TRAVEL to Japan is currently booming, so we asked Traveller’s Choice members Kerry Fiske and Belinda Ferguson from Clayfield Travel Professionals in QLD, who are certified Masters of Japan Travel, to share their tips.

What are the must see highlights for first time travellers?

When travelling to Japan for the first time, Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima are usually what people want to see. Of course, for an authentic Japanese experience, be sure to visit rural Japan and stay overnight in a ryokan, this is a must-do!

What sort of travellers are visiting Japan?

Japan attracts all sort of visitors, young to old. Recently we had a young couple become engaged whilst on holiday in Japan. The groom popped the question whilst staying at a beautiful ryokan in Hakon.

Is there any particular time of year that is best or most popular to travel to Japan?

Japan is a year-round destination, however June is the rainy season and July and August bring heat and humidity so we suggest avoiding these months if possible. March and April in the Japanese spring are ideal for cherry blossom viewing while autumn brings a blaze of colour with vibrant red, oranges and yellow foliage. Winter offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in the world.

Are FIT or tour groups more popular?

FIT is becoming more and more popular. Australians are very adventurous and like the flexibility to explore on their own. With a pre-paid Japan Rail pass, unlimited travel on the JR-branded trains makes travel very easy on your own. Cruising to Japan is also growing in popularity.

What advice would you offer another agent selling Japan?

Research the destination and take a trip there as soon as you can — first-hand knowledge is second to none. For example, never book a ‘semi-double’ room for two adults, as the bed is similar to our king size single beds here. The JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organisation) is also a brilliant source of information available to all agents.

What do you love most about Japan?

The elegance of the culture and people that cannot be found anywhere else in world. Japanese cuisine is a highlight, and the Japanese people are so kind and generous with Australian travellers. We have had multiple stories of random acts of kindness on the streets where complete strangers have gone out of their way to help with directions. Once you have been to Japan you will want to go back!

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