15 Unmissable Places To Visit In Japan part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Japan is a fascinating, unique country that’s filled with ancient temples and shrines, gorgeous mountains, stunning sea views, and some of the most peculiar buildings you’ll ever see. Not only can you enjoy some of the best food in Japan on your trip, but you’ll also be able to take in a number of sights too.
Japan has hundreds of places to visit and things to do, but if you’re looking for something a bit different from the usual holiday experience, we’ve created a list of our favorite places to see. Japan is an island nation located off the coast of Asia in northeast Asia. It consists of four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, and a number of smaller islands.
In addition, this country is considered the most beautiful country in the world and a visit will instantly show you why that is. There are hundreds of places to visit and things to do in Japan, but if you’re looking for something a bit different from your usual holiday experience, here we are.
Today, we’ve compiled this article to provide you with a list of the 15 unmissable places to visit in Japan. Not only is that, but we will walk you through the benefits of visiting or living in this country as an expat and many other things, to mention a few. Would you love to check what we’ve unleashed for you? Read further to know more!
Overview of Japanese Cultures & Traditions
The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan, is a beautiful country with strikingly different cultures and traditions. Perhaps one of the most surprising parts about its culture is that it has managed to stay much the same for centuries even as other countries (and their cultures) began to change.
Many people are intrigued by how much Japan has managed to preserve over time, but few understand why. Below are six reasons why Japan has stayed the same and five ways it has changed.
1. The Longest Lasting Dynasty in History
One of the main reasons for Japan’s cultural longevity is its having one unbroken imperial family since the 6th century. The emperor is still an important part of Japanese tradition, and they are considered to be divine beings (kami). Due to this fact, they have never been overthrown or even marked, for that matter.
Feudal Japan lasted for several centuries and was characterized by a “Shogun ruled the country.” The Tokugawa Shogunate (which ended in 1868) ran much of Japanese politics, philosophy, economy, art, and society during its reign. Such political stability meant that Japan remained much the same in culture, philosophy, and language.
For most of modern history, Japan has been very protective of its borders, meaning that it only recently opened up to foreign a visitor (which is why so many Japanese traditions are still around).
One reason for this was that until the 1860s, Japan was not truly united and had a unique language. This meant that foreigners were often denied entry to the country simply because they could not understand what its denizens were saying.
4. Shintoism and Buddhism
The arrival of Buddhist monks from China in the 6th century AD led to a huge cultural change in Japan. However, Buddhism eventually merged with Japanese folk religion and adopted Shintoist traditions, which remained untouched by the Chinese (such as ancestor worship).
These two faiths became so intertwined that they survived and strongly influenced all aspects of Japanese culture for centuries.
5. World War II
Many nations suffered greatly during World War II. Still, Japan was almost completely destroyed. As a result, it had to rebuild quickly and began by embracing its own culture to establish cohesive groups of people that would eventually become the backbone of the economy.
6. The Future
Most experts believe that Japan will continue doing what it has always done for centuries – preserve its culture no matter what the cost may be. There are even a few who think that Japan will remain unchanged for thousands of years to come, only converting once every aspect of its old way of life has been properly examined and recorded.
5 ways in which Japanese culture is changing
1. More Overseas Travel
In the past, it was very rare for any Japanese person to leave their home country. However, as more people have become financially well-off, they have begun to travel almost as much as Westerners do. In recent decades, Japan has become a trendy destination for those traveling from other East Asian countries.
2. More Immigration to Rural Areas
Traditionally, the Japanese population was centered on large cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. However, over the past few decades, Japan has become increasingly depopulated as people drift towards crowded cities. This means that many rural areas are now home to large immigrant populations who find work in the region’s rice fields or on its small fishing vessels.
3. More Money (And Time) Spent On Religious Festivals
Religious festivals are a notable aspect of Japanese culture, and they place a large emphasis on the Shinto tradition. In recent years, these events have begun to take up larger chunks of people’s income and time as they spend huge amounts buying new outfits or hiring performers for their local festivals.
4. More Foreign Food
As Japan becomes more globalized, it is natural that the average person’s diet absorbs these outside influences. This means that many people eat more Chinese/Korean/Italian foods than they did decades ago. Many of these dishes are traditional “Japanese” recipes that have been modified with foreign flavors and ingredients.
5. More Political Change
As Japan becomes more developed, its people also become more vocal about the problems they face and the solutions they have. This has led to a gradual change in government policy which no longer takes a strictly isolationist stance towards foreign trade or immigration.
15 Unmissable Places to Visit in Japan
Japan is often visited for its high-tech cities, sumo wrestlers, and onna geisha. But there is more to Japan than that – there are many places in Japan that you will not want to miss when visiting the Land of the Rising Sun. Below are fifteen places that you should consider visiting.
1) Mount Fuji
The iconic mountain is a sight to behold and will be one of the first things you see when arriving in Japan. It stands tall at 3,776 meters tall, making it a fitting backdrop for all your photos during your time here. While it may not be possible to climb to the summit, there are plenty of viewing points that are just as breathtaking.
2) Tsukiji Market
The Tsukiji market is one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist destinations. Only recently has it opened its doors to tourists because previously, only customers were allowed inside this wholesale fish market that sells all kinds of seafood.
There you can see gigantic tuna being sold for a hefty sum. You can also buy your own seafood here, eat at one of the many restaurants or just explore the area and watch as people go about their business.
3) Mount Takao
This mountain is known for its beautiful autumn foliage, which you can enjoy during all seasons really, but if you want to see people make the most of this beautiful mountain, visit during autumn. The area is easily accessible by train, making it an ideal trip from Tokyo.
4) Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
This park was opened in 1955 to commemorate those who lost their lives in the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima 67 years ago today. This grey stone memorial has the names of all the people, including some survivors etched on it. The park is open 24/7, which makes it easily accessible for everyone.
5) Hakone Open-Air Museum
This museum was opened in 1999 and feature works by famous sculptors like Picasso, Moore, and Tapies. What makes this place so special are the huge sculptures displayed in the garden surrounding the museum. The beautiful natural surroundings of Lake Ashino and Mount Fuji make this a must-see while visiting Japan.
The most famous temple in Kyoto has earned its spot on this list because of the spectacular views you get from here. It is also one of Japan’s oldest temples, founded in 780 AD.
The architecture inside and outside the temple is beautiful, and many stalls sell traditional Japanese goods like omamori (charms). While you are there, make sure to drink some of the water that flows through the temple, as locals believe it has healing properties.
7) Aogashima Island
This is a unique place to visit rather than one that everyone can include on their list because access is limited. It took 39 years before the island was first discovered in 1649 because it is completely submerged underwater during high tide.
You can only enter the island at low tide, which means you may have to wait quite a long time for your opportunity to see this place up close. The island has no cars, shops, or restaurants, but there are some lodging options if you want to make a day trip here from Hachijojima Island.
8) Ogasawara Islands
The Ogasawara Islands are located about 1,000 km south of Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean, making it quite far from any other country. There are 30 islands here which you can easily visit via a day trip from Tokyo during the summer months when weather conditions are good. You can snorkel or scuba dive here, go fishing or just relax on the beach.
9) Odawara Castle
This is another castle founded in 1494, but this one only has the main keep left standing, which you can still see today. Its location right above Odawara makes it a great place to get a view over the city as well as explore the surrounding areas. This place is extremely popular during cherry blossom season, usually in early April.
10) Mt Fuji
While not easy to climb because of its steep slopes, this mountain is definitely a must-see from up close. You can choose from different trails to get a good view of the highest mountain in Japan. The sunrise that you can see from this mountain is a great photo opportunity and something you definitely shouldn’t miss out on.
11) Ghibli Museum
This museum was set up by acclaimed anime director Hayao Miyazaki who wanted to create a place where people could come together to enjoy his works as well as learn about them. Although you have to pay extra to see the inside, it’s definitely worth paying for since Miyazaki created everything.
12) Mt Aso
This large active volcano has an area of about 50 km², which makes it easy to hike around in one day. There are many hot springs located here where you can relax and enjoy the view of Aso. The surrounding areas also feature many historic sites like shrines, rock formations, and burial grounds.
This national park may be a bit far from Tokyo, but it is definitely worth traveling to for those who want an escape from the city. This national park is home to the largest brown bear population in Japan and many other animals like deer, monkeys, and eagles. The surrounding areas also feature hot springs, which you can visit to relax after hiking all day.
14) Nagasaki Peace Park
This park is dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives in the atomic bombing at Nagasaki during World War II. It’s located in the middle of the city, so it’s an easy place to visit during a day trip. There are many monuments, museums, and memorials here, along with a nice view of Nagasaki harbor from afar.
15) Okinawa Island
This is well known for being Japan’s only subtropical island where coral reefs can be found right off the coast. You can take a ferry here directly from Naha in Okinawa or fly into Itami Airport and then catch a bus down to this beautiful place. There are many things to do, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and visiting one of the world’s longest coral reefs located just south of this country.