Japan’s popularity skyrocketed in the last half of the decade, as travelers learned there was so much more to this nation of islands than the bright lights and bullet trains of Tokyo. There are the shrines and temples of Kyoto, the mountains and world-class skiing in Hokkaido, and the colorful, pastoral countryside of Tohoku.

Spread over its thousands of small islands, you’ll find a world of different cultures, learning first-hand that Okinawa is nothing like Tokyo, which is nothing like the cultural center of Nara. We’ll guide you through all of them, as well as show you the best spots to dive near Tokyo and how to visit the city’s famous cherry blossoms.

Hiroshima, famous in America as the place we dropped the first atomic bomb, is a fascinating city to visit to learn the other side of the story. We’ve got tips for that city, too, and we’ve also got a fantastic video on Shinrin Yoku, the Japanese art of forest bathing that will leave you returning home far calmer than you left.