Consisting of four main islands amid thousands of smaller ones, modern Japan thrives between mountains dotted with ancient shrines, creating a landscape where the modern and the traditional coexist comfortably together. Japan’s progressiveness is underpinned by a culture of politeness and respect, where public noisiness is taboo.
The Japanese honor their past; visitors have many opportunities to explore cultural treasures such as Meiji Shrine, a quiet Shinto monument surrounded by forest in Tokyo. Among other historic attractions on your list of things to in Japan should be spending time in Osaka at the majestic 16th-century castle, which overlooks the skyscrapers of the city, and Yokohama’s exquisite Sankeien Garden, with its 15th-century pagoda. The attractive port city of Kobe is home to the Ikuta Shrine, one of the country’s oldest. Shuri Castle (Okinawa), a World Heritage Site, is markedly different compared to other Japanese castles due to Chinese influences in style.
Japan is also a major shopping destination, known for forward-looking styles in fashion and popular cultural. A visit to Harajuku in Tokyo, where much of the country’s innovative fashions originate and the capital’s high-end department stores in Ginza and Shinjuku, are a must for shoppers.
A visit to Japan ought to include travel by Shinkansen, Japan’s rocket-like bullet trains, which connect Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto in less than three hours. Riding the bullet train gives visitors a chance to enjoy the country’s spectacular scenery, including snow capped Mount Fuji, crystal-clear lakes and lush forested hills. Transportation fans can include a trip via an antique cable car or the Shin-Kobe Ropeway up to Mount Rokko to enjoy hiking the trails to Nunobiki Falls.
For a dose of history and art, the world-class museums of Japan include the regal Tokyo National Museum, while Yokohama Museum of Art houses one of the country’s largest and most diverse collections. The harbourside Meriken Park in Kobe features a maritime museum, a memorial to the 1995 earthquake and places to relax as visitors gaze at the sea.
Japan is a natural choice for a beach holiday or a kid-friendly holiday. The compact country makes it easy for those planning a visit to Japan to enjoy its many amusement parks, including Tokyo Disneyland. Overlooking the bay, Yokohama Cosmoworld amusement park is known for its Ferris wheel, train rides and games arcade. And Universal Studios Japan is just outside Dōtonbori city centre.
Whether it’s shopping in Japan’s fashionable cities, exploring the country’s ancient culture or having an action-packed family time, you won’t lack for things to do in Japan.