When you think of Japan what do you picture? Do you picture the bright neon lights of Tokyo? The snow covered cap of Mount Fuji? Incredible sushi? Or the rolling green hills of the countryside?
Japan is all of these things and more, which means there is a hell of a lot to see in usually not a lot of time. So how do you plan a trip to Japan for one week? Prioritise. Out of all of those images you have of this beautiful and diverse country which are you itching to see and discover the most?
Ok lets help narrow this down – as most international flights have to touch down in Tokyo you should definitely take the time to stop here for a few days and explore this enigmatic capital city. I’m not going to lie you could probably spend a whole week in Tokyo and still not have done everything you want to – the city is huge! However, it’s always nice to fit in a few other destinations too.
From Tokyo there are a few day trips you can do, which you could also extend to overnight stays. Here are some for inspiration:
- Fuji Five Lakes
- Kusatsu Onsen
If skiing is on your agenda and you are visiting in season (mid December – early April) Gala Yuzawa is only an 80-minute Shinkansen train ride away from Tokyo. The Shinkansen station is even situated at the base of the resort so it is popular for weekend getaways and day trips from the hustle of Tokyo.
Kyoto is also a wonderful city to visit and is only a 2 hour Shinkansen (bullet) train south of Tokyo. I visited this city last April in Sakura (cherry blossom) season and despite some unseasonably cold weather it was beautiful. Highlights that you cannot miss when visiting here are:
- The winding and cobbled historic streets of Gion
- The gardens at Arashiyama and the Bamboo Grove
- The 10,000 Tori gates at Fushimi-Inari Shrine
- Stay at an authentic Ryokan to experience quintessential Japanese hospitality – we stayed at Yoshikawa Inn and it was probably one of the best places we have ever experienced for its understated luxury and attention to detail.