Japan: Why you need a specialist
Most prospective visitors to Japan have an abstract idea of the far-eastern archipelago, with thoughts of bright neon lights and quiet, blossom-filled gardens. You can read endlessly about it, watch countless films and documentaries, or immerse yourself in Japanese art and cuisine in preparation, but once you arrive you will still be overwhelmed by the ‘real thing’. This is a country that cannot just be studied, but must be experienced first-hand – one that more than lives up to the hype.
Japan is one of the most exciting, enigmatic and, yes, expensive countries in the world, but when arranged by a specialist, the value can be fully felt in every extraordinary experience and new discovery. While it’s true that it is home to some of the world’s finest hotels, a cazenove+loyd trip to the country is designed to be about so much more than simply luxury accommodation, taking you behind the scenes and immersing you in the utterly unique blend of new and old world culture. Our Destination Experts can ensure the special access that makes a trip; from a private cooking lesson in the home of an expert chef or an incredible night spent staying in a temple with monks to a visit to secret, zen gardens that are normally closed to the public.
Even on a two- or three-week trip, you can only scratch the surface and we tend to advise clients do a few things well rather than trying to do too much. The good news is that the infrastructure is faultlessly efficient, particularly the famous bullet train, which means exploring supersonic Tokyo, peaceful Kyoto and now historic Kanazawa, which has some of the best-preserved pre-Second World War architecture, is certainly doable in one trip. Japan is an all-year-round destination and each season throws up a wealth of possibilities, on which we can guide you.
Through our friends and contacts on the ground, we can organise for the most knowledgeable and charismatic guides to help you navigate sprawling Tokyo, with its hidden restaurants and bars which often lie down anonymous backstreets or high up in unremarkable grey office blocks. We work with guides who aren’t just guides but specialists in their respective fields, ones who will be able to take you to exclusive private member’s clubs and secure unprecedented access to some of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets. We do also advise clients to spend a day or two on their own getting lost in the city and discovering their favourite sake bar or yakitori spot, armed of course, with our experts' invaluable tips.
While Japan may not be one of the first destinations that comes to mind for a family holiday, we have recently seen its popularity soar among clients with children. And it really does have something for everyone: art, history, foodie adventures, a thrilling youth culture and some of the best skiing in the world. At its best, travel should be mind-expanding and, through its many contrasts, this is the perfect place for young minds to be inspired.
Ultimately, for thrill-seekers, foodies and those who just want to experience something completely different, Japan is easily one of the world’s most enthralling destinations. The challenge is getting beneath the tourist veneer and discovering its soul, which is where we come in…
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