When’s the best time to visit Japan? Our answer: anytime. Japan’s kaleidoscopic beauty makes it a fantastic holiday destination for adults and children alike. From the soft pink petals of the cherry blossoms in spring and pastel purple flush of lavenders in summer, to the sunset-dappled leaves clustering around the serene Kyoto shrines and skiing down the pristine Hokkaido snow, experience Japan in its all of its seasonal glory!
Hanami, or cherry blossom-watching, is a favourite spring tradition in Japan. Couples, families and friends roll out picnic mats and munch on hand-made onigiris as they gaze in wonder at the blossoming sakuras overhead. You can enjoy the cherry blossoms in Okinawa, an island south of the Japan mainland, where the flowers bloom the earliest. Celebrate spring with its annual Nago Cherry Blossom Festival as you stroll along the two-kilometre path framed by beautiful sakura trees and the scenic Nago Castle in the background. Then, sit back and enjoy the vibrant Okinawan culture with their festive Ryukyu and Eisa dances, a traditional art form that has endured for many centuries. Spring is also when strawberries are at their ripest. Head down to Tohoku’s largest strawberry farm, Yamamoto Strawberry Farm, to pick the best of the crops. While you are there, remember to treat yourself to some strawberry-flavoured delights at the cafe, taste some fresh strawberry wine and make some baumkuchen at the bakery too. With the advent of spring, the snow-covered Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is flanked by towering frozen corridors which you can walk or hop on a bus through, a panoramic sight for both locals and tourists.
A visit to ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’ would not be complete without a trip to the majestic Mount Fuji in the idyllic Shizuoka prefecture. Admire Japan’s most famous peak from the panoramic cable car ropeway as you soar over the sprawling Lake Kawaguchi. For an immersive experience, stay at one of the mountain lodges with a spectacular view of Mount Fuji and scale the summit with an expert guide by your side. In summer, the wintry landscapes of Hokkaido are replaced with a beautiful shade of amethyst as the lavender fields burst into bloom. Hop in a ski lift and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the flower fields and take home some fragrant lavender tea for your friends and family. Lavenders aren’t the only things in bloom in the summer — brilliant displays of “fire flowers” dazzle the night sky during Japan’s lively firework festivals. Join the locals as you rent a traditional yukata for the night, play interesting stall games such as goldfish scooping and try some delicious takoyaki while you wait for the nightly fireworks. Grown locally in Hokkaido’s town of Yubari, summer is the season to taste the sweet Yubari King melon, dubbed as the most expensive fruit in the world! Hokkaido is also the prime destination for fresh uni (sea urchin), a widely-eaten Japanese delicacy known for its creamy and buttery taste.
Japan is ablaze with crimson and gold as autumn approaches. The momiji (red maple tree leaves) are a wondrous sight when they fall like rain as the wind rustles past the branches. A favourite autumn viewing spot in Japan is Kyoto, where the majestic shrines are surrounded by a rustic blush, adding to the serenity and sanctity of the area. For the best fall foliage views, visit the castle town of Akizuki. With its winding streets and preserved old buildings amongst the sun-dappled autumn trees, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into a Japanese history book, where sword-wielding samurais once clashed. Autumn is also when the large Kyoho grapes are ripe for the picking. This celebrated “King of Grapes” is widely reputed for its juiciness and seedless variety, making it a tasty treat off the vine for children and adults alike. Aside from Kyoho grape-picking, the ever-popular Banpouen at the foot of Mount Ohira also offers delicious handmade grape-flavoured shaved ice and frappes for the tired pickers.
As the dazzling autumn fades, the landscape is once again transformed into a winter wonderland. Head over to the wintry slopes of Hokkaido’s ski resorts for skiing and snowboarding. Its powder snow is consistently lauded for its high quality, promising a smooth and thrilling experience for beginners and experts alike. If you’re looking for something more relaxing, try experiencing dog-sledding, tubing and riding snow-mobiles. Winter illuminations also take centre-stage as winter rounds the corner — the beloved Kobe Luminarie stands as a symbol of hope for the people affected by the devastating Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. Designs of this magnificent illumination change every year, and are hand-painted individually by locals. Catch a glimpse of the red-faced Japanese macaques as they soak in steaming hot springs of the Jigokudani Monkey Park to keep themselves warm in the frigid climate. You might want to check out the nearby Korakukan Onsen, the guesthouse where the monkeys had first observed and copied this unique behaviour of soaking in the hot springs.
A luxury Japan experience awaits in its kaleidoscopic seasonal glory. Save the hassle and let Uniq Luxe plan the perfect holiday itinerary for you!
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