There is just something about the hyper-real world of Japan. The striking contrast between its neon-lit cities and its colourful countryside is utterly beguiling. Tokyo has an electric pace that is impossible not to love, but beyond the capital, things take a slower turn. Snow sports in the Japanese Alps, bike trips around the hills near Hiroshima and temple-hopping in ancient Kyoto offer fantastic alternative views of this much-loved country. From the snow-tipped peaks of Hokkaido in the north to the tropical beaches of Okinawa in the south, this is a place that requires far more than one brief visit.