Highlights of Honshu
Japan’s main island and cultural heartland is a must for the first time visitor with world-famous cities, spectacular mountains, bullet trains, Mount Fuji and the Hakone National Park.Back to All Regions of Japan
Those in search of Japan’s most traditional hot springs resorts should consider visiting Gunma prefecture and the Onsen towns of Kusatsu and Takaragawa.
An easy train or road journey from Tokyo, Hakone is a beautiful national park just to the south of Mount Fuji, Japan's most famous and iconic volcano and a great place to experience staying in a traditional ryokan with a natural hot spring bath.
Hiroshima has risen from the ashes of its tragic recent history to become a vibrant and prosperous city. With a spectacular backdrop being flanked by mountains and sea, dotted with small islands, one of which being Miyajima, a delightful island to visit and relax on.
Kanazawa is a town rich in history and culture located on the western coast on the Sea of Japan. The city is home to some of the country’s finest gardens, which are both still in excellent condition and a highlight of any visit to Kanazawa.
The Kiso Valley is an area of mountainous terrain covered in thick cypress forests with several picturesque towns, originally set up as stations along the ancient Nakasendo highway linking the old capital Edo (Tokyo) with Kyoto to the west.
The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail is a network of scenic walking trails in the verdant Kii Mountains of the Wakayama Prefecture. They are a part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and were developed hundreds of years ago as a way for pilgrims to pass between the different sacred areas found in this remote part of Japan.
Located between Kyoto and Hiroshima, Kurashiki has a delightful district of ancient black-tiled warehouses connected by canals filled with carp, and ornate bridges linking the narrow pedestrian lanes.
An ancient capital, Kyoto remains Japan’s cultural heartland with many of the country’s historical treasures, Zen gardens, pavilions and temples. Kyoto also has many hidden beauties, Geisha, wonderful old buildings and an array of shops, riverside restaurants and theatres.
Matsumoto is surrounded on all sides by the towering peaks of the Japan Alps and has an almost European feel to it. The city is most famous for its original castle which is only a short distance from the station.
At 3776m Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain and most famous symbol, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful conical volcanoes in the world.
Sacred Mount Koya, or Koya-san, is an elevated area of hills with a collection of over 100 temples and lodges, surrounded by delicately scented cedar trees and misty peaks. Koya-san is one of the most important spiritual centers in Japan.
A short train ride from Kyoto, Nara was Japan’s first real capital and centre of cultural and political life between 710 and 794. The city is packed with shrines and temples in a small area, which can easily be covered on a day trip from Kyoto.
Nikko is a sacred city founded in the 8th Century that has been the centre of Shinto and Buddhist worship for centuries, located in the hills 50 miles to the north of Tokyo.
Japan’s second city, Osaka is every bit the energetic, bustling, neon-lit Japan that many imagine. A commercial and industrial hub without any major ‘sights’, your time in Osaka is really about diving headlong into the noise and colour of modern, urban Japan.
The friendly, pufferfish crazy, coastal city of Shimonoseki occupies the westernmost tip of Honshu (Japan’s main island) and is a delightful place to explore for a few days.
Around 30 miles from Takayama are the villages of Shirakawago and Gokayama, set in spectacular valleys and surrounded by steep mountains. The area is famous for the distinctive Gassho houses, often called 'hands in prayer' which refers to the steeply sloping thatched roofs.
Set on the edge of the Japanese Alps, the delightful town of Takayama was established as a trading town in the 16th Century and flourished as a trading town. It retains the charm of years gone by, with atmospheric streets of dark wooden buildings that have changed little in centuries.
The Japanese Alps is a National Park offering the most spectacular mountain scenery in the whole of Japan. In addition to world class skiing during the winter, the area offers excellent hiking, trekking and mountaineering and several delightful Onsen towns.
Few places in Japan can offer the beautiful coastal scenery and peaceful rural vibes that the Noto Peninsula can and we highly recommend finding time to step off the beaten path for a few days and explore this less known area on the west coast.
Japan is often described as being both ancient and modern, but Tokyo is the place to go for all things futuristic! Tokyo is split into 23 wards, each a mini city unto itself with distinct character and attractions.
Yamaguchi is a friendly city and home to the National Treasure five-storied Rurikoji Temple. A short drive out of the city takes you up onto the Akiyoshidai Plateau, home to the highest concentration of karst formations in Japan and a great place to do some hiking or to explore by Segway!