“A long-held bucket destination for many, Japan has amplified its draw with several luxury hotel openings in the last two years, plus a bevy of boutique properties with custom designs,” says Meg Nolan, luxury travel expert for Friend of a Friend Consulting. “The dining scene is star-studded, with Tokyo holding more Michelin stars than Paris. The food is also authentically presented; like traditional Kaiseki meals at ryokans [guest houses] near Kyoto.” Families should consider braving the flight since the sights (temples, sand gardens, neon lights) are a marvel for children, as are specially-arranged activities such as sushi cooking lessons, kimono dress shops and market tours.
While you’re there: “For adventure lovers, Japan has some of the best fresh powder in the world, attracting top snowboarders and skiers to the Niseko area on the legendary island of Hokkaido,” Nolan says. “The snowfall combined with plenty of back bowls and nighttime skiing make it a must for those seeking something new.” Plus, most resorts feature hot springs, perfect for soaking the quads after a day of hitting the slopes.
Where to stay: At Aman Tokyo guests wake up to a view of the Imperial Palace Gardens and, on clear days, Mount Fuji along the horizon. There’s a vast spa that includes a pool with panoramic views of the city skyline, a cigar bar and a lounge that serves a delicious afternoon tea.
Nolan never leaves home without: An eye mask. “It’s crucial for plane and hotel rooms when jet lag is a battle,” says Nolan. “Sometimes, all it takes is total darkness.”
Our expert: Meg Nolan, luxury travel expert for Friend of a Friend Consulting friendofafriendconsulting.com
Text by: Leigh Crandall
Senso-ji Temple Photo: Shutterstock.com