Japan’s Romantic Side

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DISCOVER: Japan’s Romantic Side

More popular than ever as a honeymoon destination, Japan has plenty to woo loved-up couples planning a romantic escape.

Read on for our pick of Japan’s most romantic things to eat, see and do.


EAT: Oysters in Ise-shima

A well-known aphrodisiac, there aren’t many meals more romantic than a platter of freshly-shucked oysters. On the northern edge of the Shima Peninsula, facing Ise Bay, Toba is famed for harbouring some of the world’s tastiest shellfish, and for those willing to venture off the beaten track, Uramura’s rustic restaurants offer an experience like no other. Make your way to the tantalisingly named ‘Oyster Road’ in the winter months and you’ll find numerous ama huts serving an abundance of ultra-fresh oysters plucked straight from the ocean floor. And for a side-helping of local history, a meal eaten in an ama hut offers the chance to dine with one of the region’s famous female free-divers.

Oyster huts: Uramura, Toba, Mie Prefecture, between October and April

Image: Charlotte Coneybeer


SEE: Sakura in Bloom

It may be a cliché, but there aren’t many more romantic places to be than Japan during cherry blossom season. From the end of March to early May, countless cherry trees from Kagoshima to Sapporo burst into bloom – celebrating the arrival of spring with swathes of powder pink blossom. With the sakura comes the tradition of hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, and by keeping an eye on the forecast you can time your trip to arrive at one of Japan’s sakura hot-spots in time for local celebrations. Whether it’s Kyoto’s dreamy Philosopher’s Path or Tokyo’s breath-taking Shinjuku Gyoen, linking arms for a stroll beneath the blossom should be top of the list for any honeymooners bound for Japan. Read our mini-guide to discover five of the best locations for sakura appreciation.

Image: Kamil S


STAY: at Kyoto’s Riverside Retreat

With so many breath-takingly beautiful places to stay, the toughest challenge facing honeymooners bound for Japan is where to look first. But if budgets allow then the most romantic bed for the night in Japan’s most romantic city is Hoshinoya, Kyoto. Nestled on the banks of the Ooi River, accessed only by a relaxing boat ride past Arashiyama’s famed bamboo forests, this serene retreat is a world away from the bustle of central Kyoto. Morning stretches beneath the trees, incense ceremonies and comforting hot drinks served in the lantern-filled library make Hosinoya Kyoto the dream destination for couples in search of a romantic escape.

Hoshino, Kyoto: 11-2 Arashiyama Genrokuzancho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 616-0007

Image: Hoshino Resorts


DO: Explore Okinawa

Forget the Seychelles, ditch the Maldives, if it’s picture perfect palm-fringed beaches you’re after then look no further than Okinawa. Floating 400 miles south of mainland Japan surrounded by warm turquoise waters, Japan’s tropical archipelago is the perfect desert island escape and one of Northeast Asia’s best kept secrets.

A short flight from bustling Tokyo, Okinawa offers a breath of fresh, tropical air. Blissfully empty beaches, reefs bursting with life and abundant market stalls piled-high with the fruits of the island make Japan’s island paradise the ultimate romantic retreat.

ANA operate daily domestic flights between Okinawa and Japan’s major airports

Image: Ryo Yoshitake

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