10 Best Places To Visit In Japan.
From glimmering skyscrapers and neon lights,
to traditional tea shops and geisha, Japan
is a charming confluence of new and old
with a distinct character that separates it from the rest of Asia.
With so much to see and do it can be difficult to know where to start,
so to help inspire
you we’ve listed ten of the very best placesto visit.
With over 12 million people,
Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world.
With its huge skyscrapers, underpasses,
overpasses and crowds of pedestrians, Tokyo may not seem
the most attractive city on the surface,
but the city has a vibrant charm all of its own
and the street level detail is
what makes Tokyo such an incredibly interesting place to explore.
The city has many major sights to visit such
as Senso‐ji Temple in the old downtown area
of Asakusa or the fashion hub of Shibuya
from where all new trends are said to emanate.
The beautiful national park
in the Hakone area is around 50 miles west of Tokyo and
just to the south of Mount Fuji, Japan’s mostsacred peak.
The area consists of a handful
of small villages and hamlets all connected by a variety of
local transport, including buses, cable carsand a mountain railway.
Hakone has plenty to see and do,
from tasting eggs boiled in volcanic waters to taking a
boat trip across beautiful Lake Ashi.
Or maybe you will just sit back and relax whilst soaking
in one of the many therapeutic hot spring baths.
Home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites,
over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines,
this ancient city showcases the heart andsoul of traditional Japan.
Kyoto boasts an array of world‐class gardens,
majestic festivals and delicate cuisine, all
of which make much
of the rhythms of nature and the changing of the seasons.
Grid‐like Kyoto does have its fair share of neon and concrete,
but the discerning eye will soon pick out Kyoto ’ s sacred shrines,
time‐honoured teahouses and mysterious geisha
hidden down the quiet alleyways.
Just 40 minutes by local train from Kyoto,
Nara is renowned for the wealth of its Buddhist and Shinto heritage.
Nara was formerly the end of the Silk Road
and was the area which first saw Buddhist
teaching making the transition across the ocean from China.
The myriad of shrines and temples are all set
against the backdrop of the low lying mountains
and in the midst of Nara Park,
which is home to a vast population of pesky deer,
who will happily munch
on your guide books and anything else they can get their noses into.
5 Kinosaki Onsen.
For the quintessential Japanese hot spring destination,
look no further than Kinosaki Onsen.
The town boasts seven bathhouses which sit
among pretty streets of traditional wooden
buildings and narrow bridges.
Visitors to Kinosaki Onsen enjoy a stay
in a Japanese inn where sumptuous cuisine is
served at low tables in tatami rooms.
Afterwards guests dress in provided ‘ yukata ’ and ‘ geta ’,
light kimonos and wooden sandals,
and take to the streets for a pleasant evening stroll around town.
Hiroshima is a city that needs little introduction.
It is of course infamous for being the site
of one of two atomic bombs dropped on Japan
at the end of World War II.
Despite it’s tragic past, Hiroshima is now a bustling and vibrant city.
The Peace Park and Museum are a poignant reminder of Hiroshima’s past;
other attractions include
Hiroshima Castle, the baseball stadium and the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art.
Shukkei‐en Garden is also well
worth an afternoon stroll with a number of tea houses
dotted about the grounds.
Osaka is Japan’s second city and an
extremely vibrant and lively place to stay.
The city aquarium is world class and you can not stay
in Osaka without taking a ride on one
of the city’s several giant ferris wheels.
Osaka Castle is well worth a visit
despite being a reconstruction as the original was
burnt down at the end
of World War Two and you will find a variety of very interesting
museums scattered throughout the city.
After dark Osaka really comes alive,
and a walk through the bright lights of the Nanba
district is a great way to take in the atmosphere,
with some great people‐watching opportunities.
Just 50km from Tokyo,
Kamakura is a world away from the lights and action of Japan ’ s
This peaceful city operates at a much more leisurely pace
of life and is brimming with
gorgeous buildings, quaint cafes and templesgalore.
The main feature of the city is the Great Buddha
of Kamakura, a bronze statue which
dominates a plaza in the city.
For some more cultural enrichment,
travellers should head to one of the numerous temples
that speckle the region of Kamakura.
If the weather is nice,
another popular hotspot for visitors and locals alike is the Itsuki Garden,
a delightful spot of natural beauty.
Grab a drink or a bite to eat at the cafe
and immerse yourself in the serenity of your surroundings.
You might even be able to see the Great Buddha
in the distance if it ‘s a clear day.
Tucked away on the coast of Japan,
looking out over the Harima Nada Sea, Himeji is the
home of the most beautiful castle in the entirecountry.
Sitting on a raised brick platform,
the castle gleams pearly white and is adorned with numerous
pointed roofs, each one lined with traditionaldecor.
It becomes even more stunning when the cherry blossoms bloom,
surrounding the castle with a haze of pink.
It is both a beautiful sight and an important one
because of its historical significance.
Dating back to 1333,
the castle was passed down from hand to hand during Japan ‘s feudal
times and survived numerous battles,
natural disasters and even proposed demolitions until
it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritagesite in 1993.
Once you’ ve taken in the castle,
take a wander through Himeji town and cast your eye
over its crumbling buildings, relics of abygone era.
Translating as ‘ Shrine Island ’,
Miyajima is by far and away one of the most popular
destinations in Japan – and with good reason.
The island’s pride and joy is
its Itsukushima shrine and particularly the Torii Gate, which
is built in the sea and is often referred to
as the ‘ floating shrine ’.
This gate is considered to be the boundary
between the living and the dead and in order
to maintain its purity,
births and deaths are forbidden from taking place near it.
Another unique feature of this region is the
deer that can be found in every nook
and cranny of the island.
These cheeky animals will steal the food right
out of your hand if you ’ re not careful.
According to the Shinto religion,
the deer are sacred as it is believed that they are
the messengers of God.
The island also has an aquarium, which iswell worth visiting.