A Short Guide on the Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Japan

1. Tokyo

Tokyo is Japan’s capital and is the most populous metropolitan area in the world.

The city is packed with modern buildings, technology and fashion but still mixes in the traditional.

It’s in this hectic-yet-organised city that you’ll find everything from neon lights to historic temples. Tokyo will not disappoint when it comes to history, the latest in everything lifestyle and more.

2. Kyoto

Kyoto is on the island of Honshu and is most famous for its traditional Japanese architecture, Buddhist temples, shrines and wooden houses. In Kyoto you can participate in formal traditions such as kaiseki dining (traditional multi-course Japanese dinner) and spot geishas in the Gion district. Kyoto is old Japan in its truest form.

3. Nara

Nara was Japan’s first capital and is second only to Kyoto when it comes to holding onto tradition and showcasing Japan’s history.

The city is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites highlighting the artwork and architecture dating back to the 8th century with historic structures like Tōdai-ji Temple and Kasuga Grand Shrine. Nara is popular for the Nara Park where deer roam free.

4. Osaka

Osaka is Japan’s largest city and though it’s not known for being a particularly pretty city with its concrete buildings, they are decorated in neon lights that make the city feel alive.

It’s here that you’ll find amazing street food, some of the most modern architecture in the country and great nightlife.

Located on Honshu island, Osaka is surrounded by trees covered in cherry blossoms, and Osaka Castle is surrounded by a moat.

5. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is an active volcano outside of Tokyo and is the tallest point in Japan.

It is one of three sacred sites in Japan where pilgrimages took place for centuries.

Hiking to the summit is still a popular pastime and you can find Mount Fuji depicted in many paintings throughout multiple artistic periods.

6. Hiroshima

Hiroshima is known as the first target of an atomic bomb attack during WWII. Today visitors come to the city to see the Peace Memorial Park – but the city is far more than just remembering the past. Hiroshima is now a vibrant city with friendly locals and a laid-back feel.

7. Okinawa

Okinawa Prefecture in southernmost Japan is home to semi-tropical islands with coral that more closely resembles Southeast Asia or Hawaii than Japan.

Okinawa is the largest island in the area and is the ideal jumping-off point for the smaller islands such as Tokashiki-jima and Kumejima with white sand beaches and amazing crystal-clear waters.

8. Furano

Furano is a year-round destination famous for its fields of lavender, poppies, lilies and sunflowers which create colourful picturesque views.

In the winter it becomes a ski destination with two snowy mountain peaks connected by lifts and gondolas, offering incredible valley panoramas.

9. Hakone

Hakone is a mountain town located in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and features breathtaking views of Mount Fuji.

Hakone is famous for its hot spring resorts (called “onsens”) and it’s here that you’ll find Hakone Shrine’s famous red gate which overlooks Lake Ashi.