The Cruiser’s Guide to Japan: All You Need to Know Before Visiting


Originally posted: 27 April 2018 | Updated on 30 October 2019 by Darcy Alexander

As you most likely know, the Rugby World Cup is taking place this weekend (02.11.2019) – if you haven’t, where have you been?! This year it’s being hosted in Japan, so in light of this, we’ve broken down all the cities you need to visit on your next Japanese adventure including what you need to see, eat and do there!

Japan is a magnificent amalgamation of tradition and future all wraped into one. This collision of new and old means that tourists can explore the country’s stories of ancient history one day, and then immerse themselves in the technological advancements of tomorrow, in another.

Whether it’s sake from one of Kobe’s famed wineries, a roam through the lava fields of Kagoshima or getting to know its nightlife via futuristic, neon-lit streets, Japan’s varied lands offer up a plethora of riches to experience.

Whatever you do with your time, a trip to Japan is an enriching adventure. If you’re looking to go there as part of your next journey, use this Japan city guide to help you explore all the best spots and know what to look out for. Its got everything you need to know to help you get prepared before you go.

City Guides

Whatever your ‘travel style’, Japan has a city with its own distinct personality and atmostphere meaning the variety will cater to everyones needs. Set your pulses racing amist Toyko’s fast-paced hustle and bustle, or dial it down with a visit to Aomori’s sleepy, serene climes – the nature surrounding Japan is unforgettable, and absolutely perfect for impulsive travellers.

City Guide: Tokyo – Japan’s Million-Miles-a-Second Capital


Rapid advancements in technology means that millions of pedestrians can easily navigate through the vivid, neon-soaked streets. Tokyo really is a city that’s always on the move, so stay ahead of the rush with this handy guide that touches on its sightseeing highlights, choice culinary venues and of course, recommends you try a tot of sake while you’re there.

City Guide: Kobe – A Modern Maritime Gateway

The energy of Kobe’s varied cultural make-up is infectious. This contemporary, cosmopolitan city has a diverse mix of modern flourish and traditional histroy. Known for it’s fresh greenery and unbelievable vistas from up high.

City Guide: Yokohama – Tokyo’s Chilled-Out Cousin

Yokohama Japan

For a serene stop-off, Yokohama slows down the pace and thins out the crowds – perfect for leisurely strolls and sightseeing. Travel easily on foot and walk through the charming cherry blossom gardens. Make sure to check out the Cup Noodles Museum – yes, as you guessed – a museum dedicated to the popular instant snack food!

If you’re feeling hungry, Yokohama takes culinary cues from plenty of other countries with hearty curries to the Japanese take on a hot-pot – you will not be left with your somach rubbling here!

City Guide: Aomori – A Slow-Paced Wintry Wonderland

Relatively untouched by tourism, Aomori is another Japanese city that’s easy going and laid-back making an excellent retreat from the country’s busier areas. Wander around its delightful downtown area and roam around its cute antique shops. Stop by Asamushi Aquarium for an immersive look at over 10,000 sea-dwelling animals. When you’re done, swing by Hotate Goya, a seafood restaurant that lets you catch your own scallops!

City Guide – Nagasaki: Wartime Heritage in Japan’s Long Cape

Japan skyline at the bay

Featuring a cultural and historical significance without compare, Nagasaki offers up a storied past and a Western-inspired present to all who visit. At turns sombre and haunting, at others colourful and vibrant, Nagasaki is always impressive. Stock up on its history at the Atomic Bomb Museum, or for something more off-kilter, Huis Ten Bosch is 1.5 million sq. metres of land that recreates the streets of Middle Age Europe.

In-Depth Guides

Looking to delve into Japan’s culture as much as possible? From adhering to Japan-style manners to tracking down its most iconic temples, these last-minute pointers are sure to truly make your visit one to remember.

10 Customs You Need to Know for Your Japan Trip

Bowing, minding your manners at the table, wearing surgical masks. Frequent faux pas might occur if you’re not well versed in how the Japanese do things. Brush up on your Japanese etiquette with this handy guide to the country’s customs and traditions.

Where to See Japan’s Breath-taking Shrines, Temples and Castles

Temple in Japan

When it comes to places of worship, Japan is rich with all manner of spiritual sanctuaries to roam around. With numbers in the thousands, the hard part is choosing which ones you visit. Use this extensive walkthrough which highlights the best of each city, from Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu to the Kenrokuen Garden of Kanazawa, one of the most tranquil places on Earth.

Even if you aren’t particularly spiritual, a visit to any of Japan’s temples offers a fascinating glimpse into an entirely different culture, so be sure to make time for a visit while you’re here.

8 Must-Eat Dishes You Need to Try in Japan

Famous for their delicious, adventurous cuisine gourmet delights await you at every corner. Catering to a range of tastes and budgets, no stomach will be left wanting here. But don’t just take our word for it, we asked our favourite travel and lifestyle bloggers for their foodie favourites that any well-seasoned traveller should pull up a chair for.

The Ultimate Day-Tripper’s Guide to Mt Fuji & Lake Ashi

An eye-opening journey to one of the country’s most awe-inspiring sights is an unforgettable experience. A superb finale to your Japanese journey, a day trip to Mt Fuji and nearby Lake Ashi is a pilgrimage many an explorer dreams about. Get your boots on and check out this guide; you’ll find how to get there, when the best time to visit is and the best places to eat nearby.

And if you’re looking for something to bring back, then we’ve run through the best souvenirs too, including sending a postcard from Japan’s highest post office.

If you’re looking to start exploring this wonderful part of the world, then check out our selection of Japan cruise deals here or give our friendly customer care team a call on 0808 273 8576. We look forward to hearing from you!


About Author

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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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