Japan is one of the countries in the world that have the most magnificent landmarks and culture - an amazing Buddhist temple, religious Shinto shrine, magnificently landscaped gardens, eye-catching castle, diverse art styles, sacred cultural icons, you name it and you will find it in Japan. As a matter of fact, the UNESCO World Heritage List has quite a number of features from Japan.
When it comes to travel and discovery, there are actually endless places to visit in Japan. You could spend your lifetime trying to explore the Japanese landmarks and still won't be able to scratch beyond the surface. We have put in our best to bring you the best places to visit in Japan, although there are countless other awesome places not listed on our list that still deserve a visit.
Without further ado, we shall be going straight to our recommendations when it comes to the most amazing places to visit in the Japanese territory to have a swell time. The list is arranged in no particular order, so the last on the list could be the most intriguing place to visit.
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Mount Fuji station
I decided to start the list with Mount Fuji because I enjoy mountain climbing. With the recent largest active volcanoes that occurred in Japan, people all across the world have been travelling to this landmark to have a look at the sight. Mount Fuji's climbing happens every summer of each year, starting from early July and runs through to mid-September. During this period of climbing, there tends to be little snowfall, which makes the weather quite mild for tourists.
Having said that, it is necessary to point out that despite the beautiful nature of Mount Fuji, it is very challenging to climb. If you'd like to climb whenever you visit Japan, make sure you do your own little research and assess your physical fitness to be sure that it's something for you. No one would want to go for a vacation and end up in a hospital!
The Fushimi Inari Shrine
The Fushimi Inari shrine has featured in some movies including Memoirs of a Geisha. It is one of the most reverence Shinto shrines in Japan and it is dedicated to the Shinto God of rice. At a time in Japan, rice was the mainstay of the economy, and most traders and producers adopted the Shinto god as the caretaker of their business.
One notable thing you will view when you visit the shrine is the statues of the fox all over the place, being the animal Inari used to send messages to the people. The vermilion torii gates and beautiful trails that lead up to the mountain is one that will keep you in an excited state as you head up the shrine that is 233m high. As a hiker, when you climb to a certain point, you will have clear sights of the beautiful city of Kyoto, and you can continue climbing if you wish to do so.
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Each time anyone hears Hiroshima, the first thing that crosses the mind is the atomic bomb that was used by the United States to cause havoc in the town during World War II. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Park is a place you can pay respect to those who lost their lives due to the atomic bomb. Take your time to explore a city that was virtually rebuilt from scratch after the war. Other memorable places to visit in Hiroshima include the Itsukushima shrine that is close to Miyajima Island.
As for the foodies like me, the okonomiyaki, a special delicacy made of thick pancake of batter, noodles and veggies is one food you would want to try out in Hiroshima.
Japan is not known for the castle, shrine or temple alone. If you are a lover of animals, Nara Park is one that you would want to visit whenever you enter the Japanese territory. Located in the south of Osaka, the park is most famous for its mischievous and beautiful deer. Aside from the deer roaming freely in the park, there are also two cultural assets the park is known for - The Kasuga Grand Shrine and the Giant Buddha at Todai-Ji temple.
If you are interested in visiting Nara, going early in the morning would be the best time because many of the exciting attractions close by 5 pm. Visit Nara Park early and be awed by the presence of the mischievous deer that roam freely.
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The Tokyo Imperial Palace
It would be totally disrespecting to the Tokyo Imperial Palace if we don't include it on our list of the most famous places to visit in Japan. Tokyo city as a whole is loaded with most of Japan historic sites.
Being the capital of Japan, the Imperial Palace in Tokyo city are well preserved and reverence by the people of Japan. It was built during the reign of the Tokugawa and it only became a seat of the royal ruler during the reign of Emperor Meiji in 1868. However, during World War II, some parts of the palace were destroyed but were rebuilt in the '60s. The Japanese Emperor, Akihito, still uses the palace as his official home for his family.
There are only two days a year to visit the palace - the Emperor's birthday, which is on the 23rd of December and the day the Emperor addresses the people for New Year, which is on the 2nd of January. Nonetheless, nothing stops you from walking around the palace through the parks and taking some beautiful selfies to share with your friends.
The great Osaka
A trip to Osaka is another amazing way to spend your time in Japan. There are lots of side attractions in Osaka and it will take you more than a week to explore the beautiful features in this city.
Just a 30-minute drive from Kyoto, Osaka is famous for its food and is referred to the city that has the most fun-loving citizens. Osaka's food is one of the major things that draw travellers to the city, and the people of Osaka are known to be lovers of drinks and food.
Osaka and Kyoto have been homes to a variety of food, with specialities spanning from okonomiyaki and takoyaki, to beautiful establishments and five-star hotels. If you are looking for a city in Japan that is more of tastes than sights, Osaka should be the first on your list. However, places like the famous Osaka Aquarium and Osaka-jo (Osaka Castle) are nice places for sightseeing when it comes to Japanese monuments.
Hokkaido Island Area
If you are looking for Japan places to visit, the Hokkaido Island is one to look out for. Known as a home to Japanese natural features, this Island is blessed with beautiful landscapes, amazing seafood, and one of the best spots in the world for snowboarding and skiing.
Hokkaido as a whole is full of natural wonders that will leave you awed. Start your adventure in Hakodate or Sapporo (both awesome culinary cities), then continue by venturing into the wild to see some beautiful creatures.
While this may not be possible for many, it still needs to be stated here - the best way to explore Hokkaido to its fullest is by self-driving. Although renting a car is not the best way to go on Japan's major islands, Hokkaido is an exception to this.
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Matsue is located in Shimane, a beautiful prefecture in the western part of the country that is little visited by most people. Matsue is one of the Japanese hidden gems that we have come to discover. It is a place to visit because it is less crowded and you will have one of the best moment of your life in this location.
Most visitors that travel to Matsue do so because of the mindboggling Adachi Museum of Art. The Adachi Museum, in addition to its beautiful collections of the state of the art Japanese painting, is most known for its world-renowned garden, which seamlessly blends naturally with the surrounding landscape. Other things to enjoy in Matsue include amazing seafood and sake, and a visit to Matsue Castle, one of the last original castles in Japan that dates back to the 17th century.
Other Places to visit
When it comes to famous landmarks in the country of Japan, the list is endless. Apart from the destinations listed above, there are other exciting places to visit in Japan. Some of them include the Senjo-Ji temple, Tokyo Tower site, Fukuoka, Izu Peninsula, Himeji castle, Nagasaki, and a host of others. Avail yourself the opportunity to have a blast whenever you visit Japan by taking a walk around some these sites.