Okinawa Prefecture, Hokkaido
Holiday Inn OSAKA NAMBA, ART HOTEL NARITA
The most popular hotels booked by tourists are Holiday Inn OSAKA NAMBA, ART HOTEL NARITA, Shinjuku Prince Hotel, Hotel MyStays Asakusa - Bashi, APA Hotel Asakusa Kuramae, APA Hotel Shinjuku Kabukicho Tower, APA Hotel Higashi Shinjuku Kabukicho, Hotel MyStays Ueno Inaricho, APA Hotel Keisei Narita-Ekimae, E Hotel Higashi Shinjuku
Currently, there are around 28,137 hotels that you can book in Japan
Japan or formally pronounced in Japanese as Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku which translates as the State of Japan, is a sovereign island country located in East Asia, around the Pacific Ocean and lies off the eastern coast of Asian mainland stretching from Sea Okhotsk in the north of East China Sea to China in the southwest. Often called as the “Land of the Rising Sun”, it is a stratovolcanic archipelago that comprises 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku which make up about 97% of the land area of the country.
The capital of Japan is Tokyo or officially recognised as Tokyo Metropolis, being a capital since 1869, a year after the Meiji Restoration era started. Formerly known as Edo, the capital was moved from Kyoto under the decree of Emperor Meiji. In 1943, the city of Tokyo was merged with the former Tokyo Prefecture to form the present day Tokyo Metropolis. It is home to 39 million residents and is 50% more populous than any other urban area, with an economy worth $2.5 trillion which easily tramples other cities.
Based on archaeological research, it is said that Japan was inhabited as early as the Upper Paleolithic period, in which the first written record of Japan can be found in Chinese history texts dating to the 1st Century AD. Japan’s history is hugely characterised by its influence from other regions, particularly China and also the periods of isolation from Western Europe.
From the start of the 12th century, successive military figures known as shoguns would proceed to rule the country in place of the Emperor. In the early 17th century, Japan went into a period of isolation that ended in 1853 under the pressure of the United States. Royal families would then seized political power from 1868 onwards, bringing Japan into an era of modernisation and strengthening imperialism through Japanese militarism ideologies. After its defeat in World War II, Japan has revised its constitution to maintain a parliamentary constitutional monarchy consisting of the Emperor and elected legislature called the National Diet which lasted till this day. In the 1960s to the 1980s, Japan would experience a period called the post-war economic miracle where the growth had been at the average of 7.5% between 1960s and 1970s and 3.2% in the 1980s, catapulting it to the third largest economy in the world as it is today.
With certainty, Japanese is the first language and the national language of a lot of Japanese people, considering the country’s demography of 98.5% Japanese. The Japanese language itself is an agglutinative language with an extensive honorifics system, incorporating a writing style that is a mix of Kanji characters, Hiragana and Katakana characters as well as the Latin alphabet and Arabic numerals. The different region would have a different Japanese dialect altogether; the mainstream and standard Japanese is typically practised at the Kanto region while the Kansai region may have their own Kansai dialect. A small minority in the Ryukyu Islands would also speak the Ryukyuan languages.
The Japanese kinds of food are usually exotic, in the sense that it combines staple foods that are unique to Japan, typically the Japanese rice or noodles with soup and okazu, vegetable and tofu. The emphasis is always on the seasonality of the food, in which cooks would strive to achieve the best savoury taste known as Umami. Besides, the freshness of the ingredients too is just as important as its presentation. What makes it even more interesting is that different regions would have its specialities which incorporate elements and ingredients unique to the region as well as the traditional recipes unique to the locals. Moving on, Japan too has its breed of sweets known as wagashi, which normally involves ingredients like red bean paste and mochi, as well as green tea flavoured ice cream. There is also a version of Japanese alcoholic beverage known as sake, which is made of rice being fermented multiple times.
A ticket flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo would cost you around MYR 1100 to MYR 1500 per pack which is dependent on the choice of airline and the date of travel. Similar costs would also incurred for trips to Osaka, another common gateway to Japan. Note that you will either land on Narita Airport or Haneda Airport for Tokyo-bound trips and Kansai Airport for Osaka-bound trips.
After reaching one of these airports, to get around town is such a breeze, this is because Japan is highly regarded as having one of the world’s best transport systems. You can either use a plane, train or railways, boat, highway and local bus, taxi or even rent a car or a bike. Even railway services can pretty much bring you everywhere in Japan with the variety of services including special trains, premium green car, local coaches, private railways and the famously known bullet train Shinkansen. Meanwhile, the taxi services are of the different league with the cabs being much cleaner and safe, despite fetching a higher price.
While there are some international ferries making trips to Japan, Busan may appear as the only practical starting point to get into Japan for casual travellers due to its proximity and reliability. There are also other infrequent trips from China, Taiwan and Russia which is dependent on demand and the season.
Considering that Japan too is an island nation, it is not surprising to find that boats are still an important means of transport to get around. Some of the ferries provide long-distance trips from Tokyo and Osaka to distant cities like Okinawa and Hokkaido which allow people and companies to transport their own cars as well. There are also some short distance intercity ferries for smaller islands like the one providing for Aomori-Hakodate.
Japan has a fair share of mountains that are worth exploring. A prominent one would be the Mount Fuji is already akin to being a symbol of Japan. Being the highest mountain in Japan and focal point of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, climbing the mountain would typically take about 4 to 8 hours at walking speed and another 2 to 4 hours for the descent. Meanwhile, Mount Aso would offer a very large caldera that is magnificent in view. Mount Koya too is worthy of climbing; it has a slew of temples that are good to explore along the hiking trail.
It feels incomplete to come over to Japan and not even to try its renowned onsen or natural hot springs. Typically found in every corner, nook and cranny of the region all over the country, there are a lot of types of hot springs to try, typically they are distinguished by the mineral dissolved in the water which is said to provide different health benefits. Some of the famous spots include Hakone Onsen located an hour and a half away from Tokyo, Yufuin Onsen at the foot of Mount Yufudake in Oita, Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma and many more. After spending some time in the hot springs, the relaxation obtained from the session is sure to give you a good feeling after a long field trip day.
Another activity that is uniquely done in Japan is to go for cherry blossom viewing. Typically observed during the start of the spring season, there are a lot of places around Japan that are suitable for cherry blossom viewing. Tourists can come over to have a picnic while enjoying the cherry blossom flowers as they come into its peak. As the season comes in, there is also another cherry blossom-related products and merchandises being sold all over Japan to commemorate the event that occurred annually. The comprehensive list of viewing spots can be obtained from the Japan Cherry Blossom Association.
Located approximately 21 kilometres from Haneda Airport, this luxury property is one of the finest hotels around Shinjuku. The accommodation is elegant, and the service is top notch, with a good restaurant serving breakfast and dinner. It is situated pretty close to the heart of Shinjuku and is not far from the train station.
This 2-star hotel is an affordable hotel that allows one to easily explore Osaka due to its ease of access and proximity to the train station. It has a bubbly design that incorporates white colours and bright lights, making the hotel surroundings look cleaner and calmer. It is also close to a nightclub and bar which is ideal for drinks and spa for relaxation after a long trip.
This hotel has a glowingly modern setup and is close to the Ginza prefecture, allowing access to the attractions unique to Ginza such as the renowned shopping districts. It has its own dining place that serves breakfast and the room options are ample which allows customisations whichever needed. However, its size is usually meant for tourists travelling in two or three pax.