None of us know how long it will be until we can begin to get back to normal. What we do know is that Japan’s timeless stories aren’t going anywhere. The majestic beauty of Nikko, the old-and-new mish-mash culture of Tokyo, the geothermal springs of Kinugawa, and all the other places and stories that have enchanted visitors for centuries aren’t going anywhere. They will be waiting, unchanged, to enchant new visitors just as soon as it’s safe.
In the meantime, check out Tobu Railway’s top trips to explore timeless Japan:
A Gourmet Trip to Kawagoe
Kawagoe is a gorgeous, time-slip town just 30 mins from central Tokyo. Work up an appetite wandering through its cobbled streets, lined with Edo-period warehouse-style buildings, then make your way to Ogakiku for lunch. This restaurant, established in 1807, specialises in charcoal-grilled eel, served with its secret-recipe heirloom sauce. After your meal, head to one of Ogakiku’s key suppliers, Matsumoto Craft Soy Sauce, founded in 1764, for a free factory tour, sake tastings, and an extensive line-up of take-home sauces and condiments. Then drop into their sister ramen store, right next door, for a bowl of freshly-made soy sauce ramen. After all that savoury food, you’ll want something sweet so head to Kashiya Yokocho (Penny Candy Lane) for a delectable array of nostalgic candies and dumplings.
Kirifuri Highland in Nikko
Japan’s cherry blossoms are iconic, but have long scattered come mid-May. But there are still gorgeous floral displays to enjoy, such as the carpet of butter-yellow nikko kisuge (broad dwarf day lilies) found on the Kirifuri Highland in Nikko that blossoms throughout June and July. Here you can also climb the fantastically named tenku kairo (corridor in the sky), a 1,445 step stairway taking you up the hillside of Mount Akanagi for panoramic views of the lush summer landscape. Kirifuri Highland is easily accessible from Tobu Nikko Station and with the Nikko Pass All Area (see below).
Nikko Passes: No Better Deal for Travel in Nikko
Monthly Highlights: May in Japan
- May is the perfect time to enjoy sansai (“mountain vegetables”), especially in local dishes where they bring colour and flavour. Look out for leafy spring greens, garlic scapes, fennel, burdock, and nagaimo (mountain yam).
- There’s plenty of seafood coming into season too: sazae (a sea snail), often enjoyed grilled in its spiralling shell, scallops, or, if you’re looking for something truly unusual, have a go at hoya (sea squirt, also known as sea pineapple).
- The main holiday in May, Golden Week, is already behind us with no further public holidays this month.
Travel to Japan during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The UK government is currently advising British nationals against all but essential international travel. As of May 7, 2020, foreign nationals who have stayed in the United Kingdom within 14 days prior to the application for landing are denied permission to enter Japan for the time being, unless there are exceptional circumstances (restrictions also apply to other countries). Where permission to enter is granted, foreign nationals will be quarantined for 14 days and required to undergo testing.
As one of Japan’s largest private railway operator, Tobu Railway are used to helping travellers to Japan find their Japan stories by transporting them to World Heritage Sites, stunning landscapes, bustling cities, and historical shrines and temples. Our network extends some 460km across five prefectures, giving our passengers unrivalled access to some of Japan’s most majestic and memorable locations.