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Introducing Japan

An ancient way of life fuses with modern society in this bustling and iconic travel destination. Travelers fall in love (or renew their vows) with Japanese food and astonishing scenery of this mountainous archipelago dotted with modern cities.

When is the best time to visit?
Late spring and early autumn have traditionally been considered the best times to visit Japan, but more and more travelers are seeking trips to this mountainous county in the winter to take advantage of its snowy season. Skiers and snowboarders are flocking to Japan in December through March in search of the powdery, light snow the region is increasingly known for.

Where to go in Japan?
The possibilities are endless. Night owls will love the 24-hour food and drinking scene of bustling city centers like Tokyo and Osaka, older cities that are embracing the new with plenty of flair and energy. Rural travelers will enjoy the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shiretoko National Park in the mountains of Hokkaidō and the balmy subtropical islands of Okinawa.

How many days do I need?
Since there is so much to do in Japan and travel within the country via the high-speed bullet trains is so easy, visitors can opt for trips of any duration. To do any justice to this amazing country, spend at least a week and ideally up to three.

Getting Around Japan
Most visitors to Japan fly into one of Tokyo's two airports, Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport (Tokyo International). Trains connect both airports to downtown Tokyo, and from there, extensive and efficient rail networks carry passengers to destinations on Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Learn more

Japan Tours & Itineraries

Get inspired by trips other travelers have loved
Hike Japan's Nakasendo Trail - 5 Days
Hike Japan's Nakasendo Trail - 5 Days

Step back in time and immerse yourself in nature on this five-day hiking trip along the historic Nakasendo Trail. Feudal lords and samurai once walked this mountain path connecting Kyoto and Tokyo, stopping at some of the historic 69 post stations to rest for the night. You'll follow in their footsteps as you trek through picturesque valleys, stay in idyllic villages, and relax in the thermal waters of hot springs along the way.

The full Kumano Kodo experience
Map of Hiking Japan's Kumano Kodo - 11 Days
Hiking Japan's Kumano Kodo - 11 Days

Get off the beaten path and onto the Kumano Kodo, a network of ancient pilgrimage trails in the remote Kii Peninsula. Trek to grand shrines, thermal hot springs, and the sacred Mount Koya, one of the most important sites in Buddhism. This self-guided trip is great for those looking to challenge themselves with full-day hikes through hilly terrain. You'll be rewarded, however, with unforgettable experiences as you follow in the footsteps of emperors.

The original paved stones of the old Nakasendo trail in central mountainous Japan
Map of Self-Guided Walking Tour on the Nakasendo Trail - 10 Days
Self-Guided Walking Tour on the Nakasendo Trail - 10 Days

Take a walk through time on this 10-day self-guided tour of the Nakasendo Trail, part of feudal Japan's original network of highways. Travelers on the mountain path between Kyoto and Tokyo took several days to travel the distance, staying overnight in Juku post towns. You'll retrace their footsteps as you travel through serene forests, stay in historically preserved local inns by night, and explore the vibrant cities of Kyoto and Tokyo.

The wonderful Nakahechi route
Map of Kumano Kodo Self-Guided Tour - 6 Days
Kumano Kodo Self-Guided Tour - 6 Days

Get ready for an unforgettable village-to-village trek on the Kii Peninsula along sections of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail. Perfect for avid hikers, this self-guided tour will take you past thermal hot springs, grand shrines, and waterfalls as you walk in the footsteps of emperors.

The torii gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto
Map of Classic Highlights of Japan - 14 Days
Classic Highlights of Japan - 14 Days

On this two-week journey to the four corners of Japan's main island, Honshu, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy its unmissable attractions. You'll visit sacred temples and shrines, go bike riding through the countryside, and roam around the capital's most famous neighborhoods. From the modern cities of Tokyo and Hiroshima to the island of Miyajima, the wonders of ancient Kyoto and beyond, there is so much to see, taste, and discover.

Kyoto, Japan
Map of Japan's Culinary Heritage - 11 Days
Japan's Culinary Heritage - 11 Days

Eat your way through the Land of the Rising Sun on this immersive culinary tour. Get to know Japanese history and culture through its legendary cuisine, and treat your taste buds to everything from home-brewed sake to the freshest sushi, to delectable street food and a fancy gourmet feast.

Japan Travel Essentials

All you need to know to get started planning the perfect trip
Brilliant momiji maple at Nanzenji, Kyoto in late November
Best Time To Visit Japan

Japan is famous for its Spring cherry blossoms and its changing colors in Autumn, but there are beautiful places to see in every season. Japan stretches from subtropical...

Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto
Essential Japan: Top 10 Things to Do & See

Crescent-shaped islands surrounded by deep blue sea, Japan has everything from Buddhist temples to great beaches. Home to both a robot restaurant and an ancient rainforest, it's...

Iriomote Island, Okinawa (© Yuri Awanohara)
Guide to Japan's Main Regions

Japan is roughly the size of California, with thousands of islands offering a huge variety of things to see and do. You can experience some of the world's best powder skiing in...

Japan Travel Advice

Read our detailed insights to make sure you have the best trip

Our Latest Japan Content

The Kiyomizu-dera temple overlooking Kyoto's skyline.
Map of Japan's Big Four: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka & Hiroshima - 10 Days
Japan's Big Four: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka & Hiroshima - 10 Days

This diverse 10-day itinerary focuses on Japan's four major cities. Start in Tokyo, exploring the city's modern and ancient charms, before heading to traditional Kyoto, trendy Osaka, and inspiring Hiroshima. In between, you'll visit magical islands and bamboo forests, sample local cuisine, and experience the culture of four fascinating regions. 

Torii gate at Lake Ashi, Hakone.
Highlights of Japan: Cities, Mountains & Temples - 14 days

This two-week itinerary takes you on a whirlwind tour through Japan's greatest highlights. Walk the streets of hyper-modern Tokyo and Osaka, hike to a sacred Buddhist monastery at Koyasan, soak in hot springs under Mount Fiji, and step back in time in historic Kyoto. From ancient temples to futuristic art shows, vibrant cities to secluded mountaintops, you'll experience a little bit of everything on this adventurous journey.

Shinjuku
Japan in October: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

October is, arguably, the best month to travel to Japan (although this will depend on what you want to experience!). Temperatures in most places are still warm, but the intense humidity and increased rainfall of summer has subsided. Autumn leaves begin appearing at higher elevations and more northern latitudes. Here are some important things to know about traveling to Japan in October.

Japan Travel Maps

Get the lay of land, and understand distances between the places you want to visit
Guide to Japan's Main Regions
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How to Spend 3 Days on Okinawa
View article
Hiking Japan's Kumano Kodo - 11 Days
View article

Meet our Local Travel Specialists

Experienced travel agents with a passion for Japan
Travel specialist Gibwa Cole
active 4 hours ago

Gibwa Cole

I grew up in South Africa, but my parents were originally from Britain and Uganda, which made our family a bit of an anomaly in post-apartheid South Africa. Being mixed and receiving exposure to...

read more...
Travel specialist Jeff Aasgaard
active 8 hours ago

Jeff Aasgaard

I first moved to Japan when my dad was transferred to Hiroshima, this experience changed my life. When I returned to the US I finished my degree and changed my major international business which...

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Travel specialist Alan Williams
active 1 day ago

Alan Williams

I want to provide you with the best experience that you can possibly have while in Japan. My aim to help you dive deep into the culture and to see Japan from every angle. From its high-speed,...

read more...
Travel specialist Kanata Ide
active 22 mins ago

Kanata Ide

Hi, I'm Kanata Ide, and I am a Japanese American who has relocated to Japan. I currently live in Kyoto and I have been off the beaten path all around Japan. I hope to share the knowledge I have...

read more...

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Trip Reviews for Japan

The latest reviews by travelers who booked their trip on kimkim

Best trip ever because of Kimkim · Japan - Oct 24 - Oct 28, 2019

Traveler: Candyce K. - Local specialist: Patrick Marsh

I cannot begin to write a review that can give my friends and my experience traversing the Nakasendo Trail in Japan. I think a large part of this amazing time was the service provided by Kimkim and the team. We did not use a guide but honestly, this group is so organized, they gave us almost step by step instructions on how to hike the trail, going to far as to provide pictures of junctures so that we could not get lost even if we tried.
All our train tickets, itinerary and inn... read more

I cannot begin to write a review that can give my friends and my experience traversing the Nakasendo Trail in Japan. I think a large part of this amazing time was the service provided by Kimkim and the team. We did not use a guide but honestly, this group is so organized, they gave us almost step by step instructions on how to hike the trail, going to far as to provide pictures of junctures so that we could not get lost even if we tried.
All our train tickets, itinerary and inn reservations (including food restrictions) were all handled ahead of time with no necessary added work on our part. In fact, due to the typhoon that occurred just prior to our trip, a Kimkim agent came to our inn with updated instructions and amended train tickets to accommodate the change in plans due to problems on the trail. I have never, never experienced such service in my life.
This is what I would say, if anyone is considering walking the Nakasendo Trail, please trust your trip to Kimkim. Yes, you can do it yourself, and yes it might cost to give it over to this company. However for peace of mind and even looking back on it now, it was the smartest move and the best money I have ever spent on a trip.

peter

A very well thought out trip · Japan - Sep 26 - Oct 14, 2019

Traveler: peter e. - Local specialist: Jeff Aasgaard

A very well thought out trip working around 2 Rugby world cup matches which inevitably constrained the itinerary to a degree. The information provided before and during the trip was excellent and where we had guides they were very good, it was nice to be met at the airport and talked through using the train system and to set up our japan rail pass. We became confident in using the transport systems much more quickly than we would have left to our own devices.
Hotel choices were well judged... read more

A very well thought out trip working around 2 Rugby world cup matches which inevitably constrained the itinerary to a degree. The information provided before and during the trip was excellent and where we had guides they were very good, it was nice to be met at the airport and talked through using the train system and to set up our japan rail pass. We became confident in using the transport systems much more quickly than we would have left to our own devices.
Hotel choices were well judged with great locations and were a better standard than I expected for the cost of the tour. We took up a couple of suggestions that we wouldn't normally have gone for and were glad that we did - the evening guided food and drink tour in Osaka was particularly memorable.
We started with a few days in Tokyo then travelled down to Hiroshima and over to Miyajima Island - that was a highlight despite the iconic Tori gate being covered in scaffolding. We then got the train back up to Kyoto where we were based for 4 nights, as well as visiting numerous sites here we also did day trips to Nara - must visit, loved the deer and Himeji castle where we were shown round by a volunteer guide - these were available at numerous sites and very knowledgeable.
The station hotel in Kyoto was probably our favourite in Japan - great rooms, facilities and location and good restaurant recommendations by the concierge.
Next we went back to Tokyo for 3 days and met up with some friends for a couple of days watching England beat Argentina, visiting the robot restaurant and going on a bar/restaurant crawl, we also really enjoyed the team labs borderless digital art gallery.
From Tokyo we did a loop through the mountains first to Kanazawa, we then stopped at the world heritage site village of Shirakiwa-go in the mountains on the way to Takayama. We stayed for 2 nights in a ryokan in Takayama to coincide with the autumn festival - a lovely town and great experience. From here we got the bus to Matsumoto where we visited the castle and art museum.
Our last stop on the trip was Yokohama - very near Tokyo but quite a different feel with a very interesting waterfront. Unfortunately the England v France match was cancelled as Typhoon hagibis passed through on the saturday - it was eerie spending a day in the hotel with everything shut down.
The weather was beautiful the next morning and we managed to get tickets to watch Japan beat Scotland - a memorable last night in Japan before our flight home next morning.

Jeff Aasgaard profile photo
Jeff Aasgaard, local specialist, responded to this review:

Peter,

I was so happy to read your very kind review and to see all of the photos you took. I am glad you had a wonderful time and even tried a few new activities like the evening tour in Osaka.

I hope that you are able to return to Japan and will contact us again.

Thank you,
Jeff Aasgaard

Kumano Kodo - Do it! · Japan - Oct 7 - Oct 17, 2019

Traveler: Emily S. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

Carrick was integral in making this trip happen! From booking the travel and accommodations, to answering questions, to helping me be as flexible as possible, there was no way I could have done the Kumano Kodo without her help. Through Carrick, I was able to do not only the Nakahechi Route, but the lesser traveled and (I think) more rewarding Kohechi Route. Even when things went slightly awry, their English speaking support team was able to help me work through any missed connections. I fully recommend her, Oku Japan, and their services via KimKim! Thank you for making my trip so amazing.