For a relatively small country, Japan holds its own against its neighbors. Packing a lot into its 142,000 square miles, you will find the perfect blend of history, nature, and culture.
Are you planning a trip to Japan? Here are five memorable travel experiences you will find there:
1. Mount Fuji
One of the most iconic landmarks in Japan – and a UNESCO World Heritage site – Mount Fuji should be at the top of your list.
An inactive volcano, it's Japan's tallest mountain – and you can see it from various spots around the region.
Lake Kawaguchiko is one of our favorites. It's accessible, picturesque – and the reflection of Mount Fuji in the water will take your breath away.
It's also possible to climb Mount Fuji. If this is something that appeals to you, make sure you plan your trip for July or August when conditions are safest. Many people choose to climb during the night, so they can witness the sunrise from the peak.
2. Snow Monkeys
The Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park is one of Japan's most popular tourist destinations. It's in Nagano – around three hours on the train from Tokyo – close to the ski resorts of the Japanese Alps.
Here, you will find the famous Japanese Snow Monkeys. And where else in the world can you see macaques bathing in hot springs? The answer – nowhere.
3. Kyoto's Temples
When you think about a trip to Japan, do you picture temples surrounded by cherry blossom trees? If you do, it's likely you've seen the images of Kyoto's temples in spring.
There are more than 1,600 temples in Kyoto – so it pays to research them before you head to the region.
If you want to see the cherry blossoms, we recommend heading to Ninnaji Temple. Here, you can see its famous five-story pagoda, surrounded by blooming cherry trees. As these are late-blooming trees, the best time to visit is mid-April.
4. Bullet Trains
The bullet train isn't necessarily a reason to visit Japan in itself, but it's certainly an experience once you get there.
They are one of the fastest (and most efficient) ways to experience Japan. As the train network covers the whole country and travels at a speed of up to 199mph, it's easy to get around.
5. Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle is another of Japan's most famous landmarks. It's one of the oldest, and best-preserved, historical landmarks in the country. It has survived many wars and earthquakes and has been standing in its current form for over 400 years.
If you're interested in history or architecture, a visit to this world heritage site will be an experience you won't forget in a hurry. In fact, UNESCO described it as being the "finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture”.
Another place to view Japan's famous cherry blossoms the best time to visit is in April – but you should be aware this is also the busiest time to visit. Make sure you put aside enough time for your visit in April – it's not unusual for tickets to the main keep to be limited this time of year.