Japan is a world apart – a cultural Galápagos where a unique civilisation blossomed, and thrives today in delicious contrasts of traditional and modern. The Japanese spirit is strong, warm and incredibly welcoming.
Japan Is Open for Travel Since 11 March 2011, one cannot talk about or consider visiting Japan without the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan coming up. Yet, rather than focus on the immediate horrors and lingering fears of the tragedy, one should focus on the beauty and accessibility of Japan today. One should note how the Japanese people, resilient and steadfast, behaved after the waters receded: they gathered calmly in evacuation shelters, set off bravely on rescue missions, began the task of rebuilding.
Every image from those first weeks reflects some of the culture’s highest virtues: the ability to gambaru (do their best) and to gaman (bear suffering without complaint). They also capture the famous Japanese thoroughness and civility. This spirit will allow the Japanese people to rebuild northern Japan faster than anyone expects. And it is this very same spirit that makes travelling in Japan such a joy.
Do not avoid Japan because of fear. The March 2011 disaster was of once-in-a-lifetime proportions, and even at the height of the crisis most of Japan was perfectly safe for travel. At the time of writing, only a small area of Fukushima Prefecture was off limits.
Japan is wide open for travel. If you have been considering your first visit to Japan or returning to re-experience the unique magic of the country, the perfect time to go – and to celebrate Japan and its people – is now.
Japan Is Approachably Exotic Japan hits the travel sweet spot. It’s unique enough to give you regular doses of ‘Wow!’ without any downside. Indeed, travelling in Japan is remarkably comfortable, even with the language barrier thrown in – but it’s never familiar. Staying in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) is marvellously different from staying in a chain hotel. Soaking naked in an onsen (hot spring) with a bunch of strangers might be a little odd at first, but it is beyond relaxing. Sitting in a robe on tatami mats eating raw fish and mountain vegetables may not be how you dine back home, but it is unforgettably delicious.
Japan Makes You Think Perhaps more than any country on earth, Japan makes you think. It is a country that took a good, hard look at the West and said ‘We’ll take your technology, but we’re keeping our culture’. It was never extensively missionised or colonised. It practises an ancient animist/pantheist religion while pushing the boundaries of modern technology. It is a country where tens of millions of people can cram into crowded cities without ever losing their temper. And while you explore Japan, you will regularly find yourself awed by how the Japanese do things – and perhaps, just as often, wondering ‘Why don’t we do it that way back home?’
日本語のウェブサイトはこちら こちら (if you're wondering what that says, it's a link to our Japanese web page)
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
- Travel from Tokyo to Kyoto in 14 days
- Journey along the backroads of Japan
- Visit iconic Mount Fuji and cruise Lake Ashi
- Capture the many faces of Japan from Osaka to Tokyo
Last updated: Jan 11, 2013
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