7 Best Countries Near Japan to Visit: Extend Your Japan Travels!


If Japan is calling your name (or you’ve already locked in those plans, major kudos!), get ready because I’ve got a little extra spice to add to your adventure. While you’re on that long-haul journey, why not sprinkle in some exploration of the best countries near Japan to visit?

As an Aussie traveller who made the journey to Japan on my own, I knew I had to explore more of Asia while I was there. 

So on a three-week trip, I tacked on South Korea and nearly Taiwan (almost made it, darn those travel restrictions!). Silver lining? I got to soak more of South Korea including the coast of Busan!

Now, let’s talk about the magic of blending Japan and its neighbours into one epic trip. It’s like a cultural buffet where you get to savour and compare everything – from the mouthwatering kimchi one day to sipping sake the next. 

We’re talking culture, food, history, architecture, and a whole lot more! It’s the kind of experience that rewards you with a broader perspective and those “aha” moments that make travel truly eye-opening.

In this post, I’m here to guide you through the 7 best countries near Japan that can only elevate your travel game. 

Let’s dive in!

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These are the 7 best countries near Japan to visit

7 Countries Near Japan to Visit

As an Aussie traveller who’s visited Japan numerous times let me tell you – it’s not just your next destination; it’s an immersive experience filled with culture, history, food, great people and technological advancements. 

Picture yourself wandering through ancient temples, eating loads of sushi and ramen, and being swept away by the vibrant energy of Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya Crossing.

Navigating the city is as seamless as the cherry blossoms blooming in spring. The transport here is some of the best in the world

And then there is the genuine warmth of the locals who are always happy to lend a helping hand and welcome you into their world. 

But this post isn’t about how fantastic Japan is, it’s all about finding the best countries near Japan to visit so you can extend your trip and explore Japan’s diverse neighbours. 

Onto the first country, one of my personal favourites! 

South Korea is one of the best countries near Japan to visit

1. South Korea

South Korea Overview

Flight time from Japan: 2-3 hours 
Average flight price from Japan: $145
Budget Hostel Accommodation: $35
Mid-range hotel: $71
Beer: $3.66
Coffee: $3.98
Solo Female Travel: Great
Food Safety: Good
Lack of Crime: Great

Source: Nomad List. All prices are listed as USD.

South Korea stands out as an absolute gem near Japan, and trust me, it’s a travel experience that packs a punch. 

Having personally explored the vibrant streets of Seoul and the gorgeous coastal city of Busan, I can vouch for the unique charm that South Korea brings to the table. 

What struck me most was the feeling of authenticity; it felt refreshingly less touristy compared to Japan and other popular destinations. 

Now, let’s talk practicalities. 

Cost-wise, South Korea offers a fantastic balance – you can enjoy delicious street food without burning a hole in your pocket. I also found the accommodation in South Korea to be cheaper than Japan and Australia. 

There are loads of hostels, guesthouses and affordable hotels too, particularly in the major cities. So whilst it’s not as cheap as destinations in South East Asia such as Thailand and Vietnam, South Korea can absolutely be travelled on a budget. 

Safety is a given and on par with Japan, making it an ideal destination for solo wanderers or those exploring with loved ones. As a solo female, I felt very safe in South Korea. The people are very respectful, crime rates are low and there is a high police presence. 

Now let’s talk about getting around. Navigating the country is a breeze thanks to an efficient and affordable public transport system. It gives Japan’s system a run for its money!

And if you’re thinking South Korea is just another big city, think again! I visited Busan, with its stunning beaches and vibrant markets and it stole my heart. 

Busan allows you to explore the best of both worlds, city and coast all wrapped up in one dynamic destination. From the vibrant Jagalchi Fish Market to the colourful Gamcheon Culture Village, the attractions are as diverse as they are captivating. 

So whether you’re a history buff exploring ancient palaces or a beach lover seeking coastal serenity, South Korea has it all. Definitely worth adding to your itinerary!

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Shilin Markets in Taiwan is excellent reason to visit Taiwan after your trip to Japan

2. Taiwan

Taiwan Overview

Flight time from Japan: 2.5-3.5 hours
Average flight price from Japan: $70
Budget Hostel Accommodation: $30
Mid-range hotel: $70
Beer: $2
Coffee: $3.15
Solo Female Travel: Great
Food Safety: Good
Lack of Crime: Great

Source: Nomad List. All prices are listed as USD.

Taiwan is another fantastic neighbour of Japan that is well worth visiting on your upcoming trip. 

While I wasn’t able to visit Taiwan on my most recent trip thanks to quarantine restrictions the allure of this East Asian is high on my travel radar. 

Taiwan emerges as a beautiful destination near Japan, beckoning with a blend of cultural richness and contemporary charm. 

The country’s authenticity is frequently praised, offering a genuine and less touristy atmosphere for travellers.

Taiwan also has a reputation for being a budget-friendly destination with a strong emphasis on safety.

And then there is the efficient transport coupled with the inviting locals who make it an appealing choice for travellers on a stop-over, visiting family or simply exploring the country.  

From the night markets to the breathtaking landscapes, Taiwan offers loads of experiences. 

Speaking of food Taiwanese cuisine has developed over the centuries incorporating a range of cuisines, in particular China and Japan. The evolution of Taiwanese cuisine continues to this day, as chefs here love to experiment with flavours to create new fusion dishes. 

So if you’re a foodie, chances are you will love Taiwan.

A few other iconic attractions that make Taiwan worth visiting include Taipei 101, Taroko Gorge, the National Palace Museum, and the Northern Coastline. 

The Great Wall of China is a bucket list experience

3. China

China Overview

Flight time from Japan: 3.5-4.5 hours 
Average flight price from Japan: $230
Budget Hostel Accommodation: $40
Mid-range hotel: $70
Beer: $2.3
Coffee: $3.85
Solo Female Travel: Good
Food Safety: Good
Lack of Crime: Good

Source: Nomad List. All prices are listed as USD.

Next on the list of countries near Japan to visit is China. 

The diversity in China is staggering, from bustling cities to ancient wonders, there are loads of fun experiences to be had.

Let’s talk food – Chinese cuisine is no joke, from the sizzle of street-side woks to the delicate flavours of dim sum. Whether you’re trying authentic pork buns or enjoying a burst of flavour from a shrimp dumpling, each bite will have you coming back for more.

In cities like Beijing and Shanghai, modernity meets tradition, with the Great Wall and the iconic Bund showcasing the country’s rich history.

However, it’s important to note navigating China can be a challenge. Language barriers can make it more difficult, and the sheer size of the cities may feel overwhelming. Plus it’s a very densely populated country so weaving through the large crowds can be a little exhausting.

Safety varies across regions, so vigilance and doing your research is key. 

On the upside, China’s high-speed rail network makes intercity travel efficient, and metro systems in major cities are user-friendly once you get the hang of it. 

So what will you be visiting in China?

The Great Wall, a true bucket-list attraction, the Terracotta Army, and the stunning landscapes of Guilin are all must-visit landmarks, while the rapid modernization might be seen as a double-edged sword, bringing both innovation and environmental concerns. 

In essence, visiting China is a plunge into contrasts – a dynamic journey through ancient traditions and a glimpse into a future shaping the world stage. 

The Philippines is only a 4 to 5 hour flight from Japan making it a great country near Japan to visit

4. Philippines

Philippines Overview

Flight time from Japan: 4-5 hrs 
Average flight price from Japan: $130
Budget Hostel Accommodation: $15
Mid-range hotel: $50
Beer: $1.60
Coffee: $3.10
Solo Female Travel: Okay
Food Safety: Good
Lack of Crime: Okay

Source: Nomad List. All prices are listed as USD.

Next up is the Philippines, a tropical paradise near Japan, that is home to stunning landscapes and vibrant culture. From the full-on streets of Manila to the pristine beaches of Palawan, the archipelago offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveller. 

Filipino cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavours, from savoury adobo to the sweetness of halo-halo. Just be wary of food hygiene, especially when it’s hot, as you don’t want to get struck with food poisoning on your trip.

Navigating the Philippines is relatively straightforward, with English widely spoken, but infrastructure varies, and remote areas may pose travel challenges with less connectivity and inconsistent reliability.

Public transport also ranges from jeepneys to tricycles, providing an authentic local experience that you won’t experience in many other places. 

Safety is generally good, but like any destination, staying alert is advised. 

Now onto what to do in this great country near Japan! 

Key highlights include the Turquoise waters of Palawan, the powdery beaches of Boracay, the historic streets of Intramuros in Manila, and the cultural richness of Cebu City’s colonial past. 

Vietnam is place of full of history and scenery not too far from Japan.  

5. Vietnam

Vietnam Overview

Flight time from Japan: 5.5-6.5 hrs
Average flight price from Japan: $190
Budget Hostel Accommodation: $10
Mid-range hotel: $40
Beer: $0.93
Coffee: $1.95
Solo Female Travel: Good
Food Safety: Okay /Good
Lack of Crime: Good

Source: Nomad List. All prices are listed as USD.

Vietnam is full of history and natural beauty and it’s not too far from Japan.  

Hanoi’s historic charm, the energy of Ho Chi Minh City, and the stunning landscapes of Ha Long Bay collectively create a memorable adventure. 

And then there is the food. Vietnamese cuisine is full of fresh vegetables and aromatic flavours. There is a balance of sweet and sour, spicy and cooling, fresh and salty flavours. Whether you’re trying the aromatic allure of pho or the crunchy delights of banh mi you’ll find some tasty eats in Vietnam.

Navigating Vietnam is an adventure in itself. While the country’s diverse terrain is best explored, from the Mekong Delta to the terraced hills of Sapa, infrastructure may vary, and traffic in major cities can be very chaotic. 

The people of Vietnam, with their warm smiles and genuine hospitality, add an extra layer of richness to this Southeast Asian gem. Whether you find yourself navigating the full-on streets of Ho Chi Minh City or exploring the pretty landscapes of rural villages, you’ll encounter a great sense of community.

Don’t be afraid to chat with the locals, in doing so you’ll discover a genuine curiosity and openness. From street vendors serving up steaming bowls of pho to artisans crafting intricate lanterns in Hoi An, each interaction gives you a greater glimpse into Vietnamese culture. 

The Islands of Thailand make for the perfect trip from Japan

6. Thailand

Thailand Overview

Flight time from Japan: 6-7 hrs
Average flight price from Japan: $200
Budget Hostel Accommodation: $15
Mid-range hotel: $30
Beer: $2.22
Coffee: $2.29
Solo Female Travel: Good
Food Safety: Okay / Good
Lack of Crime: Good

Source: Nomad List. All prices are listed as USD.

Next, I recommend visiting Thailand to explore its vibrant culture, and tropical islands and of course, eat as much Thai food as humanly possible.

From the hectic streets of Bangkok to the world-class beaches on Koh Samui and Koh Phi Phi, Thailand is one of the most popular travel destinations in Southeast Asia. 

Another major drawcard of visiting Thailand is its incredibly cheap prices. You can stay in a 5-star luxury hotel, eat like the queen and get pampered like a celebrity without breaking the bank.

And of course, a lot of people travel to Thailand to taste the world-renowned Thai cuisine, with its harmonious flavours of sweet, spicy, and savoury. Some notable dishes you need to try include Pad Thai, Som Tam Salad, Tom Yum Soup and Thai Green Curry. Ok, now I’m craving Thai food! 

Moving on, you’ll find navigating Thailand a breeze, thanks to its extensive and affordable transportation network. Whether you’re headed to the northern mountains of Chiang Mai or the southern island, there are a range of options such as flights, trains, buses, minivans, and boats.

However, the abundance of options can make the decision-making process a tad overwhelming so I recommend you do your research in advance. 

Thailand is also a very safe place for travellers including solo female travellers. Known as the ‘Land of Smiles’ the warmth of the Thai people adds an extra layer of comfort to the journey. Just be mindful, that the popularity of certain tourist spots can result in huge crowds and environmental concerns.

Finally, here are a few things you can add to your Thailand itinerary. The Grand Palace in Bangkok, the ancient city of Ayutthaya, and the scenery of Chiang Mai are just a glimpse into Thailand’s rich culture.

Then there’s the vibrant nightlife, cultural festivals, and the unique experience of floating markets.

Overall, Thailand is one of the most popular countries to visit near Japan!

Looking for places like Thailand? Check out these Best Places Like Thailand!

Look out for the Yurt's in  Mongolia to experience the nomadic way of life

7. Mongolia

Mongolia Overview

Flight time from Japan: 5-6 hrs
Average flight price from Japan
Budget Hostel Accommodation: $15
Mid-range hotel: $30
Beer: $1.59
Coffee: $2.27
Solo Female Travel: Okay
Food Safety: Good / Okay
Lack of Crime: Okay

Source: Nomad List. All prices are listed as USD.

Last on the list of the best countries near Japan to visit is Mongolia, a vast country of untamed beauty near Japan perfect for adventurous souls with its nomadic traditions and breathtaking landscapes. 

Ulaanbaatar, the capital has a diverse blend of commerce, bustling traffic, vibrant nightlife, and a bohemian cultural atmosphere while the vast steppes and the Gobi Desert entice those seeking an authentic nomadic experience. 

Mongolian food is rooted in hearty flavours and nomadic traditions, and it is far more extensive than just the classic Mongolian beef you grab from your favourite takeout joint!

Navigating Mongolia is an exploration in itself. The nomadic lifestyle and vast distances make getting around one of adventure. And the lack of urban infrastructure in some areas is a stark contrast to what you see in Japan. 

Travelling to Mongolia is relatively safe but unfortunately, petty crime is common, particularly in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and there have been incidents of violent crime. 

It’s also essential that you do careful planning if you are visiting the remote terrain to ensure you have a safe trip.

The nomadic way of life that is centred around family and community, the ancient monasteries, and the pristine landscapes of Khovsgol Lake and the Flaming Cliffs are just a few examples of the rich culture you can explore in this country. 

So venture off the beaten path, unleash your sense of adventure, keep an open mind of the nomadic way of life and you are sure to have a trip you won’t forget.  

FAQs: Countries Near Japan to Visit

Moving onto some commonly asked questions about the best countries near Japan to visit. If you have a question that I haven’t answered, feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Instagram!

Which country is the closest to Japan?

South Korea emerges as your immediate neighbour for a quick addition to your trip. Just a swift flight away and you’re in the dynamic realm of South Korea.

From the pulsating beats of K-pop in Seoul to the serene beauty of historic palaces, not to mention the food and the world of kimchi – it’s the perfect choice for a spontaneous and culturally rich journey.

What can I combine Japan with?

The options are vast and diverse! 

Blend Japan with China for a captivating fusion of ancient wonders like the Great Wall and the modern vibrancy of Tokyo.

If you love tropical bliss, consider coupling Japan with the Philippines, where there are gorgeous beaches and crystal-clear waters. The magic lies in what else you’re looking for beyond Japan. 

What country to go to after Japan?

After exploring the wonders of Japan, your next destination could be South Korea, where the energetic vibes of Seoul and the coastal allure of Busan await. For those craving a tropical escape, the Philippines with its pristine beaches and vibrant culture is a tempting choice. 

Or there is Taiwan, known for its authenticity with a mix of night markets and pretty landscapes. 

Each country presents a unique flavour, allowing you to tailor your post-Japan journey to your own travel dreams!

Which country is culturally closest to Japan?

Geographically and culturally speaking Taiwan mirrors Japan’s essence with its vibrant night markets, street food, and the perfect blend of modern and traditional vibes.

Taipei has a magnetic charm and is full of surprises making it an excellent place to visit after Japan.

Get ready for an immersive experience that feels both familiar and refreshingly new!

Which European country is close to Japan?

Japan is in close proximity to several European countries, and when considering flight time, Russia stands out as one of the closest European nations. 

The flight distance between Japan and Russia, particularly destinations in the Russian Far East like Vladivostok, is relatively shorter compared to flights to Western European countries. To fly from Tokyo to Vladivostok it only takes 2 hrs and 20 minutes.

While Japan is located in East Asia, the size of Russia extends to the Eurasian border, creating a shorter flight duration for travellers between certain Japanese and Russian cities.

The Wrap-Up: Countries Near Japan to Visit

And there you have it! The 7 best countries near Japan to visit!

I can’t help but feel incredibly excited for your upcoming trip to Japan and one or maybe more of these fantastic destinations. 

From the dynamic streets of Seoul to the nomadic way of Mongolia, each destination we explored has its own unique story to tell. 

Whether you’re enticed by vibrant cities, and ancient wonders, or prefer pristine beaches and getting out in nature, these neighbouring countries offer a rich variety of experiences that you should add to your itinerary. 

Whilst the journey may not always be smooth sailing– there are challenges, language barriers, and environmental concerns to navigate when exploring parts of Asia. But don’t let that stop you! After all some of the best and funniest travel memories are those that arise from missed flights, hopping on the wrong train or getting insanely lost. 

So, as you plan your next adventure, consider the street food of South Korea, the blue waters of the Philippines or the timeless charm of Vietnam.

Until next time, sayonara!

Japan Travel Essentials 

  • Now, staying connected is a must, right? Pick up a 4G SIM card with unlimited data at 1 of Japan’s airports. Reserve in advance to save time!
  • Grab your Suica card to make getting around Japan a breeze. Your Suica card is your ticket to Japan’s subways and buses. Easily top up your card at the subway station machines. 
  • Buy a discounted Japan Rail Pass (7, 14 or 21 Days) for unlimited high-speed train rides. It’ll whisk you from Kyoto to Tokyo in around 2 hours. Now, that’s the way to travel!
  • Book your Japan airport pickup in advance for a more cost-effective and efficient journey. 
  • Grab your Osaka e-Pass for free entry to more than 40 iconic Osaka tourist sites.
  • Google Maps & Rome 2 Rio will be your best friends for getting around Japan

Read More About Travel In Asia:


4 Weeks in Japan Itinerary: For First Time Visitors

Is Okinawa Worth Visiting? 10+ Reasons To Add It To Your Bucket List!

Seoul or Tokyo: Which City Should You Visit?

Stay in Osaka or Kyoto? Which Destination Should You Choose

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