Japan has a well-earned reputation for being clean, easy to navigate and fun. We asked four recent returnees for their lowdown on the Land of the Rising Sun – you’ll want to add gourmet truck stops, rural mountainside villages and a noodle museum to your next itinerary.
“We dressed up in onesies and drove around the city in go karts.”
Victoria Plagakis, Bronze Frequent Flyer
I flew Qantas both ways to Japan and it was a great experience; the crew were so lovely. It was the perfect start to my first overseas holiday.
I travelled with my partner and four friends and we’re big Harry Potter fans so sampling Butterbeer at Universal Studios, Osaka, was a big deal.
I loved snowboarding in Hakuba; visit Sakulala bakery in the Kitaazumi District for their ham and egg rolls and milk donuts while you’re there.
TeamLab Planets in Tokyo was really cool; it’s an immersive experience where you’re a part of the art. One room was filled with pillow-like balls, another had fish projections that swam around your feet and there was also a mirrored room covered in flowers.
I was really surprised by how fun the 7-Elevens were, too. You can get absolutely anything you want there like meals at really reasonable prices; we often picked up fresh smoothies for about AUD$2.
The highlight of the trip was Monkey Kart Shibuya. We all dressed up in onesies and drove around the city in go-karts. You follow a tour guide through the city and we stopped at Shibuya Crossing, which was cool because rather than walking across it, we were on the other side of the chaos.
Victoria flew Qantas from Adelaide to Tokyo (via Sydney).
“There’s nowhere quite like it in the world”
Benjamin Yeo, Gold Frequent Flyer
I went to Tokyo for work but had time to explore parts of the city while there. My colleagues and I checked into the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku, right in the heart of all the action. Our hosts took us to Nihonbashi Genkai for dinner – eight of us squeezed into a little nook to try the incredibly high-quality sushi. I am a sushi connoisseur in Australia but in Japan, it’s next level!
Afterwards, I got a cab to the Shibuya Crossing. One minute there's hundreds of people crossing the intersection. The next, the crossing is completely empty and cars are burning through it. I don’t think there’s anything like it anywhere else in the world.
I also got to see greater Tokyo – never realising just how large it is! – and discovered a great little dining area, The Onihei Edo-dokoro Parking Area. It looks like a truck stop but the building has been designed to resemble traditional Onihei Edo-style architecture. Inside there are little hole-in-the-walls that serve all kinds of traditional Japanese food.
My flight with Qantas was absolutely perfect. I was fortunate to fly business class so that always helps! The Qantas staff also bent over backwards to ensure I’d be able to catch my flight to Melbourne for the Australian Open.
I’m already planning a return trip to Japan, this time with my wife and daughter. I can’t wait for us to explore more of the country together.
“It's probably the best place you could take a baby”
Adam Stewart, Bronze Frequent Flyer
My partner was on maternity leave so we decided to travel to Japan for a holiday. We booked with Qantas Points and the flight was perfect – front row with the bassinet for our young son to sleep in.
We started in Tokyo, staying in Yokohama, just outside of the city. We went to Anpanman Children’s Museum and the Cupnoodles Museum where they show you how to make cup noodles (seriously!), which was awesome. I checked out the Nissan Engine Museum as well.
We then went to Mount Fuji for two days; it was something I'd always wanted to do. I saw it on the Shinkansen (bullet train) the last time I went to Japan, but it was the first time I’d actually come close to it. It was incredible.
Osaka was next and it was way more chilled than Tokyo. I really enjoyed the food there; it was a lot cheaper too, which helps. We would just wander around and eat at random – but amazing – sushi places. Even the ones in train stations were great.
Everyone in Japan was so polite and friendly and we loved how safe and super-clean it is. The country is baby-friendly so travelling with a newborn was really easy. I think it's probably the best place you could take a baby. We're already planning our next trip.
“You’ll get one of the best views of the city”
Laura Coop, Bronze Frequent Flyer
I’m lucky that I can work remotely so I spent some time in Japan earlier this year. I would do a few hours of work in the morning and then I’d go sightseeing in the afternoon.
I stayed at the Fresa Inn which was close to Tokyo Station City – it’s super central to all the main tourist attractions. I’d start most days by getting breakfast at 7-Eleven; it’s very different to the Australian 7-Elevens! They have everything from traditional Japanese food to a bakery section. You can even heat up your meals there.
I did a few free walking tours. The first walking tour I did was a city tour and it gave me a good overview of Tokyo and introduced me to the rail system. We finished in Ueno Park which was an absolute highlight. I was there in autumn so the colours of the park were stunning; it felt like New York’s Central Park. When you’re surrounded by a city as big as Tokyo, it’s nice to have a green space to walk around to escape the hustle and bustle. I’d definitely recommend it.
You must also visit Shibuya Sky, an open-aired observation deck. If you go at night you get the most incredible view of all the bright lights of Tokyo as well as a birds-eye view of the iconic Shibuya Crossing. It’s stunning.
Discover more of Japan with Qantas and Jetstar Japan. Qantas flights from Australia connect with eligible Qantas codeshare flights operated by Jetstar Japan to 13 destinations including Osaka, Sapporo and Fukuoka. Plus, Qantas Frequent Flyers can earn and use Qantas Points and earn Status Credits on Qantas operated, Qantas codeshare and partner flights.**
** Qantas Points and Status Credits (where applicable) are earned on Eligible Flights with a Qantas or applicable oneworld® Member Airline or Airline Partner flight number on your ticket. Qantas Points and Status Credits may not be earned on some fare types and booking classes. For full details see the Qantas Frequent Flyer program Terms and Conditions and Airline Earning Tables.