Discover Japan: a complete guide to planning your first trip

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is an essential destination for any first trip to the Land of the Rising Sun. This vibrant metropolis offers a multitude of activities to discover. Start your trip by landing at Haneda Airport, located near Tokyo. From there, easily reach the famous Shibuya district and stay near Yoyogi Park, an oasis of calm in the heart of the city.

During your stay in Tokyo, be sure to visit the famous Shibuya intersection, the Meiji-jingu shrine nestled in a forest, the Omotesando district known for its luxury shops, the Senso-ji Buddhist temple and Shinjuku Gyoen park , ideal for a relaxing walk. Don’t forget to taste the delicious Tokyo gastronomy during your meals.

Kyoto: Immerse yourself in traditional culture

After exploring Tokyo, head to Kyoto, the ancient imperial city of Japan. Kyoto is full of cultural treasures to visit, such as the Kiyomizu-dera temple, the Ryoan-ji dry garden and the Museum of Crafts and Design which traces the history of traditional know-how. Don’t miss the Gion district either, famous for its geishas and lantern-lit restaurant fronts.

Leaving Kyoto, stop at Kamakura to visit the Big Buddha and discover its little-known Zen temples, such as that of Hokoku-ji nestled in a bamboo forest.

Other Japanese treasures to discover

Outside of the big cities, Japan offers many other treasures to discover. Here are some suggestions:

  • Enoshima: Less than an hour from Tokyo, this small island offers magnificent views of Mount Fuji and is the perfect place to enjoy dried seafood.
  • Naoshima: this island dedicated to contemporary art is a real gem to visit. Be sure to spend a night at the Benesse House hotel, which offers privileged access to the exhibition halls.
  • Hakone: this spa resort located on the mountainside is renowned for its beneficial sulfur waters. Take the opportunity to relax in a traditional ryokan and discover the rituals of the onsen.
  • Kanazawa: this ancient feudal city is home to one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, Kenroku-en. Also explore the well-preserved lanes of the Higashi Chaya district, where geishas once lived.

Practical advice for your trip to Japan

Here are some tips for best organizing your first trip to Japan:

  • Traveling by train: the train is the most practical means of transport to travel around the country. Opt for the JR Pass, which offers unlimited access to the country’s rail network.
  • Choose the best time: avoid cherry blossom season, which attracts many tourists. Prefer the month of May to enjoy pleasant temperatures and avoid the crowds.
  • Explore Japanese gastronomy: don’t miss out on tasting local specialties, such as sushi, Japanese curry and matcha.

By following this comprehensive guide, you will be able to easily plan your first trip to Japan and discover all the wonders that this country has to offer. Prepare to live a unique experience, between tradition and modernity.