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Cherry blossom, culture and winter sports: Japan offers popular activities in every season


Japan has many faces. If you only visit the highlights, you will miss the whole variety: from breathtaking mountain landscapes to remote pilgrimage sites.

Japan has many faces.

If you only visit the highlights, you will miss the whole variety: from breathtaking mountain landscapes to remote pilgrimage sites.

Japan is the only country in Asia that offers western standards and offers unique holiday experiences.

In the land of the setting sun you can expect a colorful mix of culture, nature, tradition and modernity, spirituality - and every now and then a little craziness.

This makes the trip to Japan an unforgettable experience for all tastes and all senses.

You will be welcomed by unique cities and fascinating natural landscapes with over 30 national parks, 55 quasi-national parks and 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

Culture, hiking, swimming: Japan offers numerous popular activities and is worth a visit at any time of the year

All regions offer a little of everything: beautiful nature experiences, traditional customs and varied cuisine.

However, if you like it a little cooler and like to hike or cycle, you will get your money's worth in the less crowded north.

Traditions of Buddhism and Shintoism (“way of the gods”) can be experienced up close in the center of the largest Japanese island of Honshū.

For relaxing moments on the beach you should choose the south of the country.

And if you want to delve even deeper into the Japanese tradition, take part in one or more workshops that are offered everywhere.

Whether at a tea ceremony in a kimono, in the silk dyeing workshop or in the production of tofu, you will learn traditional crafts and old customs in an authentic ambience. 


The people of Tokyo obviously want to capture this moment.

No wonder: After all, you only stand under a spectacularly colored crown of cherry blossoms at this very specific time of the year - and look forward to spring.

© Imago

Travel tip for Japan

: Don't just focus on the highlights!

Otherwise you risk missing out on all of Japan's diversity: from dreamy mountain landscapes to relaxing thermal springs and secluded places of pilgrimage. 

Japan's popular cities exude their unique charm

Are you planning a city break in Japan?

Start in Japan's capital, the huge metropolis of Tokyo.

In the city of creative and innovative ideas, life pulsates day and night.

You can easily spend a week here without getting bored.

The former capital Kyoto also has a lot to offer as a city of fine culture, with its 1,600 Buddhist temples and 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The third largest city in Japan, Osaka, on the other hand, is the city of business and impresses with its spectacular high-rise buildings, shopping malls that stretch for miles and oversized entertainment districts.

And how about one of the great port cities in the world, Yokohama, which is both steeped in history and very international?

All cities in Japan are as different as they are impressive - each in its own special way. 

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Hiking in Japan: well-developed hiking trails and pilgrimage routes for a varied hiking holiday

After the hustle and bustle of bustling cities, immerse yourself in the graceful charm of Japanese nature.

Here you hike between mountains, lakes and volcanoes.

The ascent to the most beautiful and highest mountain Mount Fuji (Fuji-san) is probably one of the most famous hiking experiences in Japan.

Four routes lead up.

The high season starts on July 1st and ends on August 31st: Expect queues during this time. 


Japan's sacred Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko are bathed in golden light at the autumn sunset.

© Imago

But there are also numerous well-marked and well-maintained hiking trails around the big cities.

If you prefer to admire the majestic Mount Fuji from afar, the best way to hike in Fuji-goko, the Five Lakes region, is through beautiful landscapes overlooking Japan's sacred mountain.

The Fushimi Inari sacred complex, not far from Kyoto, also offers a beautiful mountain hike with views over the city.

Those who climb Mount Takao near Tokyo will be rewarded with a spectacular view of Tokyo. 

There are also many pilgrimage routes in Japan.

Probably the most famous of these is the Shikoku, which connects 88 temples over a length of about 1,400 kilometers.

30 to 60 days you are here on foot to the sanctuaries of Japan - a good alternative to the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage tour.

A kind of desert experience is also possible in Japan: the 16 km long and two km wide dune landscape near the town of Tottori attracts countless people with its unique sight.

Here you can move freely - or book a camel or fat bike tour. 

Bathing fans and sunbathers will find fantastic, tropical-like beaches along the archipelago 

Japan has 30,000 kilometers of coastline, which is home to numerous havens for swimmers and sunbathers.

The archipelago and its beaches from Tokyo to Okinawa offer many opportunities to linger by the sea.

The subtropical Okinawa archipelago is particularly popular as a beach paradise and is known as the Japanese Riviera with its palm trees and coral reefs.

Sunbathe on the pine-lined beach on the Izu Peninsula. 


Kurokawa Onsen is one of the most popular hot spring spa resorts in the Kyushu region.

© Imago

By the way: Lovers of thermal springs (onsen) will also get their money's worth in Japan.

Very popular especially in the winter months, numerous bathhouses fed by natural thermal springs welcome you.

The culture of bathing in the hot springs is deeply rooted in Japanese culture.

That's why such wellness oases have been found almost everywhere in Japan since the 12th century: from Siberian Hokkaido to the subtropical Okinawa archipelago.

Please note, however: Onsen etiquette applies here! 

Well taken care of on the go: This belongs in the first-aid kit

Well taken care of on the go: This belongs in the first-aid kit

Best travel time for Japan: Except for the typhoon season, a popular holiday destination all year round 

Experience Japan during the cherry blossom season: If this is your dream, then you should plan your trip to Japan for late March to mid-April.

During this time, the country is immersed in a pink sea of ​​blossoms from the cherry trees (sakura) in many places for about a week.

As beautiful as this experience may be: In Japanese culture, the delicate blossoms not only symbolize beauty and awakening.

They also stand for impermanence and renewal.

Sakura wither correspondingly quickly because they do not withstand the rain and wind particularly well.

A bit of luck with the weather is always part of catching the enchanting cherry blossom in all its splendour.

In addition, Japan is not only your dream during the cherry blossom season: the beginning of spring is one of the most popular travel seasons for the land of the rising sun. 

Good to know: The end of April or beginning of May is the so-called Golden Week in Japan.

Four public holidays follow one another.

Since there are up to ten free days during this period, many Japanese are also out and about in the country.

As a result, hotel and flight prices are skyrocketing – and there is quite a lot going on. 

In general, spring (from March to May) is the best time to travel to Japan.

But there is much more to see and do in Japan than just the popular cherry blossom season.

So the best time to travel to Japan also depends on what you are doing in this fascinating Asian country and which region you want to visit.

The south of Japan (for example on the southern main island of Kyushu) welcomes you from July to February with lots of sunshine and pleasant sea temperatures: ideal for extensive visits to the beach.

However, if you are planning a city break in central Japan, you should travel in spring or autumn.

Enthusiastic winter sports fans will get their money's worth in the north of Japan.

Snowy, excellent slopes await you between December and February.

Japan is also worth a round trip in autumn: now the country is covered with a colorful splendor of autumn leaves.

Pleasant temperatures of 18 to 20 degrees and moderate prices for accommodation make October and November a popular travel time.

Best travel time for Japan depending on the activity

Cherry Blossom

late March to early April

hiking and swimming

July to August

To ski

December to March

round trip

spring or autumn

Late summer typhoon season is considered the low season

Late summer and early autumn in Japan (with the peak in September, in the south in July) is considered Japan's low season.

The reason: High temperatures and typhoons prevail in large parts of the country.

Heavy rains and gusts of wind often cause flooding and landslides.

However, typhoons hit the coast the hardest.

Inland, the hurricanes weaken and usually only bring rain showers with them.

List of rubrics: © Imago

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-03-23

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