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Japan 10 Must-See Places with Catching Caerus

Updated: Jun 17

Japan, a land where ancient traditions harmoniously blend with modern innovation, offers a myriad of experiences for every traveler. From bustling cities to serene natural landscapes, here are the 10 must-see places in Japan that you simply cannot miss.

If you rather watch our Japan Travel Guide instead of read it watch the video below.




1. Tokyo

History: Tokyo, formerly known as Edo, became the political center of Japan when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his shogunate there in 1603. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Emperor moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo, meaning "Eastern Capital."

Destinations:

  • Imperial Palace: The primary residence of the Emperor of Japan, surrounded by beautiful gardens and moats. While the inner grounds are generally closed to the public, guided tours are available by reservation.

  • Shibuya Crossing: Often compared to Times Square, this intersection is iconic for its massive pedestrian scramble and the surrounding neon advertisements.

  • Tokyo Tower: A communications and observation tower inspired by the Eiffel Tower, offering stunning views of the city.




2. Kyoto

History: As Japan’s capital for over a thousand years (794 to 1868), Kyoto is the heart of traditional Japanese culture and history. It survived many wars and natural disasters, preserving its historical sites.

Destinations:

  • Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion): Originally built in 1397 as a retirement villa for shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, it became a Zen Buddhist temple after his death. The top two floors are covered in gold leaf, reflecting beautifully in the surrounding pond.

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine: Famous for its thousands of red torii gates leading up Mount Inari, this shrine is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice and agriculture.

  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: A tranquil forest of towering bamboo stalks, providing a serene walking experience.



3. Osaka

History: Osaka has been an economic and cultural hub for centuries, particularly during the Edo period when it was known as "the nation's kitchen" for its role in rice trading.

Destinations:

  • Osaka Castle: Built in the late 16th century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it played a major role in the unification of Japan. The castle now houses a museum and offers panoramic views of the city.

  • Universal Studios Japan: A popular theme park featuring attractions based on famous movies, including Harry Potter, Minions, and Jurassic Park.

  • Dotonbori: A bustling area famous for its street food, neon lights, and the iconic Glico running man sign. Try local delicacies like takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes).



4. Hokkaido

History: Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, was inhabited by the indigenous Ainu people long before it became part of Japan. It was developed during the Meiji period as Japan sought to protect its northern territories from Russian expansion.

Destinations:

  • Shiretoko National Park: A UNESCO World Heritage site known for its untouched wilderness and diverse wildlife, including brown bears and orcas.

  • Noboribetsu: Famous for its hot springs, particularly in Hell Valley (Jigokudani), where steam vents and bubbling sulfuric springs create a dramatic landscape.

  • Sapporo Snow Festival: Held every February, it features impressive ice and snow sculptures that attract visitors from around the world.



5. Hiroshima

History: Hiroshima is known worldwide for being the first city targeted by an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. The city has since become a symbol of peace and resilience.

Destinations:

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park: This park includes the A-Bomb Dome, the only structure left standing near the bomb’s hypocenter, and several memorials dedicated to the victims of the bombing.

  • Miyajima Island: Famous for the Itsukushima Shrine’s "floating" torii gate, which appears to float on the water at high tide. The island is also home to friendly deer and beautiful hiking trails.



6. Nara

History: Nara was Japan’s first permanent capital, established in 710 AD. It remained the capital until 794 AD when the capital moved to Kyoto.

Destinations:

  • Todai-ji: This temple houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known as Daibutsu. The main hall, Daibutsuden, is one of the largest wooden buildings in the world.

  • Nara Park: Known for its hundreds of freely roaming deer, considered messengers of the gods in Shintoism. Visitors can feed the deer with special crackers sold in the park.



7. Mount Fuji

History: Mount Fuji, an active stratovolcano that last erupted in 1707, has been a sacred site for centuries. It is a pilgrimage site and a source of artistic inspiration.

Destinations:

  • Fuji Five Lakes: This area offers some of the best views of Mount Fuji and various outdoor activities like boating, fishing, and hiking. Lake Kawaguchi is particularly popular for its scenic beauty.

  • Climbing Mount Fuji: The climbing season is typically from July to early September. The Yoshida Trail is the most popular route, offering huts and rest areas along the way.



8. Okinawa

History: Okinawa was the center of the Ryukyu Kingdom before becoming a Japanese prefecture in 1879. It has a unique culture that blends Japanese and indigenous influences.

Destinations:

  • Shuri Castle: Once the royal palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom, it showcases the unique Ryukyuan architecture and culture. Although damaged by fire in 2019, reconstruction efforts are underway.

  • Churaumi Aquarium: One of the largest aquariums in the world, featuring a massive tank with whale sharks, manta rays, and other marine life from the surrounding ocean.



9. Kanazawa

History: Kanazawa flourished as a castle town under the Maeda clan during the Edo period, becoming a center for arts and crafts.

Destinations:

  • Kenrokuen Garden: One of Japan's most beautiful landscape gardens, offering seasonal delights like cherry blossoms in spring and colorful leaves in autumn.

  • Higashi Chaya District: This historic geisha district features well-preserved wooden teahouses. Visit the Shima Teahouse Museum to learn about geisha culture.



10. Nikko

History: Nikko has been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for centuries. It became more prominent when the Tokugawa shoguns built elaborate mausoleums here.

Destinations:

  • Toshogu Shrine: A lavishly decorated shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Its ornate carvings and gold leaf details are stunning.

  • Nikko National Park: Known for its scenic beauty, including Kegon Falls, Lake Chuzenji, and numerous hiking trails through lush forests and mountain landscapes.


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* Have you ever been to Japan? Have you ever wanted to visit? Let me know some of your favorite spots to check out or places you want to see in Japan in the comment section below.


Useful links for Japan travel:

+ Travel Japan


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