Passport to Japan
A regal history pairs with natural beauty and fascinating futuristic features
Japan tourism has experienced an exponential rise, with international visitors nearly tripling in the last five years.
And with the coming of new low-cost carriers (a new Japan Airlines economy carrier plans to introduce routes from the Americas in 2020), the island nation will surely become the next “It” destination for America’s increasingly nomadic millennial. So make sure you plan to be among the earlier waves of these travelers (if only to brag you hit it first in your circle).
When making your travel plans, note that early spring is always a great time to visit. April is when you’ll see most of Japan’s world-famous cherry blossoms in bloom, with the southmost regions of the nation blossoming first. Golden Week, a string of national holidays in late April and early May, is another popular time, in which tourists can witness the week’s widely cherished festivals and holiday traditions. You’ll also find denser crowds, higher prices and harder-to-find accommodations in these months, so it’s best to book early or visit deeper into the summer.
And if you thought the language barrier would be a hinderance, think again. You’ll find many Japanese natives are conversant—if not fully fluent—in English. In the major cities, English translations mark everything from street signs to menus. And as far as getting around the city, the Japanese National Tourism Organization (JNTO) app is an incredibly helpful guide to navigate metro systems. It offers route options and even estimates cab fares.
From Osaka to Kyoto, each Japanese prefecture paints a vastly different scene, and it’s no wonder the multifaceted culture has been romanticized in the American media. The appetite for Japanese food, film and fashion has long permeated our mainstream. Even the African American and hip-hop communities have particularly shown an affinity toward the Japanese culture. But if you’ve ever been curious for a greater glimpse into this world, don’t just settle for a small slice of the pictured painted in American media. The real thing can only be experienced live and in full neon color.
Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine