Akasaka Azabu

best japan places
  • Date Published: April 29, 2024

Japan boasts an impressive variety of alluring destinations certain to enthrall any tourist. From widely-known attractions to secret treasures, this captivating country has something accessible for everyone. Regardless of whether your interest lies in visiting renowned landmarks, immersing in authentic culture, or journeying to lesser-known locations, Japan certainly delivers.

In this article, we will guide you through the top attractions and must-visit destinations in Japan. We will take you on a journey from the traditional city of Kyoto to the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, from the charming town of Takayama to the scenic beauty of Hakone. Join us as we explore Japan’s best locations and uncover famous places that will leave you in awe.

Key Takeaways:

  • Japan offers a diverse range of attractions and destinations.
  • From traditional cities to modern metropolises, there is something for everyone.
  • Discover iconic landmarks and hidden gems throughout the country.
  • Immerse yourself in Japan’s rich culture and heritage.
  • Create unforgettable memories exploring Japan’s best locations.

Now let’s dive into our first destination, Kyoto, to experience traditional Japan at its best.

Kyoto – Traditional Japan at Its Best

Kyoto is often considered the heart of traditional Japan, offering a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its plethora of historic temples, picturesque shrines, and enchanting gardens, Kyoto is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic Japanese experience.

One of the top attractions in Kyoto is the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its mesmerizing pathway lined with thousands of vibrant red torii gates. This spiritual site provides a unique and immersive experience, allowing visitors to explore the serene ambiance of the shrine grounds and hike up Mount Inari for breathtaking panoramic views.

For nature lovers, the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a must-see. Take a stroll through the towering bamboo stalks, enveloped in a peaceful atmosphere that transports you to another world. The ethereal beauty of this bamboo forest is truly a sight to behold and makes for stunning photography opportunities.

No visit to Kyoto would be complete without a visit to the Gion district, famously known as the geisha district. Here, you can witness the elegance and grace of geisha as they make their way through the quaint streets. Immerse yourself in the charming ambiance and traditional architecture as you explore quaint shops, teahouses, and restaurants.

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Kyoto by participating in a traditional tea ceremony. Experience the art of tea preparation and savor the intricate flavors of Japanese matcha. Alternatively, indulge in a culinary adventure by learning to cook traditional Japanese cuisine, mastering the art of sushi-making or perfecting the delicate flavors of Kyoto-style kaiseki.

Notable Attractions in Kyoto:

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
  • Gion District
  • Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Experience the timeless charm of Kyoto, where ancient traditions blend harmoniously with modern sensibilities. Lose yourself in the magic of this enchanting city as you explore historic temples, engage in cultural experiences, and immerse yourself in the vibrant geisha district.

Be sure to include Kyoto in your travel itinerary to Japan for an unforgettable journey through traditional Japan at its best.

Tokyo – A Blend of Tradition and Modernity

Tokyo is the vibrant capital city of Japan, offering a unique blend of tradition and modernity. From soaring skyscrapers to bustling markets, there is always something to see and do.

Top Attractions in Tokyo

  • Explore the historic neighborhood of Asakusa with its iconic Senso-ji Temple
  • Visit the trendy shopping district of Shibuya and experience the famous crossing
  • Indulge in the city’s diverse culinary scene

Whether you’re craving traditional Japanese dishes or international flavors, Tokyo has it all. From sushi and ramen to Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s something to satisfy every taste bud.

Tokyo is also known for its themed cafes, where you can immerse yourself in unique and quirky experiences. From cuddling with hedgehogs in a hedgehog cafe to sipping coffee in a cat cafe, these themed establishments offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Quirky Activities in Tokyo

“Tokyo is a city that never fails to surprise and delight. Get behind the wheel of a go-kart and explore the city’s streets dressed as your favorite character, from Mario Kart to superheroes. It’s an unforgettable adventure!”

– Travel enthusiast

With its mix of old and new, Tokyo offers a captivating experience for visitors. Explore ancient temples and gardens, discover the latest fashion trends in trendy neighborhoods, and immerse yourself in the vibrant city life.

Takayama – A Charming Town in the Japanese Alps

Takayama is a picturesque town nestled in the scenic Japanese Alps. Renowned for its well-preserved traditional houses and historic streets, Takayama offers visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Japan.

One of the top attractions in Takayama is the Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum showcasing traditional thatched-roof houses. Here, visitors can explore the meticulously crafted structures and learn about the customs and lifestyle of the past. The village is set amidst beautiful natural surroundings, providing a serene and immersive experience.

Another must-visit site in Takayama is the Kiso Valley, known for its stunning landscapes and hiking trails. Nature enthusiasts can embark on scenic walks while soaking in the breathtaking views of mountains, rivers, and forests. The Kiso Valley is also home to several charming villages where visitors can witness traditional rural life.

While exploring Takayama, be sure to savor the local delicacies that the region is famous for. Hida beef, known for its marbling and tenderness, is a culinary highlight. Pair it with a glass of sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine brewed in the area, to complete your gastronomic experience.

Traditional Houses in Takayama

The traditional houses in Takayama are architectural marvels that reflect the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. These well-preserved buildings feature intricate woodwork, sliding doors, and tatami mat floors. Walking through the historic streets of Takayama feels like stepping back in time, immersing oneself in the charm of ancient Japan.

Top Attractions in Takayama

Attraction Description
Hida Folk Village An open-air museum showcasing traditional thatched-roof houses and offering insights into the region’s history and culture.
Kiso Valley A picturesque valley known for its beautiful landscapes, hiking trails, and traditional villages.
Takayama Old Town A well-preserved historic district with traditional houses, shops, and sake breweries.
Takayama Jinya A former government office that provides a glimpse into the town’s feudal past.
Morning Markets Bustling markets where you can find local produce, crafts, and souvenirs.

Immerse yourself in the charm of Takayama, explore its traditional houses, visit the Hida Folk Village, and venture into the scenic Kiso Valley. Discover the allure of this delightful town in the Japanese Alps.

Hakone – A Gateway to Mount Fuji

Hakone is a popular destination for those wanting to get a glimpse of Mount Fuji. Located just a short distance from Tokyo, this charming town offers a variety of attractions that showcase the beauty of the region.

One of the top attractions in Hakone is Lake Ashi, a scenic lake surrounded by mountains and forests. Take a leisurely boat ride on the lake and enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Fuji on a clear day. The serene atmosphere and picturesque landscapes make Lake Ashi a must-visit spot for nature lovers and photographers.

Another unique experience in Hakone is a visit to Owakudani, an area famous for its volcanic activity. Take a cable car ride up to this volcanic valley and witness steam vents and bubbling hot springs. The sulfuric gas and rocky terrain create a surreal and otherworldly atmosphere, providing visitors with a truly unforgettable experience.

After exploring the natural wonders of Hakone, indulge in the region’s famous hot springs, known as onsen. There are numerous traditional ryokans (Japanese inns) and public baths where you can relax and unwind in the healing waters. Immerse yourself in the tranquility and therapeutic benefits of Hakone’s hot springs, and let your worries melt away.

When visiting Hakone, make sure to purchase a Hakone Free Pass. This pass allows unlimited travel on various modes of transportation in the region, such as trains, buses, and cable cars. With the Hakone Free Pass, you can easily navigate the different attractions and make the most of your visit to Hakone.

A visit to Hakone is not complete without experiencing the breathtaking views, natural wonders, and hot springs that make this town a gateway to Mount Fuji. Plan your trip to Hakone and immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of this enchanting destination.

Hiroshima – A City of Resilience and Peace

Hiroshima, a city with a tragic history, stands today as a symbol of resilience and peace. This vibrant city offers a blend of historical landmarks, cultural experiences, and natural beauty that attracts visitors from around the world.

One of the top attractions in Hiroshima is the Peace Memorial Park, a poignant tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing in 1945. The park encompasses several memorials, including the iconic Atomic Bomb Dome, which serves as a powerful reminder of the destructive power of nuclear weapons.

“Hiroshima is a stark reminder of the devastating impact of war, but it also serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of humanity.” – John Adams, historian

Another must-visit site in Hiroshima is Hiroshima Castle, also known as the Carp Castle. This beautifully reconstructed castle offers panoramic views of the city and provides insights into Hiroshima’s feudal past.

No visit to Hiroshima would be complete without taking a boat ride to Miyajima Island, home to the iconic Itsukushima Shrine. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its floating torii gate, which appears to float on the water during high tide.

While in Hiroshima, be sure to indulge in the local cuisine, including the famous Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki – a savory pancake layered with noodles, cabbage, meat, and topped with a special sauce.

Whether you come to pay respects, explore historical sites, or simply soak in the peaceful atmosphere, Hiroshima’s resilience and commitment to peace leave an indelible impression on all who visit.

Kanazawa – A City of Tradition and Beauty

Kanazawa is a captivating city in Japan that showcases a harmonious blend of rich tradition and mesmerizing beauty. With its plethora of top attractions, Kanazawa offers visitors a glimpse into the country’s vibrant history and cultural heritage.

Kenrokuen Garden

One of the most iconic landmarks in Kanazawa is the magnificent Kenrokuen Garden. As one of Japan’s top three gardens, it boasts stunning landscapes, tranquil ponds, and meticulously maintained foliage. Visitors can revel in the picturesque scenery and stroll through the garden’s landscaped valleys, meandering streams, and tea houses.

Higashi Chaya District

A visit to Kanazawa would be incomplete without exploring the Higashi Chaya District, a well-preserved historic area known for its traditional teahouses. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of old Japan as you wander through the narrow streets lined with wooden buildings adorned with exquisite lattice windows. Enjoy a cup of matcha tea while experiencing authentic Japanese hospitality.

Nagamachi Samurai District

To delve deeper into Japan’s feudal past, make your way to the Nagamachi Samurai District. This district offers a glimpse into the lives of Japan’s samurai warriors. Explore the preserved samurai houses and gain insights into their traditions and lifestyle. The district’s narrow streets and traditional architecture create a captivating atmosphere that transports visitors back in time.

Don’t forget to indulge in Kanazawa’s local specialty, gold leaf ice cream. This delectable treat combines the city’s renowned gold leaf craftsmanship with the creamy goodness of ice cream, resulting in a unique and delightful flavor.


Japan is a country renowned for its best places to visit, top attractions, and must-see sites that cater to every traveler’s preferences. From the traditional city of Kyoto, with its historic temples and cultural experiences, to the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, offering a vibrant city life and quirky activities, Japan has something for everyone.

For those seeking a taste of traditional Japan, Takayama is a charming town in the Japanese Alps, known for its well-preserved traditional houses and the picturesque Kiso Valley. Hakone, on the other hand, serves as a gateway to Mount Fuji, where visitors can enjoy stunning views of the mountain, cruise along Lake Ashi, and relax in the hot springs.

A visit to Japan would not be complete without exploring Hiroshima, a city that showcases resilience and peace through its Peace Memorial Park and Museum, Hiroshima Castle, and the iconic Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island. Kanazawa, known for its tradition and beauty, offers attractions such as the magnificent Kenrokuen Garden, the historic Higashi Chaya District, and the Nagamachi Samurai District.

Whether you’re interested in iconic landmarks or hidden gems, Japan has a myriad of famous places waiting to be discovered. So, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey to explore the best of Japan’s top-rated places. Your adventure awaits!


What are the top attractions in Kyoto?

The top attractions in Kyoto include the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, the beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and the picturesque Gion district where you may spot geisha. Other highlights include participating in a traditional tea ceremony and trying your hand at cooking traditional Japanese cuisine.

What can I explore in Tokyo?

In Tokyo, you can explore the historic neighborhood of Asakusa with its iconic Senso-ji Temple, visit the trendy shopping district of Shibuya with its famous crossing, and indulge in the city’s diverse culinary scene. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit themed cafes or try go-karting dressed as your favorite character.

What are the must-visit attractions in Takayama?

The must-visit attractions in Takayama include exploring the old town, visiting the Hida Folk Village to see traditional thatched-roof houses, and taking a trip to the picturesque Kiso Valley. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local delicacies such as Hida beef and sake from the region.

What can I see and do in Hakone?

In Hakone, you can take a boat ride on Lake Ashi, visit Owakudani to see volcanic activity up close, and soak in the region’s famous hot springs. Don’t forget to purchase a Hakone Free Pass to make the most of your visit and explore the different modes of transportation available, such as trains, buses, and cable cars.

What are the top attractions in Hiroshima?

The top attractions in Hiroshima include the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, Hiroshima Castle, and Miyajima Island where you can see the iconic Itsukushima Shrine. Don’t miss the opportunity to try Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, a delicious savory pancake.

What are the must-visit attractions in Kanazawa?

The must-visit attractions in Kanazawa include the stunning Kenrokuen Garden, the historic Higashi Chaya District with its traditional teahouses, and the Nagamachi Samurai District where you can get a glimpse of Japan’s feudal past. Don’t forget to try the local specialty, gold leaf ice cream.

What are some hidden gems in Japan?

Some hidden gems in Japan include the lavender fields in Furano, the crystal clear beaches of Okinawa, and the charming town of Shirakawa-go with its traditional thatched-roof houses. These off-the-beaten-path locations offer unique experiences and beautiful landscapes.

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