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Japan Destination Guide

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Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts


Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Japan , created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.

Overview+

Eclectic, enchanting and gloriously timeless, Japan is a country that is completely unique. Traditions as old as time are seamlessly combined with the modern world's greatest innovations, creating an atmosphere and energy that will captivate you from the moment you arrive.

Glimpses of Japanese culture and history can be found wherever you travel - from the classic Buddhist temples and Geisha dances of Kyoto, to the gardens and castles of Hiroshima, to the bustling markets of tantalizing Tokyo. Simultaneously, the towering skyscrapers of the neon-lit cities remind visitors just how quickly Japan is moving, boasting world-leading popular culture and fashion trends and incredible dining scenes. Indeed, Japanese food is simply delicious and dramatically varied, depending on where in the country you're dining.

Alongside its charming towns and ultra-modern cities, Japan also impresses with its intense natural beauty, with mountains making up a staggering two thirds of the country. The natural terrain is truly varied - ranging from incredible hiking routes past bubbling volcanic springs, to skiing that rivals anywhere else in the world, to sun-kissed beaches in the south.

General Information
CapitalTokyo
LanguageJapanese
Time Difference9 hours
CurrencyJapanese Yen
Voltage100V

Health

Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible. We highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your Doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.


Visa

Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.

Climate+

Japan's weather experience four distinct seasons: Winter, from December to February, is is generally dry and often sunny, with temperatures rarely dropping below 0°C. The temperatures decrease as you move north, with snowfall being experience in the central and northern regions. The south of the country has a fairly mild winter. May to March is spring time, often the best time to visit thanks to warm temperatures, little rain and the bloom of the iconic cherry blossoms. The summer, from June to August, is hot, humid and wet, with temperatures often in the high 30s. Spring is from March to May.  Temperatures are warm but not too hot, plus there isn’t too much rain.  The famous cherry blossoms are out during this time and there are plenty of festivals to enjoy. Summer begins in June and the country experiences a three to four-week rainy season during which the farmers plant their rice.  It is hot and humid during this time and temperatures are often in the high 30’s. Autumn experiences cooler temperatures, making it the time that many music, sports and other events are held.

Getting There+

Flight Information

British Airways and Japan Airlines from London Heathrow to Tokyo. Flights with Emirates (via) Dubai from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow are also available. Onward connections from Tokyo to Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Kagoshima.

Flight Time

11 hours 40 minutes from London Heathrow to Tokyo
14 hours 30 minutes from London Heathrow to Kansai (including layover time)
14 hours 40 minutes from London Heathrow to Osaka (including layover time)
 

Travel Gems+

Cherry Blossom Season
An international symbol of Japan that adorns countless postcards, the stunning pink cherry blossom (sakura) blooms between late March and early May. During this time, the country is at its most vibrant, with locals and visitors alike engaging in Hanami - a word that translates literally to 'looking at flowers'. Hanami picnics are often held in parks to appreciate the beauty of the blossom. The flowers are deeply symbolic to the Japanese, their quick cycle representing the transcience of life and its beauty.

Cultural Experiences
Some of Japan's deep-rooted traditions and cultural heritage can be intimidatingly different to our own, though completely unique, fascinating and well worth experiencing when you visit. From tea ceremonies to samurai training to kimono, our Concierge Service can assist in making these 'once-in-a-lifetime' experiences happen.

Bullet Trains
Riding Japan's iconic bullet train (Shinkansen) is an experience in itself, renowned for its incredible efficiency and high speeds, reaching up to 200mph. It is considered disrespectful to talk loudly or answer your phone while riding the trains.

Things to Note

- Travellers with tattoos needs to be aware that many people in Japan do not look on tattoos favourably. As a result of a dominant, anti-tattoo view and Japan’s fraught history with regard to tattooing, any traveller visiting Japan will likely find that having tattoos makes things more complicated for them, namely if they want to use a pool, spa, gym or enter traditional environments like a ryokan.

- Outdoor shoes often need to be taken off before entering temples, traditional houses and some restaurants, and replaced with indoor shoes. Shoes should be removed on any tatami flooring.

- Photography is generally forbidden inside sacred buildings.

- Different shrines and temples have different rituals and traditions - such as a ceremony of purification with water on entry and the burning of incense. Be sure to respect the tradition of the building you are visiting.

- Modest dress is expected in shrines and temples.

- Many places don't accept credit cards so it is wise to carry cash.

- Bowing is the common greeting and gesture of thanks.

- The English language is not as widely understood as many visitors expect, so don't carry the assumption that locals will be able to speak it.

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As the foremost British pioneer of luxury travel – and boasting an ever-increasing collection of prestigious accolades that celebrates this – Elegant Resorts is a tour operator with the expertise, knowledge and reputation to deliver only the very finest tailor-made luxury holidays to our clients, honed by almost thirty years of experience in this niche travel business.

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