Tradition remains of paramount importance in Japan, but this is also the most high tech society in the world. Bullet trains hurtle across a landscape of cherry blossom and snow-capped mountains, geishas mingle with sharply dressed businessmen, and tranquil lotus ponds offer a moment for reflection in the shadow of neon-lit skyscrapers. Whatever you thought you knew about Japan is guaranteed to be turned on its head when you spend some time in this inimitably idiosyncratic country, and an escorted tour holiday is the perfect introduction.
Japanese cuisine is well known around the world, but even the most seasoned sushi aficionado may baulk at some of the things you’ll see on the menu. The best advice is to ignore your fears and dive right in, and that goes for all aspects of life in Japan. Sleep in a traditional ryokan, take a bath in a hot spring and immerse yourself in the rituals of a traditional tea ceremony. Shop till you drop in Tokyo’s buzzing Ginza and Akihabara districts, wander the atmospheric streets of Kyoto and take a moment to reflect on the sobering reality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan is not just a country, it’s a full-on multi-sensory experience, unlike anywhere else on earth.