Japan is the holy grail for travellers; a country that remains resolutely, uncompromisingly different. That doesn't mean it's not welcoming; from the snowy wastes of Hokkaido in the north, to the Caribbean style beaches in the southern islands, Japanese people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. Head to the capital, Tokyo, for a snapshot of Japanese life at its most frenetic and futuristic, while Kyoto is the place to glimpse the country's exotic past.
In all my years of travelling, I've never been anywhere quite like Japan. Everything is different, from breakfasts of salmon roe, rice porridge and pickled ginger, to the nightlife, where bars and restaurants are packed onto different floors in high-rise buildings, with little clue as to what to expect until you step out of the lift. My dream trip? To visit Kyoto in cherry-blossom season, when the city shimmers in pink and the whole nation celebrates.