Why is Japan at the top of so many 2020 holiday wish lists?
Imagine how intrigued you would be by a lavish, colourful party that you didn’t get invited to. Now imagine a country that’s developed its vibrant and multifaceted culture and heritage ‘behind closed doors’ for hundreds of years.
The land of cherry blossom, Geishas, temples and Sumu wrestling, Japan has many evocative and beguiling traditions, but also stunning natural beauty.
It’s also a very wealthy nation, which has built lively contemporary cities, with some of the most technically advanced aspects on the planet. Opening its doors to welcome tourists is like finally having the keys to the biggest and best toy box ever! Japan – sometimes referred to as Nippon – is growing its sporting excellence too. It is hosting the Rugby World Cup 2019, and will attract an even bigger audience for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. First, let’s look at the best business class travel to the 2020 Olympics; or for holidays and business trips to the “land of the rising sun”.
According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), in July 2019 alone around three million international travellers visited Japan. This shows 2019’s figures are set to exceed the 2018 record of 31.2 million overseas visitors, and with the Summer Olympics on the way, 2020 will be even higher. With so many people travelling to Japan for holidays, many airlines are expanding their options, including some of the leading providers of business class flights.
Tokyo-based All Nippon Airways were runners up in the Skytrax 2019 award for ‘World’s Best Business Class Airlines’. It’s the only Japanese airline to hold five stars under the World Airline Star Rating – something that’s globally rare too. This comes from ANA’s superb record for customer service, from its airport lounges to protecting passenger safety and comfort on board. In business class cabins, expect sophisticated seating and entertainment systems, as befitting a nation so entwined with technology.
Like ANA, British Airways offers direct flights from London to Japan, including Osaka and Tokyo, making it possible to settle into a luxurious Club World seat and be in the land of the rising sun in less than 12 hours. The BA hallmarks of ‘freedom and flexibility’ for business class travel on premium flights can make those 12 hours ‘fly by’.
As our other blogs reveal in detail, Qatar Airlines growing accolades and status as ‘best airline of the year 2019’ are richly deserved. This outstanding airline also flies to Tokyo and Osaka, and like British Airways offers a tempting option for an open-jaw trip; arriving in Japan and then departing from a different city.
In Japan, you can explore some of the most advanced cities in the world, or remote places bypassed by modern society and its norms. If you opt for Japan’s urban splendours, you’ll be reassured to know it’s one of the safest countries and extremely clean, with highly sophisticated transport systems.
Among the top cities to visit in Japan are:
Tokyo is everything you would expect from an architecturally and technologically advanced country – and more! It’s one of the most heavily populated urban areas in the world, and has incredible transport, retail, entertainment and accommodation riches. However, beneath its glitz, Tokyo nurtures mesmerising museums, temples and gardens. Within minutes, you can be in the abundant countryside, or take a trip to the Tokyo Disney Resort just east of the capital at Urayasu.
The former capital of Japan, Kyoto has retained even more of this country’s fascinating heritage and ancient architecture. For example, the Fushimi Inari shrine is one of the most photogenic places in a country packed with reasons to use your camera! You can wander for hours around imperial palaces, Shinto shrines, temples, and traditional wooden houses. Or visit a Kyoto restaurant for kaiseki dining (multiple courses of precise dishes).
This Honshu Island city’s tragic past – when it was flattened by an Atomic Bomb – attracts tourists, which stimulates new investment and development. Alongside museums and other commemorative features, you can enjoy something that survived the area’s brush with destiny – incredible natural beauty. Hiroshima offers the Inland Sea and Chugoku Mountains, with rivers, valleys and basins that typify the awe-inspiring features of Japan’s landscape.
Osaka – also on the island of Honshu – is an important Japanese port, commercial centre and home to the county’s Universal Studios resort. It too is culturally magnificent, including a summer festival with fireworks that are the envy of the world. In Osaka, the skyscrapers, ancient temples, stunning parks, glorious tombs and interactive museums and galleries vie for attention. You can now travel to Osaka with British Airways direct from the UK, making the South West of Japan much more accessible.
Adventures in Japan also range from soaking up thousands of years of history, to being part of futuristic activities.
Though cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka stand out in every possible respect, keep in mind two-thirds of this beautiful country is still untouched forests, mountains and valleys, scattered with gushing waterfalls and opportunities for Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing). One of the best ways to cover more ground is to ride Shinkansen bullet trains. Whiz along at 200 miles an hour to zig-zag across this glorious country on a japan rail pass, made available for tourists looking to explore Japan.
Japan’s most iconic natural feature can be seen from trains in the region, or from the air! This active volcano is around 100 kilometres southwest of Tokyo. It’s the tallest mountain in Japan, and a deeply spiritual place for the Japanese. You can climb Mount Fuji during July and August by visiting the nearby Fuji Five Lake region or hot spring resort of Hakone.
In Japanese cities, you could well be served in cafes or greeted in receptions by robots. However, in various places – especially Kyoto – you could take part in an ancient tea ceremony with a Japanese geisha. These are female ‘entertainers’, who practise ancient rituals to help participants reach a relaxed state of mindfulness and calm.
When you think of Japan, you no doubt think sushi! However, Nippon food offers far more than incredible creativity with raw fish. The Japanese are just generally brilliant at creating dishes using seafood – such as tempura prawns – but also meat. Try the Okonomiyaki pancakes or ramen noodles topped with your favourite protein. Or, sample a wide range of desserts made from matcha (green tea); just one example of Japan’s love of quirky and sometimes bizarre flavour combinations.
Kawaii (cute) characters are central to Japanese culture. You’ll find adorable kawaii everywhere you turn from food presentation to the country’s massive number of girl bands who ‘dress up’. The most globally recognised character brand from Japan, is, of course, a cheery little plumber who has spawned a multi-billion dollar merchandising business – Super Mario! Where can you race around in a life-sized Mario kart, dodging obstacles dressed as your favourite character? Tokyo of course!
Setting aside the challenge of finding cheap business class flights to Japan for the Olympics, the most popular times to go are Spring – when the cherry blossoms offer sensory magic – or the Autumn when the leaves are a blaze of gold, red and orange.
Wherever you choose to visit in Japan, here at Just Fly Business we are dedicated to finding the best business class flights for our clients. For an amazing business class experience contact us today on 020 8417 1366 or enquire online.