Picture this: sunlight filtering through bamboo forests, steam rising from a bowl of fragrant ramen, high-speed bullet trains gliding past snowcapped mountains, and neon-soaked cities just waiting to be explored. It’s no wonder that Japan travel has been increasingly popular—the entire country is an enchanting feast for the senses, and you can indulge them all when you join us on one of our Japan tours in 2024.
We recently voted Japan one of the best places to travel to in 2024, making now the ideal time to book your 2024 Japan tour. So, what is Japan known for that makes it such a popular travel destination? Read on to find out.
1. The delicate and balanced cuisine
We think that one of the best things to do in Japan is to enjoy as much fresh, authentic cuisine as possible. Whether you stroll through seafood markets in Tokyo in search of adventurous eats, sit down for a traditional dinner with your tourmates, or take an authentic cooking class, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to savor local flavors when you join us on a trip to Japan. “I loved the included meals that presented authentic Japanese cuisine,” said traveler Marie after returning from our Cherry Blossoms in Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto tour.
Here are some of the best foods to savor when you visit Japan:
- Ramen. If you’re looking for comfort food on your trip to Japan, it doesn’t get much better than ramen. Take a tip from our guide to ramen noodles and slurp away—some Japanese locals might consider it impolite not to!
- Takoyaki. These fried octopus balls are tasty treats to eat at Japan’s many seafood markets—some of the best places to visit in Japan.
- Kobe beef. This delicacy is known as some of the most tender beef in the world. Join the Kobe Beef Dinner excursion offered on the extension of our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour to taste it from the source—it’s one of the best things to do in Kobe, Japan.
- Sake. Visit a sake museum on the Kobe extension of our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour to taste and learn about the fermented rice alcohol, considered to be Japan’s signature drink.
2. The diverse and vibrant culture
One of the beautiful things about a multifaceted culture that spans centuries is that there really is something for everyone in Japan—and you can experience it all when you visit Japan with us.
We think that many of the best things to do in Japan involve diving in and experiencing the culture firsthand. Try out these traveler-favorite activities:
- Join a guided Zen meditation session when you tour a Buddhist temple in Kyoto on our Japan: Kyoto, the Japanese Alps & Tokyo tour.
- Sing your heart out at the Tokyo Dinner & Karaoke excursion on our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour.
- Learn to make matcha like a local at a traditional tea ceremony, then spend the rest of your afternoon strolling through the colorful streets of Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku neighborhood.
“I enjoyed the Zen meditation at a local Buddhist temple,” said traveler Sandra after taking our Japan: Kyoto, the Japanese Alps & Tokyo tour, while traveler Jane enjoyed the sushi-making class offered on our Highlights of Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto tour, calling it, “a delightful and delicious cultural and culinary experience.”
3. The natural beauty
There are few things more magical than gazing upon the inspiring Mount Fuji or seeing Japan’s cherry blossoms in full bloom. When it comes to natural beauty, Japan has it in spades. The country’s ever-changing landscape shines in every season—from the sunset-colored autumn leaves to the snowcapped Alps in winter to the cotton candy cherry blossoms that greet each spring.
“I’ll always remember the abundance of cherry blossoms as well as the experience of seeing Mount Fuji after a snowstorm when the skies were perfectly clear,” said traveler Michael after joining us on our Cherry Blossoms in Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto tour.
When you set off on a tour of Japan, hike around Kamikōchi (one of the most beautiful places in the Japanese Alps), spot the changing leaves at Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion, or watch sacred deer roam through Nara Park. If you’d like to try your hand at the Japanese art of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, we recommend a stroll through a tranquil bamboo grove on the Arashiyama District & Okoshi Sanso Garden excursion offered on our Japan: Kyoto, the Japanese Alps & Tokyo tour.
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4. The rich history and architecture
Japan is a country with a long and continuous national heritage, and learning about the history and culture is among the top experiences to have on a trip to Japan.
Some of the top places in Japan to dig into the country’s past and admire the architecture are:
- Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. It’s home to memorials and a museum reflecting on the city’s infamous bombing during World War II.
- Himeji Castle. Japan’s best-preserved (and largest) feudal castle is one of the best places to visit in Japan.
- Fushimi Inari. This Shinto shrine is famous for its thousands of red Torii gates—you may even recognize it from the 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha.
- Senso-ji. This is the oldest temple in the country and one of the must-see temples to visit on a trip to Japan.
- Kobe Port Tower. Don’t miss this bright red, hourglass-shaped tower, which is modeled after a traditional kabuki hand drum known as a tsuzumi.
- Itsukushima Shrine. This UNESCO-listed Shinto shrine is known for its “floating” orange Torii gate, which is surrounded by water at high tide.
5. Its proximity to South Korea
Japan tourism isn’t the only thing that’s on the rise—South Korea is near the top of our list of must-see travel destinations for 2024, and its close proximity to Japan makes a multi-country trip possible. Join us on our South Korea & Japan: Seoul to Tokyo tour to hop between these two gorgeous, welcoming countries.
Both countries feature stunning natural landscapes and bustling cities that seamlessly blend the historical with the futuristic, but they each foster unique cultures and customs. Adding a visit to South Korea to your Japan travel itinerary is the perfect way to learn about this neighboring country’s similarities and differences.
6. It’s great for solo travelers
Japan is one of the best places to travel solo, in part because the country has a long-standing history of embracing solo travel and recreation. Solo exploration, hobbies, and dining are very common in Japan, so you can feel confident about visiting a museum or grabbing a seat for dinner alone—and don’t worry about the language barrier. When you join us on a guided tour of Japan, your expert Tour Director will be there every step of the way to help with logistics and translation.
Join us on our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour to explore Japan alongside other solo travelers. We’ll take you to some of the best places to visit in Japan, where you’ll have ample opportunities to forge new friendships and find serene moments of reflection. Get a sneak-peek at all the unforgettable experiences in our Japan solo traveler’s guide.
“I made the decision to have my first international trip by myself to Japan, and it was the absolute best decision that I made!” said traveler Rebekah after returning from our Japan: Kyoto, the Japanese Alps & Tokyo tour. “I absolutely recommend this trip to anyone who wants to visit Japan.”