Until you have spent time in Japan, it is nearly impossible to fathom the complexity and contradiction of this fascinating and multifaceted country. Steeped in traditions dating back thousands of years, the culture is also visionary and ultra-modern. From serene geishas in kimonos to the outrageous fashions of the Harajuku girls, from the art islands of the Setouchi Inland Sea to Hokkaido’s famed ski slopes, from rustic bowls of ramen to a parade of refined kaiseki dishes, the spectrum of experiences dazzles. In Japan, aesthetics reign supreme and craftsmanship is elevated to great heights. In the perfection of detail, an almost fetishistic precision, something profound is revealed about the culture and the very nature of beauty. Kyoto, often considered the historic and cultural capital, is famous for its Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and palaces, but also for its bamboo groves, artisan crafts and handmade soba noodles. Traditional ryokans—inns that provided respite for nomadic samurai and traders dating back to the 8th century—still offer impeccable hospitality along with tatami mat flooring, shoji screens, futons and access to onsens, the natural thermal baths. In jam-packed Tokyo, neon-lit skyscrapers and luxury boutiques belie the city’s old-world charm and seemingly infinite number of specialty restaurants, jazz clubs and sophisticated cocktail bars. Okinawa, a tropical archipelago with pristine beaches, lush jungles and coral reefs is known as “the Hawaii of Japan.” With such a wealth of possibilities, it simply becomes a matter of where to start. There are so many ways to experience Japan, and so many Japans to experience.