Few peoples in the world are able to infuse a modern culture with the spiritual essence of its ancient past as well as the Japanese. As one of the world’s leading economies, Japan is both a progressive country, helping to shape the future of the world, and a land of centuries-old mysticism that is still deeply honored, even by its pop-culture-oriented youth.
With more than 6,800 individual islands, the Japanese archipelago offers a unique travel experience. Visitors can totally immerse themselves in the glittering, teeming Tokyo megalopolis of 30 million people as well as free the mind and spirit in a silent mountain shrine and timeless natural landscapes. Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan (as early as 1336), is the home of many of the country’s greatest shrines and temples, including Kiyomizu-dera Temple, a World Heritage site.
For a country that seems small, it offers the adventurer more than 13,000 square miles of national and quasi-national parks. For the winter-sports enthusiast, Hakuba is the center of activity in the Japanese Alps that soar to 9,000 feet. Another amazing Japanese adventure is cycling the Seto Inland Sea on the 50-mile biking trail from Honshu to Shikoku and the many bridges that link some of the 3,000 islands.