Japan

A extensive archipelago consisting of over 7000 islands, Japan offers a myriad of varied and contrasting destinations for visitors to explore.   Four main islands form the most frequented and known areas of Japan, and are home to most of the Japanese population. The main island of Honshu is home to Japan’s key destinations, while the other three islands offer varied landscapes and environments for tourists to explore. These include world class skiing areas in Hokkaido, unknown beaches on Okinawa and an island chain that stretches over one thousand kilometers from Kyushu to Taiwan. Most classic itineraries to Japan will explore the highlights of its cosmopolitan capital, Tokyo, the beauty of the infamously shy Mt Fuji, the flourishing city of Hiroshima and the veritable melting pot of UNESCO world heritage sites.


Highlights & Attractions

Mount Fuji

Standing 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft) high Mount Fuji is located near the Pacific coast of central Honshu just west of Tokyo. The most-popular period for people to hike up Mount Fuji is July & August with many climbs up the mountain at night in order to be in a position at or near the summit when the sun rises.


Kinkaku-ji or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion

The most popular tourist attraction in Japan and Kyoto, the pavilion was originally built as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in the late 14th century. Unfortunately, the pavilion was burnt down in 1950 however, five years later the temple was rebuilt as an exact copy of the original. Emphasis is placed on the building and surrounding gardens being in harmony with one another. The pavilion is covered in gold leaf which highlights the reflection of the pavilion in the pond and the pond’s reflection on the building.


Tokyo Tower

Inspired by the Eiffel tower design, it is the second tallest man-made structure in Japan and functions as a communications and observation tower. Visitors can climb the tower for unparalleled views of Tokyo and the surrounding areas as well as visit shops and restaurants.


Todaiji Temple

Not only the world’s largest wooden building, it is home to the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and wildlife, the Kegon school of Buddhism is centered here and the grounds hold many artifacts of Japanese and Buddhist history.


The Great Buddha of Kamakura

One of Japan’s most celebrated Buddhist figures, cast in bronze the Great Buddha stands at over 13 meters (40 feet) high and weighs nearly 93 tons and the statue reportedly dates from 1252.


Hiroshima Peace Memorial

A tribute to the lives lost when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Set in a park, the memorial features Genbaku Dome, the only building left standing in the vicinity after the bomb dropped.


Kiyomizu-dera

A Buddhist temple located in Eastern Kyoto, it is traced back as far as the year 798. An indoor waterfall fed from the outside river keeps the temple in harmony with nature and not one nail was used in construction. While locals used to jump off the edge to have a wish granted (with a survival rate of 85.4%), modern visitors can enjoy the shrines and talismans and artwork on display without risking life and limb.


Useful Information

Language

Japan is a land of many languages however, the major languages include: Japanese, Korean, and Okinawan. A few minor languages are: Kikai, Kunigami, Oki-No-Erabu, and Yonagami.


Currency

The local currently is the Japanese Yen [JPY] which is widely used throughout the country. ATM’s are widely found through out Japan and debit / credit cards are widely accepted.


Visas

On arrival Australian passport holders will be issued with a “Temporary Visitor” entry status stamp, which allows them to stay in Japan for a period of up to 90 days for non-remunerative activities such as sightseeing.


Climate

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average 10 11 14 19 23 26 30 31 28 22 17 13 20
Average 2 3 6 11 15 19 23 24 21 15 10 5 13