For many people, Japan is something of a “dreamland” – a place we cannot quite visualize or if we do, it´s mainly in stereotypes or clichés. Many of us have certainly never dreamed of actually visiting it. But why not? Futuristic cities like Tokyo will fascinate city-lovers, with Tokyo with its millions of inhabitants topping the list, but there is also much to see in the unspoiled and very beautiful countryside. Both options offer the chance to experience this unique and serene culture with its fascinating history first-hand. Perhaps it´s time you did.
“Dreamland” is perhaps an appropriate term in another sense, when we think of Japan for this is also a country that dreams of restoring itself to its past glory, a country that dares to dream up innovative ideas which they convert into technological solutions and corporate success. The corporate culture is strong here and dominates daily life in many ways. Meanwhile, the young oscillate between the traditions and customs of past generations and, what often seems to us, exaggerated interpretations of western pop culture. It has to be said that there is something quite fascinating about it all. With its 127 million inhabitants, Japan is also the third strongest economy in the world, and one of the most powerful, although it is sometimes overshadowed by the perhaps disproportionate amount of press coverage given to the USA, China, and Russia – the axis that so often dominates the world news media.
Geographically, Japan is a mountainous country with many islands. Not far from Tokyo on the main island of Honshu, there are mountain ranges that are over 3,000 meters high. The island also has 14 million inhabitants squashed into considerably less space than most of us are lucky enough to have, and probably take for granted. The famous Mount Fuji, with its beautiful snow-capped peak at 3,776 meters high, is also quite accessible from Tokyo. A ride on a bullet train is another not-to-be-missed experience. It might also surprise you to know that Japan has a number of well-developed ski resorts if you are looking for something a little more exotic for your skiing vacation this year! The quality is tops. Must see´s are Tokyo, Kyoto and Mount Fuji, but there is a long list of others, too.
You can certainly put together your own itinerary, or there are many travel agencies/tour operators that offer package tours that take in all the sights with guided excursions in a number of languages, who will ensure that everything runs smoothly. Everything is taken care of for you, and you may feel more comfortable with this option.
One recommended travel agent for personally designed tours to Japan is Artisans of Leisure.