Japan

Himeji

Built in 1580, Himeji-jo has a legitimate claim to be Japan’s most magnificent castle. Its five-storey main keep is surrounded by moats and walls, with an arrow-marked route taking visitors around the castle. Look for the narrow openings where the castle defenders poured boiling oil onto attackers and – less gruesomely – the beautiful views over the city from the top.

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14 days

Japan’s cities and countryside

Temples, teahouses and Tokyo
Tokyo (3 days) Hakone (2) Kyoto (2) Himeji (1) Kanazawa (2) Takayama (2) Tokyo (2)
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15 days

Rural Japan route

Go beyond the big cities into the heart of Japan
Kyoto (3 days) Hiroshima (2) Takamatsu (3) Iya Valley (2) Himeji (1) Osaka (4)
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  • Tokyo

    Tokyo

    Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world, but it’s not just about famous restaurants and high prices...
  • Kyoto

    Kyoto

    Kyoto is home to more than 2,000 atmospheric temples and shrines...
  • Takayama

    Takayama

    Little Takayama in Central Honshu is famous for its taste of rural Japan...
  • Matsumoto

    Matsumoto

    The alpine city of Matsumoto is famous for many things – it’s renowned for producing incredible art and artists, its beautiful setting in the northern Japanese Alps and for being the birthplace of soba (buckwheat) noodles, a Japanese delicacy...
  • Hakone

    Hakone

    Hakone is best known for its natural onsen (hot spa pools) and views of Mount Fuji...
  • Kinosaki

    Kinosaki

    Kinosaki is the archetypal onsen town — as well as being tourist-friendly...
  • Takamatsu

    Takamatsu

    The gardens of Ritsurin Park are one of Takamatsu main attractions and are the perfect place to relax...
  • Osaka

    Osaka

    Japan’s third-largest city might not be its prettiest, but it is one of its most welcoming...
  • Hiroshima

    Hiroshima

    While modern Hiroshima is a thriving, cosmopolitan city, it will always be known as the city destroyed by the world’s first atomic bomb...
  • Iya Valley

    Iya Valley

    The Iya Valley is a huge expanse of tree-lined mountains and deep river gorges, home to tiny villages, hot springs and great views...
  • Kanazawa

    Kanazawa

    Kanazawa is capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture and was largely undamaged by World War Two air raids, making it a great place to explore Japan’s historical architecture, such as the Nagamachi samurai district...

Where to go in Japan

Our recommended places

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