Old and new are great bedfellows in this country of contrast. Those looking for ancient temples and traditions will find it interlaced with the striking modernity of neon-clad metropolis, bullet trains, karaoke and awe-inspiring technology. Tokyo is still a Mecca for technophiles – if it’s been invented its probably on sale here. Walk the streets and undergo a sensory onslaught as walls of neon blink, zebra crossings puzzle and a cacophony of electric voices seek out your attention. This is the ultimate playpen for grown-ups.

If you ever needed a ying to Tokyo’s yang then Kyoto foots the bill nicely. Here you can shift the Tokyo tinnitus with some quiet contemplation amongst the numerous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Come in Spring and see the famous cherry blossom that scent the city with their delicate fragrance. Or take advantage of Japan’s near perfect transport system and seek out the wonders of Okinawa’s coral reefs, the symbolic Mount Fuji, or the hilltop Himeji Castle, just some of the attractions on offer in this absorbing country.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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