Despite wars and natural disasters, Japan has managed to preserve (or rebuild) much of its rich tradition, making a trip there an unforgettable experience. A vacation to Japan presents an endless selection of top attractions, fun activities, and things to see and do. A trip to Japan is an excellent investment of both time and money.
1. Japan’s Fuji Mountain
The majestic Mount Fuji (Fuji-san) is Japan’s most identifiable landmark as well as its highest mountain peak. It can be seen from Tokyo, more than 100 kilometers away, that this majestic and fabled mountain stands 3,776 meters over an otherwise largely flat landscape to the south and west.
In 2013, UNESCO recognized Mount Fuji’s cultural significance as a world heritage site by recognizing its centuries-old celebration in art and literature. More than a million people climb Mount Fuji each summer as a pilgrimage, culminating in a sunrise view from its summit. Mount Fuji is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.
The majority of climbers now start above the halfway point, at the 5th Station, instead of at the base. This makes the climb easier and more manageable for most climbers. To complete the climb, depart in the afternoon and stop at one of the “Mountain Huts” designed just for this purpose overnight before beginning the climb in the morning. The next morning, get an early start to catch the sunrise at the summit. Do add it to your itinerary and we hope you enjoyed your holiday.
2. Imperial Tokyo
Japan’s Imperial Palace is famous for its 17th-century gardens, surrounded by moats and walls, and is a must-visit when visiting the city. There is still plenty to see even though the palace is mostly closed (it’s the home of the Imperial family). You can see enough by strolling around the grounds.
Visits to the palace are permitted from many points within the surrounding parklands, as well as entry into the East Higashi-Gyoen Garden and other areas accessible to visitors on organized tours. Nijubashi Bridge, or “double bridge,” is a romantic view thanks to its reflection in the water.
Ginza shopping district is another must-see for tourists visiting Tokyo. There are several theatres here, including the Kabuki-za Theater featuring Kabuki performances, and the Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre with performances of Azuma-Odori dances and Bunraku.
3. Historic Kyoto
Kyoto attracts more than 10 million visitors per year and is one of the few cities to remain untouched by WWII. Visitors mostly come here to explore Kyoto’s more than 1,000-year old architecture and streets.
Japan’s cultural center was Tokyo even then. Despite this legacy, the city still has many museums, art galleries, and art forms in its possession.
Kyoto’s architecture is influenced by Buddhism. Among the sights are its 30 temples that remain in operation and the 14th-century Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-Ji), a wooden structure with a gold-leaf exterior.
Nijo Castle, a 17th-century fortress with original towers, walls, and moat, should not be missed. Also worth a look are a palace and gate, which have fine details.
Kyoto-Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace) is another fascinating landmark. An iconic historic site was built in AD 794.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a must-see when in Kyoto. Near the town center, you can find this beautiful area of tall bamboo. Hope you enjoyed your holiday.
4. The Island Shrine of Itsukushima
Miyajima is known worldwide as Japan’s Shrine Island and is just a short ferry ride from mainland Hiroshima. Itsukushima Shrine, a Shinto temple dedicated to the Princess daughters of the wind god Susanoo, is a highlight when visiting Miyajima, which spans a 30 square kilometer area in Hiroshima Bay.
Almost all the shrine’s buildings date back to the eighth century, rising only on piles out of a small bay. It looks as if these structures are floating on water when the tide is high, including the famous Great Floating Gate of Otori.
Walkways and bridges connect its many halls, which are fascinating to explore. There is the magnificent Honden (Main Hall), the Offerings Hall (Heiden), the Prayer Hall (Haiden), and the Hall of a Thousand Mats (Senjokaku).
Stage performances and traditional dances are also offered at the shrine. There are also spectacular gardens and grounds on the island with wild deer and bird colonies.
5. Temple City: Historic Nara
The lovely unspoiled city of Nara has been at the center of Japanese culture for centuries, and it is home to many historic buildings and significant national treasures.
The city is home to many ancient temples as well as numerous historic streets. Among these is the magnificent Kofuku-Ji Temple from the Seven Great Temples of Nara, perhaps the most famous. Also noteworthy is Todai-Ji (Great East Temple), with its large bronze statue of the Great Buddha (Daibutsu) cast in 749.
The Great South Gate (Nandaimon) of Todai-Ji is also fascinating. Two massive Nio statues of eight meters each stand at the temple entrance, supporting the two-story, 18-column structure. It is also notable that this building boasts the largest timber structure in the world, the Hall of the Great Buddha. Hope you enjoyed your holiday when you visit.