Spanning over 800 miles of diverse terrain, the mighty Japanese heartland - Honshu - encapsulates all that springs to mind when one imagines Japan, and more... The vast island consists of 34 prefectures, which blend together to form a contrasting yet complementary mixture of ancient and modern, rural and urban, Zen and zany.
A rich cultural history underpins this mesmerising country's hugely respected traditions, intricate arts, exquisite geisha and beautifully preserved samurai districts; while hi-tech design, contemporary cityscapes and other cutting-edge creations (that the Western mind cannot even fathom) pave the way for the future. If this isn’t enough to tempt you to fly out there and discover its wonders for yourself, then the truly incredible cuisine surely will.
Take a tailor-made tour through Honshu with us to delve into its Imperial past, admire its wide array of UNESCO-protected sites and marvel at its innovative designs, as well as stay in both its quintessential traditional ryokans and state-of-the-art luxury hotels.
Honshu's regions include the exhilarating First World capital of Tokyo, with its almost endless list of discoveries; the notoriously ‘shy’, snow-capped Mt Fuji and its surrounding lakes; the Japanese Alps with their pristine skiing and hiking conditions; the ancient Imperial capital of Kyoto with its spectacular temples and shrines and the buzzy city of Osaka, with its renowned street food scene.
Venturing West leads you to the phoenix city of Hiroshima, with its moving Peace Park and surprisingly cosmopolitan feel; the hidden gem of Kurashiki with its willow-lined canal, and the Art Island of Naoshima with its one of a kind 'art-itecture'. To the North, you can discover the coastal city of Kanazawa, brimming with artisans and traditional crafts, which we believe is too often overlooked but works as a great city break in a tour of Japan.
Keen to explore Japan's striking natural landscapes? You're in luck, as a number of our favourite hiking trails lie within Honshu; from the ancient pilgrimage routes of the Kumano Kodo in the Kii Peninsula to the Nakasendo Way in the Kiso Valley, as well as the scenic walks throughout the spiritual mountain basin of Mount Koya (where you can stay in a Buddhist temple for an immersive cultural experience). Nature lovers will also appreciate the rural idylls of Hakone and Nikko national parks, which both make for ideal day trips from the fast-paced capital during all seasons. In fact, the captivating colours of the seasons are reason alone to visit Honshu! It is no secret that the delicate spring 'sakura' cherry blossom trees are widely celebrated for their beauty, plus the vivid autumn leaves are equally, if not more, astonishing in person.
While travelling in Honshu, we guarantee that you will be impressed by the kindness of the local people, the excellent attention-to-detail that surrounds you and the outstanding customer service. Not forgetting the ease of travel, thanks to Japan's efficient public transportation network that is genuinely the most punctual in the world. While a ride on a speedy 'shinkansen' bullet train is an absolute must for luxury travel, we also highly recommend going on road trips in remote regions - like the Japan Alps in central Honshu - to soak in the unspoiled scenery at a slower pace.
With plenty of places to explore, visitors of all ages are bound to be kept intrigued and entertained, so tailor-made holidays here make for the ultimate family adventure. Private journeys around this wonderful country are ideal for luxury honeymoons, especially as there has recently been a rise in boutique hotels openings around Japan. First time visitors are sure to have an unforgettable time and will most likely be tempted to visit the country's other lesser-known islands (Hokkaido, Kyushu and Okinawa) as soon as they land back on home turf.
For more information, please get in touch with one of our specialists who will be happy to share their travel tips with you while planning your Japan holiday.
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- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
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