If you've seen the "Visit Japan" advertisements, you'll know that the Japanese government has lately been on a drive to attract British visitors. Luckily for us, the glossy publicity is backed up by great deals on flights, which means now is a great time to visit Japan.
The two main international airports in Japan are New Tokyo International Airport(Narita Airport) and Kansai International Airport, near Osaka. Tokyo's older international airport, Haneda, deals mostly with domestic link flights.
Narita Airport is well-served for flights, with a wide choice of carriers. If you want a direct flight from the UK, the two best airlines in terms of price are usually Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, which cost around £820 for an adult return with taxes and fees included. You can get a cheaper flight if you travel indirectly, but some seeming bargains involve inordinately long journeys, so check the schedule carefully before you book.
Kansai Airport also has a wide choice of flights, which is good news for visitors. Your best bet for a direct flight is probably Japan Airlines, where prices start at under £800 for an inclusive return. A direct flight takes around 11 hours. As with Tokyo, you can save money by flying indirectly, and this gives you more choice of airlines, too. Emirates Airlines will take you via a city in the Middle East, most often Dubai, while Air France and KLM take you via Paris and Amsterdam respectively. As a general rule, shaving a hundred pounds off the cost of your flight usually means adding at least three hours to the duration.
If you're travelling elsewhere in Japan, Japan Airlines has the widest choice of flights, although British Airways also offer competitive prices for flights to Fukuoka and Nagoya.
Once you've arrived at your destination, getting around is fairly easy, as Japan has one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world. Buses and trains are renowned for their punctuality, which comes as a pleasant surprise to anybody used to the British system. Japan is also famous for the Shinkansen, or "bullet trains", which travel at very high speed. The Nozomi train, which runs between Osaka and Tokyo, achieves speeds of nearly 200mph. The bad news about travelling around Japan is that it's hard to avoid being crowded, especially in major cities; trains and buses can be uncomfortably packed, and if you're driving you'll probably find yourself snarled up in traffic. The whole situation is even worse in rush hour. It's best to take the train and see the crush as part of the whole Japan experience.