Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean with dense cities, imperial palaces, mountainous national parks and thousands of shrines and temples. Shinkansen bullet trains connect the main islands of Kyushu (with Okinawa’s subtropical beaches), Honshu (home to Tokyo and Hiroshima’s atomic-bomb memorial) and Hokkaido (famous for skiing). Tokyo, the capital, is known for skyscrapers, shopping and pop culture.
The Japanese spirit is strong, warm and incredibly welcoming. The wonders of Japan’s natural world are a well-kept secret. The hiking in the Japan Alps and Hokkaido is world class, and with an extensive hut system you can do multi day hikes with nothing more than a knapsack on your back. Down south, the coral reefs of Okinawa will have you wondering if you’ve somehow been transported to Thailand. And you never have to travel far in Japan to get out into nature: in major hubs like Kyoto, just a short trip from the city will get you into forested mountains.