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Japan Travel Guide

Kyōto Guide
Maiko in the streets of Kyoto
Best of Asia Discover Kyōto's temples, shrines, geisha districts, Imperial palace and villas and more.
East Kyoto - North Kyoto - South Kyoto - West Kyoto.

Top 20 Destinations outside Tokyo and Kyoto

1. Nara
Todai-ji Temple, Nara
must-see Prior to Tokyo and Kyoto, the very first permanent capital of Japan was Nara (pop. 364,000), a town occupying the northern part of the Yamato plain, at the foor of Mount Wakakusa. As the birthplace of the Japanese civilisation...Read more

3. Kanazawa
Edo-era houses, Kanazawa
must-see The city of Kanazawa (pop. 439,000), sitting in between the Sai and Asano rivers, started its history about 500 years ago, when the Ikko sect of Buddhism established the Kanazawa Gobo temple on the site of the present castle...Read more

5. Nikkō
must-see Nikkō is one of Japan's most popular tourist destination. It is home to the country's most sumptuous shrine, the lavishly decorated Tōshō-gū, where Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1868) reposes...Read more

7. Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji
must-see Snow-capped Mount Fuji (3776m) is the tallest and most famous mountain in Japan. It's almost perfectly symmetrical cone shape make it one of the most beautiful volcano in the world, and an indisputable symbol of Japan...Read more

9. Miyajima
must-see The floating shrine of Itsukushima, more commonly called Miyama-jima, is one of Japan's three great views, and possibly the most photogenic one. The shrine is also listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list...Read more

11. Hakone
outstanding Hakone is one of the most popular tourist destination for day trips or 2-day breaks from Tokyo. It is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is a prime location to contemplate the majestic Mount Fuji. Snuggled up against Mount Hakone...Read more

13. Nagasaki
outstanding Nagasaki is one of the best known Japanese city among Westerners. That is where the first Europeans arrived in the 16th century, but also the only port that remained opened to foreign trade during Japan's two and a half centuries of...Read more

15. Ōsaka
Night view of Osaka
outstanding Osaka is synonymous with business. People in Osaka greet each others with "Moo kari makka ?", which in the local dialect means "Are you making any money ?". This gives the mood for the city, which indeed has a vibrant economy...Read more

17. Kōbe
Port of Kōbe
outstanding Kōbe (pop. 1,533,000) is Japan's 6th largest city, and a part of the Keihanshin metropolitan region (Ōsaka-Kōbe-Kyōto) totalling 18.5 million inhabitants. Kōbe is to Ōsaka what Yokohama is to Tōkyō. Both are the extension of ...Read more

19. Nagoya
Nagoya Castle (© Wa-pedia.com)
outstanding Nagoya is Japan's fourth largest city. The local economy is dominated by Toyota, the car manufacturer, based in Toyota city, 15 km (10 miles) south-east of central Nagoya. Nagoya is also Japan's biggest producer of porcelain...Read more
2. Kamakura
Daibutsu, Kamakura
must-see Capital of the first shōgunate between 1192 and 1333, Kamakura is famous for its medieval temples and especially its Giant Buddha in bronze , one of the most recognisable Buddha statues in the world...Read more

4. Mount Kōya
Buddhist monks at the Koya-san temple complex
must-see Kōya-san is one of Japan's holiest mountain range and one of the country's top pilgrimage destination, attracting millions of visitors every year often in conjunction with Shikoku's 88-temple circuit....Read more

6. Takayama
Takayama (© Wa-pedia.com)
must-see Takayama (pop. 95,000) is a well-preserved historical city in the heart of the Japanese Alps, ine one of central Japan's remotest regions. As the former castle town and largest population centre of the old Hida Province...Read more

8. Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle
outstanding Himeji-jō Castle is praised as Japan's most beautiful feudal castle. It should be on top of your list if you only have time to visit one castle in Japan. Often compared to a white egret, Himeji Castle captures perfectly the spirit of the samurai...Read more

10. Shirakawa-gō & Gokayama
must-see Concealed in the midst of the Hida Mountains, the historic villages of Shirakawa-gō & Gokayama are like a time warp inside Japan's modernity, a place where secular architecture and traditions have resisted change for the...Read more

12. Kiso Valley
Kiso Valley
must-see The Kiso Valley is located in the mountainous region between Nagoya and Matsumoto. The road along the Kiso river was the central section of the 500 km long Nakasendō, one of the five routes connecting Edo (modern-day Tokyo)...Read more

14. Hiroshima
outstanding The mere name of Hiroshima usually brings to Western minds images of atomic devastation and its terrible after-effects. Indeed, 6 August 1945 will remain a tragic memorial day for many generations to come, as the first nuclear...Read more

16. Yokohama
outstanding Yokohama (pop. 3,654,000) is Japan's second largest city. Home to Japan's highest skyscraper, one of the largest Chinatown and a vast Western neighbourhood, Yokohama is too often overlooked by tourists on the way from...Read more

18. Beppu
outstanding Beppu is associated in all Japanese minds with one thing : hot springs. This small town of 140,000 inhabitants in out-of-beaten track Oita prefecture would definitely not figure on a tourist map were it not for the astonishing geothermal...Read more

20. Nagano
Zenko-ji Temple, Nagano (© Wa-pedia.com)
outstanding Nestled at the heart of the Japanese Alps, the city of Nagano (pop. 385,000) is famous around the world for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics. The surrounding country of the Nagano prefecture is renowned for apples, hot springs, hiking...Read more

Browse attractions by region

Western Japan

Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima
Mount Sakurajima in Kagoshima
Barrier reef on an Okinawan island

Central Japan

Plum blossoms with Mount Fuji
Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto
Ritsurin garden in Takamatsu

Eastern Japan

Flower fields in Hokkaido
Oirase River, Aomori prefecture
Daibutsu in Kamakura


  • Short-term Accommodation
    Hotels, hostels, ryokan and minshuku
  • Long-term Accommodation
    Apartments/flats, "gaijin houses", weekly and monthly mansions
  • Flights

  • Flights to Japan
    Reserve your flight online from the USA or UK
  • Flights from Japan
    Find discounted flights in English-speaking travel agencies in Japan

  • Featured book

    Trains & buses

  • Transportation inside Japan
    Travelling from Narita airport to Tokyo, cheapest ways to travel around Japan, including the "Japan Rail Pass" and "Seishun 18 kippu"
  • Transportation inside Tokyo
    Trains and buses timetables & maps, explanation on the ticket system and how to buy a commuter ticket
  • Entertainment

    Note : Most of the restaurants listed below are for the Tokyo area.

  • Famous traditional Japanese restaurants
    Indulge in tofu cuisine, or the greatest soba, tempura and sushi of the Japanese capital
  • Restaurants that make a difference
    Classy restaurants & bars, and hard-to-find foreign cuisines, such as Brazilian, Russian, Middle-Eastern and Vegetarian eateries, or English, Irish and Belgian pubs
  • Recommended chains
    Good and cheap chains of Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Mexican food
  • Restaurants reviews & search engines
    Links to other websites treating of Japanese food
  • Cinema & TV programmes
    Find what's showing on TV and in movie theaters around Japan (Japanese only)
  • Night Clubs in Tokyo
    Find out where are the gaijin-friendly clubs and bars in the Japanese capital

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