Famous Places to Visit in Japan
Japan is a fascinating country that offers a rich blend of history, culture, nature and modernity. Whether you are looking for ancient temples, futuristic skyscrapers, serene gardens or stunning landscapes, Japan has something for everyone. Here are some of the famous places to visit in Japan, including Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Mount Fuji etc.
The capital of Japan is a vibrant and dynamic city that never sleeps. You can experience the contrast between tradition and innovation, from the majestic Imperial Palace and the serene Meiji Shrine to the dazzling neon lights of Shinjuku and Akihabara. Tokyo is also a food lover's paradise, with more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world.
Top Attractions: Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo Tower, Asakusa, Imperial Palace, Ginza
Best time to go: Tokyo has a temperate monsoon climate with four distinct seasons. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit.
The former imperial capital of Japan is the heart of its cultural heritage. Kyoto boasts more than a thousand temples and shrines, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion) and Kiyomizu-dera (the Pure Water Temple). You can also immerse yourself in the elegant atmosphere of geisha districts, teahouses and wooden houses.
Top Attractions: Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kiyomizu-dera, Arashiyama, Kinkaku-ji, Nijo Castle
Best time to go: Feeling the seasons is one of Kyoto's charms. Generally speaking, spring and autumn are the best seasons to travel.
The third-largest city in Japan is known for its lively and friendly spirit. Osaka is famous for its delicious street food, such as okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) and takoyaki (octopus balls). You can also enjoy the colorful nightlife of Dotonbori, the impressive Osaka Castle, and the modern attractions of Universal Studios Japan and Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.
Osaka Castle Park
Top Attractions: Osaka Castle Park, Shitennoji Temple, Dotonbori, Osaka Castle
Best time to go: Autumn and spring are the best times of year to visit Osaka.
The city that suffered the atomic bombing in 1945 has risen from the ashes and become a symbol of peace and resilience. You can visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, which commemorate the victims and promote the abolition of nuclear weapons. You can also take a ferry to Miyajima Island, where you can see the iconic floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine.
Top Attractions: Shukkeien, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Itsukushima Shrine, Atomic Bomb Dome
Best time to go: Autumn and spring are the best times of year to visit Hiroshima.
The first permanent capital of Japan is home to some of the oldest and most magnificent temples in the country. You can marvel at the giant bronze Buddha statue at Todai-ji, one of the largest wooden buildings in the world, or wander among the friendly deer that roam freely in Nara Park. You can also explore the charming old town of Naramachi, with its traditional shops and museums.
Top Attractions: Nara Park, Todai-ji Temple, Mount Wakakusa, Atomic Horyu-ji, Toshodaiji Temple
Best time to go: Nara is tourist season all year round, with spring being the best season for cherry blossoms.
The highest and most iconic mountain in Japan is a must-see for nature lovers and adventurers. You can admire its majestic beauty from various viewpoints, such as Lake Kawaguchi or Hakone. You can also challenge yourself to climb to the summit during the summer season, or enjoy skiing and snowboarding at one of the nearby resorts in winter.
Top Attractions: Lake Kawaguchiko, Mt. Fuji 5th Station
Best time to go: Generally, the best time to go to Mount Fuji is from mid-September to mid-October. July and August are the best months to climb Mount Fuji. Strictly speaking, July is the best month.
The southernmost prefecture of Japan is a tropical paradise with white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and coral reefs. Okinawa is also rich in history and culture, influenced by its Ryukyuan heritage and American occupation. You can visit the Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was once the seat of the Ryukyu Kingdom, or enjoy the unique cuisine and music of Okinawa.
Top Attractions: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, Cape Manza, Shurijo Castle Park
Best time to go: July - August is the best time to visit Okinawa, which is also the peak tourist season.
The capital of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, is a popular destination for winter sports and festivals. You can witness the spectacular snow sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival, or hit the slopes at one of the nearby ski resorts. Sapporo is also famous for its beer, ramen and seafood, which you can savor at the lively Susukino district or the historic Sapporo Beer Museum.
Sapporo street scene in autumn
Top Attractions: Jozankei Onsen, Moiwayama Ski Area, Susukino, Hokkaido University Sapporo Campus
Best time to go: Sapporo four distinct seasons, summer is relatively hot, so in addition to summer, the rest of the seasons are more suitable for travel.
Kamakura is a city near the sea in Kanagawa Prefecture, an ancient city with a history of nearly one thousand years. Kamakura is now the third famous ancient capital in Japan after Kyoto and Nara, and is the first choice for a one-day tour from Tokyo. Normally, Kamakura is much less crowded than Kyoto, and it is easy to find little loving details at any time, making it suitable to experience this low-key town at a casual slow pace.
Summer view of Kamakura
Top Attractions: Kamakurakoko-Mae Station, Hase-dera Temple, Enoshima Electric Railway, Kotokuin Great Buddhaof Kamakura
Best time to go: The best time to visit Kamakura is in spring for cherry blossoms or in autumn for beautiful foliage.