Japan is an amazing country with plenty to see and do. A world of dazzling beauty, delicious cuisine, and thousands of years of history, Japan has something for everyone. Here are the best places to visit in Japan.
Hydrangea Train, Odawara
If you’re visiting Japan in the summer, take a ride on the hydrangea train. The Hakone Railway was the first mountain railway in Japan and offers a breathtaking view of the country in bloom especially through June and July. This is during Japan’s rainy season or tsuyu, and thousands of colorful hydrangeas are in bloom. While there are other places to view the flowers, one of the best is the 16-kilometer track between Hakone Yumoto and Sōunzan Station.
There are plenty of great places for Japanese cuisine, but Osaka is one of the best places to visit in Japan for foodies. Osaka is a famous food city with some of the most renowned restaurants and food destinations in Japan. A crucial stop in Osaka is the Kuromon Market, a spacious market spanning nearly 600 meters. Both home chefs and professionals find their goods here, and it regularly sees more than 20,000 people a day. To experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of Japan, a trip to Kuromon Market is highly recommended. You can stroll through over 100 shops and vendors, eating as you go as most prepare food right on the spot. Kebabs, onigiri rice balls, fresh fruits, pickled vegetables, and sushi — you name it, Kuroman probably has it. Other great food destinations in Osaka include burger shop Awajishima Burger and beloved ramen house Moeyo Mensuke.
Nara Park, Nara
Nara Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the country and also one of the oldest. Located in the city of Nara, the park is 502 hectares and home to over 1,200 wild sika deer. The deer are considered a natural treasure and they’re used to tourists, even accepting gentle petting. They often approach visitors and are used to receiving treats. Purchase a shika-senbei, or deer rice cracker, and you might find a deer bowing for a treat. Pay attention to the signs on proper deer feeding behavior and enjoy this amazing sanctuary. You can finish your visit to Nara Park by visiting the Nara National Museum, a premier museum with a wide collection of Buddhist paintings, images, sculpture and other pieces of art.
The capital of Japan, Tokyo is a bustling and bright city with so much to do. In addition to all of its stores and restaurants, Tokyo boasts some pretty magical sights. For animation fans, one of the best places to visit in Japan is the Ghibli Museum. This whimsical space is located in Inokashira Park and is a literal mansion that recreates the magic of Studio Ghibli films. The museum sells out regularly and they’re only sold in advance, so you’ll want to buy your tickets early. Inside the museum, you’ll find exciting recreations of the Ghibli art studio, scrapbooks, artifacts, and all matter of exhibits. Be sure you notice all of the details of the building, from the hand-crafted stained glass lamps to the welcoming Totoro.
You can continue your whimsical trip in Tokyo by visiting Tokyo DisneySea. It might seem counterintuitive to visit a Disney Park while in Japan, but Tokyo DisneySea is worth it if you’re a Disney fan. The park is incredibly immersive, letting you walk through the worlds of Jules Verne, The Little Mermaid, Arabia, and more. The park has recently announced a new expansion set for 2022, with a brand new part of attractions for Peter Pan, Frozen, and Tangled.
When people usually think of Japan, they’ll maybe imagine one of the beautiful shrines and temples. Kyoto is the picture of traditional Japan, and you’ll find over 1,000 religious sites throughout it. These sacred areas celebrate the two main religions of Japan: Shinto and Buddhism. It’s worth it to see at least 10 of these temples and shrines, but if time is limited, make sure you stop by the Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. The temple received this name thanks to its top stories’ gold leaf covering. Inside are relics of the Buddha while outside is a beautiful garden. Ranked among the city’s top Zen temples, The Tenryu-ji Temple is also a fine example of Japanese gardening and features gorgeous mountain views.
Tokashiki Island, Okinawa
Adventure lovers won’t be disappointed when they set foot on Tokashiki Island. Japan has thousands of islands, and Tokashiki Island is a standout for its snorkeling. Access the island via a ferry from Tomari Port and prepare for some of the most beautiful sparkling waters you’ve seen. Tokashiku Beach is home to wild sea turtles who are used to humans and you may be able to dive and snorkel with them swimming alongside you. Even if you don’t, the serene surroundings, abundant ocean life, and hiking make it one of the best places to visit in Japan.