Do you have a vacation planned in the land of the rising sun but you don't know yet which places you should visit? Have you heard of lots of remarkable places and you don't know where to turn? So you must read this article since you will discover the places not to be missed during your trip to japan !
If you want to travel to Japan or live there, do not hesitate to take a look at our article how to get a japanese visa .
Most people who make a stay in Japan for the first time are surprised to learn that it is one of the most advanced countries industrially speaking. It is a country which on top of that has a rich and fascinating history dating back thousands of years. Indeed, long before the European cathedral, the shinto temples and buddhists from Japan were established and already attracted several thousand pilgrims.
During this same period, the country was already perfecting the skills and trades that will place it on the path to wealth, such as fine porcelain or even ceramic to textiles such as silk. Much of this rich tradition has been preserved (or rebuilt), despite wars and natural damage, making a visit to japan a real historic getaway. Boasting an endless list of must-see sites, things to see and do, and remarkable points to explore, a vacation in Japan is a time to remember. Discover the best places to visit during your first trip to discover the Japanese culture with our list of Japan's top tourist attractions you can't miss.
Undoubtedly the most famous figure in Japan, the majestic Mount Fuji ( Fuji-san ) is also the highest peak in the country. It rises to 3,776 meters above sea level on a rather flat landscape to the south and east, and high enough to be seen from Tokyo more than 100 kilometers away.
Mount Fuji, celebrated for centuries in the arts and literature, is considered such an important icon today that UNESCO recognized its global cultural significance in 2013. Mount Fuji, which is part of the national park Fuji-Hakone-Izu , is climbed by more than a million people each summer, as an act of pilgrimage, which ends with the observation of the sunrise from its summit.
While some still choose to start their ascent from the base, the majority of climbers now start above halfway, at the 5th station, allowing for a more manageable climb of around six hours. Obviously for the vast majority, Mount Fuji can only be observed from the seat of a train or at its foot. If you have the courage and the opportunity to climb it, do it, you won't regret it!
Tokyo's most famous landmark, the Imperial Palace , with its magnificent 17th-century parks, surrounded by walls and moats, is a must-see during a visit to the country's capital. Don't be put off by the fact that the majority of the palace is closed to the public (the Imperial family still use it), as there is still plenty to see just by strolling through the gardens. Besides the many magnificent views of the palace from many points of the surrounding park - notably the famous Nijubashi bridge, or "double bridge", so named for its watery reflection - visitors are allowed access to the garden East Higashi-Gyoen and other areas that are open to the public, as part of an organized tour.
Another must-see for tourists visiting Tokyo is the famous shopping district of Ginza , which houses the theater Kabuki-za with its representations of Kabuki , as well as the theater Shimbashi Enbujo with its traditional dances Azuma-odori and its representations of Bunraku .
Even if it is useless to rehash here the horrors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August 1945, one can still underline the incredible efforts made by this dynamic city to commemorate the many victims of the first nuclear attack in the world, and perhaps more important again. It is the symbol of lasting peace since Hiroshima.
the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park ( Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Kōen ), visited by over a million people from several different countries each year, sits at the epicenter of the atomic explosion of what was once a bustling part of the city and includes a number of important landmarks, monuments and museums relating to the events of this fateful day.
In addition to the grounds and gardens at cherry blossoms colorful, the park is home to the Peace Memorial Museum, which houses numerous exhibits on the issue of world peace, such as the memorial cenotaph and the flame of peace , as well as the dome of the atomic bomb or the ruins of an administrative building located in the center of the explosion.
Kyoto , one of the most visited cities in Japan, is one of the few cities in the country to have been spared the devastation of WWII. It attracts over 10 million visitors each year, exploring its beautiful old streets and architecture, much of which has not changed since the imperial family who made their home here over 1,000 years ago. Even then, the city was Japan's most important cultural center, a legacy that continues with its many museums and art galleries, teeming with sculptures, paintings and other important art forms. Among the strengths of architecture influenced by the Buddhism in Kyoto, there are many temples well preserved, 30 of which are still in use, and important structures such as the 14th century Golden Pavilion ( Kinkaku-ji ), famous for its beautiful exterior covered with gold leaf.
Without forgetting the Castle of Nijo , a 17th century fortress that has retained its original walls, towers and moat as well as its beautiful gates and palace with refined interior decor. Kyoto Imperial Palace ( Kyoto-gosho ), built in the year 794 AD, is also worth a visit. It is one of the historical sites the most visited in the city.
Finally, no visit to Kyoto is complete without exploring the bamboo forest of Arashiyama , a beautiful region of high bamboo located a few minutes walk from the city center.
Hiroshima is a short ferry ride from the miyajima island , known worldwide as sanctuary island in Japan. Covering an area of 30 square kilometers in Hiroshima Bay, Miyajima is best known for being home to the Itsukushima shrine , a shinto temple dedicated to the princesses of the god of the wind Susanoo .
Dating from the 8th century, most of the buildings of the sanctuary are built in the waters of a small bay supported only by stilts. The effect at high tide is simply magnificent. These structures, including the famous Large Floating Door ( O-Torii ), seem to float on the water. Connected to each other by walkways and bridges, this is a fascinating place to explore, especially from its large rooms such as the excellent Honden (main room), the offering room ( Heiden ), the prayer room ( Haiden ) and the Hall of a Thousand Carpets. ( Senjokaku ). Another notable feature is the sanctuary stage where visitors are entertained with traditional dances and musical performances.
It is also worth exploring the beautiful grounds and gardens of the island, home to wild deer and numerous bird colonies. After such a visit you will have only one desire, to stay live in japan !
For centuries the beautiful unspoiled city of Nara has been home to a large number of historic buildings , as well as important national treasures and works of art. In addition to its many ancestral streets, the city has many ancient temples important, including the magnificent temple Kofuku-ji of the 7th century, perhaps the best known of Seven Great Temples of Nara ; and the splendid Todai-ji (Grand Est temple) dating from the 8th century, famous for its immense bronze statue of Big buddha ( Daibutsu ), cast here in the year 749. AD The Great South Gate ( Nandaimon ) is also of particular interest since it is a two-storey structure resting on 18 columns with two statues Nio eight meters high and guarding the entrance to the temple as well as the hall of the Big Buddha, the largest wooden building in the world.
Built in 1586 by the famous Japanese warrior and politician Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the osaka castle ( saka-jō ) was at the time the largest and most important fortress in the country. Although destroyed and rebuilt several times since, the current structure, built in 1931, remains faithful to the original.
Highlights of the visit include the immense five-story main tower, 42 meters high, built on an imposing stone plinth 14 meters high and housing a number of panels detailing the history of the castle and the city.
Don't forget to visit the top floor for its superb panoramas of Osaka , a particularly attractive view at sunset. the Hokoku shrine is also interesting in the castle park.
Osaka's most famous temple, Shitennō-ji , is also worth a visit. Notable as Japan's first Buddhist temple, this charming shrine is home to a five-story pagoda as well as many other beautifully decorated buildings, including the Golden Pavilion ( Kondō ) with its beautiful statues and paintings, the Reading Room ( Kōdō ) and a charming covered corridor connecting three of the site's doors.
Japan has a number of exceptionally charming natural areas, many of which are designated as national parks or, in some cases, sites of the Unesco World Heritage . One of the most spectacular parks in the country is the National Park of Chūbu-Sangaku, in central Honshu, incorporating into its northern and central regions the group of mountains referred to collectively as the Hida , or Japanese Alps.
The region contains some of the highest peaks in the country, including Hotaka at 3,190 meters and Yari at 3,180 meters. Similar in many ways to the Central European Alps - both in landscape character and abundant snowfall in winter - the Japanese Alps attract large numbers of hikers and mountaineers in summer and skiers in winter. Of particular interest is the abundance of flora and fauna in the park, including the rare ptarmigan and mountain antelopes found at higher altitudes. The many hot Springs of the park also attract visitors and have led to the development of various spas and resorts, the most famous being Kamikōchi .
The sanctuary Atsuta , located in the heart of the city of Nagoya , is the most important Shinto shrine in Japan and attracts over five million visitors each year. Established in the first century, this religious site is famous for its preserved imperial insignia, the kusanagi-no-tsurugi , one of only three in the country. Its main sanctuary, Hongu , surrounded by a perimeter wall, as well as the treasure and its many works of art, including ancient and modern paintings, ceramics, jewelry and traditional masks all equally remarkable.
During your stay in Nagoya , don't forget to also visit Nagoya Castle, a splendid moat complex built in 1612, which houses a 48-meter-high main tower, famous for its two golden dolphins ( shachi ), its museum housing art treasures from the old palace, and its spectacular views over the city and the plain of Nobi .
Fukuoka Castle ( Fukuoka-jō ), one of the few surviving examples of the once prolific and stately homes preferred by shoguns and city leaders, is one of the strengths of a visit to Fukuoka . This magnificent castle which was once part of a vast complex of 47,000 square meters still impresses with its size and location on a high foundation overlooking the river Naka .
Fukuoka is also well known for its many events and festivals, including the Hakata Gion Yamakasa , taking place annually in July, which attracts millions of visitors from around the world to its colorful parades as well as its traditional races and costumes . The city is no slouch with its modern attractions, including the Canal City Hakata , a complex crossed by a canal brings together superb shops, hotels, restaurants and a theater.
Located on the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido, the city of Sapporo offers many activities for tourists to do. As the largest city on the island, it is a center of cultural activities that hosts many quality events and festivals, with a distinctive culinary style; a rich theatrical history; and lots of museums, galleries and parks.
In the nerve center of the city is the park Odori , a vast expanse of greenery very pleasant to explore. From here you can also access points of interest such as the Sapporo TV Tower, as well as the city's famous aerial tramway, which are easily accessible on foot.
The mountain cable car Moiwa will eventually take you to the top station of the summit, from where you can enjoy an incredible view of the city, a real treat at night. The mountain is also home to the ski resort Mount moiwa , a popular winter destination, especially since the 1972 Winter Olympics in this city. And if you arrive during this period, don't forget to visit the sapporo snow festival , which takes place here every February and attracts over two million revelers. It is a place not to be missed in the spring also with these cherry blossoms and its abundant vegetation.
With these 11 remarkable places you will have plenty to do during your next trip to Japan , you have no more excuses!
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