City Stopovers

To get the most out of your Japanese holiday experience, we highly recommend a stopover in Kyoto or Tokyo - Japan’s most vibrant and rewarding cities. Pairing your snow holiday on world renowned ski resorts, with a look into traditional and modern Japan in the major cities, makes for an unforgettable holiday that is bound to leave you wanting to come back for more.

Accommodation

As expected in the world’s largest metropolis, Tokyo offers a huge array of hotels for all price-ranges, in a variety of locations. At Ski Japan Holidays we have hand-picked the best performing hotels with good value for money and located in convenient locations so you can maximize your time on sight-seeing and entertainment.

Highlights

Witness the world’s largest metropolis, in all its orderly bustle, breathing 24 hours a day, from early morning zen prayers at temples, and exercise enthusiasts doing laps of the imperial gardens and parks, to the endless sea of black business suits during the day, the crowded izakaya dining bars buzzing until late in the night, until it’s time to go to the ramen bar for a night cap before finally returning home. The economic centre which resurrected from the rubble of World War Two is now a vibrant and thriving city with countless adventures and excitement awaiting you.

Sightseeing

Tokyo has sights and activities on offer above and beyond any traveler’s imagination. From the traditional and historic to the quirky and weird, here is our list of Tokyo’s top attractions.

Disneyland and Dinseysea – not just a world of fun for children, also a great experience for us big kids too! A good handful of sufficiently exhilarating rides and attractions.

Roppongi Tower / Tokyo Tower / Tokyo Sky Tree – You must take a look out at Tokyo’s concrete jungle and wonder in awe of humans accomplishment, with buildings as far as the horizon spans.

Tsukiji Fish Market – Japan is the largest consumer of seafood in the world and this is where it all happens, shops and businesses come here to get their supplies for the day.

Technology – long known as the forefront of new technology, make a visit to Toyota’s Mega Web giant showroom, Panasonic Centre, Sony Centre. Shopping – our favourite locations are Harajuku, Ginza, Odaiba, Jimbocho

Shopping

Harajuku – the one stop shop for all young fashionistas. Not only will you find all the leading international fast fashion stores, but plenty of individual and quirky fashion and trinket stores.

Ginza – high end fashion and accessories are all located here.

Odaiba – fashion malls and entertainment on a man-made island, one entire mall modeled to replicate Grecian architecture.

Jimbocho – store upon store of sports shops, with the main focus of snow gear in the winter and hiking gear in the summer.

Accommodation

The city of Kyoto is an eclectic mix of new and old, and so reflects the accommodation choices available. High end western quality hotels as well as historic ryokan traditional inns, and everything in-between, are sprawled across Kyoto city. At Ski Japan Holidays we have hand-picked the best performing hotels with good value for money and located in convenient locations so you can maximize your time on sight-seeing and entertainment.

Kyoto Tokyu Hotel

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Hotel Granvia Kyoto

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Kyoto Hotel Okura

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Highlights

Kyoto’s streets and lanes are oozing with tradition, yet the city has comfortably accustomed to modern high-paced life. You’ll find rows of traditional wooden housing, with delicate paper sliding screen window frames, as well as shiny high rise buildings. Watch out for geishas strolling in their wooden clogs, miniature shrines along quiet streets for praying to the safety and wellbeing of the local community, as well as traditional tea houses where passers-by stop for a snack and a friendly chat. Then head out onto the main street and be carried away by the current of suited office workers, as you head to another of many fantastic sight-seeing locations.

Sightseeing

Kiyomizu-dera – a breath-taking temple complex, with one of Japan’s most iconic temples, with 1250 years of history. The street up to the temple is lined with interesting souvenir and food shops, and the temple offers gorgeous views atop the hill.

Kinkaku-ji – the golden pavilion, a serene park with impressive iconic structure, the top two floors are covered in gold leaf.

Fushimi Inari Taisha – a seemingly endless row of orange shrine gates which form a path up the mountain, the 2 hour uphill walk rewards you with stunning views over Kyoto city.

Arashiyama – pleasant sight-seeign district with bamboo forrest, beautiful garden complex, great food and wonderful mountain views. Hiking trails if you’re keen.

Shopping

With a rich mix of new and old, you’ll find a huge range of shopping options. From upmarket department stores, shoutengai covered shopping streets, with plenty of neon lights, to souvenir stores selling a beautiful array of colourful Japanese printed trinkets, homewares and gift items, to quaint and somewhat unkempt green grocers, tofu shops, fish shops, run by friendly senior citizens.

Kyoto Station – extensive labyrinth of underground shopping malls.

Downtown Kyoto – aim for stations Karasuma, Kawaramachi, and Gion-Shijo, for department stores, shopping arcades, snacks, and crafts.

Accommodation

Osaka is Japan’s second largest city, and has made its name as a bustling business district, with many of Japan’s companies headquartered in Osaka. And so it follows, the most common type of accommodation is for the business traveler, western style high rise hotels with simple decor but the comfort of a satisfying breakfast and high speed wifi internet. Most accommodations are located around Umeda station and Namba station, the two transport hubs in the city.

Hotel Granvia Osaka

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Highlights

Osaka’s fast-paced modern city is not only the thriving site of numerous Japanese corporations, but is also known as the kitchen capital of the country so you're in for a delightful culinary experience. Osakans are said to be the friendliest and most out-going people in the country, and love their events; with fascinating cultural festivals and concerts through each season of the year, there's never a bad time to visit this lively city.

Sightseeing

Universal Studios – a fantastic theme park featuring a number of your favourite characters and movies, from Spiderman, Jurassic Park, and Back to the Future, to the newly installed Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Osaka Castle – the grand home to Toyotomi Hideyoshi one of the main contenders for rule of Japan before Tokugawa clan of Tokyo united the country, declared Tokyo the capital and terminated the Toyotomi lineage. The castle now features museum and gorgeous surrounding park, particularly popular for cherry blossom viewing.

Namba – The bustling south side of the city is an eclectic collection of neon lit shopping streets, luxury brand department stores, fantastic gourmet options and cultural experiences.

Osaka Aquarium – one of Japan's most impressive aquariums features 8 floors, 15 tanks, and a gentle giant whale shark. Located in the bay area, spend the rest of the day exploring the waterways, museums, and shops.

Shopping

As Japan's second most populous region after Tokyo, you can be assured of endless shopping opportunities.

Namba – The bustling south side of the city is an eclectic collection of neon lit shopping streets, luxury brand department stores, as well as a great range of souvenir shops. A short walk about you'll find Den Den Town lined with shops dedicated to electronics and computing, and Dougu-suji a shopping street selling everything related to kitchens and cooking accessories.

Umeda – The Ueda station is a huge labyrinth of shopping arcades and department stores, from numbers of levels below ground, to 8 storey shopping malls, you're sure to find anything you need.

Abeno Harukas – The Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Department Store is Japan's largest, and it fittingly housed in Japan's largest skyscraper of 300 meters. Enjoy a huge range of shopping and make sure to take a panoramic look at the city from the 60th floor.

Accommodation

Sapporo is Japan's fourth largest city, and a relatively new one. Many companies operating in the Northern island of Hokkaido have head-quarters in Sapporo; this combined with its lure of great sightseeing possibilities, means there are a plethora of good quality hotels. As Hokkaido produces such a large quantity of the vegetable, fruit and fresh food supplies for the country, the area is renowned for great food, and this is truly reflected in the quality of breakfasts on offer in the city. Ask your reservation consultant for a quote to extend your stay in Hokkaido to experience this wonderful town.

Highlights

Sapporo is one of Japan's newer cities, and is always seeing a high level of positive population growth, it's such a wonderful and laid back city, with fantastic cuisine, a number of shopping opportunities, and some of the most incredible nature and ski resorts close by.

Sightseeing

Snow Festival – Every February the Odori city park comes alive with grand snow and ice sculptures beautifully lit up. Over 2 million people come to experience the winter wonderland in the one week of display.

Sapporo Beer Museum – Visit the factory, museum and restaurants of one the most popular beers in the country. Brewed here since 1877, the crisp refreshing flavour is now popular all over the world.

Fish Markets – The vibrant pumping fish markets are a true sight, you can feel how much this country loves and relies on seafood, it's incredible to witness how much produce is moving from seller to buyer each day. Follow up with a meal at one of the many food stalls outside the markets.

Shopping

Susukino – This hip and vibrant area is Sapporo's top shopping destination, with many undercover shopping streets to make shopping even in snowy conditions a delightful experience. You'll find fashion, antiques, souvenirs and plenty of food options.

Sapporo Train Station – With a number of department stores and plenty of souvenir shops to grab any holiday memorabilia or gifts for family and friends before you head off to your next destination.

Accommodation

Kanazawa has long history being home to the country’s most prominent Samurai, and recently it boasts itself as art and cultural capital having a number of top class museums. The old castle town is well preserved and facing the Sea of Japan, it is well known to one of the cities with highest densities of sushi restaurants. Thanks to Shinkansen bullet train extended to Kanazawa in 2015, access from Tokyo is only within 2.5 hours and from Nagano just about 1 hour. You may as well continue travelling to Kyoto in 2 hours. Rich in touristic attractions, the city has variety of accommodation options, both new and modern city hotels and traditional Japanese ryokans in convenient location.

Hotel Nikko Kanazawa

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Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel

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ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa

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Highlights

Kanazawa is home to a great mix of old and new Japan. Visit a castle, stroll through the old town of Nagamachi and enjoy a cup of "matcha" green tea at a real Samurai residence. Sample local sakes and fresh seafood, see a real geisha perform and enjoy a stunning Japanese garden frosted with snow in the illumination. Try your hand at one of the traditional local crafts, with silk painting or gold leaf art experiences and explore art at one of the renowned museums.

Sightseeing

The Nomura Residence - Discover how Samurai families lived many hundreds of years ago at this restored residence surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden.

Kenrokuen Gardens – Kenroku-en, one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan, means a garden combining the six attributes of a perfect garden. As a strolling-style landscape garden,it incorporates fancy designs in every corner, achieving peerless scenery in each season.

21st Century Museum – View the best of international contemporary art at an acclaimed and one of the most visually stunning modern art museums in the country. It offers both art and creations from wide-ranging fields related to art, including music, the performing arts, and film.

Omicho Market – Kanazawa is conveniently located by the Sea of Japan, guaranteeing fresh and delicious sushi for seafood lovers everywhere. It has been the largest fresh food market over the centuries and today it is likned by about 200 shops and food stalls. While most shops specialize in the excellent local seafood and produce, you can also find flowers, clothing, kitchen tools and more on sale.

Shopping

Korinbo - Korinbo is the main street in Kanazawa’s central commercial and business district and has many major department stores and shopping malls. These include the Daiwa department store, the Korinbo Atrio shopping complex, and Tokyu Square Korinbo (formerly Korinbo 109). For the top international and domestic fashion brands head to Daiwa and Atrio. For more general goods and cheaper brands head to Tokyu Square.

Katamachi - A short walk south of Korinbo is Katamachi: a busy commercial district full of shops, restaurants, and hotels. This area really comes alive in the evenings as a neon-lit entertainment center with bars, pubs, clubs, and izakaya style restaurants providing plenty of nightlife. There a few shops selling fashion and other goods here though. Look out for the Katamachi Kirara shopping mall and Prego shopping arcade.

Higashi Chaya District – Higashi Chaya district is an area full of 19th century buildings that was designated an important preservation district of historic buildings. Chaya were rest areas from the middle ages serving tea and traditional Japanese confectionery. Even now there are still plenty of shops offering confectionery. It's also famous for the soft-serve ice cream that's covered in gold leaf, since Kanazawa is known for being the area where 99% of the gold leaf in Japan is made. There are plenty of souvenir shops offering miscellaneous Japanese-style goods.