Where to go and what to see and do for the best romantic adventures in Japan.
Brimming with ancient history and modern marvels, Japan buzzes with excitement on so many levels. From bamboo forests, festivals and beaches to mountain temples and electric cities, there are plenty of fascinating places for newlyweds to wander.
Beloved for its gracious culture and exquisite traditional cuisine, Japan is currently welcoming back travellers for the first time in years — and we know honeymooners will be making a beeline for its shores.
So, to help you plan the ultimate romantic escape, here are a few of our favourite ideas and tips for a honeymoon in Japan.
Where to go
It’s easy to choose Japan as your honeymoon destination, however it’s much harder to decide on which cities to visit. There are so many options, though a smart choice is to pick a bigger city and branch out from there. Here are some popular Japanese cities for honeymooners.
Tokyo makes a great point of entry to kick off your honeymoon. This mega metropolis has every big-city attraction you could possibly imagine, including pockets of greenspace to give you a breather from the 24/7 pace. You’ll always find something to do in Tokyo, whether it’s visiting historic temples and gardens, shopping up a storm, wining and dining, or simply revelling in luxury.
If you’d like to visit a big city but not feel like you’re in a big city, Kyoto is an excellent choice. Famed for its springtime cherry blossoms, Japan’s spiritual capital is home to over 2000 temples and shrines as well as the famous geisha districts of Gion and Pontocho. Your tastebuds will also be well catered for in this gourmet paradise, whether you’re picking up a quick sushi snack or delving into a refined degustation.
Want more of a tropical escape for your honeymoon? Head south to the coral-fringed islands of Okinawa for a Japan-meets-Hawaii vibe. Surrounded by the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, this unique getaway blends beautiful beaches, ancient culture, and memorable experiences (think buffalo cart rides along the beach!).
Even if you don’t recognise the name, you’re likely to know Honshu’s star attraction: Mt. Fuji. Resorts abound and so do all sorts of seasonal activities on this majestic mountain and its surrounding lakes, located southwest of Tokyo.
Don’t-miss Japanese honeymoon experiences
Need ideas for what to do on your Japanese honeymoon? You can have so many unique experiences in the Land of the Rising Sun!
– Taste Tokyo
Japan’s cool capital is the most Michelin-starred city in the world. So, if you’re in the market for a fancy honeymoon dinner, you’ll have zero trouble tracking down a culinary experience for the highlights reel. The Tokyo landscape is also dotted with chic rooftop bars (the skyline is awesome after dark) and hidden drinking dens dripping with moody, vintage charm. Matcha cocktail anyone?
– Get into the onsens
Mineral-rich Japanese hot springs, known as onsens, offer a lovely way to relax after all that wedding excitement and sightseeing. Traditionally, sections are divided for men and women, so look out for a private onsen with spectacular views so you can enjoy this soothing experience together. Travelling in winter? The hush of snow falling as you soak in an open-air onsen with your love is the stuff of honeymoon dreams.
– Wander through a bamboo forest
Kyoto isn’t just popular for those cherry blossoms: the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is another must-see place in the city. Often called ‘Bamboo Alley,’ it’s a picturesque place for lovers to enjoy a serene stroll.
– Play in the snow
For many couples planning a trip to Japan, it’s all about the powder. Japan has become a favourite ski destination, especially for Australian ski bunnies, with silken snow and a range of groomed trails and excellent resorts. Try Hokkaido in the north for plenty of ski in/ski out options.
– Board the bullet train
Want to get around Japan fast? Get on board the Shinkansen Bullet Train. With speeds of up to 320km/hr it’s an efficient and exhilarating way to travel.
– Take a cooking class
If you love Japanese food, take a class together so you can prepare your favourite meals once you’re back home — from designing cute bento boxes to crafting your own sushi.
– Meander along a moat
If you’re looking for a romantic interlude on the water, see Chidorigafuchi Moat, located northwest of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace. Bonus: it’s a stunning way to view the Sakura (cherry blossom) trees, dotted with lights.
– Ride a rickshaw
Rickshaw rides are a terrific way to see more of a city when your feet can’t handle another step. These human-powered carriages will take you to see the sights, or back to your hotel.
– Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market
While in Tokyo, you’ll want to visit the famed Tsukiji Fish Market. Filled with shops and restaurants, it’s the freshest way to sample authentic Japanese seafood.
– Experience a tea ceremony
Tea culture in Japan is something truly special and you’ll find tea ceremonies through the island. This intricate practice highlights ‘the way of the tea’ and you can’t go past Kyoto’s geisha district, Gion, for a memorable experience.
– Sample some sake
When you’ve had your fill of tea, why not sample sake? This fermented rice wine is a staple in Japan, with breweries throughout the country. One of the oldest and most renowned, Marumi (circa 1662), is worth a stop. Or drop by an izakaya: a casual drinking spot, much like a Spanish tapas bar, serving up sake, other drinks and share snacks.
– Indulge with a gourmet tour
There’s nothing like sampling food and drinks in a new place to get to know more about the culture. Try yakitori in the back streets of Tokyo, elegant multi-course kaiseki dining in Kyoto, or explore the seafood markets Osaka. You’ll also find specialist tours including dedicated itineraries for ramen and Japanese whisky. Or take a tour around the depachika, the department store food halls you’ll find in the larger cities, for everything from snacks to souvenirs.
– Stay in a traditional ryokan
While Japan is brimming with ultra-modern digs, we highly recommend checking in to a traditional Japanese inn, or ryokan for at least one night. Tatami-matted rooms, futon beds, and traditional Japanese hospitality make these a favourite with couples. Bonus: many ryokans are set within the onsens (hot spring resorts), meaning you can revive your travel-weary muscles while soaking up the charm.
– Play dress-up
And finally, if you’re the kind of couple who can’t pass up a photo op, head to a studio where you can dress up for your own Japanese-themed photo shoot. No surprise geishas and samurais are popular options.
When to visit Japan
Japan is a country that evolves with every season, making any time a good time to honeymoon here.
That said, spring is when the cherry blossoms bloom, making it a romantic (and popular) time to visit. Travellers also adore the ‘fall foliage’ of autumn with locals enjoying the ancient tradition of Momijigari (maple leaf hunting) as the leaves turn to burnished gold. Though summer and winter are considered the low seasons, a winter honeymoon will give you access to Japan’s renowned ski fields.
Regardless of season though, Japan is ripe with experiences from top to bottom. Our top tip? Just go!