Japan is a country that offers the tourist
exotic beauty and marvelous attractions.
Unfortunately, Japan is a country where the language barrier can make
travel difficult for the English-speaking visitor. Traveling in
Japan is more challenging and takes more effort than traveling in Europe, but we think you will find
that the rewards are more than worth the effort.
Japan has so many outstanding places to visit during a vacation that it is difficult to choose among them. We know that
your vacation time is both brief and valuable. Our recommendations for the
best places to visit will help you find the right place for your vacation in
The team at ThereArePlaces has developed a proprietary method for evaluating
the attractiveness of towns and regions as tourist destinations. We used
this methodology to create our list of the best places to visit in Japan.
We believe that the cities and regions described below are the countryís key
tourist destinations, contain Japan's best attractions and urge you to
visit them during your travels in Japan.
On March 11, 2011 at 2:46 local time in Japan, a massive magnitude 9.0
earthquake struck off of the northeastern shores of Honshu, Japanís largest
island. The massive earthquake resulted in a devastating tsunami that caused
a significant number of deaths and incredible destruction of
property/infrastructure, including several nuclear plants. It will
take years to repair some of the damage to the cities of northeastern Japan
and there may continue to be a problem with radiation leaks for an
undetermined amount of time.
is where most tours of Japan start and the city is the natural places to start
your introduction to this enchanting country. It is hard to understate the shock
value of Tokyo to the western visitor and we believe that upon arriving in
Tokyo you will finally understand the real
meaning of the word "foreign".
Tokyo's attractions result from a
mix of important cultural, historic, and societal trends. We can
safely say that Tokyo is unlike any other big city in the world. It is
a fabulous place to visit, but you may need a vacation from the city (if not
its prices) after a few days.
- Two cities that make great day
trips from Tokyo are:
solemn pilgrimage site for many Japanese, the shrine complex at Nikko is,
also, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The area is
closely associated with the history of the Tokugawa Shoguns.
The surrounding National Park is stunning.
For more information,
see the Nikko Tourist Association
Kamakura contains one of Japan's best collections
of shrines, temples, and monuments. In addition, the town
is famous for its Great Buddha statue.
Visit the official Kanagawa
area website for more information on visiting
Modern Hiroshima is known as a
"peace" center. Destroyed at the end of World War II by an atomic
bomb, Hiroshima is known for its Peace Park and Peace Memorial Museum.
Be sure to visit nearby Miyajima Island for its shrine and famous torii
Hiroshima Navigator, the official website
of the city of Hiroshima, for more details on the city and its many
Nagasaki was one the principal
ports during Japan's exposure to the western world in the 1600's, giving the
town the most European flavor of any of Japan's cites. Nagasaki was
partly destroyed by an atomic bomb blast near the end of World War II.
Tourist Nagasaki is known for its Peace Park and the Sofuku-ji, an elegant
temple whose architecture has a pronounced Chinese look.
websiteof the Nagasaki Prefectural Tourism
Federation provides an in-depth look at Nagasaki's festivals, sightseeing
Fuji Hakone Izu National Park
Mt. Fuji is Japan's most famous
and most sacred mountain. It is held in reverence by the Japanese and
climbing its trail is a rite of passage.
Measuring in at slightly over
12,000 feet, Mt. Fuji is a nearly symmetrical strato-volcano that last erupted in
the 18th century.
For detailed information on the Hakone National Park, see this
For an interesting
overview of the Mount Fuji area, see the official Shizuoka Guide
The Izu peninsula and the Hakone
district are known for great scenery, but are especially famous for their hot springs and
a forested, mountainous, volcanic area is the site of some of Japan's most
popular resorts and spas. The area is less than 100 miles from Tokyo
and is a great place for a break from the city.
Information about the Hakone area can be found at this detailed
Many visitors to Hokkaido (the
northernmost of Japan's islands) travel there to enjoy the island's reputation
as Japan's most scenic landscape.
The Daisetsuzan National Park
is the best place to see "wild" Japan. The park offers the outdoor
enthusiast great hiking and spectacular views.
Although currently only available
in Japanese, click the links at the park's
website for some amazing photographs of
this unique area.
The official tourism website for Japan is hosted by the
Japan National Tourism Organization. The site provides additional
information on the best places to visit that we cover here, as well as
information on towns and attractions that we do not cover.
For country facts on Japan, as well as travel information on driving,
safety, crime, visas and other tourism related issues see this page on
Japan from the U.S. State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs. Regardless of your home country, we think you will find this site useful when planning a trip to Japan.
If you need information about another travel destination, try
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.
to Japan are eager to visit the beautiful shrines and temples found
throughout the country, as these religious centers are some of the
most popular tourist sites in Japan.
Just so you know -
Temples are associated with Buddhism. Buddhist
temples are used for worship and often contain relics of
significant importance to this faith.<
Shrines are associated with Shintoism and are religious sites where Kami are found or where
they may be
The Kami are a complicated topic, but it is our
understanding that Kami are believed to be or to represent revered gods,
spirits or natural forces.