Maiko geisha walking on a street of Gion in Kyoto Japan

Japan holidays

Japan is a nation where rich history and progressive thinking intertwine beautifully. The cherry blossom festivals – one of our favourite events in the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ – are startling and rare visual feasts.

Japan is a country where modernity connects with ancient history, where kimono-clad geisha hurry between traditional houses and robots serve customers in restaurants. It has a distinctive, original identity and is instantly endearing.

Made up of five main islands – plus, some 6,000 smaller ones – there are few places where one can feel so safe, rely on everything to work like clockwork, and yet be in a country so culturally distinct from our own. You will discover that an adventure in Japan can be shaped into so many different ways with us, no matter what it is about this enigmatic nation that makes you want to explore it.

Lanterns, Japan
Japanese lanterns

Why Japan?

In many ways, Japan is very similar to Britain – an island race, its people have slightly odd idiosyncratic tendencies and are very reserved, and it has never been conquered (well, at least not for a thousand years). Perhaps that is why we find the country so interesting and appreciate its values. Where else in the world do so many iconic images spring to mind – from trees covered in pink blossom to exquisite plates of sushi, or the snowy peak of Mt Fuji to the white-painted faces of geisha? Whether you seek culture, world-class cuisine, ancient sites or natural beauty, Japan has it all.

Zen Garden, Japan

Why Japan with Steppes Travel?

Our experts have explored much of Japan and have tried and tested the transport, accommodation, food and sites. To make the most out of any trip, you really need to engage with the culture; whether that means visiting a sumo stable, meeting a geisha or visiting a quirky themed cafe. Local guides are costly, so we will work with you to reduce costs elsewhere without compromising on the experience. However, train travel is efficient and easy to use, and so self-guiding becomes a natural, and exciting, part of exploring Japan.

Need Inspiration?
Browse our Japan holiday ideas.

Our Japan experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.

Explore Japan

  • Kyoto
  • Tokyo
  • Mount Fuji
  • Japanese Alps
  • Hiroshima
  • Shikoku Island
  • Hokkaido
  • Okinawa
  • Izu Peninsula


Make the most of every moment in Japan. Create an itinerary brimming with some of these truly unforgettable experiences.

Sumo wrestling, Tokyo, Japan

Sumo Wrestling

Visit a sumo stable for a chance to see behind the scenes of this ancient sport. Spend a morning observing the wrestlers as they engage in training activities and learn about the customs, rituals and rules of Japans national sport.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Kenrokuen Gardens, Kanazawa, Japan

Kenroku-en Gardens

Visit Kenroku-en gardens in Kanazawa, ranked as one of the top three gardens in Japan.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Tea Ceremony, Japan

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Sit on tatami mats and enjoy a slow paced hospitality steeped in history and tradition.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Cat Cafe, Tokyo

Quirky Tokyo

Experience some of Tokyo’s quirkier sites from cat café’s to pachinko parlours and capsule hotels.

Suggested Holiday Idea

View over Seto Inland Sea and lush islands, Setouchi, Japan

Art Island Yachting

Sail by private yacht to the charming islands of Teshima and Inujima in Japan’s Setouchi region, for an exclusive art tour. Explore the islands on foot or by bike visiting the Teshima Art Museum, Inujima Art House Project and other exhibitions

Suggested Holiday Idea

Bullet Train, Japan

Bullet Train

Travel on the world famous Shinkansen bullet train reaching speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Aharen Beach, Tokashiki Island, Okinawa, Japan

Island Hopping

Discover some of the 160 islands off southern Japan.

Bicycle lane in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto by Bike

Explore the back streets of Kyoto by bicycle. Experience the city from a different perspective, stopping at tea houses and less known temples, keeping your eyes peeled for geisha as they go about their daily lives.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Traditional Ryokan Accommodation, Japan

Ryokan Experience

Stay in a traditional Japanese Inn with rooms featuring tatami mats, rice paper screens and futon beds, some with private hot spring baths and all serving multi course kaiseki meals.

Suggested Holiday Idea

A bridge along the Nakasendo Trail

Walk the Nakasendo Trail

Follow in the footsteps of samurais and lords as you hike the old Nakasendo trail in the Japanese Alps.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Young Geisha (Maiko), Kyoto, Japan

Geisha Experience

Spend an evening with Geisha and gain an insight into this ancient and fascinating world.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Naoshima Art Island

Naoshima Island

Visit or stay on this beautiful island. Home to a collection of abandoned houses, workshops, temples and shrines which have been converted into art installations and venues for contemporary art, by artists and architects from Japan and abroad. The Chichu Art Museum is itself a work of art – built into a hillside overlooking the ocean and located mostly underground, it utilises solely natural light to illuminate the artwork.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Our Guide to Japan

We know that anyone planning a holiday to Japan will have questions, so we have compiled answers to a few of the most common questions we are regularly asked. Our Japan Experts are always on hand to answer any specific questions and to help plan your tailor made holiday to Japan.

How can I best experience culture in Japan?

When is the Best Time to See the Cherry Blossom?

Is Japan a Good Family Destination?

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

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Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge, curiosity and expertise set us apart, driving us to create remarkable holidays and Beautiful Adventures tailored perfectly to you, carefully curated to help protect and conserve our planet.

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