Escape Travel consultant Jessica Page admits Japan is her favourite country to visit in the entire world. Having travelled to Japan multiple times, we caught up with Jess to get her firsthand advice on things to do and see when visiting this popular Asian destination. From the bright lights of Tokyo to the historic monuments in Ancient Kyoto, Jess has fantastic insider tips for Aussie’s heading to Japan.
Tell us about your relationship with Japan?
I love Japan. There is so much history and culture to experience. I lived in Kyoto for a few months, which is where you will find ancient Japan. The futurist city of Tokyo is also amazing – the technology there just blew my mind. I have also cruised around Japan and stayed in the southern most part of the island. Cruising was a great way to see the entire destination. It gives you more time each day to see all the highlights as you sail through the night.
What is one of your must do activities in Japan?
One of my favourite things to do is a day trip to Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The presentation of the memorial is very moving and it is an unforgettable experience. Also take a ferry over to Miyajima Island and glide through the red floating gate. I recommend hiring a bicycle and going for ride through the cobblestone streets. Also buy a bag of deer food so you can feed the deer that come to greet you. There is also great shopping for traditional Japanese items here.
What is one of the most relaxing things to do in Japan?
Enjoy a tea ceremony at the Golden Temple in Kyoto. It’s really fun to get dressed up in traditional Geisha costume and experience an authentic local tea ceremony. It presents a unique opportunity to engage in the local cultural and do something you can’t do anywhere else in the world.
What’s one thing about Japan that makes your jaw drop?
The bullet train is absolutely amazing. Compared to Australian trains, we are back in the Stone Age. The easiest way to get around Japan is by rail, so make sure you purchase a rail pass.
Can you remember a unique experience that surprised you?
Stumbling across a cartoon convention in Kagoshima while we were on a cruise was fun. The costumes were incredible and very realistic. To be surrounded by superheroes was a surreal experience.
Do you have any other must do experiences in Japan?
Take a Samurai class in Tokyo, see the snow monkeys in Niseko, go skiing in Hakuba, dip your toes into a hot spring in Fukuoka, jump on a rollercoaster at Disneyland or climb Mount Fuji!
Where do you recommend staying?
If you are visiting Tokyo, anywhere central will be handy. I recommend booking a hotel close to a big train station. In Kyoto, try booking a traditional hotel and experience an authentic Japanese guest house. The other great option is cruising Japan with a balcony cabin.
Do you have any advice for first time visitors?
Japanese people are very welcoming and always eager to assist, so ask for help if you get lost. Always pre purchase your rail pass for Japan prior to travel and pre book your tours as there are minimum numbers each day for certain attractions. Cherry blossom season (March to May) is the prettiest time to see Japan. Also you need at least 10 days to see all the highlights!
Want to head off on your own adventure to Japan? Contact Jessica Page on 02 4298 8200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Jessica is a consultant at Escape Travel Shell Harbour store in New South Wales.