The Tokyo Olympics gave the whole world a much needed feel-good factor, and with the Paralympics now underway, Tokyo and Japan are very much on people’s radars. Aussies developed a love affair with the Land of the Rising Sun in the years leading up to the pandemic. With vaccination rates steadily climbing in both Australia and Japan, hopefully, it won’t be long before that love affair can be rekindled.
Harry Sargant, from InsideJapan, lived in Japan from 2002 to 2005 and fell in love with the place. He told The Finer Things that at the time Japan received relatively few overseas visitors and was nowhere near the top of the average Aussie’s travel list. He said: “I spent many happy weekends visiting different parts of Japan and loved the contrasts of the cities and the countryside; the mountains and the islands. Festivals were a big draw for me too, and I have some great memories of watching and taking part in many celebrations up and down the country. With so much great regional food to enjoy (gyoza are my fave!), and drinks to discover (“beeru kudasai!”), plus the friendly welcome that greets you pretty much wherever you go, Japan was under my skin and into my heart!
“In 2005 I joined InsideJapan, a specialist Japan tour operator, originally based in my native UK, before moving to Brisbane to help set up our Aussie office in 2016. At InsideJapan we pride ourselves in offering friendly service, expert advice, and full support for our customers while they travel in Japan, allowing them to go beyond the classic sights, and really see, experience and taste Japan in the way that I first did all those years ago.”
Harry shares some of his top trips in Japan, whether you are a first-time visitor eager to see what the fuss is about, or a repeat traveller, desperate to get back to Japan again to see more.
Best of Japan
For first-time visitors to Japan, our two-week Best of Japan itinerary is the absolute top way to see all the main highlights. Many people limit themselves to just Tokyo and Kyoto for their first trip, and while these cities are must-sees, they only offer a limited view into Japan. On our Best of Japan trip you will also enjoy mountain scenery (and amazing steak!) in Takayama, visit sacred Miyajima Island, and enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot springs of Hakone. You’ll come away with a much better understanding of what makes Japan tick, than those who just stick to the ancient and modern capitals.
Already a Japanophile? Been there before and can’t wait to go back? InsideJapan’s Northern Highlights trip is a fantastic way to discover a region of Japan that even most Japanese haven’t been to. 2021 marks the 10th Anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and the region has been busy regenerating itself for visitors. On this two-week northern odyssey, you’ll discover the ancient mountain-top temple of Haguro-san, jagged coastal scenery on Sado Island, samurai history in Kakunodate and relax in Japan’s most rustic hot springs at Nyuto Onsen. More and more of us have scratched the surface with the first trip to Japan, but this itinerary will really help you get beneath the surface.
Japan for families
Japan is a fantastic option for families. It’s wonderfully different, it’s safe, it’s hygienic, and your family will arrive with none of the jetlag of a trip to Europe or North America. You’ll be spoilt for choice for activities to keep the kids happy, from theme parks and kooky cafes, to geisha dress-ups and ninja classes. Japan has some fantastic family-friendly accommodation, both traditional and modern, and the super-reliable public transport network removes any headaches of getting around, and lets you pack lots into a short space of time. What’s more, Aussie school holidays line up with some of the best times of year to see Japan. Family of ski bunnies? Escape the Aussie summer heat with a ski and culture trip to Japan. Do it towards the end of the school hols and you’ll also avoid the New Year crowds too. Dreaming of cherry blossom? Easier hols will typically line up well. Want the kids to burn off some energy – enjoy some walking and hiking in Japan’s mountains in Sep-Oct.
InsideJapan can tailor a family holiday to suit and interest, age range and budget.
Wheelchair accessible Japan
With InsideJapan’s expert team on the ground in Japan, and their in-depth knowledge of how Japan operates, they open up Japan to all travellers, catering for any extra requirements or needs. For instance, getting around Japan using a wheelchair might look daunting, but with their help you’ll understand exactly how to navigate train stations and you’ll have cars and assistance on hand for those tricky transfers. InsideJapan has a 10-night Wheelchair Accessible Golden Route self-guided tour. You’ll fully explore the sights with ease, and relax in well-suited accommodation of all styles – no one need miss out!
Part of the Inside Travel Group, InsideJapan is an award-winning Brisbane-based Japan travel specialist, offering unique small group tours, tailored travel, and cultural experiences that few get the chance to experience. Their sister brand, InsideAsia offers the same travel ethos through a selection of the most fascinating parts of Asia, including Vietnam, Borneo, South Korea and Singapore.