Features // Japan

Everything you need to know about Japan’s bullet trains
Everything you need to know about Japan’s bullet trains

Surely one of Japan’s most iconic images is an impossibly fast bullet train (or “shinkansen”) speeding past snow-capped Mount Fuji – you know the photo. Clichéed as it is, it captures that most Japanese of phenomena, the seamless blending of the ancient and the modern. Beautiful views aside, the bullet train really is one of those must-do…

Avoid the crowds: 6 ways to get off the tourist trail in northern Japan
Avoid the crowds: 6 ways to get off the tourist trail in northern Japan

Japan is a country full of incredible sights: the ancient temples of Kyoto and Nara; Tokyo’s glittering streets; the floating shrine gate at Miyajima; Beppu’s red, steaming hot springs. The only problem with this list of alluring sights? It completely ignores half the country. So it’s time to look a little further up on the…

Okinawa: Japan’s best-kept secret
Okinawa: Japan’s best-kept secret

Snow-white beaches, giant coconut-eating crabs and karate-loving grannies: Okinawa is Japan but not as we know it. This alluring chain of sun-kissed, hibiscus-draped islands offers a blend of Southeast Asian heat, unique ‘un-Japanese’ culture and delicious, life-extending food. Andy Turner explores how to make the most of a trip to Japan’s subtropical paradise. Find the…

Video: The essence of Japan in 4 minutes
Video: The essence of Japan in 4 minutes

This is not your average travel montage. With jaw-dropping shots, expert composition and an undeniable sense of cool, filmmakers Vincent Urban, Alex Schiller and Alex Tank seem to capture the essence of Japan in this four-minute video. Click play and prepare to be hurled into a whole new world. Get swallowed by Tokyo’s onslaught of…

A Rough Guide to drinking Japanese sake
A Rough Guide to drinking Japanese sake

I say “sake”, you say… The lowest form of wit? No, not “sarcy” – as in sarcastic – but sake, as in the Japanese drink. So actually, you say “cheers,” or “kanpai!” This Japanese drink is the traditional alcoholic accompaniment to food in Japan, and it’s something you’ll come across wherever you go in the…

Video: a 1 minute guide to Japan
Video: a 1 minute guide to Japan

Japan has long captivated the imaginations of travellers around the globe, seeming to both baffle and beguile all who venture there. Between language barriers and Japan’s rather deceiving size (roughly stretching the length of Miami to Montreal) it’s all too easy to miss out on Japan’s best spots during the trip planning process. From countryside…

7 of the best places to go hiking in Japan
7 of the best places to go hiking in Japan

Few countries in Asia boasts such dramatic natural diversity and such a range of hiking opportunities as Japan. Mountains make up two thirds of the country, with beaches fringing the coast and the balmy southern islands. There are active volcanoes to tackle, epic long-distance pilgrimage routes once smoothed by the feet of emperors, and steep…

Check in with a dinosaur at Japan’s first robot hotel
Check in with a dinosaur at Japan’s first robot hotel

Often the “weird Japan” trope seems like just another tired travel cliché – but then someone opens a robot hotel. In this case, hotel owner Hideo Sawada beat international journalists to the punch by straightforwardly calling it Henn-na Hotel, meaning “Strange Hotel”.  The idea behind it isn’t actually that weird, though. Sawada’s aims are eminently reasonable:…

The best Japanese foods (that aren’t sushi)
The best Japanese foods (that aren’t sushi)

Everyone speaks a little Japanese now – nigiri, maki, sashimi, nori, toro… The only problem is that sushi, delicious as it may be, is only one tiny facet of Japan’s varied cuisine. Here are a few other things worth looking out for when you’re there. Shojin-ryori Eating meat was banned in Japan for a long…

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