10 Best Places To Visit In Japan | 2018

10 Best Places To Visit In Japan | 2018


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 places
to visit. 1: Tokyo. 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. 2: Hakone. 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 most
sacred peak. The area consists of a handful of small villages
and hamlets all connected by a variety of local transport, including buses, cable cars
and 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. 3: Kyoto. Home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, over
1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, this ancient city showcases the heart and
soul 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. 4: Nara. 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. 6: Hiroshima. 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. 7: Osaka. Osaka is Japan’s second city and an extremely
vibrant and lively place to stay. The city aquarium is world class and you cannot
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. 8: Kamakura. Just 50km from Tokyo, Kamakura is a world
away from the lights and action of Japan’s buzzing capital. This peaceful city operates at a much more
leisurely pace of life and is brimming with gorgeous buildings, quaint cafes and temples
galore. 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. 9: Himeji. 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 entire
country. Sitting on a raised brick platform, the castle
gleams pearly white and is adorned with numerous pointed roofs, each one lined with traditional
decor. 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 Heritage
site 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 a
bygone era. 10: Miyajima. 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 is
well worth visiting.

22 thoughts on “10 Best Places To Visit In Japan | 2018

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