A guide to Japan - now that it has reopened to tourists
Having recently resumed overseas tourism after two years, it’s now time to explore Japan’s volcanic islands, vibrant cities and majestic, snow-capped mountains. Here is a guide to an array of alluring experiences you can enjoy, from skiing in Hokkaido to marveling at mind-blowing art works at the Nakanoshima Museum of Art.
Ski in Hokkaido
The northern island of Hokkaido is abundant in extraordinary powder snow and there are no shortage of ski resorts, with over 600 in total. January is probably the best time to visit, although if you go in the spring you’ll enjoy more pleasant weather and sunshine. Head here in April if you want to admire pink cherry blossoms blooming around the island. Aprés ski, rejuvenate and immerse yourself in the local culture by relaxing at a natural hot spring known as an ‘onsen’ and taste some of its culinary delights, from salmon roe to sea urchin. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just pure relaxation, stay at Portom International Hokkaido, where guest rooms are filled with stunning artworks by the Japanese artist Hokusai Manga, and where you can experience an authentic Japanese tea ceremony.
Discover sublime artworks a the Nakanoshima Museum of Art
The five-story Nakanoshima Museum of Art opened in Osaka City in February 2022 and is home to one of Japan’s biggest collections, with over 6,000 modern artworks. You’ll find masterpieces by artists like Modigliani, Magritte, and Dali, as well as works by Japanese artists like Jiro Yoshihara or Yuzo Saeki. Make sure you also visit Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts. Founded in 1936, it is one of Japan's oldest museums and houses impressive works from both Japan and China. Other attractions in the country’s second city include the Osaka Castle, built in the late 1500s by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Shitennoji, Japan’s oldest Bhuddist temple.
Climb Mount Fuji
The picture-perfect symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji is the seventh-highest peak in the world and the largest in the country. There’s nothing like seeing it up close in the summer and it’s suitable for both novice and more experienced climbers. While it takes between five to seven hours to climb, you can also opt for a more relaxed, two-day journey. After the climb, admire awe-inspiring views of the mountain from Japan's first luxury camping resort, the Hoshinoya Fuji, which is nestled in a forest and overlooks Lake Kawaguchi.
Mount Fuji View © David Edelstein on Unsplash
Indulge in Japanese-French cuisine at Florilège in Tokyo
Included in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 list, Florilège has two Michelin stars and features a stylish, open kitchen with charcoal-coloured counters decorated with plants. This is where renowned chef Hiroyasu Kawate creates French-Japanese cuisine using seasonal, local ingredients. Highlights of the menu include his ‘sustainability beef’ carpaccio and sardines with noodles and sundried tomatoes. Michelin 3-Star restaurant Ryugin, meanwhile, offers creative, experimental cuisine such as grilled ayu (sweetfish), cooked up by chef Seiji Yamamoto.