Japan is an excellent place for honeymooning couples to enjoy a cultural adventure combined with romantic getaway.
It is not the first country that comes to mind for most couples when planning their honeymoon, but that's mainly because it isn't famous for its white sandy beaches. Instead, Japan is famous for its incredible history, traditions, and peaceful scenery, all perfect for couples looking to spend some quality time together.
Where else would you be able to experience ancient traditions such as hot spring baths, along with great hospitality and incredible cuisine?
In this article, we will list the things that make Japan a great place for a honeymoon, including some top activities for honeymooners and other important things to know before you travel.
- Japan is a great place for a honeymoon due to its romantic atmosphere, ease of transportation, and excellent service.
- You can stay at a traditional ryokan (Japanese inn) with hot springs.
- Hakone is a great place for couples due to its beautiful scenery and peaceful atmosphere.
- Japan has some picturesque temples, such as the Kiyomizudera Temple and Fushimi-Inari Shrine.
- Some great activities for couples include tea ceremonies in Uji, dressing up in the traditional clothing of a geisha, and exploring Japanese cuisine by visiting Michelin star restaurants or participating in cooking classes.
- It is important to respect local culture by paying attention to local etiquette.
- The country is generally safe, though it is important to beware of weather warnings and the possibility of natural disasters.
- The best time to visit Japan is either spring or autumn.
Why have your honeymoon in Japan?
There's no denying Japan is a wonderful place for a honeymoon. You will find plenty to see and do, in a culture that is committed to incredible service and unsurpassed cuisine.
It is difficult to visit Japan and not enjoy your time there. The country has a magical quality arising from its delightful mixture of nature, history, and modernity, and leaving a lasting impression on all those who visit.
Relaxing and romantic atmosphere
One reason why couples love Japan is its peaceful and romantic atmosphere. Its large cities are bustling and modern, but just taking a quick drive or train into the countryside reveals an entirely different aspect to the country.
With beautiful scenery such as Mount Fuji in Hakone or the Arashiyama District in Kyoto, there are plenty of places where you can feel connected to nature.
Much of the culture in Japan involves appreciation for nature's beauty as well as for peace and quiet. You can find this when staying in a ryokan with natural hot springs, or when going out for dinner at a famous Tokyo restaurant.
Many tour options in Japan are private or small-group tours, which is perfect for couples.
Ease of travel
Another great advantage of honeymooning in Japan is the ease of travel within the country. Its modern transport system makes it incredibly easy to go from city to city without the need to fly.
Whether you decide to take a private car or travel in Japan's famous bullet trains, you'll get to your destination quickly and on time. This allows travelers to see more in a given time than they might in other countries.
Another great thing about traveling in Japan is that if you don't want to drag your luggage from city to city, you can use the takyubin delivery service, which will send your bags from hotel to hotel for a pretty reasonable price. This will allow you to travel light and just enjoy the journey.
The people of Japan focus on convenience, making everything as comfortable and as easy as possible for customers and travelers.
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Top activities for honeymooners in Japan
Now that we've discussed why Japan is such a great place for a romantic getaway, let's explore the best things to do while you are there. While the country offers an incredible variety of activities for couples, here are some of our favorites.
Traditional ryokan with onsen
A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn, normally small and family-owned. Ryokans are great places to stay for couples because they not only provide an authentic taste of Japanese culture but also the quiet and private environment that couples are looking for.
The service received in ryokans is usually excellent. Members of staff are often dressed in traditional kimonos and daily breakfast and dinner are included with your stay. Meals can be served in the privacy of your room and are usually locally sourced and beautifully presented.
Many ryokans have onsens – traditional hot spring pools believed by the Japanese to have healing properties. Most ryokans have communal onsens, separated into men's and women's pools, but some offer private onsens as well.
Located only 100 kilometers from Tokyo, Hakone is a popular spot for visitors who want to take a break from the city and see the natural beauty the country has to offer. It is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and has some of the most famous and beautiful views in Japan.
Hakone, in particular, is famous for its hot springs and views of Mount Fuji from across Lake Ashinoko.
You can appreciate the area from the comfort of Hakone's ryokans, which are famous for their long history and high-quality water, or you can explore by taking a cable car up Mount Owakudani to check out the volcanic area, with its sulfuric hot rivers and sulfurous fumes.
There is also the option of taking the Hakone Tozan "switchback train" which zig-zags through the mountains, yielding some excellent views.
Kiyomizudera is one of the most celebrated temples in Japan. Located just outside Kyoto, the temple offers amazing views of the city while also being itself a UNESCO World Heritage site. The name Kiyomizudera literally means "pure water temple", deriving from waterfalls in the area.
Kyomizudera is particularly special in Japan because it was founded as early as 780 AD, and was an architectural wonder, as it was built without the use of nails or any other joints.
While at Kyomizudera, visitors can also check out the Jishu Shrine, dedicated to the god of love and matchmaking. According to legend, if you are able to walk from one stone to the other with closed eyes, you will get lucky in regard to love.
Arashiyama and Fushimi-Inari shrine
The Arashiyama District is located outside Kyoto and has been a famous destination in Japan for thousands of years. It is a charming place to explore, endowed with beautiful gardens and tea houses, a Zen meditation hall, and bamboo groves..
Arashiyama also includes the Fushimi-Inari Shrine featured in the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha". The 10,000 red torii gates which cover the path up to the mountain make for incredible pictures.
The main areas of Arashiyama are often crowded with tourists trying to get the best views. The whole district covers a very large area, however, and you can escape the crowds by renting a bicycle and exploring less crowded but equally beautiful parts of it.
Known as the busiest intersection in the world, Shibuya Crossing in central Tokyo is an incredible place to visit for gauging the pulse of the city.
At this busy intersection, when traffic lights turn red, cars stop in every direction, so that throngs of commuters and visitors can all cross at the same time. This ritual happens many times a day and is impressive to see.
A great time to visit this area of Tokyo is after dark on Friday or Saturday when there are large crowds and the city is illuminated by neon signs hanging from buildings and shops.
After you see Shibuya Crossing for yourself, you can explore the area and check out some good restaurants, including the Toyku Food Show, or check out Shibuya 109, which is a large mall with over 100 boutiques, where youth in Tokyo go to buy trendy clothes.
Uji tea experience
Uji is a small traditional town near Kyoto, world-famous for its high-quality tea. It has been renowned for tea since the 1100s and is a great place to visit for an authentic picture of tea production in Japan.
You can learn from Uji residents how tea is grown and cultivated, or take a class on the traditional tea ceremony. Afterwards, you can stroll through the picturesque Japanese village while sampling tea in local shops.
Visiting Uji is a great way to escape the city into a quiet, peaceful village where you can learn more about the culture of Japan.
Dress up as a geisha
Kyoto is extremely well-known for the tradition of geisha. In Kyoto you will be able to visit the geisha district of Gion, a narrow cobble-stone pathway lit by lanterns in the evening.
In Gion, visitors can also experience a private ochaya or geisha tea house, where you will be served green tea and Japanese sweets in the company of a geisha.
Many visitors to this area also get a geisha makeover, taking the opportunity to dress up in traditional silk kimonos with makeup and hair done in the style of a geisha. Once you have had your makeover, you can have professional photos taken in the beautiful streets of Kyoto.
Experience Japanese cuisine
Japan is a country of incredible cuisine. With 519 restaurants and 119 hotels with Michelin-star ratings, there are plenty of opportunities for a romantic and world-class dining experience. Alternatively, Japan has plenty of local shops serving tasty and traditional food, from ramen to sushi and tempura, for visitors who prefer to forego the fine-dining.
For some fun time together, cooking classes are a great idea. Many classes are available, including sushi- and wagashi-making classes. Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets, a great option for those who are vegetarian or don't like fish.
The best thing about these cooking classes, besides the quality time spent together, is that in the end you get to eat all your own creations.
If you are a true food connoisseur, you can also explore the sources of the ingredients that make Japanese cuisine so fresh and vibrant.
One of our favorite markets is Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, the world's largest fish market, selling about 2,888 tons a day. At Tsukiji you can explore the lively market that supplies many of Japan's restaurants, from the cheapest to those with Michelin stars.
Important travel information
Now that we have discussed why Japan is such a great location for honeymoons and some of our suggestions for fun activities for couples, here is some important information you should know before visiting, including information on etiquette, safety, and best times to visit.
Japan is very welcoming to all types of visitor. Japanese culture, however, is quite different from most western cultures, and the differences can be a little daunting.
The first thing to observe is that Japanese people don't expect foreigners to understand all their rules of etiquette, and will instantly forgive you for making mistakes. Even so, here is some advice on the do's and don'ts of etiquette in Japan.
Firstly, it is important to know that PDAs (public displays of affection) such as kissing and hugging, are uncommon in Japan. In Japanese culture, PDAs can make those around you feel uncomfortable, so it would be good to avoid too much public touching and kissing, to avoid breaking this cultural taboo.
Bowing is very common practice in Japan and is often used when you meet someone, thank someone, or say goodbye. It can be used in place of a handshake. If a Japanese person bows to you, a simple bowing of the head in return is usually okay.
Japan has a relatively low crime rate and is generally safe for traveling. There are small risks of petty crime such as theft, especially in busy tourist areas, so it would be important to keep track of your belongings.
One important thing to remember about safety in Japan is the possibility of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tropical storms, and volcanic activity. Japan is extremely active geothermally and often experiences small earthquakes and some volcanic activity. Being an island nation, it is vulnerable to natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis.
Best time to visit
Japan is a great place to visit all year round, though there are different benefits and drawbacks of each season. Overall, spring (March to May) is the most popular time to visit, due to the great weather and the blooming of cherry blossoms. Spring, however, is typically the most expensive and crowded season.
If you would like to experience good weather with slightly smaller crowds, then autumn is a good time to visit. The trees begin to turn vibrant red and orange, and the weather is still beautiful, but the crowds are smaller. The disadvantage of autumn is that you won't be able to see the blooming of cherry blossoms.
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