From the snow-capped mountains of Hokkaido to the tropical beaches of Okinawa, Japan is a land of contrasts.
There is so much to see and do in Japan, it can be hard to know where to start. To help you plan your trip, here are ten of the most popular places to visit in Japan.
1. Tokyo – As the capital of Japan, Tokyo is the obvious choice for a first stop on any trip to the country. This huge metropolis is home to over 13 million people and is one of the most modern and cosmopolitan cities in the world. From world-class shopping and dining to historic temples and shrines, Tokyo has something for everyone.
2. Kyoto – If you’re looking for a more traditional Japan experience, Kyoto is the perfect place to visit. This ancient city was the capital of Japan for over a thousand years and is full of historic temples and shrines. Kyoto is also famous for its geisha, traditional Japanese entertainers.
3. Osaka – Osaka is Japan’s second-largest city and is known for its food. This city is a great place to try traditional Japanese dishes like okonomiyaki (a savory pancake) and takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings). Osaka is also home to one of Japan’s most popular theme parks, Universal Studios Japan.
4. Hokkaido – Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost island and is a popular destination for winter sports. The island is home to several ski resorts, as well as the famous Sapporo Snow Festival. In the summer, Hokkaido is a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with hiking, camping, and fishing all popular activities.
5. Okinawa – Okinawa is a group of islands in the southernmost part of Japan. This tropical destination is famous for its beautiful beaches and clear blue waters. Okinawa is also home to several World War II sites, including the Peace Memorial Park and Museum.
6. Mt. Fuji – No trip to Japan would be complete without a visit to Mt. Fuji, the country’s tallest mountain. Mt. Fuji is an active volcano, but don’t let that discourage you from visiting – it’s considered safe to climb. The best time to climb Mt. Fuji is in the summer, when the weather is most stable.
7. Nikko – Nikko is a small town located in the mountains north of Tokyo. Nikko is home to the famous Toshogu Shrine, a mausoleum dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The shrine is decorated with elaborate carvings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Nara – Nara was Japan’s first capital city and is home to some of the country’s oldest temples. The most famous temple in Nara is the Todaiji, which houses the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue. Nara is also home to deer, which roam freely throughout the city.
9. Hakone – Hakone is a town in the mountains southwest of Tokyo. Hakone is known for its hot springs, or onsens, which are a popular tourist activity. The town is also home to the Hakone Open-Air Museum, which features sculptures by artists such as Henry Moore and Rodin.
10. Miyajima – Miyajima is an island off the coast of Hiroshima. The island is home to the Itsukushima Shrine, a Shinto shrine famous for its “floating” torii gate. Miyajima is also a popular place to see deer, which are considered sacred on the island.