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10 Best Places to Visit in Japan

From futuristic urban landscape grace by supertall skyscrapers to the natural beauty of picturesque bamboo forests, Japan is one of the most attractive travel destinations in the world that you should visit at least once in your life.

Japan has very unique culinary traditions, which adds to the charm of its culture. The hospitality of the country is also praiseworthy as the people here are very polite and friendly. And, let’s not forget about the fact that Japan has one of the world’s most advanced public transport systems, based on an efficient network of high-speed railways. 

So, if you are planning to visit this incredible country in East Asia anytime soon, then this travel guide is for you. Here we have rounded up the 10 best places to visit in Japan that you can add to your travel bucket list. 

Kyoto

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As the name implies, Kyoto is the administrative capital of Japan’s Kyoto Prefecture. The city is located in the very famous Kansai region, which is found on Honshu Island. Like Osaka and Kobe, it falls in the jurisdiction of the Keihanshin metropolitan. Upon your trip to Kyoto, you can also visit the nearby Osaka City to explore Universal Studios Japan, which is one of the best theme parks in the world

Kyoto is widely famous for being the cultural capital of Japan. Even though the main metropolitan areas of this city are now overpowered by the presence of tall buildings, its suburbs still reflect the true essence of ancient Japanese culture. Home to many historical sites including temples, palaces, shrines, and gardens, it has always been a major tourist destination. Some of the attractions have also been included collectively in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Nikko

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You would come across many intriguing and unmissable tourist attractions in our list of the best places to visit in Japan. Now, let’s talk about Nikko. It is one of the country’s most picturesque towns, which is located right at the entrance of Nikko National Park. The region is also highly popular for being home to the most lavishly decorated shrine in Japan. 

Nikko National Park is among the country’s most beautiful natural destinations best known for being surrounded by scenic landscapes, breathtaking geological features, hot springs, pristine lakes, and waterfalls. The place is also a natural habitat of wild Monkeys in Japan. One of the best things about Nikko is that it is located along the very famous Romantic Road. 

Takayama

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Upon your visit to Japan, why not explore its largest city by area. Located in the prefecture of Gifu, it is definitely a worth-visiting city. The high elevation of the region is one of the key reasons why this city is comparatively less connected and fairly isolated from other metropolitan areas and urban hubs in Japan. This has allowed the people of the region to adopt a unique culture over a period of 300 years, giving Takayama a distinctive identity. 

Owing to the rich biodiversity of the surrounding areas, Takayama is also widely popular for the unique and colorful flavors of local delicacies, based on a variety of ingredients, such as vegetables fetched from the mountains (called sansai in local language), fresh river water fish (locally known as wasakana), ramen (Japanese noodle soup), and beef. The people of Takayama are also well known for their carpentry skills, producing amazing pottery and furniture. 

Tokyo

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Tokyo is the largest city in Japan, which is also the most populous metropolitan area in the country. One of the most interesting facts about Tokyo is that it is the most populated metropolitan area on earth, which is a part of Japan’s most populous prefecture. The city is ideally located near Tokyo Bay, enjoying proximity to the central Pacific coast of the main island of Honshu in Japan. 

Home to some of the most magnificent skyscrapers in the world, Tokyo is also the financial and administrative hub of the country. It is also one of the unmissable places to visit in Japan, which is home to many top-rated restaurants, Imperial Palace, traditional and commercial markets, and a lot more. For the best shopping experience in Tokyo, you should head over to the Harajuku and Akihabara districts. 

Hakone

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When listing the best tourist destinations in Japan, we can never miss out on mentioning Hakone. It is a picturesque town located in the mountainous region in the far west of Kanagawa prefecture. Lying in the vicinity of Hakone Pass, it is surrounded by a volcanically and geologically active region, like many other towns in this particular part of Japan. 

You’d be surprised by the awe-inspiring natural attractions like Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and Lake Ashi near the town, which are also the key highlights of this region. Hakone is best known for being surrounded by hot springs, serene and a biodiverse natural environment, museums, and historical sites. The mountainous region in the surroundings of Hakone is easily accessible by the Tokaido Road connecting Tokyo and Kyoto as well as a railway route from Tokyo.

Nara

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There is a very large list of prominent places in Japan that are known among international travelers for their unique history, natural beauty, and colorful traditions. Take the example of the very famous Nara city, which is a part of the Nara ken prefecture, located in southern Honshu. This particular prefectural capital in Japan is found in one of the most beautiful regions in the country, in Nara Basin’s northeastern edge, which has a hilly landscape. It is just 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Osaka, one of the most prominent Japanese metropolitan areas. 

Nara still retains the charm and appeal of ancient Japan. The city is well regarded for many of its historical Japanese Buddhist buildings. There are many worth-seeing artifacts that are found in and around Nara. Nanto Shichi Daiji, also known as the Seven Great Temples of Nara, is an internationally acclaimed destination. The city has become one of Japan’s leading commercial and educational districts. 

Hiroshima

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The name of Hiroshima reminds most of us about the atomic bomb but this place now has a lot more to offer than reminding us of the world war. For instance, you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the very famous Seto Inland Sea, explore the forested mountains of the region as well as gaze at the pristine waters surrounding the mainland. These are some of the major perks of visiting Hiroshima. There are many other notable architectural attractions in the region including shrines and museums

If you are an adventure seeker or adrenaline junkie, then Hiroshima is certainly a great place for you to visit. There are plenty of opportunities for you to trek through dense forests as well as enjoy natural hot springs, which is also a treat for nature lovers. Other attractions in Hiroshima include the Atomic Bomb Dome and the memorial park in its surrounding. 

Kanazawa

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If you are planning to take an up-close look at the region’s history and unique cultural heritage, Kanazawa is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Japan. It is found on the central coast of Honshu, the largest island in the country. Kanazawa is also very popular as an old castle. It is one of the archaeological gems of the city that give you plenty of opportunities to learn about the rich history of Japan and its incredible culture. This tourist destination in Japan has a lot to offer, especially to history buffs, such as preserved ancient buildings, historic temples,  samurai districts, and the picturesque Kenroku-en garden for those delightful evening strolls. 

Koya-San

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The location of Koya-san makes it a secluded area, a perfect place for Buddhist temples and monasteries. It is situated on a mountaintop in a remote forested region of Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture. It is located south of the famous metropolitan areas in Japan like Osaka and Kyoto. There are more than 100 Buddhist monasteries and temples. Upon taking a look at the breathtaking natural environment of Koya-San, you couldn’t help but admit that it is one of the most magical places in Japan.

Koya-san is easily accessible from major cities like Osaka and Kyoto, which is one of the key reasons why it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Japan. Visitors to this region of the country have a lot to explore, such as history, traditional culture, and of course, unadulterated nature. 

Tsumago

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Tsumago is a very unique place that gives you a chance to take a peek into the bygone era of Japan. It is a place that would surely be loved by history buffs. Upon your visit to Tsumago, you should visit the Nagiso National Museum of History to get some of the most enlightening and insightful information about the development of the region’s cultural and urban settlements throughout history. 

Also, don’t forget to explore the ruins of Tsumago Castle. Its mountaintop location not only gave it a strategic upper hand but also let its dweller enjoy the unobstructed serene views of the two nearby towns: Tsumago-juku and Midono-juku. This tourist spot should be on your travel bucket list if the history of this country fascinates you and you want to learn more about it. 

These were the 10 unmissable places to visit in Japan that you should visit upon your trip to this amazing island nation in East Asia. 

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