Your Honeymoon in Japan: What to Do & When to Visit
21 February 2023
Japan is undoubtedly one of the world’s best honeymoon destinations. Explore far-flung cities hand-in-hand, discover Michelin-star restaurants hidden down narrow back streets, sink into bubbling hot springs, or surround yourself with lush forests, mountains, and waterfalls.
Whether a honeymoon to you means slowing down to recharge and reconnect or is about fulfilling a desire for adventure and the unexpected, Japan is just the place for your first dose of marital bliss. You’ve got culture, adventure, and relaxation all in one. And, if you want to throw a bit of island paradise into that mix, it is easy to add Bali, the Philippines or Vietnam into your itinerary.
What To Do in Japan on Your Honeymoon
Our travel experts have been planning exciting, inspiring and seamless honeymoons in Japan for over 20 years and know what will make yours truly memorable. Here are our favourite places that couples always love.
For Foodie Heaven, Honeymoon in Tokyo
Tokyo is a natural place to start your Japanese honeymoon. It is a mesmerising city, where ancient culture meets futuristic technology and there is fascination at every corner. One minute you will be strolling around peaceful gardens and forgotten waterways, popping into Shinto shrines, or passing old castle walls, the next you will be gawping at the modern architecture. You could happily spend at least a week there soaking in all it has to offer, but if you only have a few days we would suggest:
- Discovering the shops and themed restaurants in Harajuku
- Spending hours over exceptional Michelin-star meals
- Shopping for kawaii souvenirs
- Living like a local on an Izakaya food tour
Our travel specialists can book every detail of your trip, including reservations at the city’s best restaurants.
Where to stay: There is plenty to pick from when it comes to choosing a hotel for your Tokyo honeymoon, from the sleek, zen creation that is the Aman Tokyo with its fantastic spa, to the Palace Hotel, located in one of the best parts of the city, opening out onto the Imperial Gardens. If small and quirky is more your thing, you have got lots of lovely design hotels too like Hoshinoya Tokyo, which makes for a very romantic stay and Edition Toranomon.
Best for honeymooners: Looking to combine culture, sightseeing and epic food.
Step Back in Time in Kyoto
There is something otherworldly and extremely romantic about Kyoto. Architecture is like art; pretty, cobbled streets will transport you to a land of geishas and samurai and it’s one of the best places in Japan to see the cherry blossom. This is undoubtedly one of the best honeymoon spots in Japan. There are thousands of beautiful tranquil gardens and quiet Shinto temples to stroll around slowly, while a walk up to the top of Fushimi Inari will reward you with breathtaking views of the city from above. Explore Gion, the original geisha district and experience a traditional tea ceremony or cocktail tasting with kimono-clad performers. A honeymoon in Kyoto offers up plenty for creative couples too. Take a pottery lesson together and learn ancient techniques for creating Japanese ceramics, explore the boutique art galleries, or join a photography tour, giving you unprecedented insight into the life of a geisha. Then spend the evenings working your way through Kyoto’s 98 Michelin-star restaurants.
Where to stay: The Celestine Kyoto is in the centre of the historical Gion district; it is brilliantly located yet a quiet hideaway with friendly, low-key service. Inside, it skillfully balances traditional Japanese details with modern facilities. Do not miss the Yasaka Endo restaurant for multi-course tasting menus of sashimi and tempura. Another romantic hotel in Kyoto is the Four Seasons, set in a 12th-century garden and well-located for sightseeing. It comes with an all-singing-all-dancing spa and large indoor pool. A relative newcomer, which opened in 2019, is Thousand Kyoto, a luxurious, modern offering in the heart of central Kyoto. While its appearance is minimalist and contemporary, its roots lie in Japanese culture. The hotel is built around a Zen garden and nods to the country’s history pop up all around the property.
Best for honeymooners: Who want to slow down and soak up the ancient Japanese art, culture, and food.
For Hot Springs and Zen Head to Kanazawa
Often seen as an understudy to Kyoto or Tokyo, Kanazawa should not be left off your Japan honeymoon itinerary. It is an enthralling city, which combines ancient cultures and traditions with modern city life. It centres around one of Japan’s best gardens, Kenrokuen, which is adjacent to Kanazawa Castle, a stunning reconstruction of what it would have been like in the days of shoguns. This is a fantastic place to see cherry blossoms if you are there in spring. Meanwhile, the city is home to several beautifully preserved districts, once home to geishas and samurais and still the site of traditional tea houses, including:
- Higashi Chaya
Kanazawa’s nearby onsens are also a must-see, from the bathing snow monkeys in Yudanaka to the sacred waters in Yamashiro.
Where to stay: Stay at Beniya Mukayu, in Yamashiro, a space of healing, rejuvenation and relaxation. Just what you need after the excitement of your wedding. The contemporary ryokan is absolutely beautiful, with space and privacy aplenty – you will feel like you are a thousand miles from anywhere. Each room comes with its own private hot spring bath, the days begin with yoga and meditation sessions, and the owner will welcome you with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. This is Japanese culture at its most zen – the perfect antidote to a bustling city. We challenge you to leave here feeling anything but relaxed.
Best for honeymooners: Who want to totally disconnect from reality and slip into a zen-like state of total relaxation on their honeymoon in Japan.
Discover Stunning Coastlines and Fresh Seafood in Ago Bay
In the serene, forested Ise-Shima National Park, set within the Mie Prefecture, you will find sacred Shinto shrines, the unique community of female free divers – ama – and more varieties of fresh lobster than you will know what to do with. Ago Bay’s rugged coastline is famous for the women who have been diving for pearls for the last 2,000 years. Now about 600 still live in the area continuing the ancient tradition, plunging into the deep waters, holding their breath for lengthy periods of time, and collecting seafood for the villages. To learn more about this incredible culture you can visit an amagoya – a diver’s hut – for a special lunch and unforgettable insight into this ancient and unusual way of life.
Where to stay: Experiences like this can be organised by Amanemu – the beautifully luxurious but understated hotel from Aman. The hotel will also organise guides to take you to Japan’s holiest shrine the Ise Grand Shrine or on the UNESCO-protected Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, which connect sacred sites across the region’s countryside.
Best for honeymooners: Who are active – it is a hiker’s heaven and one of the more unique Japan honeymoon ideas.
Best Time to Honeymoon in Japan
The best time of year for a honeymoon in Japan is in spring and autumn. In spring (March, April and May) you have the beautifully romantic cherry blossom to see, clear blue skies and temperate weather. While in autumn (October and November), there are fewer crowds and the country’s scenery is just as beautiful with the land showered in orange and red hues instead of pink. It is important to note that if you are going to Japan to see cherry blossoms, you will need to book your honeymoon a year in advance as hotels and flights get booked quickly.
How to Plan Your Honeymoon to Japan
Start by thinking about how long you have for your honeymoon in Japan. Ideally, we would suggest 10-14 days. Then, how many places would you like to visit in that time? Do you want to have time to relax and rest or would you rather visit more destinations? Prioritise what is most important to you on your honeymoon, is it being active, going off the beaten track, trying new food, diving into history and culture? Honeymoons are not like other holidays, you do not need to pack in as much as you can, and you want to come back feeling rested and having had the time to really connect with your partner.
The best place to start is with a conversation with our travel experts who have experienced Japan and know it down to the very finer details. They will help plan your Japan honeymoon itinerary, whether that is combining two or more cities or mixing up the countryside with more urban settings. They will tell you what is manageable in the time you have and how to get between your destinations.
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