You have arrived at the capital of Japan, here are some must-see places to visit during your trip:
Tokyo Skytree: proudly standing 634 meters tall making it not only the tallest tower in Japan, but also in the world. The tower is open to the public with the possibility to oversee the beautiful panorama of Tokyo, we suggest booking your tickets well in advance as it is one of the most touristic objects in the whole of Japan.
Sensō-ji: the oldest ancient Buddhist temple in Tokyo has a rich history as the temple was founded in 645 AD it is also known as one of the most architecturally stunning monuments in Japan.
Kanda Yabu Soba: after feeding your eyes with the beauty of the city head to the oldest restaurant in the city, opened in 1880 Kanda Yabu Soba has affordable, traditional and delicious meals.
Aeon Lake Town: once you have fueled yourself with some delicious Japanese food visit the biggest eco-friendly shopping mall in Tokyo where you can find everything starting from over 700 shops, restaurants, cinema, gym, and spa. The shopping mall is easily accessible by public transport.
The former capital of Japan is located on the beautiful island of Honshu, Kyoto is taking an important place in Japan’s history and today allows tourists to see countless monuments and places of interest such as:
Kinkaku-ji or Golden Pavilion: one of the most beautiful temples in the world, the two floors of the temple are completely covered in gold leaf and overlooks a beautiful pond surrounded by the trees. We recommend visiting it early in the morning by catching the direct Kyoto City bus or Karasuma subway.
Arashiyama: one of the top must-see landmarks in Kyoto, filled with temples, shrines and surrounded by nature. The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is admired by the tourists and is a picturesque walk through the bamboo filled path. We recommend joining the tour which will allow you to see the bamboo grove as well as the Tenryu-ji, Okochi-Sanso Villa and Gio-ji Temples.
Fushimi Inari Taisha: also called “O-inari-san”, is a shrine path that was built in respect for the rice and sake god. It is one of the busiest places in Kyoto and over the years became very loved by the tourists. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes as the path quickly turns into a hike.
Gion: one of the most charming places in Kyoto, a fairytale-like district offers a more relaxed and zen experience. The Gion district is filled with cute little cafes, restaurants, boutiques as well as temples.
Osaka is known as the second biggest Japanese metropolitan city and is the third by its population. It is a paradise for food lovers. Osaka has a history of abundance and it played a huge role in the country’s economy and distribution of its goods. We have gathered the best places for you to visit while in Osaka:
Osaka Castle: is known as the cities most popular historical tourist attraction. It is surrounded by 600 cherry trees. You might think its the most beautiful in Spring however it is exquisite all year round.
Umeda Sky Building: the Floating Garden Observatory is located in this building and is indeed the best place for the panoramic view of the city. It is as high as 173 meters above the ground. In Umeda, you will also find malls, shops, restaurants, and cafes.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan: is considered as one of the world’s biggest aquariums, filled with nearly 11,000 tons of water. It is home to many different small marine creatures from all over the world as well as whale sharks.
Eat-in Dotonbori: Osaka’s gastronomical paradise, if you are a foodie this is the right place for you!
Kuromon Ichiba Market: here you will find the best street food in the city, the freshest seafood, uni, diver scallops, otoro, oysters, octopus, and unagi and much more.
Nagoya is the fourth largest city in Japan by its population and has over 2 million inhabitants. It is home to such automotive factories as Toyota, Honda, and Mitsubishi. Make sure to visit the following places while in Nagoya:
Nagoya Castle: it is believed that it was first built in the 17th century. Later on, it was destroyed during the WW II and rebuilt in 1959. Here you can find the sculpture of shachi-hoko which is a creature said to have the head of a tiger and the body of a fish as well as of costumes and weaponry from the old days.
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology: the museum takes up 8,000 square meters and tells you the story of this huge corporation.
Toganji Temple: it was built in the 16th century to honor the Buddhist goddess Saraswati who also has her own festival held in May. The temple has a huge Budha sculpture seated at the center. Make sure to touch the big woodblock here which is believed to cleanse you of your sins.
Shop at Komehyo: it is a large discount store for second-hand items. This store has 7 floors, its a place where you can find lots of interesting clothes, shoes, jewellery as well as antiques.
Only an hour away from Tokyo by train is the second-largest city in Japan: Yokohama, here are some must-see places during your visit.
Sushi Bar Sagamiya: have some sushi at the most famous sushi bars in the city, with the freshest ingredients – prepared right on the spot!
Minato Mirai 21: take a stroll around the city promenade where you can take a ride on one of the city’s most popular attractions, the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel or wait until the sun goes down and see the whole city to light-up in thousands of colorful lights.
Yokohama Sea Paradise: the complex is located in Kanagawa-ken and includes hotels, shopping mall, amusement rides, and the aquarium which is possibly the most fun attraction in the city for all age groups. There is no commission or entrance fee, however, you must pay for the rides.
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum: have you really been in Japan if you have not visited the ramen museum? The Shin-Yokohama is a food court that is the best place for ramen lovers providing the most interesting food experiences. Or alternatively, visit the Cup Noodles Museum, which is a more artistic approach to your ramen experience.
A lot of the cities in Japan are a mix of traditional as well as modern culture, but the city of Takayama strongly focuses on traditional values and history.
Every building in Takayama has a story to tell, visit the Kusakabe Folk Crafts Museum, built in 1879, it holds the local crafts of the city.
Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine: the oldest shrine in the city with a stunning wooden structure that brings peace to its visitors as it is normally quiet and free from large crowds. Visit the Takayama Jinya to learn more about the business history of the city, the foundation of the building dates back to 1615, visitors are allowed to enter the premises as well as learn about the history and the government of the city.
Takayama is also famous for its festivals, those are held twice a year – the spring festival and the autumn festival, both of the festivals always attract large crowds. The main activities include- the float parade, Karakuri performance, and mikoshi procession. We recommend booking your stay well in advance.
If you have more time to travel around Takayama we recommend:
Taking a ride on Shinhotaka Ropeway (Cable Car) up to the Japanese Alps, which gives you the best views in the northern Alps.
Visiting Mount Norikura which is an active volcano with a scenic view of the mountains.
The city of Nara was once the capital of China dating back to 710-794 AD. It is one of the most visited cities in Japan and mostly known for its deer park where the animals can roam freely.
Nara Park: the park was opened in 1880 and it is one of the oldest parks in Japan. Today the park is home for around 1200 deers who can walk freely and are even allowed to be fed by the visitors. The Sika deer is considered sacred and harming the animal was even punished by death in the 17th century.
Visit one of the many Onsen baths, which are normally located in secluded areas such as forests which makes this bathing experience even more memorable. Visit the Yumoto Honoya, Sakoya or Shigisan Kanko Hotel baths and experience these mineral baths which are believed to have healing and relaxing powers.
We recommend visiting the city during the first two weeks of March when the city holds a series of events called Omizutori. The events are meant to honor Buddhism, during those two weeks of the festival, every night after the sun sets, giant torches are lit up as a tradition to bring luck to all the observers.
If you love beer, winter sports and ramen head to the capital city of Hokkaido, Sapporo. We recommend visiting this place in winter to make it on time for the winter snow festival.
Sapporo Yuki Matsuri: a winter festival is an annual event that is held every February and is famous for its large snow and ice sculptures as well as other fun winter activities.
Take a stroll through the city during any season and visit the Sapporo Clock Tower which was built in 1878 and now considered as a must-see treasure of the city.
For fresh seafood visit the Nijo market, if you are not too keen on cooking, enjoy the fresh food made on the spot.
For an Instagram worthy shot go to the Horomitoge Lavender Garden during the month of July, the garden offers an experience of harvesting and purchasing fresh lavender right from the field.
Enjoy the city to the fullest, and take the Mount Moiwa Ropeway which will take you up to the summit of Mt. Moiwa where you will be able to see a spectacular view of Sapporo.
Although the city of Hiroshima was largely destroyed during World War II today it has proudly recovered and offers many entertainments, cultural as well as gastronomic experiences.
Head to the Hiroshima castle rebuilt in 1958, it is a replica of the castle that was one of many destroyed monuments in Hiroshima. The castle holds a long and powerful history dating back 1592 when it was first built.
For art lovers, a must-see is Hiroshima Museum of Art, opened in 1978 the museum is a home for paintings by artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Rousseau, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Degas, Renoir, and Monet as well as famous Japanese artists.
One of the most visited places in Hiroshima is the Atomic Bomb Dome which is a tragic reminder of the destruction caused by war. The Atomic Bomb Dome was added to the World Heritage Site in 1996. To learn more about the history of the city you can also visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which holds a collection of memorabilia left from the victims after the Atomic bombing during World War II as well as historical exhibits of the city before the war.
Fukuoka is the sixth-largest city in Japan famous for its nightlife, museums as well as the western influence which has transformed the city’s cultural scene.
Enjoy the panoramic view of the Fukuoka city by visiting the Fukuoka Tower, the tower is 234m tall and is covered by more than 8000 mirrors. We recommend planning your visit during the Christmas period when the city will be lit up in thousands of little lights.
A must-visit site in the Fukuoka city is the ruins of the Fukuoka castle which was built in the 17th century. We recommend visiting between March and April when the ruins will be surrounded by the beautiful cherry blossoms.
For a fun shopping experience head to the Canal City Hakata, which is one of the world ́s largest shopping malls. It has 250 shops, cinemas, restaurants, and cafes as well as hotels. After a long day of shopping visit the Ramen Stadium where you can choose from 8 different ramen shops and try one of the best ramen available, Hakata ramen.
We also recommend following the current events before you plan your visit if possible try to catch a Sumo Tournament at Sumo Kyushu Basho.
The city of Kobe is located in Honshu Island, it is mostly known for its sake (an alcoholic beverage made from rice) as well as waterfalls, mountains, and gardens if you plan on visiting do not forget to try:
Kobe beef: is a high-class beef in Japan. Visit the Kobubu restaurant to taste the best meat in the city; we recommend making reservations in advance as the restaurant is highly popular amongst tourists as well as locals.
To try the city’s famous sake head to the Kobe Nada district where the sake is produced. Visit the Sawanotsuru Sake Museum to learn the history of brewing, go to Kobe Konan Muko no Sato to taste other products made from sake lees such as condiments and pickles, do not miss the award-winning Hamafukutsuru Ginjo Brewery to taste the famous “ginjo” sake.
If you are traveling with your family visit the Oji Zoo which is home for a wide range of animals and houses an amusement park suitable for all age groups.
We recommend visiting the city in December for the Kobe Luminarie, which is the main festival of the year. It is held to honor those who lost their lives during the Hanshin earthquake in 1995. The city is illuminated in thousands of colorful lights in memory of the tragic events.