With over 31 million tourists annually, Japan is one of the top tourist destinations in Asia.
From its rich and historical cultural heritage, its technological innovation (like their toilets), to its breathtaking natural landscapes, it’s no wonder so many foreigners are drawn to Japan every year.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular destinations in the country, and some great ways to enjoy your travels in Japan.
Awesome 11 destinations for a holiday in Japan
The popular stops
Tokyo is the largest and most heavily populated city in the country (no surprise here). There’s an unending list of activities for travelers in Tokyo. Indulge your inner shopaholic as you tour the ultra modern and distinctly Japanese shopping districts, or perhaps even visit the Tsukiji Outer Market to find local seafood and produce. The capital also offers a cascade of beautiful parks and historical sites.
If Tokyo is the governmental and technological capital of Japan, then Kyoto is the cultural capital. Kyoto offers a nod to the rich traditions and history of Japanese culture. Here you’ll find everything from exquisite shrines and temples, majestic bamboo forests, beautiful cherry blossoms, and even a monkey park. In Kyoto you can dip your toes into traditional art, tea, and even Zen Buddhism.
Hiroshima is most known for being the site where the first atomic bomb was dropped by the Americans in World War 2. Memorials and museums are sprinkled throughout the city and are a solemn reminder of the past.
However, a visit to Hiroshima doesn’t have to end on such a sobering note. The city boasts a unique and vibrant nightlife, and there are plenty of fun and memorable local experiences to be have.
Osaka is on Honshu island, and among the locals it has a reputation for being one of the more laid back cities in Japan. People in Osaka are known for their warmth and hospitality. The city is one of the premiere destinations for food lovers. There also amusement parks and cultural museums spread across the city.
Destinations off the beaten path
Once the seat of the Emperor in the 8th century, Nara is home to a large collection of traditional sites including temples, shrines, neighborhoods, and gardens. There’s even a park where you can hand feed to local semi-wild deer.
6. Miyajima Island
Here is where you’ll find the famous Itsukushima Shrine, which is believed by some to be the border between the human world and the spiritual one. The Island also features many traditional temples and other historical sites.
Of Japan’s main islands Hokkaido is the most northern. Here you’ll find beautiful but often overlooked vistas in summer as well as winter.
Awesome activities to do in Japan
8. Culinary tour
Japanese cuisine has more than made its mark on the pallets of food lovers around the world. Planning your trip around the great culinary stops throughout Japan will be the experience of a lifetime. Japan is also home to some of the most unique restaurants in the world, where the atmosphere is just as interesting, if not more, than the food.
There is something magical, even spiritual, about the natural landscapes of Japan. Hiking enthusiasts will find there’s plenty of adventure to be had, from the heights of Mount Fuji, to the captivating paths of Japan’s national parks.
Explore the ancient art of meditation and the mysteries of Zen Buddhism. Japan’s deep spirituality isn’t just a memory of the past, it is alive and well.
11. Language learning
From anime lovers to samurai aficionados, the Japanese language has a wide fan base around the world. Many don’t know that it’s possible to take a language learning program while traveling in the country. Immersion is one of the best ways to learn Japanese, so why not take the plunge while visiting the country?
Japan is a popular choice for tourists interested in traveling to Asia. The country’s rich historical culture, and pervasive pop culture make it a prime destination for anyone who appreciates the past while looking toward the future.
However, don’t limit your travel itinerary to only the common tourist destinations. As awesome as those places are, you will be missing out if you don’t take the time and the effort to explore the rich experiences that await beyond the borders of places like Tokyo and Kyoto.