How to make the most of your time in Japan, balancing relaxation and exploration

Himeji Castle, Japan in Spring | solo holidays for over 60s

Striking the perfect balance between indulgent leisure and enriching adventures, are experiences many dreams about. Among the myriad destinations waiting to be explored, Japan, a land of profound history and cutting-edge modernity, offers unique experiences that can both energise and soothe the soul.

Whether it’s the adrenaline rush of navigating Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing, the spiritual calm of meditating in a Zen temple, or the simple joy of a quiet moment beneath the cherry blossoms, Japan promises a symphony of experiences.

In this post, we will discover how to blend leisurely pursuits with active exploration. So, Prepare to embark on a journey that satisfies your wanderlust while offering moments of peaceful reflection.

Exploring Japan’s vibrant cities 

Japan’s urban scene pulses with vibrant energy. Its bustling cities promise futuristic adventures and a chance to witness the dynamic heart of the country’s culture and innovation.

Begin your amazing holidays to Japan in Tokyo. A bustling capital city and the epitome of modernity. It dazzles travellers with its neon-lit streets, towering skyscrapers, and cutting-edge technology. Areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya come alive at night with a kaleidoscope of neon. You can get lost at the arcades, restaurants, and entertainment spots that buzz with life 24/7.

When in Tokyo, do not miss standing at the iconic Shibuya Crossing. Featured in films and media, this iconic intersection beneath giant video screens and neon advertisements is a spectacle of organised chaos— a must-experience for visitors who are looking for a real taste of Japan. 

You can also marvel at the skyscrapers dotting the Tokyo skyline. Towering at 634 metres, Tokyo Skytree offers breathtaking views of the city and Mount Fuji on clear days. Meanwhile, the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower houses the Mori Art Museum and fancy boutiques for endless high-end shopping. 

Next, venture to Kyoto, the cultural heart of Japan, where ancient traditions thrive amidst the modern landscape. Explore the atmospheric alleyways of Gion. There, geishas glide gracefully through the streets. Marvel at the intricate architecture of Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, and Fushimi Inari Shrine’s red torii gates.

For a taste of Japan’s culinary delights and historical heritage, make your way to Osaka, known as the ‘Kitchen of Japan’. Try the mouth-watering delights at Dotonbori. See the majestic Osaka Castle. And walk the historic streets of Higashiyama.

If you want a slice of the Edo period, a visit to Kanazawa is a must. A stroll at the Higashi Chaya district, with its traditional architecture and teahouses, will transport you into the past. Enjoy seasonal cultural events, including geisha performances. These celebrations offer a rare opportunity to see traditional Japanese arts up close.

Thrilling adventures and adrenaline-pumping activities to do in Japan 

From its snow-capped mountains to its turbulent rivers and deep-sea mysteries, Japan’s diverse geography sets the stage for an array of heart-pumping activities. Here are some thrilling adventures and adrenaline-filled activities to experience in The Land of the Rising Sun:

  1. Skiing and snowboarding in Hokkaido. The powder snow of Hokkaido is legendary among winter sports enthusiasts. Resorts like Niseko and Furano are renowned as top skiing and snowboarding destinations. They also have backcountry tours for those seeking more adventure.
  1. White-water rafting in Minakami. The Tone River in Minakami (Gunma Prefecture) offers exciting white-water rafting experiences. Its rapids range from beginner-friendly to challenging, making it an ideal spot for adrenaline junkies.
  1. Scuba diving in Okinawa. The crystal clear waters of Okinawa are inviting. They are home to vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and intriguing shipwrecks. This makes them one of the best places for scuba diving in Japan. The Kerama Islands, in particular, are known for their stunning underwater vistas.
  1. Bungee jumping at Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge. For those who dare, the Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge in Ibaraki Prefecture offers Japan’s highest bungee jump at 100 metres. Leaping towards the Ryujin Gorge below is an adrenaline rush unlike any other.
  1. Mountaineering and climbing Mount Fuji. Climbing Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a bucket-list item for many. Sure, the climb is challenging but it offers a sense of accomplishment. Plus, the views at sunrise from the summit are worth the while.
  1. Canyoning in Shizuoka: Canyoning through the lush gorges of Shizuoka involves sliding down waterfalls, jumping into pools, and rappelling down rock faces. It is perfect for those looking to combine adventure with the beauty of Japan’s natural landscapes.
  1. Surfing in Shonan. Just a short distance from Tokyo, the Shonan coast offers some of Japan’s best surfing spots, with waves suitable for beginners and experienced surfers alike. The beach culture here adds a laid-back vibe to the surfing experience.
  1. Cycling the Shimanami Kaido. The Shimanami Kaido spans the islands between Honshu and Shikoku. It is a 60-kilometre-long toll road with a dedicated bike path. This path offers cyclists a thrilling ride over suspension bridges and islands, with stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea.

These adventure holidays for solo travellers, couples and families alike showcase Japan’s varied landscapes and offer thrilling experiences for those looking to add a dose of adrenaline to their travels.

Embracing serenity and relaxation 

In the heart of Japan’s bustling cities and amidst its sweeping landscapes lies a world of tranquillity. This quiet side beckons travellers to slow down and immerse themselves in serene experiences. Balancing exploration with relaxation is key to truly appreciating the breadth of what Japan has to offer. 

Japan’s diverse environments provide countless opportunities for relaxation amidst nature. Gardens across the country, from the Zen gardens in Kyoto to urban oases in Tokyo, offer peaceful retreats where meticulous design and manicured nature invite contemplation. 

Wander through the Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens. Kenrokuen offers a tranquil escape with its meticulously landscaped grounds, scenic ponds, and seasonal flora. Stroll along winding paths, admire ancient stone bridges, and relax in serene tea houses while taking in breathtaking views of the garden.

Similarly, hot springs (Onsen), found in both secluded rural areas and within cities, provide a therapeutic escape. These natural steamy waters are not just places for bathing but sacred spaces for the rejuvenation of body and spirit. 

Experience soaking in mineral-rich waters in Beppu on Kyushu Island, one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts. Or take a dip at Kusatsu in Gunma Prefecture. This hot spring is celebrated for its high-quality water, which is believed to cure every illness but heartbreak. For a step back into a time where the pace of life was dictated by nature, Ginzan Onsen offers a picturesque hot spring town reminiscent of a bygone era.

There is nothing more relaxing than spending time in the countryside. Japan’s scenic beauty ranges from the rolling hills of Hokkaido to the rugged coastlines of the Japan Sea. Its rural heartland offers a slower pace of life. Here, time seems to stand still, offering you a chance to unwind and reconnect with nature.

Traditional Japanese practices for relaxation

The essence of Japanese culture is reflected in practices that emphasise mindfulness and serenity. Among these, onsen bathing stands out as a quintessential Japanese experience. Beyond physical cleanliness, it’s a ritual that fosters inner peace and social harmony. Experiencing a hot spring bath under the open sky can be a rejuvenating experience like no other. 

The art of tea ceremonies is another pillar of Japanese tradition and a celebration of simplicity and refinement. This ritualistic preparation and enjoyment of matcha tea offers a moment to appreciate the here and now, promoting a sense of calm. 

Additionally, the practice of meditation proposes opportunities for mindfulness and contemplation. Whether in the Zen gardens of a Kyoto temple or the stillness of a mountain retreat, meditation provides a path to tranquillity. All these practices help travellers over 50 find balance and clarity amidst the complexities of modern life.

Tranquil destinations and activities

For those seeking serene experiences, Japan is dotted with destinations that cater to the soul-seeking calm. Koyasan is more than just a pilgrimage site. It is a spiritual retreat where you can stay in temples and partake in monks’ daily rituals. 

Meanwhile, the island of Naoshima brings together art, architecture, and nature in a tranquil setting. It is perfect for contemplation and artistic inspiration. Walking The Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto, especially during cherry blossom season, is a meditative experience. 

Lastly, Shiretoko National Park in Hokkaido offers untouched wilderness. This paradise provides a sanctuary for wildlife and a peaceful escape for travellers.

Tips for leisure and self-care 

When planning your itinerary, make room for leisurely activities and downtime. Consider incorporating leisurely walks or quiet moments of reflection in your itinerary. To manage your time effectively and avoid travel fatigue, pace yourself and allow for adequate rest between activities. 

Always prioritise self-care and mindfulness during your travels. Incorporating relaxation techniques and rejuvenating experiences into your daily routine. Indulge in spa treatments, immerse yourself in nature, or simply take time to unwind and enjoy the present moment.

Remember to factor in travel time between destinations. Allocate sufficient time to stretch and relax. Most importantly, take regular breaks to nourish your body with nutritious meals and snacks.

By following these tips, you can ensure your journey through Japan is not only memorable but also deeply fulfilling, striking that perfect balance between adventure and serenity.

Holidays to Japan: Let Silver Travel Advisor craft your perfect adventure!

As you explore Japan’s enchanting landscapes and vibrant cultures, balance is key. You need to balance between exploration and relaxation to get the most from your trip.

Ready to turn your travel dreams into reality? Start planning your dream holidays to Japan with Silver Travel Advisor.

Our expert advisors are here to provide personalised guidance and assistance every step of the way, ensuring that your journey is as seamless and memorable as possible.
Call 0800 412 5678 to connect with our travel experts for a memorable adventure for families or solo holidays for over 60.


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