Always wanted to visit the Land of the Rising Sun, but not sure when to go? This year is the best time to visit Japan – here's why...
Japan is on many a hotlist this year. Travel experts Lonely Planet have listed this country in their annual ‘Best in Travel’ list, and countless tour operators and holiday providers are predicting a huge increase in popularity for this Asian destination.
Research done in 2019 even showed that there has been a 700% increase in travellers purchasing Japanese Yen over the last year, according to ICE, the International Currency Exchange.
This is all very likely to do with the Rugby World Cup, which kicked off in September 2019, or the Olympic Games which will take place in summer 2020. But it’s likely also down to the increasing number of affordable flights now serving the region, coupled with its beguiling culture, stunning scenery and promise of the world’d best sushi.
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ICE’s Head of UK, Louis Bridger, said: “We’re expecting interest in Japan will continue to skyrocket after the World Cup as it’s sure to inspire holidaymakers to tick it off their bucket lists. Japan often has a reputation for being an expensive place to travel, but with a bit of planning ahead it’s absolutely possible to have an affordable trip to Japan and it can even be a cheaper holiday destination than several places in Western Europe.”
It seems that now is the time to visit Japan, so we’ve got tips on how to beat the crowds, get a great deal, and see the cherry blossom on your Japan holiday. Here’s why you should visit Japan now (or as soon as possible!).
1. There’s a party going on this summer
The world will all be watching Japan this year as the Summer Olympic Games come to Tokyo. Set to begin with a dazzling opening ceremony on the 24th July 2020, there will be everything from the usual athletics and gymnastics to new sports, such as baseball and karate.
Tickets aren’t yet on sale for internationals, but if you’re looking to buy you can expect to spend between £40 and £2,000 depending on the event you choose. Visiting Japan during the Olympics will no doubt be an unforgettable experience, as the entire city will be celebrating sporting achievements.
2. It’s not as expensive as you might think
Japan is wildly misunderstood when it comes to money. It has a reputation for being expensive to get there and expensive to stay. But while staying during the Olympics will likely be much pricier than usual, it doesn’t have to be unaffordable. Lots of cheap flights serve Tokyo’s airports, often requiring a stopover in Europe, and with more accommodation than ever before, you’ve got much better options for where to stay.
Plus, if you book now – and travel outside of the Olympics season – you can still lock in a great price if you’re quick.
3. Japan is spectacular in all seasons
The absolute best time to visit Japan is in late spring (March-May), when the cherry blossoms come out and the country celebrates with picnics and parties in the parks. But there are other spectacular times to visit Japan too. Late autumn (September-November) is great for mild temperatures, low rainfall and beautifully clear, crisp skies. Winter in Japan can be incredibly romantic, with even a little light snowfall in January or February, and summer is hot and sticky – perfect for an unusual beach break.
4. There are some amazing places to stay
Japan is known for its exceptional hospitality, and the country has some of the best places to stay in the world. There’s the traditional ryokan – a little bit like old English inns but Japanese style. These are minimalist, small-scale bed and breakfasts where you’ll sleep on cosy futons laid out on the floor and tatami mats scent the air throughout. Ryokans range in price, from humble boltholes costing from £50 per night, to more luxurious properties costing up to £200 per night.
At the other end of the scale, there are also high-end, luxury hotels well worth splashing out on. In 2020, there are a host of new openings in Japan to cater for the thousands of visitors to the Olympics. We love Tokyo EDITION – a brand new addition to the stunning global boutique hotel portfolio – and the new MUJI Hotel Ginza, a spin-off of the Japanese lifestyle store.
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5. 2020 is your next chance to see the cherry blossom
Cherry blossom season (March to May) is by far the most beguiling time to visit Japan, and the pink blooms are celebrated all over the country with festivals and picnics. You won’t just find cherry blossom (sakura) on the trees: it’s in snacks, on souvenirs, and even sprinkled on Starbucks. The arrival of the blooms is forecast on television: a petal-by-petal analysis of Japan’s most enchanting season.