Seek ancient Japan on the Izu Peninsula – a land of hot-springs, towering peaks, empty coastal headlands and 400 year-old...
Discover Luxury Japan Holidays
Over just a few short decades, Japan has embraced modern innovations and accelerated into the future while taking increasing care of its many outstanding heritage and beauty spots. Take the bullet train or enter one of Japan’s deluxe luxury hotels and step into a world which closely mirrors ours in the west, yet look closer and you’ll find it to be distinctly Japanese in the details. Travel at 300 kph on the bullet train and have a bento lunchbox while marvelling at how everything runs exactly to schedule; catch glimpses of kimonos that are still worn by women for various special occasions as well as by the geisha of Kyoto and Kanazawa; explore the hidden paths around the many living temples and shrines, and experience a level of hospitality that we can often only wish for back home. A luxury holiday in Japan has all of this and more.
Japan has the reputation of being an expensive country, but a hearty bowl of ramen or some side-street sushi can be just a few hundred yen and you never need to tip anybody. That said, Japan has some of the most luxurious and exclusive restaurants and spa retreats in the world. From the dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants serving cosmopolitan cuisine to the uniquely Japanese multi-course kaiseki feasts included with a ryokan stay, Japan is a food lover’s paradise. Some of these ryokan preserve the architecture and customs of pre-modern Japan, with sliding screen doors, bamboo-mat floors and ornamental gardens. Others have a new take on the old traditions, such as the new Amanemu spa retreat with spacious open-air onsen baths. There are also many landscaped havens open to the public in the cities, from Shinjuku Gyoen with its Japanese and European areas, to the austere but equally beautiful zen and moss gardens in Kyoto.
Head off the bullet train track and beyond the cities on your holiday and you'll find the great mountain backbone of the largest island, Honshu. These remote parts are dotted with charming little towns, hot spring spots, scenic plateaus and cable car rides. On Hokkaido, the northernmost of the main islands, go skiing down Fuji-shaped Annupuri mountain at the centre of Niseko resort, hike through the unspoilt expanse of Daisetsuzan national park, or go snow-shoeing and ice-walking on the remote eastern peninsula. South of Honshu are the lesser-travelled islands of Kyushu with stunning volcanic landscapes and Nagasaki - Japan's San Francisco. And on Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands, explore hidden valleys, historic shrines and hot spring towns. Then for a beach break, the tropical islands at the southern end of the Okinawa chain have some of the very best sand and surf in all of Asia.
Japan constantly defies expectations as it is such a vastly varied country, but you can always expect the warmest welcome from the most humble local inns to the most exclusive city hotels and restaurants. It is true, however, that very few people speak conversational English, so Ampersand's Japan specialist David has learnt Japanese as part of his aim to provide truly bespoke itineraries.