Whether you crave the excitement of a big, bustling Asian city or seek the serenity of beautiful gardens and hot springs, a honeymoon in Japan has everything you could want. And because the country is not quite as large as the state of California, you can do everything from world-class shopping to skiing to mountain climbing in a single trip.
Honeymoon: Japan forecast
Japan is made up of four main islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu), with more than 4,000 smaller islands surrounding them. Tokyo, the capital city, is located in Honshu, and is home to more than 12 million people. You should definitely plan to stay several days in Tokyo, where there is much to see and do. Consider booking a tour that will include visits to local museums, gardens, and historical sites as well as fun activities like a night helicopter tour of the city or a sushi-making or flower-arranging lesson! You can also rent a bike and explore on your own, or take a side trip to Mt. Fuji, where in July and August, you can climb to the summit of the mountain at night. In early March, make plans to view the beautiful cherry blossoms, which are in full bloom for only about a week. (There are special observation points within the city where you can see them in all their glory.)
If nightlife is your thing, don’t miss the Roppongi district, the city’s main entertainment center. If you’d like something more subdued, several hotels in Tokyo offer traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for English-speaking visitors, so plan to reserve ahead for this more laid-back experience. And yes, there is a major theme park in Tokyo: the Tokyo Disney Resort, which includes Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
Lovers of anime (the popular Japanese comic art form) will find many opportunities to get up close and personal with artists and their work. There are various anime museums (Toei Animation Gallery and the Ghibli Musuem in Tokyo; Osamu Tezuka World in Kyoto) along with the incredible Tokyo Anime Center and the Tokyo International Anime Fair, held in March.
Bargain hunters should plan a stop at Akihabara, Tokyo’s center for electronics. Here you’ll find just about every high-tech gadget imaginable along with duty-free shops and multilingual staff members who can fix you up with whatever product your heart desires. At the district’s Denki-matsuri Festival, held twice each year, it’s a buyer’s market.
After you’ve exhausted all that Tokyo has to offer, take the bullet train (Shinkansen) east to Kyoto, the imperial capital of Japan, where you’ll see ancient temples, beautiful gardens, and lots of examples of Japanese culture. Here, you can be entertained by traditional geishas (or dress up like a geisha and have your photo taken), go for a rickshaw ride or attend one of the many festivals, the largest of which is the Gion Festival, held in July. (Another don’t-miss festival in Japan is the Sapporo Snow Festival, held in Sapporo in February. Ten teams compete in the International Snow Sculpture Contest, which produces an incredible array of artwork viewed by more than two million people annually.)
Honeymoon Japan: Lodging
As you travel throughout the country, there are plenty of Western-style hotels to choose from, but you can immerse yourself in Japanese culture if you stay at one of the more than 55,000 ryokan located throughout the country. The ryokan are Japanese inns – some very luxurious – that fully encompass the culture of Japan, from the furnishings and communal baths to the food. (If you’re not enthralled with the idea of a communal bath, some ryokan have private bathrooms.) While these establishments can be quite pricey, the rate includes two meals a day, dinner and breakfast.
You may not think of Japan as an adventure destination, but skiing and snowboarding can be magnificent, and various islands offer activities such as diving, boating, parasailing, caving, or sailing in season. And there are fabulous golf courses in Japan, so plan to play a few rounds or even follow the Japan Golf Tour, which takes place April through December. If you’re into spectator sports, don’t miss a chance to take in a sumo wrestling match, or catch a baseball game; baseball is Japan’s most popular spectator sport.
No matter how you choose to spend your time in Japan, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime in the Land of the Rising Sun.