Known as the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan’s civilization dates as far back as 30,000 years. Today, the archipelago seamlessly blends its rich history with its ultra-modern present. And while its capital, Tokyo, is a must-visit for first timers, Japan has so much more to offer travelers of all types.
So let’s get started with a list of famous cities to visit in Japan.
Kyoto is the Japan of the past, the Japan of your imagination. Standing as Japan’s capital from A.D. 794 to 1868, Kyoto has thrived as a hub for Japanese culture, art and education. Given the city’s respect for its history, it’s not surprising that millions of people visit Kyoto each year for a snapshot of imperial Japan.
* Places to see
– Fushimi Inari Shrine
– Fushimi Inari Shrine
“Animated” is perhaps the best word to describe Tokyo. This is a city that feeds on motion and progress.
But when you want to stop in Tokyo, the city will certainly make it worth your while. The tech-savvy locals may whizz past the monuments and urban parks daily (except during the cherry blossom season when everyone floods the green space), but, we assure you, the museums and historical sites are world-class.
* Places to see in Tokyo
– Tokyo National Museum
– Meiji Shrine
– Sensoji Temple
Situated about 35 miles southwest of Kyoto, this port city is worth a visit for its food alone. One of the city’s most famous dishes, the tasty pancake-like okonomiyaki (which means “grilled as you like it” in Japanese), is made with batter, cabbage and your choice of meat and other toppings. After you’ve gotten your fill of the delectable local cuisine, explore the flashy Dotonbori neighborhood, check out the reconstructed 16th-century Osaka Castle or head to contemporary sights like Universal Studios Japan and the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.
4. Mount Fuji
The country’s tallest mountain and one of its most iconic symbols is a popular destination for outdoor recreation. For centuries, Japanese artists and poets have been inspired by Mount Fuji’s almost perfectly round form. The Fuji Five Lakes region at the foot of this UNESCO World Heritage Site makes a great base for the thousands of climbers who visit each year. Enjoy the area’s museums and amusement park during the warmer months. Or, arrive in winter to soak in the hot springs and ski Mount Fuji’s slopes.
For many, Hiroshima brings up memories of war, as the city is where the world’s first atomic bomb attack occurred in 1945. But today, Hiroshima is a city of peace, with monuments and memorials like the Peace Memorial Park, the Children’s Peace Monument and the UNESCO-certified Atomic Bomb Dome. It is also a city of great beauty. Travelers can take a scenic stroll through Shukkeien Garden, peruse the exhibits at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art or visit Sandankyo Gorge to hike or boat past its beautiful waterfalls, caves and coves.