April 28, 2015

Top Attractions in Japan


The Japanese flag

First visit: July 2009
Photography by Arthur Jeciel

I have been to Japan a lot of times in the past, sometimes just staying a night or two in the capital Tokyo and other times staying for about two weeks exploring the land. Last month, I was in Japan again together with the Singelresor group where our itinerary included visiting different cities like Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Kobe, Nagoya and Tokyo. This was pretty much the same program Michael and I did when we visited this country for the first time in 2009, although during that time, we were also able to visit Nara. Here are some of my tips if you are planning to visit this magnificent land where in my opinion, politeness, helpfullness and cleanliness is a standard among the people.



The Osaka Castle houses an informative museum which is definitely worth a visit.

Floating Garden Observatory gives you a 360-degree view of the city of Osaka. When you visit this structure at night, you get to enjoy the Lumi Skywalk (rooftop). For more tips on what to do in Osaka, please check my blog 4 Days in Osaka.

Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter is a beautifully preserved historical district worth visiting. Here, we took a boat tour along the canal which we really enjoyed.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum: Inside the museum's main building, you will find displays of A-bomb artifacts and materials specifically designed to convey the events and conditions in Hiroshima in August 6, 1945, the day when the world's first atomic bomb was used.

A-bomb Dome was the only structure left standing in this area of Hiroshima where the first atomic bomb exploded.

The O-torii Gate in Miyajima Island stands in the sea about 16.8 meters in height. Once in the island, you can visit the famous shrines like the Itsukushima Shrine, Daishoin Temple, Toyokuni Shrine and many more.

Hiroshima Castle, also called the Carp Castle

The Peace Bell established by the A-bomb Survivor Hiroshima Hope Fruition Society

Kobe Port Tower will give you great views of the city of Kobe.

The world famous Kobe Beef: I've eaten a lot of steak when I was in Argentina last year but this beef is definitely the best I have ever tasted.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of its vermilion torii gates.

The Golden Pavilion is a Buddhist hall containing relics of Buddha

Kiyomizu Temple, founded in 780AD, this temple is really very old and beautiful and not to be missed when in Kyoto.

Nishiki Market: With more than one hundred shops and restaurant, you will surely find something to take home with you. This market is also called Kyoto's Kitchen.

The Geishas of Kyoto: You will need luck to see them. Well, I guess I got lucky that time ;)

If you love Japanese kimono, then make sure you go to one of those Kimono shows

Gion, with its old wooden buildings and teahouses, this is also known as the Geisha district.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is so beautiful you just don't want to miss it when in Kyoto.

Taking the Arashiyama Romantic Train is quite an adventure and gives you breathtaking views of Hozugawa River

Visiting Nara is a must when in Japan with its eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and very friendly deers.

Tojinbo Cliffs pretty much reminded me of the Jusangjeolli Cliffs we visited in Jeju Island a few years ago.

The Nagamachi Samurai houses have been well preserved mostly because this area has not been affected by fire.

Kenrokuen Garden, a very beautiful Japanese garden worth visiting specially during the cherry blossoms season.

The Gassho style settlement in Shirakawago is very unique and definitely worth a visit.

Takayama Jinya (Governors House) is designated as a National Historic Site and is the only existing building of its kind in Japan.

Central Park in Nagoya

Nagoya Tower which is located  close to the Central Park

Nagoya Castle

Mount Fuji, one of the most beautiful volcanoes and among the most climbed in the world.

Akihabara, the electronics district in Tokyo

Asakusa Temple is one of the most visited temples in Tokyo. Lots of shops around the temple too.

Rainbow Bridge is really beautiful at night so make sure you find time to visit this manmade Island, Odaiba.

Tokyo Tower giving you a wonderful view of the city

Tokyo Sky Tree is a much newer tower to visit if you want to have great views of the city.

Tsukiji Fish Market: You should actually be here at around 5am to witness the bidding, otherwise you can also watch a video (the way I did) since it is very interesting.

Shibuya Crossing: It is a bit crazy watching the "action" in the world's busiest intersection but it is worth it.

Taking the Shinkansen: During our visit in 2009, we were able to take this super fast train a lot of times thanks to the special offer for tourists where you can purchase a ticket (outside Japan) for a very good price.

Eating Japanese food like Okonomiyaki or Japanese Pancake (above picture), shabushabu (thinly sliced beef boiled in water), Yakiniku (grilled meat), sushi, sashimi, etc.

Cherry Blossoms in Japan is just so beautiful so if you happen to be there during this season, I am sure you will enjoy it.

Fukuoka Tower: From the observation deck, you will be able to have a great view of the city.

Fukuoka  Yafuoku! Dome: This is the place if you are a baseball fan and would love to see a game.