If you’re looking for an amazing tourist destination full of incredible things to do, Japan is an excellent choice. The country offers a huge range of cities and towns, all of which have their own character and charm. Here are 10 great places to visit in Japan.
The Japanese capital is an obvious must-visit destination during your trip to Japan, and will most likely be your entry point into the country. Tokyo is a dynamic city that never sleeps, and one that provides enough attractions to keep you extremely busy during your stay. There’s so much to do that you’ll have to prioritize, but some of the most popular areas to visit are Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Harajuku. Be sure to take advantage of the weird and wonderful attractions throughout the city, including animal cafes and themed hotels and restaurants.
Nagano, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998, is home to the Japan Alps and six national parks. The most popular time to visit is in winter, when skiers and snowboarders embark on the city to take advantage of its beautiful slopes. Many tourists also choose to take a day trip to visit the snow monkeys at Jigoku-dani Monkey Park, which is a one-of-a-kind experience. Nagano also offers plenty of
things to do throughout the rest of the year, from hot springs to ancient temples.
The beautiful port city of Yokohama is packed full of fun things to do, from a giant ferris wheel to restored brick warehouses, which are home to independent boutiques and great restaurants. The city straddles Tokyo Bay, leading to beautiful seaside views and a lovely waterfront promenade. Yokohama also boasts a large Chinatown, which is packed full of restaurants, shops, and street food.
The city of Sapporo is located on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, and is known for hosting exciting festivals throughout the year. The snow festival in February is a family-friendly event which features beautiful ice sculptures, while the dance festival in June is a great way to soak up local culture. Beer lovers will
enjoy the annual summer beer festival. Sapporo is also an excellent base for those wishing to explore other parts of Hokkaido, an island known for its beautiful landscape and outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing.
Osaka is an exciting city full of bright lights, vibrant nightlife, and delicious street food. There are a number of great attractions for tourists, including Osaka Castle and one of the largest aquariums in the world. Dotombori-dori Street is at the heart of the city, featuring a pedestrianized area with numerous restaurants and shops. The Amerika-mura neighborhood is great for those looking to experience the city’s more trendy side. If you enjoy technology, be sure to head to Den Den Town, where the latest electronic gadgets can be found on display.
Kyoto, which served as Japan’s capital for more than 1,000 years, is a great place for history buffs. It’s a hub of Japanese culture, featuring 27,000 traditional houses in four preservation districts. There’s no shortage of ancient temples and shrines, and several beautiful gardens provide chances to relax and reflect. The city is also a great place to shop for Japanese crafts and browse antique stores. Don’t forget to head to the Gion District, where you can see geishas in traditional dress traveling to their appointments in the early evening.
Combine history with sightseeing in Hiroshima, a city which was famously targeted by a US atomic bomb in World War II. The hollowed out Atomic Bomb Dome, which was once the city’s Industrial Promotion Hall, did not collapse into rubble like the rest of the buildings affected by the blast. It now stands as a poignant reminder of the destruction left behind on August 6, 1945. The rest of the area has been made into a Memorial Peace Park and a Peace Museum which documents the atomic bombing.
This beach town with a laid-back vibe is a favorite for surfers and anyone looking to escape the big city. In addition to hitting the waves, you can grab a cocktail at one of the city’s many beach bars or visit the peaceful bamboo garden at Hokokuji Temple. The giant statue of Buddha at Kōtoku-in Temple is also a sight to behold. Kamakura is a great city full of smiling residents who enjoy welcoming visitors to their beachfront paradise.
If you love a good steak, you’re probably familiar with Kobe beef. This is the city’s most popular feature, with numerous restaurants offering the tender meat to hungry locals and visitors. The city also offers a number of attractions beyond food, from sake breweries to a bustling Chinatown. The waterside Meriken Park is a great place to enjoy open courtyards, modern art installations, and the Kobe Maritime Museum. Be sure to look out for a short section of the waterfront park which is damaged, serving as a reminder of the devastation caused by the 1995 earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people.
Miyajima, officially named Itsukushima, is a small island in Hiroshima Bay, which is known for its gorgeous forests and ancient temples. Its famous Great Torii Gate becomes partially submerged at high tide and provides a magnificent photo opportunity at sunset. There are also wild deer which roam the island and have become highly accustomed to humans. If you’re up for a challenge, hike to the top of Mt. Misen and be rewarded with fabulous views.
Japan is a great nation with a rich history and incredible tourist attractions. As you travel across the country, remember to be respectful and mindful of local customs and etiquette rules.