Japan is a hot destination right now with foodies and culture lovers jetting there to experience the unique restaurants, five-star hotels, hidden bars and natural beauty of this one-of-a-kind country. We’re foodies here at Luxury Escapes so take a look at our pick of the top sushi spots, best whisky bars and coolest themed restaurants that Japan has to offer.

Eat: Sushi…of course!

You don’t need to spend the big bucks for some of Japan’s freshest sushi, but just in case want to, here’s our pick of the best sushi spots in Japan for every budget.

$ Uobei, Shibuya, Tokyo: Step inside Uobei and place your order on the multi-language touch screen. Moments later your order will pop out from a high-speed chute conveyor and with barely any human interaction at all, you can enjoy a cheap and cheerful sushi lunch.

$$ Honto Sushi KaibaOsaka: Located in one of Osaka’s trendiest neighbourhoods, this smallish eatery serves up fresh sushi to please even the fussiest of locals.  All of the dishes at Honto Sushi Kaiba are prepared using the freshest seasonal ingredients and designed to be both pleasing on the eye and on the palate.

$$$ Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo: If you’re really into your sushi then you might want to splurge on the 30,000 yen (about AU$370) omakase 20-piece tasting menu at Sukiyabashi Jiro. The restaurant only has ten counter seats and tells visitors not to be late and not to take photos of the sushi as you should be concentrating on the dining experience. According to their website, taking the topping off the sushi is the biggest insult to the chef, and turning the sushi upsidedown or letting it sit on your plate too long are also big no no’s.

Image credit: Tokyo Hot Spots

Drink: Japanese whisky

Japanese whisky is taking over the world with more and more people opting for this smoother tipple. From smoky haunts to hidden bars and back-street hideaways, these are our pick of the best whisky bars in Japan.

Bar Bunkyu, Kyoto: Head down a narrow path to the sliding front door of the unassuming Bar Bunkyu. Here, you’ll find a barely lit whisky bar with one communal table where you can enjoy smooth sips of one of Japan’s very drinks.

Bar Freedom, Osaka: Run by a local man called Oshita, who is more confident in his Japanese whisky knowledge than his English language skills, expect an authentic experience at this small bar. Ordering a whisky flight at Bar Freedom is the best way to sample some of Japan’s finest, with sake, beer and cocktails also featuring on the menu.

Bar High FiveTokyo: This Ginza-style bar has just ten counter seats and over 200 types of Scotch and whisky. Having recently had to upsize and move to a new location due to its increasing popularity, you can guarantee that you’re going to find some of Japan’s finest tipples in this dimly lit haunt.

Image credit: Lotte Arai

Stay: Near everything

Hilton Toyko: There’s no better place to indulge your inner foodie than Tokyo, the city with the most Michelin stars in the world. Hilton Tokyo not only boasts a number of world-class restaurants onsite, but its location in the heart of Shinjuku means that a wide range of delicious local restaurants and eateries are only steps away.

Hilton Tokyo has thought of everything so you can rest assured that no detail has been overlooked, from the calming minimalistic Japanese décor to the endless world-class dining options waiting for you onsite. There’s an indoor pool, 24-hour health club complete with a relaxing sauna and soothing whirlpool spa, two rooftop tennis courts, modern fitness centre featuring equipment provided by the official supplier of the Olympic games, direct access to Tokyo Metro and even complimentary shuttle services to Shinjuku station.

Hilton Osaka: Known as ‘the Nation’s kitchen’, Osaka is a city that loves to eat and guests will never be short of an incredible meal. Staying at Hilton Osaka puts you in the heart of Osaka’s busy Umeda district with a diverse range of shopping (the hotel is even directly connected to a large shopping centre) and easy access to the famous Dotonbori Street lined with fabulous restaurants, quirky shops and colourful neon signs.

Located opposite Osaka Station, Japan is yours to explore. Hop aboard a 20-minute train ride to Kobe and tantalise your taste buds in the birthplace of Kobe beef, discover traditional Japan in Kyoto – once the capital of Japan the city is home to magnificent imperial palaces, classic temples and picturesque gardens, or visit one of Japan’s oldest parks in Nara where you can hand feed sika deer.

Lotte Arai Resort, Myoko: Discover the hottest new ski resort in Japan. Seeing the incredible potential of the slopes in this once-forgotten resort, the premier hotel brand Lotte set about creating a ski resort like no other. And with luxurious, mountain-view rooms, a gorgeous spa, natural hot springs to relax in, three restaurants offering Japanese, Italian and western fare, six bars, lounges and cafes, and exhilarating activities – all coupled with epic skiing and snowboarding on fresh Japow – it’s fair to say their vision has been fulfilled.

Image credit: Swedishnomad.com – Alex W / Shutterstock.com

Play: At the themed bars & restaurants

Robot Restaurant, Tokyo: Yes, we know the Robot Restaurant is already a huge tourist attraction in Tokyo but that doesn’t mean it’s still not worth a shoutout. As probably one of the most peculiar dining experiences you’ll ever have, get your camera at the ready for a procession of robots, dinosaurs and dancers in costumes accompanied by bright lights and techno music as you tuck into your main course.

Ninja Akasaka, Tokyo: Just as the name suggests, the theme here is ninja. After arriving at the restaurant a ninja will give you a secret password and guide you along a secret passage to the ‘Ninja training’ area, aka the dining room. Throughout the dinner, the ninjas perform tricks and present dishes such as a coconut with a sword through it that, once pulled out, releases a fountain of dry ice.

Cafe Hoot Hoot, Tokyo: There are lots of animal cafes in Japan but the owl cafe really took our fancy. Sink into one of the cosy sofas and say hello to the cafe’s seven friendly owls that include a snowy owl and Turkmenian eagle-owl.

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