A honeymoon in the islands of Japan has so much to offer any newlywed couple and time spent in cities sightseeing, shopping and dining can be combined with precious moments of escape and relaxation either in the beautiful and dramatic countryside of the mountains or on the sweeping beaches of the Pacific or Japan Sea or even the tropical islands of Okinawa.
Transport in Japan is wonderfully efficient and comfortable and the availability of cheap internal flights make multi-destination trips easy to arrange. The country’s landscape is so diverse and it’s culture offerings so rich that there are many options for romantic getaways. Below are our picks for an unforgettable honeymoon visit.
- TEMPLE HOPPING IN KYOTO: With its 2,000 religious places, comprised of 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as numerous palaces, gardens and classical architecture intact, Kyoto is one of the best preserved cities in all of Japan. With temples, parks, bustling business districts, markets, from regal estates to the tightly-packed neighborhoods, Kyoto is one of the oldest and most revered Asian metropolises.
- CULTURAL IMMERSION IN KANAZAWA: Take the ultimate crash course in Japanese culture with the Art of Travel. Part tour organizer and part artist association, this Kanazawa-based travel company's goal is to showcase traditional arts through hands-on experience like ikebana flower arranging, kangi calligraphy, kimono weaving, sake distilling, and virtually any other Japanese art imaginable. Using a former geisha teahouse as your homebase for your lodging and classes, the Art of Travel is your ticket to the most authentic experience in the Land of the Rising Sun.
- KABUKI THEATER IN TOKYO: Kabuki is a classical Japanese dance-drama, and a must see on any honeymoon to Japan. Kabuki theater is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers. There are also wonderful kabuki theaters in Kyoto but Tokyo is the epicenter of the art. Tokyo also has a vast array of other fascinating sights, so make sure to visit the temples of Asakusa, the gardens of the Imperial Palace and the electric town of Akihabara.
- THE OKINAWA ISLANDS. Okinawa, or the Ryuku archipelago, is a recent addition to Japan; for centuries they were their own kingdom and to this day they have their own unique culture. The main island of Okinawa boasts some beautiful resort hotels like the Ritz Carlton, but for the best scenery visitors should head west to Ishigaki, close to the primeval jungle of Iriomote and the charming coral island of Taketomi. For snorkeling, windsurfing and chill out beaches head west to Kohama, Tokashiki and Zamami.
- STAY IN A RYOKAN AND ONSEN: There is no hotel experience like a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. You will be swept away in the beauty of the classic rooms, impeccable service, attention to detail, home-cooked cuisine, and art of hospitality. And to enjoy a ryokan in its most luxurious and quintessentially Japanese form, make sure it's connected to a natural hot spring or onsen The tradition of Japanese bathing is as relaxing as it gets, especially when you have a beautiful ryokan to retire to.
Tips and Advice
- WHEN TO VISIT: Japan is a year-round destination. Summer is always a great time to go but in the fall you can experience the spectacular foliage of Japanese red maples, in the spring the world-famous cherry blossoms are in bloom, and in winter you can enjoy some of Asia's best skiing in the Hokkaido mountains.
- GETTING THERE: The flight from Seattle to Tokyo's Narita airport is 10 hours and 26 minutes and from New York to Tokyo is 14 hours and 10 minutes.
- GETTING AROUND: Japan is famous for its extensive, well-organized and efficient transportation network. Schedules are strictly adhered to and late or canceled services are almost unheard of. All this convenience comes at a price, look into money-saving deals whenever possible like the tourist's JR rail pass.
- LANGUAGE: Japanese. Most people who work in hospitality and in the big cities understand and speak English.
- CLIMATE: Japan belongs to the temperate zone with four distinct seasons, but its climate varies from cool temperate with frequent snow in the north to subtropical year-round beach weather in the south.
- CURRENCY: Japanese yen. Current exchange rates can be found here.
- ELECTRICITY: The voltage in Japan is 100 Volt, which is different from North America (120V), Central Europe (220V) and most other regions of the world. It's best to bring an adapter.