2022 Readers’ Choice Awards: On Your Next Trip to Japan, Venture Into Nature

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In the course of the drudgery of the pandemic lockdown, my travel ideas returned usually to Japan, which I expended two weeks exploring again in 2018. Again and all over again I recalled the exact handful of ordeals: consuming a vending-machine Sapporo in my resort-area bathtub, bludgeoned by jet lag darting across Shibuya Crossing with an outdated university friend at midnight tasting chunks of crispy tempura in Kyoto and, most enduringly, inhaling the moist, musky scent of the towering cedar trees that lined the Kumano Kodo, a community of historical pilgrimage trails along the Kii Hanto peninsula south of Kyoto that I hiked for 7 days.

Clearly, I’m not the only 1 determined to return to Japan: Even right after more than two decades of sealed borders, our visitors have voted Tokyo their No. 3 large town in the world and Japan their No. 2 favored region. In Tokyo by yourself, so considerably has improved considering the fact that most Westerners previous visited, many thanks to the investments linked to the 2020 Olympics, like a slew of shiny public transit updates and hotel openings like the 4 Seasons Resort Tokyo at Otemachi and The Tokyo Version Toranomon. But even though Japan may possibly be best acknowledged for its cities, it is also a worthy outdoors destination—and my time on the Kumano Kodo was just a glimpse of what it has to offer you. “Japan’s countrywide parks fluctuate radically from region to region,” states Andres Zuleta, founder of luxurious-tour operator Boutique Japan. “But just one factor they nearly all have in typical is that they’re usually off the vacationer track. In just about just about every corner of the Japanese countryside, the organic and cultural factors go hand in hand, introducing an unbelievably unique dimension to adventurous outdoor vacation.” 

Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyōto-shi, Japan


Jamie M. Hansen

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