From densely populated metropolises to idyllic rural landscapes, Japan offers something for everyone.
Located in north-east Asia between the Sea of Japan and the North Pacific, the country comprises four major islands – Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku – and these are surrounded by more than 4,000 smaller islands.
Japan is famed for its diverse geography. Low-lying coastal areas are extremely heavily populated, while inland, almost three-quarters of Japan is forested, with towering mountains – often volcanic in origin – and mysterious twisting valleys.
Tokyo, the Japanese capital, is one of the most populous cities in the world, with about 13 million people living in the metropolitan area. Famously seen as a mecca for tech junkies, the city is home to the ‘computer town’ Akihabara, a densely packed retail area where many of the world’s top electrical retailers show off their latest innovations.
For a glimpse of what life in Tokyo used to be like, visit Asakusa, which draws influence from Edo – the name of both the former city and the castle of 17th-century ruler Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.
However, there’s more to Japan than Tokyo. Hakone, about 50 miles south-west of the capital, is one of the country’s best international holiday resorts, featuring a picturesque historic zone and numerous renowned spas.
Hokkaido, meanwhile, is often seen as the most beautiful of all the main Japanese islands. The largest city, Sapporo, boasts several must-see attractions including the famous City Clock, which has been keeping time for more than a century.