Famed for not only its massive modern cities and atmospheric old temples but its iconic landscapes, delicious cuisine, and fascinating pop culture; Japan really is like no other country. Offering up an intriguing mix of old and new, the enormous island country certainly has something for everyone to enjoy with tantalizing traditions and new technologies to be explored alongside historic shrines and soaring skyscrapers.
Located just off of the eastern coast of mainland Asia, the Land of the Rising Sun lies in the Pacific Ocean with its 6,852 islands stretching over 3,000 kilometers from end to end. Making up almost all its landmass are its four largest and most important islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. As the archipelago is mostly coated in pristine forests and majestic mountains, the majority of Japan’s population resides in densely populated cities along its indented coastline.
The largest of these is of course its teeming capital Tokyo which is remarkably the world’s most-populous metropolis. Here visitors can find not only an almost endless array of excellent restaurants and interesting neighborhoods to explore but all kinds of scenic streetscapes and tourist attractions that include the Sensoji Temple, Tokyo Tower, and Toyosu Market.
After the fast-paced and frenetic Tokyo, the cultural capital of the country Kyoto often comes as a welcome change thanks to all its gorgeous temples, palaces, and gardens. Both Nikko and Nara also have lots of amazing monuments and mausoleums to stop by as does Kamakura on the coast which is known for its big bronze Buddha and breathtaking beaches. The other two main cities that people head to are Hiroshima for its moving museums and memorials and the dynamic Osaka, which is the best place to eat, drink and party in Japan.
Besides experiencing its neon-clad skyscrapers and shrines, it is well worth venturing off to explore some of the country’s striking landscapes, scenery, and nature. Aside from the iconic and unmissable Mount Fuji, many soak in relaxing hot springs, ski amidst Hokkaido’s snow-clad mountains or hike along age-old pilgrimage paths with Okinawa’s beautiful beaches also being a popular draw.