In Japan, one fact that is often surprising to first-time visitors is that the country has a long history. The Japanese culture dates back thousands of years, and visitors can experience it by visiting ancient temples, exploring museums, or taking a day trip to the countryside.
Japan has long been a center for worship and religious devotion. At the same time, it has also been a center of trade, fine arts, and craftsmanship. It’s no surprise that the country is now known for its stunning architecture and design.
Japan, the land of the rising sun, is a fascinating place to visit. It has a rich history and is full of beautiful sights. A trip to Japan will be a great adventure. There’s a lot to see and do there, and it’s a great place to spend some time.
Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Japan
1. Mount Fuji
The majestic Mount Fuji towers over the landscape. It’s 3,776 meters tall, which means it can be seen from Tokyo, which is over 100 kilometers away. This mountain is so iconic that it is Japan’s most recognizable landmark.
Mount Fuji is an iconic mountain. It’s been celebrated by artists and writers for centuries. On July 10, 2013, UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site. The mountain attracts more than a million people every summer to climb it as an act of religious worship. The summit is the ultimate destination for pilgrims.
Some people still choose to begin their climb at the base. But most climbers start at the 5th Station, which means they only have to climb for 6 hours. Some people go all the way to the top. These people are advised to begin in the afternoon and stay overnight at a Mountain Hut. Being an early riser is a sure way to get to the top of the mountain.
Mount Fuji has been a symbol of Japan since long ago. For many, the iconic mountain is so familiar that simply seeing it in the distance is enough to say “I’ve already experienced it.”
2. Imperial Tokyo
Tokyo’s most famous landmark, the Imperial Palace, is a must-see when visiting Japan. However, a majority of the palace is closed to the public (it’s still in use by the Imperial family), so you don’t have to worry about missing out on much.
There are many great views of the palace from the surrounding gardens. One of the most romantic ones is of Nijubashi Bridge (or “double bridge”), which is opened to the public only in the spring. This view is one of the most romantic in all of Tokyo.
Tokyo is an incredibly touristy city. One must-see for tourists visiting the city is the famous shopping district of Ginza. Ginza is home to several theatres that host traditional Japanese dances, including Kabuki and Azuma-odori.
3. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima is a vibrant, thriving city that was destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945. The city has rebuilt itself and is now a symbol of world peace.
Each year, 1 million visitors flock to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Many come from overseas, wondering how the atomic bomb changed the city. It’s located at the epicenter of the blast in what was once a bustling part of the city. This park has many monuments, memorials, and museums that relate to the events of that fateful day.
In addition to the beautiful cherry blossom trees, the park contains a museum dedicated to world peace. It is also home to the Cenotaph and the Flame of Peace, as well as the ruins of an administrative building that was destroyed by the atom bomb.
4. Historic Kyoto
In Japan, one of the most visited cities is Kyoto. It’s a city that was spared from WWII and features 1,000-year-old architecture and culture. Its beauty attracts more than 10 million visitors annually.
Tokyo is not only the most important city in Japan. It is also the home of many museums and galleries housing important works of art.
Kyoto, the historical capital of Japan, is known for its religious architecture. Some of its most famous buildings are the Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, and the Ginkaku-ji, Silver Pavilion. These beautiful structures are still maintained today.
In the 17th century, Nijo Castle was built. It has been well preserved and is a fortress with original walls, towers, and a moat. The castle is also known for its beautiful gates and palace with fine interior decorations.
The Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto-gosho) is another landmark to visit. It was built in AD 794 and is one of the most visited historic sites in Kyoto.
If you’re visiting Kyoto, you must spend some time in the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. It’s just a short walk from the town center.
5. The Island Shrine of Itsukushima
Miyajima, Japan’s Shrine Island, is a famous tourist destination. The island covers 30 square kilometers in Hiroshima Bay. It is best known for the Itsukushima Shrine, a Shinto temple that was built in honor of the Princess daughters of the wind god Susanoo.
The Great Torii Gate, one of the most famous buildings in the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, looks like it’s floating on water. It was built over 800 years ago and is surrounded by water. The Great Torii Gate is one of the most famous buildings at the shrine, and it rises out of the water during high tide.
The temple complex consists of a number of interconnected buildings. The main building is special for its beauty, as is the hall where people make offerings. There is also a hall where people pray and a hall with a thousand mats, which is quite unusual.
The shrine’s stage is also fascinating. It hosts traditional Japanese dances and musical performances. Also worth exploring are the island’s exquisite gardens and grounds, where deer roam freely.
6. Temple City: Historic Nara
The lovely, unspoiled city of Nara is a treasure trove of historic buildings, national treasures, and works of art.
Nara boasts many historic streets. Many of these are lined with beautiful temples, including the famous seventh-century Kofuku-ji Temple. This is perhaps the best known of the Seven Great Temples of Nara. Visitors can also see the magnificent eighth-century Todai-ji Temple, which is famous for its large bronze Buddha statue.
Two Nio statues guard the Great South Gate of Todai-ji Temple. The gate is considered the largest and most beautiful in the world, with 18 columns and a height of 12 meters. Inside Todai-ji, there is a massive Buddhist hall, the largest wooden building in the world.
7. Osaka Castle
Built in 1586 by famous Japanese warrior and politician Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Osaka Castle (Ōsaka-jō) remains one of the most important fortresses in the country. Although destroyed and rebuilt a number of times, the current structure remains true to the original.
The main tower is the most impressive part of Osaka Castle. From the top floor, visitors can see Osaka’s skyline. It looks especially beautiful in the evening when the sun sets.
Osaka Castle Park is also home to several unique sights. For example, the Hokoku Shrine is one of the most popular. Osaka’s most famous temple, Shitennō-ji, is also worth seeing. It has been around since the year 59. This stunningly beautiful temple is Japan’s first Buddhist structure and features a five-story pagoda as well as many other unique buildings. The Golden Pavilion (Kondō) is particularly noteworthy for its fine statues and paintings. The Lecture Hall (Kōdō) and the lovely covered corridor linking three of the site’s gates are also very impressive.
8. Chūbu-Sangaku National Park and the Japanese Alps
In Japan, there are many beautiful areas of natural beauty. Many have been designated as national parks or UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of Japan’s most spectacular natural areas is Chūbu-Sangaku National Park in the center of Honshu. It also includes the Hida Mountains, which are referred to as the Japanese Alps.
The Japanese Alps are located in the center of Japan and include over 100 mountains over 3,000 meters in height. The region is very similar in climate and culture to Central Europe and is home to many outdoor enthusiasts in the summer and winter.
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The park’s many hot springs and rare wildlife attract tourists. Aptly named, the Land of Gods is a haven for hikers and nature-lovers, with its abundance of flora and fauna. One of the best places to see this is Kamikōchi, a hot spring town famous for its natural beauty and rich history.
9. The Atsuta Shrine, Nagoya
Atsuta Shrine, in the heart of Nagoya, is the most important Shinto shrine in all of Japan. Established centuries ago, it is famous for its preserved Imperial insignia, the “grass-mowing sword” (kusanagi-no-tsurugi). It is one of only three such swords in the country.
Nagoya is home to the main sanctuary, Hongu. The historic wall surrounding it is also worth seeing. The treasury here is filled with traditional masks, ceramics, paintings, and jewelry. Additionally, you can visit Nagoya Castle while you are in Nagoya. The moated complex was built in 1612 and is famous for its two golden dolphins. It’s a popular place to visit for its museum and spectacular views over the city and the Nobi Plain.
10. Fukuoka Castle and the City’s Ancient Festivals
Few castles remain, but the one in Fukuoka is worth a visit. It was once part of a large complex, but now it still impresses on its own. Built on a high foundation overlooking the Naka River, it is one of the highlights of a trip to Fukuoka.
The second largest city in Japan, Fukuoka is also well known for its annual events and festivals. The most famous of these is Hakata Gion Yamakasa, a two-week long festival that draws millions of visitors from across the country to its traditional Japanese parades and costumes.
The biggest attraction is the gorgeous canal that runs through the city center. There are several attractions, but my favorite is Canal City Hakata. It’s an entire city within the city. It has a wonderful array of shops, hotels, restaurants, and theaters.