Tucked away upriver from Kyoto, the Hoshinoya combines tranquility, traditional design and cleverly woven modern touches such as its bamboo-bend sofas.5/35
Japan is full of rural idylls. Walk through mystical forests like this on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route.15/35
'O-hanami' cherry blossom festivities carry on late in the evening in Maruyama Park, Kyoto.19/35
The iconic snow monkeys of Yudanaka in the Japan Alps hang out at the hot spring pool.20/35
At Tokyo's sprawling Tsukiji Fish Market, the main tuna auction is done by 5 a.m. and adjacent stalls selling are selling the freshest possible sushi straight afterwards.21/35
Aman Tokyo boasts the largest rooms and suites in the city, not to mention the most phenomenal cityscape views.22/35
Each of the Aman Tokyo's 84 guestrooms and suites draw design inspiration from a paired back Japanese aesthetic. Pictured here, the Premier Room's living area is the epitome of Zen.23/35
Ryokan Kurashiki has the charm of a fine English B&B with Japanese refinement and 'omotenashi' hospitality, making it an Ampersand Favourite.25/35
With its leafy sidewalks, coffee shop terraces and high service standards, The Peninsula Tokyo equals experiences at the sister property in Paris26/35
Upgrade rooms at the Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo offer some of the best views of the Imperial Palace grounds.27/35
Japan is renowned for borrowing and enhancing western ideas, which finds its finest evocation in the grandiosity of the St Regis Osaka.28/35
Several Japanese towns vie for the title of 'Little Kyoto', but Kanazawa is perhaps the second culturally rich city in Japan with many opportunities to experience traditional arts.29/35
The Hoshinoya in Arashiyama outside Kyoto is an exclusive tranquil retreat, reached by boat up the Hozu river.30/35
From the city's finest pastries to the beautiful traditional washi paper lampshades, the Ritz Carlton in Kyoto is the epitomy of style and luxury in Japan's most historic city.31/35
Ancient temples are tucked between the modern architecture of Tokyo, the most visited being Senso-ji in Asakusa.32/35
This iconic beachside sculpture on Naoshima Island is as eccentric as the artist, Yayoi Kusama. That hasn't stopped it being the inspiration for Louis Vuitton products.33/35
Despite stiff competition from newer hotels over the last decade, the Park Hyatt Tokyo's New York Bar is still the place for live jazz in the city.35/35
Discover Luxury Japan Holidays
Japan truly is a country unlike any other: rich in extraordinary heritage sites, fascinating idiosyncrasies and exquisite beauty – you are bound to fall under its otherworldly spell.
Enjoy a luxury Japan tour with us to witness how this culture-rich island simultaneously embraces new innovations and maintains its past, by upholding traditional Japanese values and immaculately preserving its outstanding heritage and beauty spots. A wide array of other special discoveries await; even its local transport system is unparalleled. Experience Japan in local fashion by enjoying a bentō lunchbox on a lightning-fast 300kph bullet train while marveling at how everything runs precisely to schedule, and catch glimpses of ethereal geisha in their delicate kimonos in Kyoto and Kanazawa.
Explore the natural wonders of its countryside during a Japan trip and experience renowned hot spring onsen, as well as the hidden paths around the many living temples and shrines. These rural escapes make for ideal day trips from the exhilarating First World capital of Tokyo, especially the historic Nikkō with its UNESCO sites and Hakone with its acclaimed art galleries. There are also many landscaped havens open to the public in the cities themselves, from Shinjuku Gyoen with its Japanese and European areas in Tokyo, to the austere but equally beautiful zen and moss gardens in Kyoto.
Japan has the reputation of being an expensive country, but our local guides can find you a hearty bowl of ramen or some side-street sushi at just a few hundred yen, plus 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, to eat in Japan is a food lover’s dream. Staying in one of Japan’s luxury hotels or traditional ryokans is a highlight as you will experience a level of hospitality that we can often only wish for back home! Some of these traditional Japanese ryokans preserve the architecture and customs of pre-modern Japan, with sliding screen doors, bamboo-mat floors and ornamental gardens. Others offer a new take on the old traditions and Japanese culture, such as the new Amanemu spa retreat. As you travel Japan, you will step into a world which closely mirrors ours in the West, yet on closer inspection, you’ll find it to be distinctly Japanese in the details.
For a more unusual tour of Japan, head off the bullet train track and you'll find the great mountain backbone of the largest island, Honshu, which can be appreciated at one’s own pace on a relaxed or active holiday. In Hokkaido, the northernmost island, go skiing down Mount Fuji-shaped Annupuri mountain at the centre of Niseko resort on your holiday to Japan, hike through the unspoilt expanse of Daisetsuzan National Park, or go snow-shoeing and ice-walking on the remote eastern peninsula - perfect for family holidays in Japan. 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 temples and shrines, and hot spring towns. If you are looking for a beach break to combine with your Japan tour, the tropical islands at the southern end of the Okinawa chain have some of the very best sand and surf in all of Asia.
Holidays to Japan constantly defy 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. While this otherworldly country may seem overwhelming, it is remarkably ordered and our expert travel guides are more than happy to lend a helping hand. A luxury holiday in Japan is sure to be unforgettable, particularly during nature's finest seasons: the renowned cherry blossom sakura season - which tends to bloom in southern Japan from the end of March, and the often-overlooked autumnal season - when vivid autumn leaves set the magnificent country ablaze with their colourful hues.
Our suggested tours in Japan
Some of our favourite hotels in Japan
Hiroshima and Miyajima
Iwaso is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans. The shrine area on Miyajima can get pretty busy during the day,...View here
Gora Kadan is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans and Top 10 Hotel Spas. One of the finest 'ryokans' (traditional inns) to be found...View here
A firm Ampersand Favourite, the Palace Hotel sits in a prime position in Tokyo overlooking the Imperial Palace Gardens to the capital's atmospheric skyline...View here
Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
In each great historic Asian city you will find a flagship Mandarin Oriental hotel that cleverly combines the heights of...View here
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Famous for its leading role in the film 'Lost in Translation', the Park Hyatt Tokyo is a firm favourite among...View here
The Peninsula Tokyo
With just ten hotels under its umbrella worldwide, the Peninsula brand holds its own against much larger luxury chains. Like...View here
Some of our favourite places of interest in Japan
Since the resounding success of hosting several events for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, Happō-One ski resort in Hakuba has...View here
Aomori grew as a port town serving the northernmost island of Hokkaido before the Seikan undersea tunnel opened in 1988....View here
The charming hamlet of Shirakawago lies within one of Japan’s most picturesque spots in the Gifu region, where feudal ‘shōguns’ and ‘samurai’...View here
This is the world's largest volcanic caldera, and despite the regular announcements of volcanic activity there are 10,000 people living...View here
If you venture far enough North in Japan to reach Hokkaido, we promise you will be rewarded for taking the somewhat unusual...View here
Well of the beaten track on the Northern coast of western Honshu lies Matsue: home to Adachi Art Museum, an impressive...View here
Related Blog Posts
Read some of our hand-picked blog posts for Japan
Autumn Leaves in Japan – The Underrated Season that Rivals Cherry Blossom
In autumn, strikingly colourful foliage blazes through Japan, making it one of our absolute favourite times to tour this wonderful country.
Best time to visit Japan?
A highlight of the Japanese calendar is cherry blossom season which sweeps north from the southern part of Japan in late March. Come April the cherry blossom trees are reaching full bloom and despite
Taking it Izu: Stanley Stewart's search for Ancient Japan
We organised the offbeat trip for celebrated travel journalist, Stanley Stewart. David writes about how he worked with Stanley to create a truly bespoke trip to the Izu Peninsula, a land of hot springs and empty coastal headlands, where hospitality traditions haven’t changed for 400 years…
Japan's Wild North: James' Winter in Hokkaido
Last February, I visited Hokkaidō – the northernmost, least developed part of Japan – with the Japan National Tourism Organization and JTB. This incredible trip covered the remote eastern corner of
10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Japan Now
Catriona has just returned from an introductory tour of Japan, taking in the iconic sights and must see highlights, travelling from Hiroshima to Tokyo. Here she lists her top ten reasons for why you should jump on a plane right now and visit Japan…
When and where can you see the Cherry Blossom in Japan?
Japan’s cherry blossom season is one of the most iconic times of year to visit, often cited as a symbol of the transient nature of life. Here you can read about the best hotspots in the height of the season, and the more unusual spots which will see you dodging the crowds…
Top 10 favourite Japanese Food Experiences
Japanese cuisine is renowned for being one of the best in the world, for good reason as it really is one – of the many – perfect creations in Japan! Food is an integral part of the country’s culture... read on to find out our favourites
10 Japanese Cultural Concepts
Japanese culture is complex and distinctive. Often visualised as an anthill society, buzzing with the advancements of technology and a population boom. However, many traditional values of Japan still underpin the culture, with a profound appreciation of nature and the simple life. Here are 10 concepts which are at the core of Japanese culture…
Revisiting Japan: Our top 20 highlights
After moving back home to England after studying in Tokyo for a year, I was longing to go back to immerse myself in Japan’s incredible culture, scenery and food.
Ampersand's mini-guide to Japan
Japan is an incredibly intriguing and rewarding country to travel to; it is also a destination which the uninitiated have a lot of questions about. Here is our handy guide to this fascination country.
Musing upon the Japanese art of wabi-sabi
Ampersand’s Japan specialist David Wall explores the uniquely Japanese concept of wabi-sabiTwo birds on a branch, painted sparingly on a sliding wooden door; sunset-red maple leaves strewn in the
Top Ten Highlights of a Holiday to Japan
We have picked some of our favourite things to do when visiting Japan
Everything You Need to Know about Visiting The Imperial Palace in Tokyo
The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. Located in the heart of the pulsating city, this haven proves to be the highly valuable privacy the Japanese royal family crave. In this mini-guide to visiting the Imperial Palace, you will learn about the best times to visit and more…
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