The secret life of sake, Japan's national obsession

From boisterous bars in Tokyo to bucolic breweries in the hinterland beyond the capital, sake is intertwined with Japan’s cultural and spiritual life.

Hiking Japan's sacred Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route

Follow the ancient pilgrimage path that cuts through the silent, mossy mountains of Kii to discover a landscape where nature, body and spirit commune in harmony. 

The inside guide to Kyoto's quieter side, from teahouses to temples

Big-hitting sights are easy to find in the Japanese city, but there’s also a quieter side: one of peaceful gardens, chilled jazz bars and serene temples.

Meet the ama divers of Ise-Shima, the women preserving Japan’s ancient art of sea foraging

Numbers of ama, Japan's female divers, have declined in recent years as generations left to pursue careers in big cities. The Ise-Shima peninsula, in southern Mie Prefecture, remains one of the best places to learn all about this age-old practice.

The wild north: snapshots of life and landscapes in Tohoku, Japan

In the ten years since a tsunami ripped through Japan, Tohoku has rebuilt itself from the ground up. Mother Nature healed scarred landscapes, and people helped each other to come out smiling. These photos show a thriving region, ripe for exploration.

Travel Geeks online: exploring rural Japan — 23 March 2021

Beyond its cities, Japan is crammed with elemental drama: pristine forests and snowy peaks, crater lakes and remote hot springs. Join us for free from 19.00 to 20.00 on Tuesday 23 March.

Why Shikoku should be your next Japanese getaway

Japan’s often-overlooked island is a wonderland of culture and history, home to temples dating back millennia, wild landscapes and traditional festivals.

Photo story: hiking the Kiso Valley on Japan's ancient Nakesendo Way

One of Japan’s 17th-century highways, the Nakasendō wound through the heart of the country’s main island, Honshu, linking the spiritual centre of Kyoto with the political hub of Edo (known today as Tokyo). Today, only sections of its epic 332-mile route remain, offering up the hospitality and flavours of modern mountain life — and a tantalising glimpse into the inter-city travelling experience of centuries past.

Top five spiritual adventures in Tohoku, Japan

From hikes up sacred mountains to breathtaking views of cherry blossom, discover the natural beauty of this remote region on a slow-paced trip.

Learn about the story of sake in Japan's Kansai region

Japan’s ancient and fertile heartland has some of the best breweries in the country, and all offer something different  to travellers looking to experience the world of sake.

A slow, spiritual journey through Kansai, Japan's ancient heartland

With its cascading waterfalls, primordial forests, ancient shrines, mountaintop temples and a seemingly indestructible castle, the Kansai region is the geographic and spiritual heart of Japan.

Nature in Tokyo: the ultimate guide to the city's islands and green spaces

It might be the world’s largest urban area, but finding space and silence in Tokyo is surprisingly easy. Dig deeper to discover an archipelago, spacious gardens and peaceful city nooks.

From tea fields to fine dining: a culinary journey through Japan’s historic Kansai region

This region of western Japan stretches from Northern Kyoto to the Pacific Ocean. It’s a land of mountains, rice paddies and rocky coastline — and it’s where the story of Japanese food began.

A peek into the curious world of dogs and design at Japan House London

Architecture for Dogs — a one-of-a-kind curation of architectural designs aimed at dogs and their owners — is making its European debut at Japan House London until 10 January 2021. Dog in tow, we experience this innovative exhibition for ourselves.

How to spend the day in Osaka, Japan

From visiting one of the country's most recognisable landmarks to sipping a Japanese brew, here's what not to miss in this metropolis.

A culinary guide to Osaka, Japan's party city

If you want to understand just how revered beer is in Japan, then head to Osaka. The nation’s party city positively effervesces with new craft breweries, old izakayas and cosy hole-in-the-wall bars.

Five unusual island escapes in Japan, from fairytale forests to tropical retreats

Japan’s 6,852 islands offer everything from salmon-filled rivers in the far north to world-class diving in the south. The four main islands — Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku — are home to the vast majority of the nation’s population, but away from those behemoths, there are some fascinating options

A guide to the quiet side of Tokyo

As any local will tell you, finding tranquillity in the frenetic, neon-lit Japanese capital is perfectly possible — temple gardens and blossom-strewn parks are peppered between skyscrapers, if you know where to look. Try these green and serene spots for some moments of zen amid the hurly-burly.

Call of the wild: classic winter adventures in Japan's rugged north

Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido, is also its wildest. As the brown bears enter hibernation and the locals get out their overcoats, the laid-back cities and volcanic landscape are coated in a blanket of snow and ice — perfect for adventurous snowshoeing, hearty dining and, for one week in early February, visiting the legendary Sapporo Snow Festival.

Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us


  • Magazines
  • Newsletter
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2016 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved