There’s countries we need to visit (family-related purposes), destinations we want to visit (tempted by advertising) & then there’s the places we aspire to see (because they’ve been on our bucket list pretty much since birth).

When it comes to travel to Asia in 2018, one country Aussies say they want to visit with intense passion is, Japan.

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Can you blame them when its home to the freshest dishes on the planet and the best skiing. It’s also the only place on the planet where you can go Mario Kart racing on city streets, purchase fresh eggs from a vending machine, visit a Ninja Temple that has nothing to do with ninjas and dress up as a geisha.

A recent study conducted by Wendy Wu Tours found that nearly 33 percent of Aussies have Japan on their ‘wish list’ for 2018, ahead of Southeast Asia (30 percent), China (21 percent) and India (14 percent).

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) season comes early in Okinawa

Travellers said seeing Japan’s annual Cherry Blossoms as one of their dreams, along with river cruising along the Mekong Delta, observing tigers in India’s Ranthambore National Park, and exploring Nepal’s Himalayas.

When asked what was most important experience they receive while travelling, some 38 percent flagged ‘meeting locals’, while 31 percent said they needed a seamless tour package, 15 percent wanted a knowledgeable guide and nine percent express desire to try the best food.

Wendy Wu Tours’ Head of Product, Bernadette Holmes, described growing demand for Japan as “incredible” and expect it to remain a top destination for travellers in 2018.

READ: 7 hidden gems to see in Japan’s biggest cities

READ: Why pay for flights, when you can fly free to Japan & China?

Do you aspire to visit Japan?