Japan Sightseeing Map: Most popular destinations
The oriental allure of Japan added to its impressively in-depth culture makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Both local and foreign tourists enjoy traveling to the country to learn about its language, its culture, its traditions, and its people. However, on top of all these things, Japan takes pride in its beautiful and scenic views.
There are a number of popular destinations in Japan, depending on what a traveler is after. There are places to enjoy nature and mountains. There are also destinations to enjoy Japan’s history and culture through their art museums, history museums, and memorial parks. There are also places to enjoy temples, shrines, and castles. It is just a matter of knowing what a traveler wants to see.
Another popular shopping destination would be the Tsukiji fish market where many of the world’s largest, fresh-caught tuna are auctioned off. On the early hours of the morning, hundreds of individuals gather to the market to get a look at the day’s catch. There are also a number of souvenir shops, sushi bars, and more around the area.
Anyone wishing to enjoy a trip up the mountains has numerous to choose from in Japan. There are the different cities that surround Mt. Fuji. Whether enjoy it while on a hike or enjoy the majestic view of Mt. Fuji – either will give a worthwhile travel experience. There is also the mountain ranges of Kirishima, which is made up of a total of 18 small vents. There are onsens and national parks in this area that provides the best view of the different calderas and mountain lakes.
There are also cultural places to visit in Japan like shrines, castles, and temples. For instance, Matsumoto Castle is one of Japan’s most historic castles. It is truly a sight to behold because of its majestic black color. The place will definitely give anyone that awe-struck moment because the castle is well-preserved, big, and definitely bold.
Places to go in Japan: Best Japan Sightseeing places
Japan Sightseeing Tokyo
For all those who love shopping, a trip to Ginza in Tokyo might be a good place to go. This is where all the branded and international brands have built their boutiques. There are malls and shopping centers in the area where the buildings are impressively high and the decorations truly alluring. There are also other districts in Tokyo for shopping like Akihabara for electronics and gadgets. Just a short stroll in the area can already give a person a glimpse of the latest buzz in technology.
Another place to visit is the Shinjuku Gyoen which is one the largest, well-preserved gardens in Japan. Right at the heart of Tokyo, this place offers up a place of quiet retreat from the busy streets. It is considered as one of the hidden treasures of Tokyo.
Japan Sightseeing Kyoto
Before Tokyo became the country’s main city center, Kyoto was where the Imperial family resided. From the 7th to the 18th century, Kyoto was the capital city of Japan. It served as the Imperial Family’s residence and it used to be the center of Japan’s culture, commerce, and governance.
Among the main attractions in Kyoto would be the Sento Palace which was the home of the Emperor. It has beautiful gardens and courtyards inside. Another popular place would be the Kyoto Imperial Palace which was the main residential keep of the Emperor. This was where many of Japan’s development and cultivation took place – the center of Japan’s government.
Other than the castles, there are also temples that can be visited in Kyoto. Among the most popular would be the Ginkakuji which was earlier believed to have been laden with gold and silver. Kinkakuji is also another famous building. It has gained its popularity because it is covered with gold. Higashiyama is also one of the most popular sightseeing spots in the area. It provides a full-on tour of one of the most well-preserved wooden temples in Japan.
Tourist spots are not the only sight worthy aspects of Kyoto. The people and the festivals are also great things to see and experience. For instance, the Hanatoro is a twice a year light up event which is celebrated with fireworks and other firecrackers. These light up the night sky with a variety of designs and colors. The Aoi and Jidai Matsuri are two festivals that celebrate the glory and history of Kyoto as an Imperial city. It shows pagodas and floats which represent historical events not only in the city but the entire country.
Sightseeing by the Season: Toprated events per season
Japan Sightseeing April (Spring and Summer)
Jigokudani Monkey Park
The spring and summer seasons are the best time to go hiking up mountains and slopes. One of the most interesting places to see is the Jigokudani or Hell’s Valley. It is home to a number of natural hot springs or onsens which release both steam and a bubbling amount of boiling water from the ground. What is a most interesting thing about this is that there are a lot of monkeys that can be seen during the hike? What makes it even more interesting is the fact that these monkeys have human-like behavior – they enjoy the water from the onsens and even let tourists take pictures of them.
Cherry Blossom Viewing
Every month of April or May, the Cherry Blossoms in Japan are the most beautiful. This is the time of the year when these flowers are in their full bloom. They do not bloom at the same time; some bloom as early as January while others bloom as late as June. This is what is special about it because even though Cherry blossoms only bloom at a certain time of the year, there is ample time to get to see them and planning a trip would not be as difficult.
Japan Sightseeing December (Winter and Fall)
Just like the Cherry Blossom blooms, a lot of tourists enjoy viewing the beautiful changes of autumn colors in Japan. This is the time of year when tourist enjoys the mountainsides the most. The lush green of the trees and plants become temporarily brown, red, or golden. A warm color in contrast to the cold season, the autumn foliage is a romantic scenery to see. Anyone who would see it would surely fall in love!
Known as the winter illumination, a lot of places in Japan celebrate the wintertime with twinkling lights. Malls, parks, hillsides, and streets – these are the places where varying colors of lights are seen. These are not just any ordinary Christmas lights. These are themed celebrations where the lights are designed to blink to a beat, or to a design. The wintertime lights are the best to represent the beauty of snow and ice in contrast to the darkness of the winter sky.
How to avail Japan Sightseeing Tours
There are different means to avail sightseeing tours in Japan. There are groups that offer up travel plans which can be purchased via the internet. For those who have not prepared prior going to Japan, hotels usually have affiliate tour groups for their guests and may offer them at special discounts.
These tour groups can cover almost all places in Japan from the North to the South. There are tour groups that take their visitors from Tokyo to different parts of the country like Nagoya, Osaka, or Sapporo. It is just a matter of finding the safest tour at the most affordable cost.
Japan Sightseeing Train: The most scenic train trips in the country
Sometimes, sightseeing is not all about the destination. There are times when traveling is all about the journey. A lot of tourist attractions are pretty much made-up. These are well-preserved places which are fully intended and designed for tourists and visitors. However, the beauty of a journey is the randomness of traveling.
Furthermore, there are cases when traveling is not always about getting to the destination the fastest. Sometimes, it is also about savoring the time well-spent while traveling. This is why it is a good thing to appreciate the small, local train lines with small town stations besides the Shinkansen and the JR lines.
For instance, traveling in trains is a very healthy travel experience because it helps individuals appreciate the true beauty of Japan. The images of a city with its markets, the view of countrysides with its farms and fields, the beauty of the mountains just as it is – these are the true treasures of traveling.
Among the most impressive and scenic train trips include the Gono line in the Akita prefecture. This particular train ride gives an impressive view of the coastal scenery in the area. It gives a very stunning view of the sea, the waves, the sand, and all. The train line can simply get fully booked during the spring and summer seasons because of this – it is quite popular with the locals.
For those who wish to enjoy the lushness of forests and greenery, the Kurobe Gorge Railway in the Toyama prefecture is the perfect train ride. It gives a view of the Kurobe river and valley which gives the passengers an exciting view of the lushness and freshness of life.
Another popular train line would be the Ikawa line from the Shizuoka prefecture which gives a stunning view of the Japanese Alps. The journey is already worthwhile even before travelers reach the summit.
Japan Sightseeing Buses and Cars: Road trip tips
Since Japan has a very complex and well-working transportation system, not a lot of people go on road trips. This generation value more the speed and efficiency of traveling than making the journey a part of the vacation. Going on a road trip in Japan is not that common due to the availability of the JR lines and the Shinkansen.
However, this does not mean that road trips are ill-advised in the country. The first thing to remember is to take note of the locations of gas stations, emergency bays, food stations, and other necessary stops to ensure safety. The good thing is that Japan is pretty much a safe place to drive since most of the drivers on the road are well-behaved and careful. It is also important to take note of all the numbers that can be called in the event that urgent help is needed. When traveling on a road trip it is essential to keep a spare tire available, with a complete set of tools. Make sure the engines and all other gears in the car are checked before going on a road trip.
For those who are going on a road trip via buses, there are those that provide very comfortable rides. For instance, there are sleeper buses that have beds and other necessities inside for long-distance traveling. Make sure to bring in food, clothing, and water for the trip itself. This is especially for instances when the destination is a day or two away.
Must-have when traveling to Japan
Japan Sightseeing: Visa Tips
A typical tourist in Japan must have the appropriate documentation before entry. There are visa conditions and requirements for citizens of varying nations all over the world. As of the moment, there are about 66 different countries who have visa exemptions. For those without a visa, a maximum of ninety days is allowed for travel. This amount of time is already enough to enjoy different sights all over the country. There are countries, on the other hand, whose visa periods only last less than 15 days. It would be best to check before planning a trip to Japan.
Japan Sightseeing: Passes to have
For all travelers, train passes are a must have because it will be more convenient to ride trains and buses without using cash. There are rain passes which have a large scope and there are also local cards which are limited only to a specific city or town. There are city passes which offer up unlimited travel to different means of transportation such as buses, trams, subways, and trains. There are special tickets for certain cities all over the country.