Japan, known as the land of the rising sun, is a unique country with an amazing blend of rich cultural and historical backgrounds. Located in East Asia, Japan is one of the most populated countries and currently holds the spot of the eleventh most populated country in the world. It is also the third wealthiest country in Asia. Tokyo, the biggest city in Japan, also doubles as the country’s capital.
Japan is famous all around the world for its tasty cuisine, its rich historical music, the arts, and its well-known culture. Japan has also dominated the entertainment industry, especially the field of animation (accounting for a whopping 60% of the animation-based entertainment in the world).
The relics of history can be seen in every part and turn of the country, from the National park to the majestic palaces, temples, and shrines to the famous skyscrapers. Japan is a country to be experienced and not merely read about.
A tour of Japan is one of the best experiences you would love to have, either alone or with a special someone. Still doubtful whether to go on a Japan vacation? Here are a few fun facts about the world of Japan.
- Japan is home to about 6,800 individual islands.
Yes, you read that right. There are several islands in Japan that if you went to one every day, you still wouldn’t see it all in a year or even three! To enjoy this tour, you should consider off-peak travel.
- Japan is made up of 70% mountains.
About 70% of the country consists of forests and mountains and houses about a hundred active volcanoes. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Japan is the renowned Mount Fuji, which is about 3,776 feet high. If you are a lover of adventure and, of course, mountains and heights, Japan is the destination of your next vacation.
- Naps are allowed during work hours.
Unlike other countries where you would be penalized for ‘sleeping on duty,’ Japan is the total opposite. In fact, taking a nap on the job is considered healthy and is believed to increase workplace productivity and speed. If you want the freedom to have a quick nap at work without feeling guilty, Japan is the place for you.
- Japan has square watermelons.
You have probably eaten a watermelon before, but Japan’s melons are unique; they are square-shaped. This is likely one of the most interesting things in Japanese culture. They are grown this way by farmers to ease their storage and stacking. They are usually expensive, costing up to $200.
- Weird flavored chocolates
You have probably had dark chocolates, milk, or strawberry-flavored chocolates before. How about green tea-flavored chocolates (Kit Kat precisely)? Well, Japan is known for its weird selection of flavors, including ginger-flavored Kit Kats. Perhaps the weirdest one is the eel-flavored ice cream. If you love to take your taste buds on an adventure, Japan is one of the best places to visit.
What are the top tourist attractions in Japan, you may ask? Not to worry, we have put together a list of the best places to visit in Japan and the must-see tourist attractions in Japan.
Perhaps, one of the most popular Japanese tourist attractions is the world-renowned Mount Fuji. It is the highest mountain in Japan. So high that it can be seen from Tokyo, which is located about a hundred kilometers away. Mount Fuji’s beauty and towering height earned it the title of worldwide cultural significance by UNESCO in 2013.
More than a million people climb this mountain annually as a pilgrimage. There are several ‘mountain huts’ where mountain climbers can rest for a while before continuing the climb. Mountain climbing is one of the best things to do in Japan. However, if you’re not a fan, you can simply enjoy the breathtaking view of the mountain and the surrounding park.
Memorial Park, Hiroshima
Following the first nuclear attack in the world, the Hiroshima bombing, which happened in 1945, the city has made much effort to memorialize or honor the victims of the incident. The area has also been dubbed an icon of lasting peace.
The Hiroshima Peace Park is located at the center of where the blast took place. There are also several relics and monuments that serve as a remembrance of the events of that day. There is also the Peace Memorial Museum, which has artifacts all addressing the subject of world peace, and the Atom Bomb Dome, which is the ruins of the administrative building that was in the center of the blast.
Asides from these monuments, there are also colorful gardens alongside cherry blossoms. The Hiroshima Peace Park is one of the most interesting and historically rich places to go to in Japan.
The 17th-century Imperial Palace in Tokyo is certainly one of the most beautiful places in Japan. The surrounding park and the famous Higashi-Gyoen Garden are amazing to view. Although most parts are out-of-bound to the public (because the palace is largely still in use by the royal family), a tour of the unrestricted areas is still worth it.
The highlight of this place is probably the Nijubashi Bridge, known for its romantic allure and watery reflection. To experience the feel of royalty in its pure form, the Imperial Palace is a must-see.
Kyoto, Japan’s cultural epicenter, is one of the few countries that were not affected by World War II. Its ancient architecture, fine streets, and beautiful buildings have largely remained the same for the past 1,000 years.
Kyoto has several museums, art galleries, sculptures, temples, paintings, and other forms of art. The Golden Pavilion, known for its golden leaf-like outer walls, remains one of the most important structures.
The Kyoto Imperial Palace and the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove are among the best places to visit in Kyoto, Japan.
The Itsukushima Island Shrine
Located not too far from Hiroshima, this shrine is domiciled in Miyajima Island, which spans over thirty square kilometers on Hiroshima bay. Beginning in the 8th century, most of the buildings in the shrine were built on water, propped up only by piles.
When the tides are high, these buildings have an illusion, as if they’re floating on water, the view of which is simply mesmerizing. The shrines are all linked by passages and bridges, and there are also several large halls to explore.
A distinct feature is probably the central stage of the shrine, from where tourists are entertained with traditional music and dance. It also has beautiful gardens and is home to a wide range of bird species.
The Castle of Osaka
This fortress was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a prominent soldier and politician far back in 1586. It gained the reputation of the country’s most significant fortress. The highlights of this castle include the main tower, which is 42 meters high, supported on a 14-meter high base made entirely out of stones.
This tower houses several relics that tell the story of the castle and the city. The tower's top floor provides an amazing view of Osaka, especially during sunset.
There are other notable spots in the Osaka Castle, such as the Shitennō-Ji temple, built back in AD 59. If you’re wondering what to do in Japan, a tour of Osaka is top tier.
The city of Nara is known to house several Japanese National treasures, artifacts, and ancient buildings. Asides from these, Nara houses many significant antique temples. Some of them include the Kofuku-Ji Temple, built in the 7th century, and the Great East temple (Todai-Ji), built in the 8th century.
Todai-Ji is famed for the massive statue of the Great Buddha, which was built as far back as 749 AD. The entrance of this temple is guarded by two Nio statues, each about 8 meters tall.
The two-storey temple building itself is supported by eighteen columns. There is no doubt a visit to Nara is one of the cool things to do in Japan.
The Japanese Alps are one of Japan's many UNESCO recognized World Heritage Sites. The Alps consist of a range of mountains generally known as the Hida mountains or Alps.
These Japanese Alps have some of the biggest heights in the entire country. For example, Hotaka is about 3,200 meters high, and Yari is about 3,180 meters high.
During summer, many mountain climbers explore the area; during winter, the mountains are filled with skiers.
Located in the heart of Nagoya, this shrine built in the 1st century is among Japan's most important and most visited Shinto shrines. It attracts nothing less than 5 million visitors annually.
It is surrounded by a wall, and it has an art treasury that houses several ancient and contemporary paintings, pieces of jewelry, ceramic artifacts, and even traditional masks.
Nagoya Castle is also another wonderful place to visit after your tour of Atsuta. The castle, built in 1612, has a tower that is a massive 48 meters high, and it provides a lovely view of the entire city. It also has a museum containing several cultural artifacts and relics. This is by far one of the most beautiful Japanese attractions.
The Castle Ruins of Fukuoka
Constructed in the early 1600s, the once-striking Fukuoka castle now lies in ruins right at the center of Maizuru Park in Japan. This castle was once the cynosure of all eyes and a typical example of the magnificent hilltop houses preferred by city rulers. It was, however, demolished after the Meiji Restoration.
Only the main gates and a tower remain to this day, and the rest are in ruins. Tourists visit this place to get scenic views of the beautiful Naka River. Climbing on top of the ruins also provides a view of the city. The park is especially beautiful during the spring season when the flowers bloom fully.
The city of Fukuoka is noted for its bubbling activities and festivals, the most celebrated being the Hakata Gion Yamakasa, which lasts for 2 weeks every July. It has an array of beautiful shops, restaurants, and even new hotels. Fukuoka is undoubtedly one of the cool places in Japan.
This is domiciled in the Northern part of Japan, on the Hokkaido Island. This city is the core of fun, festivities, and culture. Sapporo also has a distinct cuisine and several art galleries, museums, and recreational parks; it boasts a rich cultural heritage.
The Odori Park seems to be the center of attraction for many tourists as it is a large expanse of land covered with beautiful vegetation. This park also leads to Mount Moiwa Ropeway, from where you can enjoy the city's most stunning views, especially after sunset.
Just like the best ski towns in Europe, the Mount Moiwa Ski Resort is a real delight for skiers during the winter season. Attending the yearly Sapporo Snow Festival is among the fun things to do in Japan.
If red is your favorite color, a visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto will be absolutely delightful. Found in southern Kyoto, this shrine has thousands of scarlet-colored gates that form a beautiful trail.
Although many tourists visit to see the gates, the main shrine can also be toured. Tourists who love hiking may do so at the top of Mount Inari. This destination is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Japan.
From the beautiful mountainous views to the breathtaking castles and shrines, there will certainly be no dull moments while touring Japan. A trip to Japan is a decision you would never regret.
Whether you want to tour alone on budget travel, or you want to travel in a group or with that special someone, Japan has a lot of adventures to suit every taste.
Which of these top-rated tourist attractions will you visit on your trip to Japan?