Japan Holidays 

Japan is tailormade for ‘real’ travel. Whether you’re immersed in the cities that never seem to sleep, pottering through rural villages that rarely seem to wake, walking ancient trails or relaxing in hot spring resorts, your stay will be attended by unrivalled levels of customer service, comfort and cleanliness.

Much of Japan is connected by one of the world’s most effective railway systems - in Tokyo, you’ll find the starting station for the first ever bullet train and, as you might expect, the primary hub for an excellent rail network that can whisk you across the country’s four main islands in a matter of hours.

Japan has a reputation for fixating on the future, but this energetic curiosity is securely rooted by unbroken traditions that stretch back thousands of years. Much of the country's cultural heritage stems from nature, with colourful festivals that celebrate the seasons, and leisure that centres on bathing in volcanic hot springs and feeding the body and soul with excellent local food.

And yet, despite reminding us of our favourite samurai epics, this lifestyle is a modern reality. Hot spring resort Hakone might be a world away from Tokyo in terms of landscape and ambience, but it’s just an hour by train. The ancient city of Kyoto - UNESCO protected, 280 miles distant - is two hours and twenty. Hiroshima, increasingly famous for all the right reasons, is less than two beyond that.

Explore our Japan travel guides to discover more about this intriguing destination.

Things to love in Japan

What to do in Japan: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights

cycling the shimanami kaedo

Cycle the Shimanami Kaido

Cycling enthusiasts, even those of calmer spirit, will love the Shimanami Kaido. Best approached from the charming town of Onomichi, you'll cross a littering of small islands, each connected by dramatic suspension bridges. Break the journey with a night in a ryokan, before continuing to your finish point in Imabari, only after crossing the 4km long Kurushima-Kaikyō bridge. 

Visit a typical Japanese home in Kanazawa

Visit a family in Kanazawa

One of the challenges of travelling is working out how to get beyond the tourist ‘glitz’ and experience the true heart of each destination and its authentic character. Being welcomed into a typical Japanese home gives you the chance to spend time with remarkable people and experience what everyday life in Japan is really like. No two visits will ever be the same...

Naoshima art island

Delight in Naoshima

Known as 'Art Island', the often misunderstood island of Naoshima has quickly risen to become a much talked about addition to many of our Japan holidays. Just a short ferry ride from Uno or Shikoku's Takamatsu, the picturesque Naoshima hides within its boundaries an inspiring collection of installations, outdoor sculptures and impressive gallery spaces. 

Experience a few hours in the life of a sumo wrestler

Experience the life of a sumo wrestler

Your sumo experience will not - you might be relieved to know - involve trying out this historic martial art. Instead, you’ll visit a heya in the traditional sumo district of Ryogoku, Tokyo, to watch the wrestlers train, culminating in a gruelling trial where one fighter faces a stream of others in the ring with no rest, until he’s defeated.  

Private tea ceremony in Kyoto

Private tea ceremony in Kyoto

The tea ceremony, known as Cha no Yu, is one of the most famous and fundamental rituals in traditional Japanese culture, and in this experience you will meet with an expert instructor for an initiation into this ancient art, followed by a relaxing cup of tea with Japanese sweetmeats.

 
 

Discover your Japan

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Inspirational journeys

Perfect straight ‘off the peg’ or as a source of inspiration allowing us to start with blank canvas. You decide.

The Selective difference

With us, you are taken care of from enquiry until your reluctant homecoming. Your holiday is designed by a specialist who knows your destination first-hand. Throughout your travels, you'll have expert personal guides where requested & our full logistical support. And, it goes without saying, we'll be waiting to hear all about it once you're home.

LOCAL EXPERTISE

Our Brighton-based Destination Specialists spend each day working closely with colleagues and partners across Asia. This ensures we stay several steps ahead when designing inspiring holidays, staying up to date and overcoming obstacles, which means your holiday will be crafted using both local and international expertise.

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL

The welfare of our destinations and their communities is incredibly important to us. We are focused on ensuring that your money makes a positive impact, as often as possible, by supporting communities and wildlife conservation through dedicated initiatives and by very carefully choosing our partners in Asia.

   EXCEPTIONAL STANDARDS

We may be partial to the occasional bad pun, but we don’t joke around when it comes to designing first class travel experiences. Over 90% of our clients rate us 5/5 after their holiday, and we're not ashamed to crack a proud grin on behalf of our award-winning teams in the UK and Asia.

WORRY-FREE

We know your time is precious, before and during your trip. We want you to have a smooth and relaxing experience so that your main concern on holiday will be whether to order noodles or rice. There will be no hidden extras, and your holiday will be orchestrated seamlessly by your Destination Specialist plus our local guides and behind-the-scenes crews in your destination.

See all our travel guides 

What makes Japan tick?

 Michelin stars 

There are more Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo than any other city in the world – and includes some street food restaurants!

 Excellent Transport

The bullet train and a network of smooth bridges connect the main Japanese islands and some of the smaller ones, making it very easy to explore.

  Matsuri

These lively local festivals are celebrated throughout Japan at almost every shrine. In the city of Kanamara, for example, celebrates the ‘Festival of the Steel Phallus’…

  Fish

The Japanese put away 10% of the global fish catch - 69.1kg of fish per person each year. The world average is 16kg.

 Inemuri

The practice of napping while at work, recognized as beneficial by many employers. Staff must, however, remain upright while catching 40 winks.

 Noodle Slurping

Seen as a compliment to the chef, slurping your noodles is commonplace in Japan, and it’s much more fun than eating them quietly! 

 Gift Giving

A common practice in Japan. If you receive a gift while travelling, it’s customary to delay opening the gift until you’re invited to do so. 

 Gift giving

A common practice in Japan. If you receive a gift while travelling, it’s customary to delay opening the gift until you’re invited to do so. 

 Fast Food

Despite being a global leader in great food, it’s now a Japanese tradition to eat KFC on Christmas eve, thanks to a very successful marketing campaign in the 1970s.

 Onsens

One of the most quintessential Japanese leisure experiences, but make sure you read up on onsen etiquette before plunging in. You can watch monkeys enjoying a dip in an onsen in Nagano.

 Kampai!

Cheers! The world’s largest toast took place in 2010 at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo. 27,126 people raised their glasses.

 Shinjuku Station

The largest station in the world, with over 3.5 million people using it per day. The station has over 200 exits – so take a map, and remember where you came in.

 Fuji-San

One of Japan’s most recognizable landmarks, Mount Fuji is ironically only visible from Tokyo for 79 days of the year on average.

 Chopsticks

Don’t stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice - this is a tradition saved for funerals, and may be looked at strangely in other circumstances. 

 
 

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