It comes as no surprise to us that Japan is one of the top honeymoon destinations. The ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ is home to majestic shrines, dramatic scenery, refined culture, lush gardens, mouth-watering food, and advanced technology. Japan presents a plethora of exciting things to do and beautiful places to see during your Japan honeymoon. From the vibrant capital city of Tokyo to scenic Hokkaido to laidback Okinawa, beauty, and adventure is in every corner of Japan. Japan will magically reel you in with its ancient temples, tranquil ceremonies, exciting festivals and relaxing hot springs. Whether you are looking for culture, romance, adventure, nature or something spiritual, Japan is bound to excite you. In our Japan honeymoon guide, let us share the Top Things to Do in Japan, along with essential Japan travel tips and where to stay in Japan. After reading this post, be sure to head to our Japan Travel Page to start planning your trip.
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This article was updated on 27 November 2019.
Essential Japan Travel Resources
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When is the Best Time to Visit Japan?
Japan has four distinct seasons, and each region may have varying climates. For good weather, in general, the best time to visit Japan would be in late spring (March to May) and late autumn (September to November). During this period, there is little rainfall, clear skies, and mild temperatures. You will get to see beautiful cherry blossoms (Hanami) in spring and red maple leaves (Koyo) in autumn. But this period falls in the high season. I suggest visiting Japan during the shoulder season of summer (June to September). You get good weather and cheaper prices. The winter months of (December to February) are cold, but as it is the least-visited season for tourists, you get the lowest prices. There are plenty of winter activities in Japan for you to enjoy.
Getting Around Japan (get the JR Pass!)
Getting around Tokyo itself is really easy as the train network is well connected. One thing to note is that taxis in Japan is extremely expensive. I took a 15-minute ride in Tokyo from my hotel to the airport and it cost us over S$100! If you are in a group and for any reason, you need to travel by car, you can book a private charter to take you around Tokyo’s attractions and even bring you to Mount Fuji. If you are planning to get out of Tokyo, getting around Japan itself is relatively easy and there are various options, like the shinkansen (bullet train), local train, public bus, plane, ferry. You can even rent a car, though I’d advise against doing so in the city for it is expensive and roads are tricky. But for places like Hokkaido or the countryside, a road-trip is definitely an option to consider. The best way to get around Japan depends on how long your trip is. If you only have a week in Japan, getting around quickly is key and the bullet train is the quickest way. Be sure to get a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) and take the train everywhere you go. The JR Pass is a cost-effective rail pass for long-distance travel in Japan and is exclusive only to tourists because it is more economical and time-saving. It pays off once you take a round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto.
First time in Japan? Where should I visit?
If it is your first time visiting Japan, I would say Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka is the usual circuit most take. Most travellers head to West Japan where the Kansai and Chugoku regions are (Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Hiroshima). See Top things to do in West Japan. For your second visit to Japan, you can visit the Okinawa islands in South or go to Hokkaido and North Japan. North Japan has many off the beaten path experiences for you. Here is a great itinerary for second-timers by Tokyo Creative.
Which are Top Destinations in Japan to visit?
Japan has many destinations for you to explore, each with its own unique style. If you do not wish to head to the usual tourist spots during your Japan honeymoon, below is our list of top Japan honeymoon destinations to visit, depending on what you like.
If you are a city lover, and you appreciate the busy, crowded streets with tons of stimuli, head to Tokyo. It is a feast for the senses and great for city thrills, skyscrapers, malls, trending spots, entertainment, and shopping. Neighborhoods like Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku are frequent spots. See Top things to do in Tokyo | See Where to Stay in Tokyo
If you are a culture-lover, Kyoto is the place for you. Kyoto was originally the capital of Japan, and today is the cultural and historical heart of Japan. It is a great place to discover temples and shrines, as well as dining traditions and see geishas. See Top things to do in Kyoto | See Where to stay in Kyoto
If you like both the city and want to experience Japanese culture at the same time, Osaka is your pick on where to visit in Japan. Osaka has been rated to be one of the most livable cities in the world. It is an urban area with lively character and charm. It is home to one of the world’s largest public aquariums and Universal Studios Japan. Visit the entertainment district of Dotonbori, yet don’t miss out on Osaka Castle, Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine and Bunraku puppet shows for a dose of culture. See Top things to do in Osaka | See Where to stay in Osaka
If you like both culture and nature, Nara is the place to visit in Japan. Nara is Japan’s very first capital and a treasure trove of culture as well as natural beauty. The ‘Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”, UNESCO heritage site is made up of 6 temples and ruins and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest. Nara is well known for its wild deer that roam the city freely. Nara Park is the place to get acquainted with these lovely doe-eyed animals. You can easily take a day trip to Nara from Osaka or Kyoto. If you plan to stay a night in Nara, see Where to stay in Nara
If you love winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, Hokkaido is great during the winter season. It is also well known for fresh seafood, produces and dairy products. The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the largest winter events happening here. Don’t miss out on Shiroi Koibito Park, which is a cookie factory, the Sapporo factory for shopping and entertainment as well as the seafood markets. See Top things to do in Hokkaido | See Where to stay in Hokkaido
If you want to check out the latest technology, Nagoya is well known for its transportation and technology advancements. It is the centre of Japan’s automotive and aviation manufacturing, as well as a growing hub for robotics. It has also recently hosted the World Cosplay Summit. See Top things to do in Nagoya| See Where to stay in Nagoya
If you are a foodie, Kobe is well known for its marbled steak and sake breweries. Bordering the Mount Rokko mountain range, Kobe is also a great place for nature hikes and is also home to one of Japan’s oldest hot springs, Arima Onsen. See Top things to do in Kobe | See Where to stay in Kobe
If you like the city buzz but want to be close to the sea, Yokohama is the place for you. You can enjoy a scenic harbor view while soaking in the city’s vibes. There are museums, shopping and sightseeing here you can do. Here is a one day enjoy pass to see Yokohama. If you plan to stay a night in Yokohama, see Where to stay in Yokohama
For history buffs and peace-lovers, head to Hiroshima. Also known as the ‘City of Peace’, Hiroshima is the site where the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Today, it is a resilient city that has been reconstructed, but with many places serving as peaceful reminders of the tragedy. Also, worthwhile visiting is the Hiroshima Castle and Shukkeien Garden. See Top things to do in Hiroshima | See Where to stay in Hiroshima
If you like beachside relaxation, or if you are into water activities like diving, snorkeling or watersports, Okinawa is your island paradise. Made up of 160 islands, it is known for its subtropical climate home to many rare species of plants and animals. See Top things to do in Okinawa| See Where to stay in Okinawa
Best Places to Stay in Japan
Set along the peaceful Hozu River, And nestled next to the Arashiyama hills, the Suiran is an intimate 39-room property that presents a relaxing heaven with open-air hot springs.
Experience authentic ryokan traditions by unwinding within the serenity of nature, absorbing the minerals of a natural spring onsen, and indulging in exquisite Japanese haute-cuisine in this luxury ryokan in Hokkaido, Japan.
Located along the famed street of Midosuji, the St. Regis is the ideal luxury abode for discerning travellers. Enjoy their signature butler service and exquisite decor with touches of nature.
Top 13 Things to do on your Japan Honeymoon
1. Marvel at the beauty of Mount Fuji
Japan’s famous Mt. Fuji is an active volcano that is the country’s tallest peak. Located near Tokyo and standing at 3,776 meters, it is considered as one of Japan’s 3 sacred mountains. Summit hikes here are a popular activity, though you can also enjoy it on a tour.
2. Visit the epic Robot Restaurant in Tokyo
This show is uniquely Japanese and is absolute bonkers. This themed restaurant features a raucous pop-culture show with robotic monsters, dancers & lasers that have been watched by many who visit Tokyo. It’s nothing like you have seen before, and many say that even at full price, it is absolutely worth it! That being said, you can get a discounted ticket here via Klook.
3. Take a serene walk at Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto
Not far from the center of Kyoto lies the magical Arashiyama Bamboo Forest that you have probably seen on Instagram plenty. Beautiful all year round, these giant groves of swaying bamboo trees emit a serene environment for a nice & calm morning walk.
4. Visit the popular Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto
When thinking of Kyoto, photos of bright orange torii gates will likely come to mind. Fushimi Inari is the most popular and important Shinto shrine in Kyoto. Fushimi Inari is dedicated to the Shinto God of rice. As foxes are believed to be Inari’s messengers, you will see many statues of them around the site. Despite the crowds, it is a worth visit as there is a trail that leads to the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari. A return hike journey to the summit will take you about 2-3 hours.
5. Go on a Kimono Photoshoot in Kyoto
Wearing a kimono is a great way to bask in Japan’s tradition and the beauty of their culture. Go on a kimono photoshoot in Kyoto and have your photos taken amid beautiful scenery and scenic temples.
6. Experience a Kaiseki Dinner & Geisha dance
Bask in Japan’s tradition by indulging in a kaiseki dinner, which is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, and also enjoy the geisha performance that showcases Japan’s tradition of art, dance, and singing.
7. Ride the Shinkansen Bullet Train
Before I visited Japan, many told me a ride on the shinkansen (bullet train) is a must to experience when in Japan. Indeed, it is one of the best and fastest ways to travel around to explore Japan. If you are planning to explore Japan (outside of Tokyo), I’d suggest getting a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) for you save money and time. It pays back once you take a round trip from Tokyo to Kyoto. Though you can buy the JR Pass in Japan (this is only until 31 March 2021) but do note that it is more expensive to do so. Do purchase your JR Pass ahead of time via Klook to save both money and time. You can have it delivered to your home address or an address of your choosing in Japan. You not only avoid queuing, but you get the peace of mind knowing that you have your JR Pass arranged.
8. See the city panorama from Tokyo’s tall structures
Standing at 634 meters, the Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan. Apart from a beautiful view from the observation decks, you will also find a large shopping complex and aquarium to visit.
Tokyo tower, at 333 meters high, used to be the tallest until Tokyo Skytree surpassed it in 2012. Nonetheless, it still offers an interesting view of the city. You will also find a souvenir shop and cafe to enjoy refreshments. Directly below the tower stands the “Foot Town” building, where you will find the One Piece Tower, an indoor amusement park that is dedicated to the popular manga. You can get a combo ticket to the observatory deck and park.
9. See the Snow Monkeys in Nagano
At the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park in Nagano lies a unique experience where you can see wild monkeys bathing in a natural hot spring. Commonly known as snow monkeys, watch these Japanese Macaques play in their natural habitat. This park is near the onsen towns of Shibu and Yudanaka.
10. Dine & Drink at Sapporo Beer Garden in Hokkaido
When in Japan, there is no way you will miss seeing Sapporo beer, the oldest and most popular beer brands in the country. Hokkaido is the birthplace of beer in Japan, and the Sapporo Beer Museum is dedicated to showcasing the history of beer and the process of beer making in Japan. Next to it, you will find Sapporo Beer Garden which consists of a few restaurants and atmospheric beer halls where you can have an all-you-can-drink beer and all-you-can-eat mutton Ghengis Khan (grilled lamb).
11. Soak in an onsen in Hakone
Onsen is a natural hot spring bath and is one of the most popular things to do in Japan to relax both body and mind. As Japan is a volcanic area, there are plenty of onsens scattered across the country. Hakone is a hot springs resort town on the shores of Lake Ashi. If there is a place to try onsen, it would be here.
12) Get pumped at Universal Studios Osaka
Universal Studios in Osaka is where you can immerse yourself in the Harry Potter world. Here you can wander the cobbled streets of the towns, stroll through Hogwarts, drink butterbeer, and even get your own wand! Get the express pass online to save time and escape the queues.
13. Admire Japan’s cherry blossoms
Japan is famous for its cherry blossoms (Hanami). Generally, they blossom during spring which is from March to May, but each area might differ slightly. In the colder areas of Northern Japan, the cherry blossom season is usually later. Do check the forecast when planning your Japan honeymoon. About 2-3 hours from Tokyo is a popular scenic spot Kawazu-Sakura where you can see the cherry blossoms. Here, you will see rows of cherry blossom trees lining the riverbank, making for an absolutely gorgeous sight. Other popular spots to see the cherry blossoms would be Moerenuma Park (Sapporo), Goryokaku Tower (Hakodate), Asahiganoka Park (Furano), Mt. Tengu (Otaru) and Asahikawa Park.
For more Top things to do in Japan, read our Ultimate Japan Bucket List, with over 100+ Things to Do in Japan, sorted by destination.
Japan Travel FAQ
Q: How do I get to Japan from Singapore? Do I need a Visa?
Tokyo is the capital city and gateway to japan. There are two major airports Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Tokyo Haneda (HND). Direct flights are available from Singapore to Okinawa, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo and Hiroshima, Sapporo (Hokkaido).
Full-fledged airlines that fly direct to Japan include Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Nippon Airways (ANA), British Airways and Delta. Budget airlines Jetstar and Scoot do fly to Japan, though do check if they have a transit stop. Singapore Citizens (holders of Singapore passport) who intend to stay in Japan as tourists for a period of up to 3 months do not need a visa. More Visa information here.
From Narita Airport, you can reach downtown Tokyo in 40+ minutes by Skyliner Train. Alternatively, you can take this airport limousine bus transfer with free wifi onboard. Check out this full guide by Klook on how to go to Tokyo from Haneda Airport or Narita International Airport.
Q: How much are flights to Japan? How to get cheaper flights?
Flight prices to Tokyo average at ~$500 – $600. If you find flights at $300 – $400, that is a good deal and you can proceed to buy without waiting too long. Prices can quickly double during high season.
The cheapest month for tickets to Japan would be November. The high season in Japan in May and June, but if you book early enough you might be able to get good deals. Subscribe to price alert on Skyscanner so you get notified when the price drops to your budget. Book at least 3 weeks before departure.
Q: How long is the flight from Singapore to Japan?
The flight duration from Singapore to Tokyo, Japan is about 6 hours 30 minutes to 7 hours. The flight duration to Okinawa is slightly shorter at 5 hours.
Q: How long should I visit Japan?
If you are planning to visit just Tokyo and Kyoto, cater at least 7 – 10 days for a comfortable pace. If you are planning to make a few stops, 2 weeks would be better and you can add in Osaka, Hiroshima, as well as day trips to Mt Fuji, Nara, Miyajima. That being said, Japan has so many places for you to explore that even a 3-weeks itinerary would be packed.
If it is your first time in Japan, I would suggest this 2-week itinerary:
- Day 1 – 5: Tokyo (including a day trip to Mount Fuji)
- Day 6 – 10: Kyoto
- Day 10 – 12: Hiroshima (including a day trip to Miyajima)
- Day 12 – 14: Osaka (including a day trip to Nara)
- Day 15: Transit to Tokyo and fly back to Singapore
If you are planning on visiting Okinawa, it takes about 3 to 5 days to see the sights on one island, so depending on the number of islands you plan to visit, cater accordingly. You can travel between the islands by ferry or plane.
Q: Is Japan safe?
Japan is very safe for travellers. In fact, it is one of the safest countries in the world and is ranked the 9th safest country in the world. Though the crime rate in Japan is low, always travel with common sense, and look after your belongings as nowhere is immune from crime.
I was initially worried about traveling to Japan because of the fear of radiation (due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011), but after reading this, I did feel more assured to visit there, and the short answer is yes, it is safe.
Japan being on tectonic lines is at risk of earthquakes, but it should not deter you from visiting the country. Instead, be prepared for them. Read up on how to stay safe in case of an emergency.
I cannot emphasize how important it is to always get travel insurance for your trip. The insurance only costs you tens of dollars, but this keeps you safely covered. In the unlikely (but still possible) event you fall sick, get into an accident or have to deal with lost luggage, this insurance will be a lifesaver. I have been in that position before when I got injured in Vietnam, so I strongly encourage you to get at least a basic travel insurance plan before you leave. Our friends at Singsaver compared the best travel insurance policies here so you can choose the one that suits you best. It’s very easy to use!
Q: What to expect in Japan?
- Language: The national language of Japan is Japanese. During my trip, I found that not many people in Japan speak English (if they do, it is usually the younger generation). Be prepared by having a language book or app with you to allow you to communicate and ask for directions. Also, many signs are in Japanese, so use the Google Translate app to help you know what is said.
- Currency: The official currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY). At this point of writing (Oct 2019), 1 SGD = 79.56 JPY.
- Credit Cards & ATMs: There is little problem in using your credit card when in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. It is advised to carry cash for entrance fees to tourist attractions, and also if you are planning to explore out of the city. ATMs are commonly found in cities.
- Plugs: The plugs in Japan are different from Singapore. They type A and B, whereas Singapore is type G. The standard voltage and frequency are the same at 100 V and 50 / 60 Hz. Do remember to bring a universal adapter (with surge protection) with you.
Q: Tell me more about Japan!
Located along East Asia’s Pacific coast, Japan is an island country that is located on the edge of several tectonic plates. Its landscape comprises of islands, mountains, valleys, active volcanoes, and tectonic landscapes. You will find calderas, fuketsu (cave) and geothermal areas where there are hot springs. Japan’s terrain is mostly mountainous (70%) and forested.
The 5 main islands of Japan are Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Okinawa. Japan has over 6,000 remote islands. Japan being an archipelago has the sixth-longest coastline. Many people reside in the coastal areas, and its sandy beaches and coral reefs are home to many species of birds and fishes.
Early Japanese culture was heavily influenced by China. Today, Japan has Western influences evident in many aspects including art, lifestyle, and food. Shinto and Buddhism are the two main religions in Japan.
The national language is Japanese, which is primarily spoken around the country. Japan is pronounced as “Nippon” or “Nihon” in Japanese. Old Japanese (“Kanbun”) originated from China, and the earliest Japanese text (“Kojiki”) was written in the 8th Century- this is why you will notice familiar Chinese characters on signboards. English is not very widely spoken in Japan, so you may face some difficulties getting directions. Try to have a translate app or a language handbook with you to help you communicate.
Japanese are primarily fish eaters and Japan is the number one fish importer in the world. The Japanese diet commonly includes rice, fresh seafood, and pickled vegetables. Their healthy diet is believed to correlate to their longevity. You will remember Japan for sushi, ramen, tempura & more.
Though Japan is heavily urbanized, there is so much nature in Japan. Famous for its cherry blossoms, you will see gorgeous sakura flowers blossom all over the island over the year. Japan has many national parks and marshlands for you to trek, gorges to hike, waterfalls to see, caves to explore, beaches to swim, and mountains for scenic views. It is absolutely stunning.
Don’t forget these:
1) Pick up wifi before you goStay connected during your trip. Get a 4G Sim Card that you can pick up when you arrive in Japan. To connect more devices, or if you are travelling in a group, here is a 4G 7GB WiFi (Japan Pickup) or get one with unlimited data. If you prefer to get everything prior to your trip, here is a 4G Wifi that you can pick up in Singapore, or get it delivered to your home before you depart (it’s cheaper!)
2) Travel InsuranceWhile New Zealand is a safe country to travel, always make sure to get travel insurance for your trip. Ever since I got injured on a trip in Vietnam 3 years ago and tore my ACL, I made it a point to always buy travel insurance. A couple of dollars goes a long way in the unlikely event of an accident. Travel insurance also protects you if you fall sick, lose your luggage, and in the event of a flight delay or cancellation. We always use Singsaver to find a suitable travel insurance plan before our trip.
3) Packing ListNot sure what to pack? Simply get our honeymoon packing checklist.
We hope you enjoyed reading our Japan Honeymoon Guide. If you found it useful, please share this with your family and friends. Also, do not miss our wedding guide and honeymoon guide. If you need any help in planning your Japan honeymoon, drop us a note or reach us at [email protected]. I would love to help!
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