Adventures in Japan? Onegaishimasu – yes please!
We may be on the edge of the same ocean, but in many ways, Japan and New Zealand are worlds apart. Whatever kind of traveller you are – whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation or urban exploration – there’s something for everyone in the Land of the Rising Sun.
The first stop for most travellers is Tokyo – an 11-hour flight from New Zealand. You could easily spend your whole trip in this amazing capital city and never get bored – after all, the Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world.
If you want to get to know traditional Japanese culture and customs, look no further. Tokyo is home to the Imperial Palace, the main residence of Emperor Akihito and the imperial family, and it’s well worth a tour. Tokyo is also where sumo wrestling really took off, with the roots of current professional sumo tournaments dating back to 1684 at Tomioka Hachiman Shrine. You can visit a monument at this site – or to get amongst the action, go to a real sumo bout!
More keen on having your own action than watching others? Mount Fuji is a short trip from the centre of Tokyo – and climbing Fujisan is an unforgettable way to get up close and personal with Japan’s most famous landmark. You don’t need to have mountain climbing experience – just a reasonable level of fitness and appropriate hiking boots and gear. Make it a sunrise trek with an overnight stay in a mountain hut to really get the most from your adventure.
Not far from Tokyo is Kyoto – another bustling metropolis with amazing things to do and see. ‘Monkey Mountain’, or Iwatayama Monkey Park, is the place to go to get to know Japan’s snow monkeys, and Arashiyama boasts some amazing bamboo forests to take a hike through. It’s a surefire way to feel like you’re in a completely different world.
Get your zen on
Kyoto is the home of the famous zen garden tradition, and there are some beautiful places to wander and reflect, especially if you’ve had a busy day of adventures and activities. There are also many different onsen, or hot spring baths around Kyoto, with Kurama Onsen and Tenzan-no-yu Onsen among the best on offer.
Beyond the tourist hubs
With the world’s biggest rugby event scheduled to take place across the country in 2019, there’s more reason than ever for Kiwi travellers to get to Japan for an incredible cultural experience alongside cheering on our boys in black. It’s also an awesome opportunity to get to know some spots in the country beyond the more standard tourist destinations.
You’ll soon recognise the Sapporo Dome, in the city of Sapporo on Hokkaido. It’s a major snow sports mecca – so if you’re keen on getting some time on the slopes while you’re in Japan, this is definitely the place to be! Unsurprisingly, it’s also where Sapporo beer comes from – so why not down a brew or two while you’re here?
There’s a tonne to do and see in Japan, and some of you will get to check it out sooner rather than later. As part of the new Ideal Electrical rewards system and travel club, there is a group trip to Japan coming up. So if you’re feeling like you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and need to nip over to Nippon, get those points racking up!