Although its port of call on Tokyo Bay is incredibly scenic, I chose to spend my time in Japan’s third largest city at Sankeien Garden, a quiet area south of Yokohama with winding streets lined with beautiful cherry blossoms and flower beds. a lotus. A glistening Japanese pine bore little resemblance to the Joshua trees of California, while a crooked pagoda poked its head above the lush green foliage to the sound of the gently trickling water nearby.
As dusk falls, I walk through the woods of Yamashita Park, a tranquil oasis behind Yokohama’s sprawling waterfront and a 100m-high ferris wheel creates a galaxy of colors and shapes against the black sky. Content inside, I breathed in, sat drinking in the cool air – calm, steady and confident that I had found Japan at its most beautiful.
James March was a guest of Japan National Tourism Organization and Japan Airlineswhich is from London to Tokyo from £1,074 return
Seven amazing tours in Japan
On the way to the temple
Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands, is well-known for its 88 shrines. Pilgrimages have been important to Japanese religion since the Heian period 1,000 years ago, and on this tour travelers can enjoy ryokan inns and hikes. quietly following the bright lights of cities like Osaka and Kyoto.
How to do it: Mac’s Adventure (0141 530 5452; macsadventure.com) offers an eight-day Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail from £2,115pp, including three nights in a ryokan, three nights in a three-star hotel and one night in a shukubo pilgrim lodge. Flights are not included
In the wild
It is said to rain “35 days a month” on the remote island of Yakushima. Fortunately, it wasn’t like that when I was there, but it explains the lush greenery here. Yakushima National Park is home to wild deer and macaques and has a wild, rugged coastline, but walking among the twisted branches and rushing streams of the Tolkien-esque Shiratani-Unsuikyo Ravine is the pièce de résistance.
How to do it: Yakushima Geographic Tour (yaku-geo.com) offers a full-day Shiratani-Unsuikyo tour from £220pp, including pickup, National Park entrance fee and lunch.