Where else in the world do you get a culture that is
still deeply rooted to its traditional culture and customs with
genteel Geisha girls, the annual Cherry blossom festival and
ancient shrines and temples? Yet is home to a zany youth culture
and leads the way globally in electronic games - the Nintendo Game
Boy no less - and everything, literally, seems to be dispensed by
Unknown to most, Japan is not just one island but rather
an island archipelago that stretches off the coast from China,
Russia and Korea. These islands are densely populated and dotted
with neon-lit cities. The brightest is Japan's capital, Tokyo.
What a city this is. Its influence is felt the world over, setting
fashion, food and architectural trends.
A must whilst in Tokyo is to view the parade of Harajuku
fashion. Here you will see Japanese youth dressed up as everything
from Hello Kitty to a French Maid and beyond. It is best
visited on a Sunday and ironically it is situated right next to the
stunningly peaceful Meiji Jingu shrine.
Many go to Tokyo for the shopping. The city is defined
into distinct shopping areas. Shibuya is a pulsating mass of
humanity all eager to purchase something at the birthplace of
Japan's fashion and entertainment trends. The area is home to a lot
of Japanese 'love' hotels. For luxury brands housed in
architecturally cutting edge buildings, head to Ginza and for
nightlife venture to Roppongi.
The most traditional of cities in Japan is Kyoto. With
patience you may glimpse traditional Geisha woman fleeting into
wooden doorways, courtyards filled with smooth, groomed pebble
stones and romantic bamboo groves. It is also in Kyoto that there
is the most famous Cherry Blossom Festival. It is not hard to get
your fill of culture in Kyoto as it has 17 UNESCO World Heritage
Sites, more than 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto
To escape the hustle and bustle of the cities visit the
revered 'Fuji-San', more commonly known as Mount Fuji. Its
distinctive shape and snow-covered cone has become an iconic symbol
of Japan and even better it can be climbed.
To really get a sense of the best of Japan here is our
favourite things to do: forget the price and enjoy a martini at the
'Lost in Translation Bar' at the Park Hyatt; shrug of your prudery
and enjoy a traditional Japanese stone bath; delight in the best
Sushi you will ever enjoy; and ride the Tokyo subway and the
shinkansen, or the 170mph bullet train.