How to mix the old and new on a Japanese holiday

Japan is a juxtaposition of ultra modern with the ancient. From the bullet train and latest technology to Buddhist temples and zen gardens, Japan really does have it all. The old and the new seamlessly blend into one another to create a truly unique culture. Whether you are heading to Japan for the Olympic games or just looking for some inspiration for you next holiday, then you need to make the most of this country.

 Let’s take a look at the perfect trip around Japan, taking in the modern living whilst experiences the ancient culture that this country has to offer. The guide will cover, the must see places as well as some cool and unique places to stay.

Visit ancient historic sites

Let’s start with the old and in order to really experience the culture there are a few ancient and historical sites which are a must visit. The guide below covers just some of the places you need to visit, if you have time – there is so much more you can see and do in this great country.

Imperial Palace

Located in the nation’s capital, Tokyo, the Imperial Palace is one of the most famous landmarks. The palace which was built in the 17th century is surrounded by parks, walls and a most.

The Atsuta Shrine

The Atsuta shrine, located in the city of Nagoya is the most important shrine in Japan. Dating back to the 1st century this religious site attracts over five million visitors every year. Its most famous for its preserved imperial insignia.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial

In terms of Japanese History this would be classed as modern history, but you would struggle to find someone who hasn’t heard about the Hiroshima bombing back in 1945. The memorial is placed at the center of the rebuilt city, where the bomb exploded to commemorate all those who lost their lives on that day.

The Island of Miyajima

Miyajima Island, known as the Shrine Island is a must visit place. Home of the Itsukushima Shrine built for the princess daughters of the wind god Susanoo. The shrine dates back to the eight century with many of the building built up out of the water – making for impressive photographs. You will need to take a ferry from the mainland Hiroshima to reach this island.

Osaka Castle

Built in 1586, the Osaka Castle would have been the largest and the most important fortress in the country. The castle was built by Japanese warrior Toyotomi Hideyoshi. While it has since been rebuilt, much of what you see stays true to the original building.


This city is one of the few unspoiled by WWII, which has meant that Kyoto has not changed much in the last 1,000 years. As you walk around the old streets and traditional architecture of the imperial family you get a real feel of the traditional Japanese culture. The city itself attracts over 10 million visitors every year.

Experience modern life in Japan

As mentioned in the intro, Japan is a real mix of the old and the new. As well as visiting some of the ancient wonders, there are some modern wonders which are worth exploring. Below you will find some of the best spots to explore on the island.

Tokaido Shinkansen “Bullet train”

This Is more commonly known as the ‘bullet train’ and is one of the most world-famous trains. The train runs between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka (allowing you to see all the sites mentioned above). The train travels up to 200 kilometers per hour and is one of the most iconic feats of modern-day engineering in Japan. Despite its speed, the train is extremely safe to ride and is never late – something the Japanese pride themselves on.

Shibuya Crossing

The name might not mean a lot to you, but this iconic crossing is world famous. Its the busiest intersection in Japan and is located in Tokyo. During peak hours around a thousand people cross this interaction at any one time. Whether you’re brave enough to take part, of just want to watch from a vantage point this crossing is a must visit. This crossing sums up modern-day Japan, highly efficient and seamless. The crossing itself has been in many TV shows and films, including Top gear to Fast and Furious Tokyo drift.


Akihabara is a haven for electronics and second-hand gaming stores, and is known as the “Electric town”. In fact, when it gets dark and is fully lit up, you could easily think you was in Times Square in New York.

Naoshima Island

Finally, the ‘Art Island’ as it’s more commonly known is a remarkable hub for arts and architecture. Naoshima island is covered in museums, sculptures and other creations.

Mix up your accommodation

Like the places you visit, why not mix up your accommodation with some traditional places as well as more unusual and modern buildings.


Why not spend a few days of your stay in a traditional Ryokans. They are located all across Japan so you won’t struggle to book one, but these are a great way to really get to understand the culture.

Futurist Hotels

There are a wide range of hotels which are very futurist, from hotels which are fully automated including robots checking you in to others where there are spa’s on the roof offering great views of the city.

Now that you have seen the best things to do in Japan as well as where to stay all you need to do is book your flights and head to this unique country.

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