The island nation of Japan lies on the eastern edge of Asia, nosing out into the Pacific and is actually made up of a staggering 6852 islands although only 430 are inhabited. The four biggest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which make up 97% of the total land mass and house the majority of the 130 million population. Honshu is sometimes called the Japanese mainland and is home to the country’s major cities and sites including vibrant Tokyo, snow-capped Mount Fuji, and the cultural centre of Kyoto with its geishas and ancient temples.
The super-efficient rail network is a fabulous way to travel with lines linking major islands and the shinkansen bullet train offering a journey time from Tokyo to Kyoto of just over 2 hours at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. Wherever you venture, you’ll meet with wonderfully courteous people. Just remember to show respect with a slight bow of the head rather than a shake of the hand and you may be invited for tea or sake or delicious Japanese dishes such as mouth-watering sushi, sashimi or tempura.