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Japan Travel Guide: The Best Places to Visit

Japan is undeniably one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Home to bustling metropolises and breathtaking sceneries, the land of the rising sun is truly bucket list-worthy.

Planning a trip to Japan isn’t easy — there are so many things to do, many foods to eat, and a ton of places to visit. That’s why we put together this handy guide to help you figure your way around the country.

Japan Travel Guide - Tokyo

Tokyo

The country’s capital city, Tokyo, is a thriving and eclectic metropolis overflowing with good food, gorgeous sights, and an amazing cityscape. The city is sprinkled with amazing food spots, from Michelin star establishments to local street food vendors. Pop culture references are everywhere, as well as eccentric fashion choices and overall interesting things to see and do. Despite its modernity, Tokyo still preserves its history through streets and alleyways that are reminiscent of its colorful past.

Places to check out:

  • Sensō-Ji, Tokyo’s largest ancient Buddhist temple
  • Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in Japan
  • Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea
  • Ginza, Tokyo’s high fashion center
  • Roppongi, the nightlife district
  • Tokyo Tower

Nara

Home to many UNESCO world heritage sites, Nara is definitely one of those cities that will transport you back to Japan’s ancient times. There are temples aplenty and breathtaking gardens and tourist spots to get lost in. It’s also famous for its wild deer, which freely roam around.

Places to check out:

  • Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world
  • Horyuji Temple, a 7th-century temple and Japan’s first UNESCO world heritage site
  • Nara National Museum, a museum founded in 1889 that showcases Japanese Buddhist art
  • Kasugayama Primeval Forest
  • Nara Park

Japan Travel Guide - Sakuras

Kyoto

Japan’s former capital, Kyoto is home to over 2000 temples and shrines as well as zen gardens and traditional tea houses. Despite being famous for its ancient heritage sites, the city still has a sprawling urban area filled with bars, cafes, and world-class restaurants. Kyoto is also one of the best places in Japan to witness cherry blossoms.

Places to check out:

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine, the city’s most visited shrine because of its iconic vermilion torii gates
  • Kiyomizudera Temple, one of the most important and oldest historic monuments in Japan, built in 780
  • Gion, an entertainment district best known as home to geisha dancers
  • Bamboo Grove, an iconic landmark of the Arashiyama area

Hiroshima

Mostly known as one of the two cities bombed in the Second World War, Hiroshima’s dark past did not stop it from becoming a lively city. From being wiped out 70 years ago, Hiroshima is now full of vigor with its welcoming locals and delicious food. (PS: Make sure to try their okonomiyaki, it’s the city’s specialty.)

Places to check out:

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a monument to the bombing that happened during WW2
  • Miyajima Island
  • Okunoshima, or rabbit Island
  • Yamato Museum, an homage to the impressive ships that were built in Hiroshima

Sapporo

A city full of life, Sapporo is a great pit stop before moving on to Hokkaido’s famous mountains and hot springs. The city offers a throng of fantastic restaurants, a lively nightlife, and a ton of great activities for travelers. Sapporo is also home to the famous Snow Festival, which features breathtaking ice sculptures during the winter.

Places to check out:

  • Ishiya Chocolate Factory
  • Asahiyama Park, a gorgeous flower garden
  • Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art
  • Sapporo Beer Museum

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