When you visit Japan you are in for a treat. This small Asian country is one of the most advanced and industrialized places on earth, but it is also one of the most historically interesting you will ever visit. You have the soaring skyscrapers and neon lights of Tokyo, and the beauty and tranquility of Shinto and Buddhist temples. Japan is a great adventure, and there is plenty to see that will turn your trip into an unforgettable experience. Here are some suggestions for your Japan itinerary:
The most stunning and famous landmark in the country, the powerful Mount Fuji (otherwise known as Fuji-san) towers more than 3,000 meters over the countryside. It is imposing enough to be seen from the capital, Tokyo, which is over 100km away. The mountain has been celebrated for centuries in literary and artistic endeavors, and is now recognized as a culturally significant monument by UNESCO. Mount Fuji is a part of the beautiful Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and draws millions of people to climb it each year. Climbing the mountain is more manageable when you start from halfway up, which is called the 5th station. Or you can simply gaze on the mountain from the comfort of your sky rise hotel room in Tokyo, or from the window of an express train.
The beautiful and enchanting city of Kyoto is one of the most popular places for visitors to Japan. Its wonderful historic streets and its architecture are largely unchanged in 1,000 years. The city is an important cultural center and it has a number of excellent art galleries and museums. There are also some impressive temples to visit and the Golden Pavilion is a particularly impressive building. You can also visit Nijo Castle, which was built in the 17th century as a fortress. The Imperial Palace is a must-see, as is the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, which is a short walk from the center of the city.
Shopping and Food in Tokyo
You have to spend some time in this mega-city, exploring all the place has to offer – although you will only see a tiny fraction of it. The city is packed with experiences, from amazing luxury hotels to stunning food, beautiful hidden temples and streets, and some amazing shops to browse and spend. Tokyo is certainly one of the must-visit cities in the world.
Imperial Palace and Nijubashi Bridge
The Imperial Palace is the most famous place in Tokyo, and portions of the grounds are open to the public while the rest of the palace is used by the Imperial Family. The palace is surrounded by parkland, walls, and moats. You will also appreciate the Nijubashi Bridge, which is also called the Double Bridge as it has an amazing reflection. You can visit the East Garden to see the palace from another angle.
Ginza District in Tokyo
If you are interested in a glimpse into the cultural life of Tokyo you will enjoy a trip to the Ginza shopping neighborhood. This is not only home to stores, but also to the Kabuki-za Theatre which hosts impressive Kabuki performances, as well as the Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre, which has a program of Azuma-odori dancing and Bunraku.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
You will of course know why there is a memorial park in Hiroshima, the site of the world’s firs nuclear bomb attack. But you may not know the efforts the city has made to transform itself since this event in 1945, and now you can visit the park which has a number of symbols of everlasting peace from monuments to museums, as well as beautiful cherry blossoms. The Peace Memorial Museum commemorates the city as well as host exhibits relating to world peace. It is a moving and beautiful place to visit in Japan.
The Island Shrine of Itsukushima
Take a ferry for a short distance from Hiroshima and you will come to Miyajima Island, otherwise known as the Shrine Island. The main temple on the island, the Itsukushima Shrine, dates back from the 8th century and most of it is submerged in the water, and appears to be floating at high tide. You can walk around the gardens, look at several of the halls and buildings, and watch dance performances and listen to music.
The unspoiled and historic city of Nara is the place to visit for some fine examples of architecture as well as some important historic temples. Some of the impressive attractions here at Nara include a large bronze statue of the Great Buddha which was built in AD 749, and the world’s largest building made from timber which is called the Hall of the Great Buddha.
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