Wellness vacations in Japan are all about slowing down, exploring spirituality and soaking up some of the finest views in the world. With some of the most beautiful natural landscapes on the planet, intriguing tea rituals, and soothing mineral baths, if you’re looking to get away from the chaos of modern life, you’ll be truly energized on a wellness trip in Japan.
Japan is an archipelago located in East Asia's Pacific Ocean, characterized by a string of around 4,000 islands. The four main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, and it’s here you’ll find the best wellness experiences. Japan has a rugged and mountainous terrain, often thick with forest that’s perfect for hiking. Visit sacred shrines, relax in mineral-rich natural hot springs, or simply try mindfulness among the country’s gorgeous natural wonders.
With plenty of wellness activities across the country, here are some of the top experiences to be had on a trip to Japan.
Hiking to the ancient Fushimi Inari Shrine is a great way to enjoy some invigorating exercise in a spiritual and peaceful place. Located in Kyoto, this sacred shrine can be found in the middle of the mountains, an enjoyable three-hour hike away. When you arrive at the destination, the sacred shrine is the perfect place for a meditation session.
A Japanese onsen is traditional, mineral-rich hot spring, many of which have been around for thousands of years and are often revered for their healing properties. Open-air onsen provide visitors with a calming experience to unwind in, with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Hakone, just a two hours from Tokyo by train, has some of the finest thanks to the volcanic activity in the region.
Japan is home to some of the best gardens in the entire world, and many are perfect for traditional tea ceremonies. Come to relax in the garden, then indulge in the traditional tea ceremony in which you’ll taste local sweets and sip green tea. There are many health benefits that come with consuming traditional tea, as it has a high antioxidant content to help boost the immune system.
Japan’s cuisine is vast and varied, and one of the best ways to enjoy it is by indulging in a kaiseki. Kaiseki is a multi-course meal, which usually includes 14 courses of small dishes. Often a low-calorie and nutrient-rich feast, dishes served during will use fresh, seasonal ingredients with plenty of seafood and vegetables.
For an unusual way to experience wellness in Japan, try kyudo. Kyudo is a Japanese martial art which involves a bow and bamboo arrows. It combines strength with Zen principles, including meditation for increasing focus as well as other mindfulness skills.
If you’re planning a wellness trip in Japan, try to visit from March to May or from September to November for the best weather. These two periods bring pleasant weather with bright and clear skies.
The best season to visit Japan is the spring: the weather is glorious and the cherry trees are in blossom. You can also go in the autumn when the colours are just as beautiful. But is it always better to go mid-season to explore the country. In fact, winter can be very cold, whilst summer is often very hot with heavy rain.