Temple, Kokedera and Ankokuronji Temple. Marine lovers and families will appreciate Japan's incredible aquariums, such as Aquamarine Fukushima and Churaumi Aquarium, arguably the more spectacular of two aquariums in Japan.
Even though Japan is known for its mega and ultra modern cities, it is also rich in nature to explore. Cherry blossoms are one of the biggest attractions in the country and the most famous plants. The best time of year to see them is in early April. Popular viewing spots are Chidorigafuchi in Tokyo's Kitanomaru Park, Sankeien Garden, Chureito Pagoda and Hikone Castle. There are several national parks where visitors can explore spectacular landscapes and hiking trails. One of the best places to see the colors of fall is the Daisetsuzen National Park. For hot springs, head to Towada Hachimantai National Park.