Go on a mystical journey and be mesmerised by rich and diverse cultures when you visit Japan. When you stay at any of our hotels in Tokyo, experience the cosmopolitan buzz of the Japanese capital – such as an electrifying outing in Akihabara where you will find the latest Japanese gadgets. For a more relaxed cultural experience, visit historic Kyoto, where many of the city’s palaces, shrines and temples are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Whatever your preference may be, there is a place for everyone when you travel to Japan, as its varied climates allow you to experience all seasons – from the subtropical islands of Okinawa to the snow peaks of Hokkaido, or even the lavender fields in Furano.
Looking for the right hotel in Japan? Book early with us and get up to 30% savings! Just choose any of your desired destinations for an authentic Japanese experience and book with our Advance Purchase Rate to save between 10% and 30% on your stay with any of our IHG hotels in Japan. Click on the map below for more details on your preferred IHG hotel location.
Click on the map below for more details on your preferred IHG hotel location.
Japan's world-famous cuisine has roots in centuries-old tradition and places a huge emphasis on seasonality. Washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) usually features the fundamental ingredients of rice, noodles, seafood and vegetables. To get a flavour of washoku, we recommend that guests sample soba (noodles), tempura (fried battered fish or vegetables), kaiseki (a beautifully-presented, multi-course meal), and sukiyaki (a slow-cooked hot pot dish). Book your hotel using the map above and look forward to sampling delicious washoku.
Japan is world-renowned for fresh, seasonal and accomplished seafood. The top dishes to try are: succulent Japanese oysters; mouth-watering matsuba (snow crabs); sashimi, (thinly sliced raw fish); sushi, which is a tasty ball or wrap of vinegared rice combined with other ingredients such as raw fish or vegetables; and the master of all Japanese seafood, bluefin tuna. Want to book a hotel near Japan's best seafood restaurants?
To sample the best oysters, go to Hiroshima, where you can stay at ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima To taste the finest matsuba, visit Tottori, where you can stay at ANA Hotel Yonago.
When it comes to wagashi (confectionery), Japan has a delectable mixture of sweet treats. Try: higashi, a sugar candy moulded into colourful shapes; yōkan, a sweet jelly dessert; castella, a delicious sponge cake; dorayaki, made with two pancake shaped castellas and filled with sweet red bean paste; and taiyaki, a fish-shaped pancake filled with custard, chocolate or other tasty fillings. When you check in to your hotel, ask us to recommend the most popular local wagashi vendors. Book now using the map above.
Japan boasts an exquisite range of traditional alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. If you're curious to taste them, try sake, a brewed liquor made with fermented rice, water and yeast, often ceremoniously served in special porcelain sakazuki cups. Sample some Suntory or Nikka whiskey, and sip awamori, a distilled liquor made from rice. Don't leave without trying traditional Japanese matcha (green tea). When you visit, ask us to reveal our favourite local spots for sampling traditional Japanese beverages.
For guests who love to shop, we recommend traditional Japanese crafts. Watch out for exquisitely-made urushi home accessories and jewellery, which have been lacquered with sap from the urushi tree. Also look for: the alluring patterns of cotton tenugui towels; beautifully-decorated uchiwa fans; and the bountiful colours and textures of washi handmade paper, used for the paper folding art of origami. When you arrive at your hotel, ask us to recommend the best local shops for buying traditional crafts. Use the map above to book your hotel.
When guests ask what makes great souvenirs, we recommend tableware. Being intrinsic to the presentation of Japanese food, tableware comes in a remarkable range of colours, textures and shapes. Add to your shopping list: local nambu tekki ironware; decorative chaki tea containers; the unique flasks and drinking cups of sake wine sets; a clay, porcelain or earthenware teapot; and chopsticks. During your stay, just ask and we'll point you in the direction of the finest local tableware vendors. Book your hotel now using the map above.
Shitamachi Shopping District
We love recommending the downtown shopping area of Shitamachi, where guests can experience a side of Tokyo that is reminiscent of bygone days. Browse a mix of department stores and local independent shops for souvenirs and speciality goods. Don't miss Yanakaginza street in Yanesen district, Nakamise Street in Asakusa district, the Tsukishima district and the nostalgic town of Shibamata.
Firmly embedded into Japanese culture and history is the ancient artform of pottery. Japanese potters have been skillfully crafting porcelain, stonewares and ceramics for centuries. With numerous distinctive styles to choose from, we always recommend: the rustic textures of Bizen ware, the decorative porcelains of Kutani ware, the translucently glazed Hagi ware and the uniquely characteristic Seto ware. Before you leave your hotel to go shopping, ask us for the locations of the most talented local pottery vendors.
When it comes to spiritual experiences, we love: torii gates, usually found at the entrance to shrines; Gōtokuji Temple for countless waving maneki neko cat dolls; Itsukushima Shrine for its 'floating' torii gate; Motonosumi Inari Shrine for its 123 red torii gates winding toward the ocean; and the mountain-top ruins of Takeda Castle, which are so high that they are wrapped in cloud. Stay within easy access to Japan's most beautiful shrines and temples.
To experience the time-old traditional of public bathing in Japan, socialise at a local sentou (public bath house) or visit a luxurious onsen (hot spring). Soak and relax surrounded by wilderness in the northern hot spring district of Sakunami Onsen, experience mountain springs in Arima Onsen, or visit Dōgo Onsen, one of Japan's oldest hot springs that is frequented by royalty.
Japan has a myriad of food markets offering authentic local flavours and the freshest seasonal produce. Saunter the culinary trend-setting hub of Tsukiji Outer Market or head to the Nishiki Market for traditional tastes. The Sapporo Central Wholesale Curb Market offers the freshest fish, and the 170 year old Kuromon Ichiba Market is the place to be for high quality fish, meat and vegetables.
If you want to stay close to Tsukiji Outer Market, use the map above to book a hotel in the Tokyo. Choose the Hokkaido area to visit The Sapporo Central Wholesale Curb Market. For both the Nishiki and Kuromon Ichiba markets in Osaka, book InterContinental Osaka or ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka.
Guests who love architecture should look out for machiya (traditional wooden townhouses) and teramachi (groups of traditional buildings). Visit one of the scenic 16th and 17th century jokamachi (castle towns) such as Hagi City in Yamaguchi, Amagi in Fukuoka, Kanazawa in Ishikawa, or Izushi in Hyogo. The old merchant houses in the heritage town of Koedo will make you feel as if you've gone back in time.
For guests visiting us in spring, we recommend the breathtaking experience of cherry blossom viewing. For a limited time each year, witness an abundance of cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Behold this truly magnificent sight at Chidorigafuchi park in Tokyo or at the Japan Mint in Osaka. Also in spring, experience the energetic 'bean-throwing' Setsubun festival at Naritasan Shinshoji temple in Chiba, or Kushida Shrine in Fukuoka.
Summer in Japan is full of festivals and fireworks. Our favourite summer spectacles are: the majestic fireworks of Nagaoka Hanabi Festival; the energetic parade of Gion Festival; the giant bonfires of Gozan no Okuribi Festival; the spirited performances All-Okinawa Eisa Festival; the traditional dancing at Hakata Dontaku Festival; and the soaking of participants in the Hakata Gion Yamakasa races!
Every autumn, the rich crimsons, vibrant yellows and burnt oranges of Japanese maple tree leaves are a spectacular sight to behold. This breathtakingly vivid display of colour can be appreciated nationwide in the grounds of many shrines, temples and national parks such as Nikko in Tochigi, Gora Park in Hakone, Rurikoin Temple in Kyoto, the Korankei Gorge in Aichi and Momijidani Park in Hiroshima.
With mountains and temple gardens blanketed in white, the Japanese winter snowscapes will take your breath away. Our favourite sights include: the dramatic snow walls of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route; the snow-covered rooftops of the architecturally-intriguing village of Shirakawa-gō; the giant snow statues and ice sculptures of the Sapporo Snow Festival; and the winter wonderland of Kenroku-en garden.
To completely immerse yourself in Japanese culture, sample matcha tea at a sado tea ceremony, taste traditional candy at an amezaiku workshop, or learn the spiritual art of zen meditation at a Buddhist temple. Alternatively, get hands-on at a craft workshop where you can style your own bonsai tree, produce washi paper or mold quirky imitation food models.
You can find most of these exciting experiences if you stay in Tokyo. Book one of our Kanto area hotels now using the map above. When you check in to your hotel, ask us to recommend the most popular local places to enjoy Japanese culture.
Performing Arts & Sport
Sample Japan’s rich performing arts culture by booking tickets to see: the traditional dancing and singing of a Kabuki show; the masked, musical characters of a Noh play; the much-adored comedy of a Kyōgen performance; the talented musical dance of The Takarazuka Revue; the entertaining puppet theatrics of Bunraku; the energy of a sumo wrestling match; or the comedic storytelling of a rakugo show.
You can find these performing arts and sports events nationwide, but you cannot miss them if you stay in Tokyo’s or Osaka. Use the map above to book a hotel in one of these culturally-rich areas.
Manga & Anime
For guests who are interested in manga comics, the distinctive art form of manga can be appreciated by visiting one of the many manga cafes or by browsing the huge manga collection at the Kyoto International Manga Museum. For anime animation, we suggest a visit to The Ghibli Museum, based in the famous animation studio, Studio Ghibli. Pick a hotel near Japan’s most popular manga and anime experiences.
If you plan on visiting the Kyoto International Manga Museum, why not stay nearby at ANA Crowne Plaza Kyoto? To stay close to The Ghibli Museum, book one of our hotels in Tokyo using the map.
Japan is abounding in quirky subcultures, bizarre obsessions and unusual experiences. Immerse yourself in Kawaii subculture in the Harajuku district. Visit the otaku (obsession) shopping hub of Akihabara and witness the costume roleplay of cosplay in one of the many maid cafes. Dine in a sushi-go-round restaurant, or eat in the company of cats, dogs, birds or reptiles at an animal cafe.