Four Amazing Places to go on Holiday in Japan

Few countries offer as unique an experience as you'll get from a trip to Japan. A distinctly 21st century nation with a culture built up over centuries of relative isolation, Japan is a world apart, offering an eccentric and strangely familiar slice of modernity. From the hubbub of its dense cityscapes to the tranquility of its zen gardens, and the grandeur of its imperial palaces, there are many sides to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Mount Fuji in Japan
Image by skyseeker, used under Creative Commons license 2.0

From both the splendour of its natural world to the rich cultural legacy that its long history has afforded it, Japan offers a rewarding adventure for anyone. But as it's a country of over 130 million people spread over nearly 7000 islands (including the main four of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku) it would take many visits to truly savour all that Japan has to offer. To help you kick-start your own journey, we have distilled the country down into four of the must-see places that need to be ticked off on any trip to Japan.

Amazing Tokyo view at night
Image by Greg Walters, used under Creative Commons license 2.0

For a city of 35 million people there’s no way to see all of Tokyo in one trip, but no holiday to the country would be complete without a visit to the city. The sprawling metropolis can be neon-powered daze for a first time visitor, as the city’s sheer size can initially be overwhelming. But with a little forethought even a few days in Tokyo can give you a rounded experience of what the city has to offer.

For those looking for a culinary holiday there is simply nowhere else that can compare. With more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else, and a cuisine honoured by membership of the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage list, Tokyo is a foodie’s heaven. It would take more than a lifetime to visit all the restaurants in Tokyo, but some of the must-try spots include the Shinobu Namae and Yuji Imaizumi, both of which offer a dazzlingly modern take on traditional Japanese cuisine. Just make sure and book in advance!

Kyoto view
Image by DavideGoria, used under Creative Commons license 2.0

Nowhere embodies traditional Japan more than Kyoto. While still a bustling metropolis of more than a million and a half people, Kyoto still manage to radiate a beguiling serenity. As the country’s ancient capital, Kyoto is rich in historical buildings with more than its fair share of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, palaces, and traditional wooden Japanese architecture. Such is the city’s historical bounty that Kyoto boasts 17 separate world heritage sites.

Make sure and visit the iconic golden temple of Kinkakuji when in the city, and try to take a trip to Gion district. This area is one of the best preserved historical areas in the city and its narrow cobbled streets are an excellent way to travel back in time. You may even spot a Geisha! The endless red shrine gates of Fushimi Inari-taisha are another unmissable historic location in Kyoto, and are easily one of the most photographed in the whole country.

Enjoy the fully serene experience in the city with a trip to Kurama Onsen Hot Spring. This luxury spa offers the perfect way to cap off a visit to the city, and is surrounded by calming woods perfect for focusing on unwinding and wellness.

Meriken Park in Kobe
Image by Hyougushi, used under Creative Commons license 2.0

This bustling port city was one of the first in Japan to be opened up for western trade in the 19th century, and it still retains a cosmopolitan worldly vibe to this day. Beautifully located between the waters of Osaka Bay and the Rokko mountains, it has long been considered one of the most beautiful cities in Japan.

Far more compact than some of the megacities of the country, you can easily enjoy Kobe on foot. Some sites not to miss include the iconic waterfront steel structures of Meriken Park, or the bright lights of the nearby Kobe Harborland commercial complex. If you fancy a break from the city lights then a hike up Mount Rokko offers stunning views and an excellent walk.

Hakuba mountain
Image by Chi Tranter, used under Creative Commons license 2.0

While they may not be as famous as their European counterparts, the Japanese Alps offer a exceptional alpine experience. Containing the country’s 30 tallest mountain(excluding Mount Fuji) the snow capped region is the skiing centre of the country.

With many luxury ski resorts dotted around the region, you can expect first-rate hospitality, world-class slopes, and a uniquely Japanese twist on a typical ski resort. Some of the top ski resorts to consider include Niseko and Hakuba, the latter often referred to as the heart of the country’s winter sports scene. Both offer year-round snow and first-class facilities, so you don’t need to look further for a Japanese ski trip.

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I'm an entrepreneur, IT solution architect, developer. I like travelling, studying, P90X, squash, tennis, mountain skiing and many more activities! I'm interested in new technologies, health, history, economics, politics. The travelling completes my life and fills it with positive energy and new ideas, so it's very cool to have an opportunity to share my experiences with You! Thanks for your time and feedback!

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