The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has launched a new Insider Guide to Japan, celebrating the country’s many traditions, innovations, natural wonders, and off-the-beaten-track adventures.
With around 6,852 islands, Japan is a country that not only offers breath-taking scenery, great wildlife, a rich cultural heritage, fast-paced city life, world-class cuisine, a reputation for warm hospitality, but – crucially in this time – also has a long-standing tradition of wellness, cleanliness and hygiene.
Content will encompass Japan’s 10 regions and the many World Heritage Sites, natural wonders, modern cities, and year-round calendar of traditional matsuri (festivals) that set Japan apart as a top destination.
No foreign spectators will be present at this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games but with its wide variety of tourist attractions, destinations and experiences available across the country, JNTO has decided to present Japan beauties in seven travel themes:
- Cities: Japan’s urban landscapes are a microcosm of the nation’s past, present and future; a melting pot of age-old traditions and modern technology. Think high-tech 3D art collectives, ancient waterways, underground temples, abandoned cities, and the world’s longest suspension bridge.
- Nature: From hiking the Kumano Kodo Trail or the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, to rowing down the mythical Takachiho Gorge or trying your hand at the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) in Akasawa Natural Recreational Forest, Japan offers the ultimate escape in nature. The country has 36 National Parks.
- Tradition: Japan’s rich cultural heritage is accessible at the country’s 36 World Heritage Sites. Japan’s approach to history and heritage makes for a transformative travel experience: become a ninja for the day, participate in yamabushi (the mountain ascetic tradition), live like a Japanese Buddhist monk, or train with a mountain mystic in Yamagata.
- Outdoors: Japan’s natural wonders encompass a variety of exhilarating activities. It ranges from diving, paragliding over dunes, river rafting, canyoning on the Tone River, paddle-boarding through the famous shrine gates of Miyajima, or log-riding down the Kitayama River.
- Art: Japan’s art scene is a fascinating fusion of the ancient and modern; the natural and man-made. Green-fingered travellers should visit the 41-acre Adachi Museum of Art – voted the best Japanese garden in the world – or explore the Benesse Art Site Naoshima project, a collection of interactive works across three different islands.
- Cuisine: With 863 Michelin-star restaurants (22 of them three-star) Japan is one of the world’s top foodie destinations and its culinary offering is one indelibly tied to the land, the seasons, and the people. Travellers can watch the day’s catches being hauled in at a historic fishing village or enjoy the hospitality of Japan’s ama (the traditional free-divers). Stay overnight in the green tea heartlands, dine in a snow hut, or learn how to create edible art at a wagashi workshop.
- Relaxation:Japan can be the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern day life. Practice the Japanese tradition of onsen (bathing in hot water springs), camp under the stars on the Goto Islands, or experience the Japanese way of life first hand on a traditional homestay.
Starting this month, JNTO will launch a series of newsletters featuring the most exciting things to see and do in Japan. The newsletters will serve as an insider’s guide to Japan’s many traditions and innovations.
While preparing these attractions in anticipation of inbound travel resuming once again, JNTO is also taking a number of Covid-19 measures to ensure absolute peace of mind for international visitors. These new initiatives are available on our website. Steps include multilingual pictograms to summarize information on the country’s precautions against Covid-19 infection as well as emergency response contacts and procedures.
JNTO’s “Experiences in Japan,” is a website that showcases activities based on Seven Passions (nature, outdoors, tradition, cuisine, relaxation, art and cities). This collection of curated experiences offers a window into the heart and soul of Japan, a series of exciting – and largely unknown – activities and destinations.