Although the weather can be temperamental and the air impossibly steamy, summer is a wonderful time to make the most of what Japan has to offer. The months between June and September mean beach-lounging, Mt-Fuji-climbing and embracing the colourful summer festival season. If you’re planning on visiting Japan during the summer, here are a handful of places worth adding to your itinerary.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
As you make your way south, you’ll find a number of cute beach towns worth exploring, including Atami, Ito and Higashi Izu. However, the highlight is arguably Shimoda, a historical hub at the southernmost point of the peninsula. This is where American commodore Matthew C. Perry first reached Japan in 1853 and began diplomatic relations between the two countries, making it a fascinating historical site.
Two of the best beaches on which to spend a lazy summer day are Shirihama and Nabetahama. For white sands and clear water, head straight to Shirihama. Once you’ve spent the morning on the sand, pack your gear and tear around the corner to explore the fascinating Nabetahama, a shady hidden secret cove loved by the locals.
When people plan to holiday in Japan, some of the first images that come to mind are the historic streets of Kyoto, the neon lights of Tokyo and the soft cherry blossoms that carpet the country in the spring. However, some beach-hungry adventurers are beginning to discover that Japan is actually home to some tropical hideaways stunning enough to compete with Fiji and Hawaii.
Head to the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa to find an incredibly well-kept secret. Ishigaki has untouched beaches, a unique culture and some of the most incredible food in the world. It’s definitely worth looking into for your next beach paradise adventure – but be quick, word is spreading fast.
A name typically more synonymous with the colder months, the village of Hakuba in Nagano has long been considered by international guests the best snow destination in the country. However, what you may not know is that the area is arguably just as beautiful in summer (and much easier to visit). With snow-capped mountain ranges and a cooler climate, it’s the best place to head to if you’re looking for a fresh escape from the concrete heat of the city.
Even if there isn’t any snow, many of the ski lifts, like the ones in ski resort Happo-One, are still in action, allowing you to scale the incredible peaks and valleys for scenic hiking opportunities. After hiking, be sure to pay a visit to Lake Aoki for kayaking, swimming and picnicking. Thanks to the clear mountain water and lush surroundings, it’s the most underrated summer destination.
The climb can be done in a single day. However, most people like to begin the journey at night in order to make it to the top for the sunrise. On the mountain, there are cabins available for overnight accommodation in case it does get too cold.
This time of year, it’s pretty much free of snow, making it relatively safe and not too challenging even for the most casual of climber (unless you’re someone who’s prone to altitude sickness). Potentially the biggest obstacle you’ll have to overcome is dealing with the swarms of local and international tourists who make their way here during the short open season. If you can, try and avoid Obon, a national vacation week that runs in mid-August, as it’s one of the most densely populated times of the season.
Situated south of Shimoda, almost 300km (186mi) from Tokyo, is Hachijojima: an island as remote as it is stunning. Surrounded by a white sand coast and dolphin-populated waters, and home to untamed forests, it’s worlds away from inner city Tokyo and an unforgettable tropical spot. If you’re feeling adventurous, from here you can make your way to the remote volcanic island of Aogashima, which is among the best stargazing spots in the world.
Stunning in winter and autumn, Karuizawa is a popular holiday destination for Japanese vacationers all year round. However, it’s quickly garnering a reputation for being the ultimate summer hideaway. Situated in highlands of beautiful Nagano Prefecture, like Hakuba it’s cooler climate-wise, reaching just around 25°C (77°F) in summer, a vast difference to the 40°C (104°F) summers of Kyoto.
Ideal for hiking, the area is home to a number of scenic walking trails along the base of Mount Asama. Be sure to pay a visit to Karuizawa Shiraito Falls, a unique spring water waterfall that’s a popular sightseeing destination. Also a well-known place for fine dining and shopping, this small city has long been considered a more upmarket resort town in winter, yet it’s adapting to accommodate a newfound reputation as a summer retreat for the more budget-conscious traveller.
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