Japan is a timeless gem situated in the Pacific Ocean’s immense vastness. The country is a lovely blend of ancient customs and modern lifestyles. On the one hand, you can marvel at the wonders of advanced technology by riding in one of Japan’s famous bullet trains, and on the other hand, you can learn about the country’s rich traditional heritage by visiting century-old temples and night markets that offer a variety of delectable delicacies prepared using centuries-old recipes. In truth, Japan has a wide range of dining options.

Japan has been inhabited since the Upper Paleolithic period (30,000 BC), but the first documented mention of the archipelago dates from the 2nd century AD in a Chinese chronicle (the Book of Han). The kingdoms of Japan were unified under an emperor and the imperial court in Heian-ky between the 4th and 9th century. Political power was held by a series of military dictators (shgun) and feudal lords (daimy) beginning in the 12th century, and enforced by a class of warrior nobility (samurai).

The country was reunified in 1603 under the Tokugawa shogunate, which pursued an isolationist foreign policy after a century of civil conflict. A US fleet forced Japan to open trade with the West in 1854, resulting in the shogunate’s demise and the restoration of imperial power in 1868. During the Meiji period, Japan’s Empire adopted a Western-style constitution and embarked on an industrialization and modernization program.

Japan invaded China in 1937 and entered World War II as an Axis power in 1941, amid a rise in militarism and overseas expansion. Japan surrendered in 1945 after suffering defeat in the Pacific War and two atomic bombings, and was occupied by the Allies for seven years, during which time it adopted a new constitution. Japan has retained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a bicameral legislature, the National Diet, since the 1947 constitution.

Japan is a major power that has been a member of various international organizations since 1956, including the United Nations, the OECD, the G20, and the Group of Seven. Despite having given up the ability to declare war, the country maintains one of the world’s most powerful military, the Self-Defense Forces.

After WWII, Japan had unprecedented economic development, rising to become the world’s second-largest economy by 1972, but has been stagnant since 1995, dubbed the “Lost Decades.” The country’s economy is the third-largest in nominal GDP and the fourth-largest in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) as of 2021.

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Japan, which is ranked “extremely high” on the Human Development Index, has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, despite population decline. Japan has made enormous contributions to science and technology as a global leader in the automobile, robotics, and electronics industries. Japan’s culture, including its art, cuisine, music, and popular culture, which includes strong comic, animation, and video game industries, is well-known around the world.

The first known habitation of the Japanese islands dates back to roughly 30,000 BC, and it was a Paleolithic civilisation. A Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer society characterized by pit living and rudimentary agriculture emerged around 14,500 BC (the start of the Jmon period). Period clay pots are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery. Yayoi people arrived in the archipelago from Kyushu approximately 1000 BC, combining with the Jmon.

The Yayoi period saw the introduction of Chinese and Korean practices such as wet-rice farming, a new kind of pottery, and metallurgy. Emperor Jimmu (grandson of Amaterasu) founded a kingdom in central Japan around 660 BC, according to tradition, thereby beginning a continuous imperial line.

The Chinese Book of Han, completed in 111 AD, is the first written record of Japan. Buddhism was brought to Japan by Baekje (a Korean state) in 552, but China was the primary impact on the development of Japanese Buddhism. Despite early opposition, Buddhism was pushed by the governing class, including leaders such as Prince Shtoku, and began to achieve popular acceptance in the Asuka period (592–710).

In 645, the Taika Reforms decreed that all land in Japan be nationalized and distributed equally among cultivators, as well as the creation of a household registration as the foundation for a new taxation system. The Jinshin War of 672, a terrible war between Prince ama and his nephew Prince tomo, sparked more administrative reforms.

The Taih Code, which combined existing statutes and established the framework of the central and subordinate local administrations, was the culmination of these reforms. The ritsury state, a Chinese-style centralized government system that lasted for half a millennium, was established as a result of these legal reforms.

During the Nara period (710–784), a Japanese state centered on the Imperial Court at Heij-ky marked (modern Nara). With the completion of the Kojiki (712) and Nihon Shoki (720), the period is marked by the emergence of a nascent literary culture, as well as the development of Buddhist-inspired artwork and architecture.

In the years 735–737, a smallpox pandemic is thought to have killed up to one-third of Japan’s population. Emperor Kanmu relocated the capital in 784, eventually settling in Heian-ky (modern-day Kyoto) in 794. This was the start of the Heian period (794–1185), which saw the emergence of a distinct Japanese civilization. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu and the words to Japan’s national hymn “Kimigayo” were penned during this period.

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Japan is made up of 6852 islands that stretch along Asia’s Pacific coast. From the Sea of Okhotsk to the East China Sea, it runs over 3000 km (1900 mi) northeast–southwest. From north to south, the country’s five main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa. To the south of Kyushu, the Ryukyu Islands, which include Okinawa, form a chain. The Nanp Islands are located south and east of Japan’s main islands.

They are collectively referred to as the Japanese archipelago. Japan’s land area is 377,975.24 km2 as of 2022. (145,937.06 sq mi). Japan has the world’s sixth-longest coastline, at 29,751 kilometers (18,486 mi). Japan has the world’s sixth largest Exclusive Economic Zone, encompassing 4,470,000 km2, thanks to its far-flung outlying islands (1,730,000 sq mi).

66.4 percent of the Japanese archipelago is forested, 12.8 percent is agricultural, and 4.8 percent is residential (2002). The landscape, which is predominantly rugged and mountainous, is unsuitable for human habitation. As a result, the habitable zones, which are mostly along the shore, have extremely high population densities: Japan is the 40th most densely inhabited country on the planet.

As of 2010, Honshu had the highest population density of 450 people per square kilometer (1,200 people per square mile), while Hokkaido had the lowest density of 64.5 people per square kilometer as of 2016. In 2014, reclaimed land made up about 0.5 percent of Japan’s total area (umetatechi). Lake Biwa is the country’s largest freshwater lake and an ancient lake.

Because of its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanic eruptions. According to the 2016 World Risk Index, it has the 17th highest natural disaster risk. There are 111 active volcanoes in Japan.

Destructive earthquakes, which frequently result in tsunami, strike many times per century; the 1923 Tokyo earthquake killed more than 140,000 people. The Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995 and the Thoku earthquake of 2011, both of which resulted in a huge tsunami, are two recent big quakes.

Japan’s climate is mostly moderate, however it varies widely from north to south. Hokkaido, in the far north, has a humid continental climate with lengthy, cold winters and hot to cool summers. Although the islands do not receive much precipitation, substantial snowbanks are heavy in the winter.

Northwest winter winds bring heavy snowfall to the Sea of Japan region on Honshu’s west coast during the winter. Because of the foehn, the region sometimes suffers exceptionally hot temperatures in the summer.

The climate in the Central Highland is typical of an inland humid continental climate, with substantial temperature swings between summer and winter. The Seto Inland Sea is protected from seasonal winds by the mountains of the Chgoku and Shikoku areas, resulting in moderate weather all year.

Because to the southeast seasonal breeze, the Pacific coast has a humid subtropical climate with milder winters with occasional snowfall and hot, humid summers. The climate on the Ryukyu and Nanp Islands is subtropical, with warm winters and hot summers. Rainfall is heavy, particularly during the rainy season.

The major rainy season in Okinawa begins in early May, and the rain front travels north gradually. Typhoons frequently deliver heavy rain in the late summer and early fall. Heavy rainfall and rising temperatures, according to the Environment Ministry, have caused problems in the agricultural industry and elsewhere.

On July 23, 2018, a temperature of 41.1 °C (106.0 °F) was recorded in Japan, which was repeated on August 17, 2020. Japan has nine forest ecoregions that represent the islands’ climate and geology.

They range from subtropical wet broadleaf forests in the Ryky and Bonin Islands, to temperate broadleaf and mixed forests in the main islands’ moderate climate zones, to temperate coniferous forests in the northern islands’ cold winter regions. The brown bear, Japanese macaque, Japanese raccoon dog, little Japanese field mouse, and Japanese giant salamander are among the nearly 90,000 species of fauna found in Japan as of 2022.

To conserve vital areas of flora and fauna, as well as 52 Ramsar wetland sites, a wide network of national parks has been established. For their outstanding natural significance, four sites have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Emperor’s power is confined to a ceremonial function in Japan, which is a unitary state and constitutional monarchy.

The Prime Minister of Japan and his Cabinet, whose sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people, hold executive power instead. With his succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 2022, Naruhito succeeded his father Akihito as Emperor of Japan.

The National Diet, a bicameral parliament, is Japan’s legislative body. It is made up of a lower House of Representatives, which has 465 seats and is chosen by popular vote every four years or when the legislature is dissolved, and an upper House of Councillors, which has 245 seats and is elected by popular vote every six years.

Adults over the age of 18 have universal suffrage, and all elected offices are decided by secret ballot. The prime minister, as head of government, has the power to appoint and dismiss Ministers of State, and is appointed by the emperor after being chosen from the Diet members. Fumio Kishida is the Prime Minister of Japan, having won the leadership election for the Liberal Democratic Party in 2021.

Through works such as Kujikata Osadamegaki, the Japanese legal system developed independently during the Edo period, influenced by Chinese law. The legal system has been substantially based on European civil law, particularly German civil law, since the late nineteenth century.

Japan established a civil code in 1896 based on the German Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, which is still in use today with post–World War II changes. The Japanese Constitution, which was adopted in 1947, is the world’s oldest unamended constitution.

The legislature creates statutory law, and the constitution compels the emperor to proclaim legislation passed by the Diet without providing him the power to veto it. The Six Codes are the core body of Japanese statutory law. The Supreme Court, as well as three levels of lower courts, make up Japan’s judicial system.

As of 2022, Japan is the world’s third-largest national economy in terms of nominal GDP, after the United States and China, and the fourth-largest national economy in terms of purchasing power parity, after the United States, China, and India. Japan’s labor force was 67 million people as of 2022. The unemployment rate in Japan is roughly 2.4 percent.

In 2017, approximately 16% of the population lived in poverty. Japan now has the greatest public debt-to-GDP ratio of any developed country, with a national debt-to-GDP ratio of 236 percent in 2017. The Japanese yen is the third-largest reserve currency in the world (after the US dollar and the euro).

In 2018, Japan’s exports accounted for 18.5 percent of GDP. The United States (19.8%) and China (19.8%) were Japan’s largest export markets in 2022. (19.1 percent).

Automobiles, iron and steel goods, semiconductors, and auto parts are the country’s principal exports. China (23.5%), the United States (11%), and Australia (11%) were Japan’s top import markets in 2022. (6.3 percent). Machinery and equipment, fossil fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals, and raw materials for Japan’s industries are the country’s key imports.

In the 2022 ease of doing business ranking, Japan is ranked 29th out of 190 countries. The Japanese version of capitalism has a number of distinguishing characteristics: keiretsu firms are powerful, and lifetime employment and seniority-based career promotion are popular in the Japanese workplace.

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As of 2018, Japan had three of the world’s top ten cooperatives, including the world’s largest consumer cooperative and the world’s largest agriculture cooperative. Japan is a leader in terms of economic freedom and competitiveness. In the 2015–2016 Global Competitiveness Report, it is placed sixth. Japan’s modern culture is a blend of Asian, European, and North American elements.

Ceramics, textiles, lacquerware, swords, and dolls are examples of traditional Japanese arts, as are bunraku, kabuki, noh, dance, and rakugo performances, as well as various practices such as the tea ceremony, ikebana, martial arts, calligraphy, origami, onsen, Geisha, and games.

Japan has a well-developed system for safeguarding and promoting cultural properties and national treasures, both tangible and intangible. UNESCO has inscribed twenty-two sites, eighteen of which are culturally significant, on its World Heritage List.

In the history of Japanese art, there has been a synthesis and struggle between native Japanese and imported concepts. The contact between Japanese and European art has been considerable: ukiyo-e prints, which began to be exported in the 19th century as part of the Japonism movement, had a huge impact on the development of modern art in the West, particularly post-Impressionism. Manga originated in Japan in the twentieth century and has since grown in popularity around the world.

Japanese architecture is a blend of regional and international influences. Wooden or mud plaster houses elevated slightly off the ground with tiled or thatched roofs have long been associated with it. The Ise Shrines have long been regarded as a model of Japanese architecture.

Tatami mats and sliding doors are used in traditional homes and many temple buildings to blur the lines between rooms and indoor and outdoor area. Japan has integrated much of Western modern architecture into its building and design since the 19th century. After WWII, Japanese architects made their mark on the international stage, initially with the work of architects such as Kenz Tange and then with movements such as Metabolism.

Traditional Japanese recipes and local ingredients are used in a wide range of regional specialties. Traditional mainstays include seafood and Japanese rice or noodles. Since its introduction to Japan from British India, Japanese curry has grown in popularity to the point where it can be considered a national cuisine, alongside ramen and sushi.

Wagashi is a term used to describe traditional Japanese sweets. Red bean paste and mochi are utilized as ingredients. Green tea ice cream is one of the more current flavors.

Sake, a brewed rice beverage formed by multiple fermentation of rice, is a popular Japanese beverage. Sake is a brewed rice beverage that normally contains 14–17 percent alcohol and is made by multiple fermentation of rice. Since the late 17th century, beer has been made in Japan. Green tea is grown in Japan and is prepared in a variety of ways, including matcha, which is used in the Japanese tea ritual.

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How To Reach Japan

Travel to Japan, on the other hand, has never been more accessible to the rest of the world. International flights are handled by a number of airports, including those in Tokyo and Osaka, as well as Naha and Fukuoka.

Arriving in Japan by boat is an option for adventurous visitors. With severe competition among airline carriers resulting in an ever-increasing number of inexpensive flights to Japan, what was once a “will-we-ever?” trip has become a “when-shall-we-go?” trip.

1. By Plane

The main airport hubs in Japan are located just outside of Tokyo and Osaka. Narita Airport is located in the adjacent prefecture of Chiba, about an hour’s fast train trip from Tokyo. The airport is justifiably considered as the gateway to Japan, serving most global destinations as well as a host of domestic aircraft.

The development of Haneda, Tokyo’s city airport, has made it possible to fly directly into the metropolis from all over the world. Haneda Airport, formerly a designated domestic hub, has expanded into international flights, allowing travelers to be in the bustling city of Tokyo within half an hour after leaving the airport.

It is now feasible to visit Japan without ever setting foot in Tokyo, which was once unthinkable. Kansai International Airport (KIX) serves the western region of Japan, which includes the tourist-drawing cities of Kyoto and Osaka, as well as the intensely spiritual prefectures of Nara and Wakayama.

The airport is around 50 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station and 75 minutes from Kyoto Station by bullet train. From the enormous snowy island of Hokkaido in the north to industrial Nagoya in the middle and subtropical Okinawa in the south, Japan has a plethora of airports that welcome local and international aircraft. When organizing your trip, offer into which airports will provide you with the most convenient route into Japan.

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2. By Boat

You can also get to Japan by boat. Regular ferries run between the Korean city of Busan and Hakata Passenger Ferry Terminal (southern island of Kyushu), Shimonoseki Kokusai Terminal (southern point of Japan’s main island), and Osaka Port International Ferry Terminal in west Japan, which is surprisingly close to the Japanese archipelago.

The cost of a ticket is mostly determined on the length of your sea legs. High-speed boats can get you from Hakata to Busan in three hours for roughly 13,000 yen; however, a trip to Osaka on the more relaxed Kampu Ferry takes a full twelve hours but is less expensive at under 10,000 yen.

If you chance to be in China, Japan’s larger neighbor, you can also take a three-day ferry ride to the Land of the Rising Sun. Shanghai ferries connect with the ports of Osaka and Kobe in west Japan, as well as Nagasaki and Fukuoka on the southern island, once a week.

While direct cruises to Japan are uncommon, there are several possibilities for circumnavigating the Japanese islands on the waves, including stops in Korea and China.

Best Time To Visit Japan

Spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) are the best times to visit Japan (September to November). This is when Japan is at its most colorful, with delicate cherry blossoms and vivid crimson foliage providing a striking contrast to the landscape. Keep in mind that it may be very crowded at this time.

Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts will find optimal circumstances during the summer months (June to August), but only in the Japanese Alps and Hokkaido’s untamed national parks. The temperature is hot and humid everywhere else.

The rainy season lasts from late May through the middle of June or July. Travel to the north of Japan in the winter for a unique experience (December to February). Although it is snowing, the residents enliven the days with a variety of festivals and events. It’s also a good idea to factor in Japan’s national holidays.

Residents are busy during Shogatsu (Japanese New Year), Obon (mid-August or mid-July, depending on the area), and Golden Week (April 29 to May 5).

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Japan’s Best Tourist Attractions

Many first-time visitors to Japan are startled to hear that, in addition to being one of the world’s most advanced industrialized nations, Japan has a rich and intriguing history dating back thousands of years.

Japan’s Shinto and Buddhist temples were already well-established and attracting pilgrims and patrons for their typically lavish designs and décor even before many of Europe’s most stunning cathedrals were built. At the same time, the country was honing the talents and trades that would lead to prosperity, from excellent porcelains and ceramics to fabrics like silk.

Despite wars and natural disasters, much of this rich culture has been kept (or rebuilt), and a visit to Japan is a wonderful trip. A holiday in Japan is undoubtedly a terrific investment of time and money, with an unending list of top attractions, interesting things to do, and points of interest to explore. Our list of the top tourist attractions in Japan will help you find the best spots to visit in the country.

1. Mount Fuji

Exploring Mount Fuji: A Visitor's Guide | PlanetWare

Mount Fuji (Fuji-san), without a doubt Japan’s most iconic sight, is also the country’s tallest mountain summit. This spectacular and fabled mountain, which rises 3,776 meters above an otherwise fairly flat landscape to the south and east, can be seen from Tokyo, more than 100 kilometers distant.

Mount Fuji has been praised in art and literature for centuries, and it is now regarded such an important world that UNESCO acknowledged its global cultural value in 2013. Mount Fuji, which is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, is ascended by over a million people each summer as a pilgrimage that culminates in a sunrise view from its peak.

While some climbers still start at the bottom, the majority now begin their ascent beyond the halfway point, at the 5th Station, resulting in a more manageable six-hour trek.

Those planning to complete the climb should leave in the afternoon, breaking it up with an overnight climb at one of the “Mountain Huts” created specifically for this purpose. You can go to the summit for the sunrise the next day if you get up early. For many, simply seeing the mountain from afar, or from the safety of a speeding train, is enough to declare “been there, done that.”

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2. Tokyo Imperial

Tokyo Imperial Palace - Shore Excursions Asia

The Imperial Palace, with its famous 17th-century gardens enclosed by walls and moats, is a must-see for anybody visiting the nation’s capital. Don’t let the fact that the majority of the palace is closed to the public (it’s still in use by the Imperial family) deter you; there’s plenty to see just meandering around the grounds.

Visitors are allowed inside the East Higashi-Gyoen Garden and other places that are available to the public as part of an arranged tour, in addition to the many beautiful views of the palace from various points in the surrounding parkland. The famous Nijubashi Bridge, or “double bridge,” is known for its aquatic reflection and offers one of the most picturesque views.

The famous Ginza shopping district is another must-see for tourists visiting Tokyo. The Kabuki-za Theatre, which hosts Kabuki plays, and the Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre, which hosts traditional Azuma-odori dances and Bunraku performances, are both located in this always-bustling area.

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3. Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima

Visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima | Evaneos

While nothing needs to be said about the horrors of Hiroshima’s atomic bombing in August 1945, there is plenty to be said about the remarkable efforts made by this lively city to memorialize the countless victims of the world’s first nuclear attack. Hiroshima, maybe more crucially, has become a symbol of permanent peace.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Ken) is visited by over a million people each year, many of them are from outside of Japan. It is located in the epicenter of the atomic blast in what was once a lively part of the city. A number of significant monuments, memorials, and museums linked to the events of that dreadful day can be found here.

In addition to the grounds and gardens with their vibrant cherry blossoms, the park is home to the Peace Memorial Museum, which houses a number of exhibits on the topic of world peace. The Atom Bomb Dome, the ruins of an administrative structure that was at the center of the explosion, is also located here, as is the Memorial Cenotaph and the Flame of Peace.

4. Kyoto’s Cultural Heritage

Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Kyoto, one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations, gets more than 10 million visitors each year. It is one of the few towns in the country that was spared the ravages of WWII. The majority of them have come to see Kyoto’s beautiful old streets and buildings, most of which has remained unaltered since the Imperial family first settled here over 1,000 years ago.

The city was already Japan’s most important cultural center at the time. This history lives on fact with the city’s several museums and art galleries, each brimming with important sculptures, paintings, and other works of art.

The many well-preserved temples, 30 of which are still in use, and important structures such as the 14th-century Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), famous for its magnificent gold-leaf-clad exterior, are highlights of Kyoto’s Buddhist-influenced architecture.

Nijo Castle, a 17th-century fortification with its original walls, towers, and moat, is also worth a visit. The castle’s gorgeous gates, as well as its palace with superb interior décor, are also worth viewing. The old Kyoto Imperial Palace is another must-see attraction (Kyoto-gosho). It is one of the city’s most visited historic attractions, having been built in AD 794. Finally, no time to Kyoto would be complete without a visit to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. This lovely bamboo area is only a few minutes’ walk from the town center.

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5. Itsukushima Island Shrine

Itsukushima Shrine - GaijinPot Travel

The island of Miyajima, often known as Japan’s Shrine Island, is only a short ferry trip from mainland Hiroshima. Miyajima is best known for the Itsukushima Shrine, a Shinto temple dedicated to the Princess daughters of the wind god Susanoo, which spans 30 square kilometers in Hiroshima Bay.

The majority of the shrine’s buildings, which date from the eighth century, rise out of the waters of a little bay, supported only by piling. At high tide, the effect is breathtaking, giving numerous monuments – including the famous Great Floating Gate (O-Torii) – the appearance of floating on water.

It’s a wonderful area to explore, especially the larger rooms, which are connected by walkways and bridges. The Honden (Main Hall), the Offerings Hall (Heiden), the Prayer Hall (Haiden), and the Hall of a Thousand Mats are only a few of them (Senjokaku).

The shrine’s stage is another prominent feature, where visitors can enjoy traditional dances and musical performances. The island’s beautiful grounds and gardens, which are home to wild deer and numerous bird colonies, are well worth seeing.

Please be aware that substantial repairs at this historic landmark will cause some disruptions and inconvenience from now until 2022.

6. Nara, the Historic Temple City

11 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Nara | PlanetWare

The magnificent unspoiled city of Nara, which has been the center of Japanese culture for centuries, is home to a huge number of historic structures, as well as important national treasures and pieces of art.

Aside from its many historic streets, the city is home to an addition of important old temples. The majestic seventh-century Kofuku-ji Temple, probably the best-known of Nara’s Seven Great Temples, and the beautiful eighth-century Todai-ji (Great East Temple), famous for its massive bronze statue of the Great Buddha (Daibutsu), produced here in AD 749, are among them.

Todai-Great ji’s South Gate is also worth seeing (Nandaimon). This magnificent two-story edifice guards the temple entrance and is supported by 18 columns with two Nio sculptures standing eight meters tall. The Hall of the Great Buddha, the world’s largest timber structure, is also worth mentioning.

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7. Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle: Travel Guide to Japan's Most Visited Castle (History,  Tickets, and Things to Do) | LIVE JAPAN travel guide

Built in 1586 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a famous Japanese warrior and politician, Osaka Castle (saka-j) was the country’s largest and most important castle at the time. Although it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times since then, the current construction, which was built in 1931, is still true to the original.

The massive five-story, 42-meter-tall main tower is one of the highlights of a visit. The tower, which stands on a 14-meter-high stone base, houses a number of exhibits about the castle and the city’s history. Visit the top level for spectacular views of Osaka, which are especially appealing as the sun sets.

The Hokoku Shrine is also worth visiting at Osaka Castle Park, as is Osaka’s most well-known temple, Shitenn-ji, which dates from AD 59. This gorgeous shrine, which includes a five-story pagoda and a number of other exquisitely adorned buildings, is known as Japan’s earliest Buddhist temple. The Golden Pavilion (Kond), with its superb statues and paintings; the Lecture Hall (Kd); and a lovely covered hallway connecting three of the site’s gates are just a few of them.

8. The Japanese Alps and the Chbu-Sangaku National Park

Chūbu-Sangaku National Park - Wikipedia

Many of Japan’s remarkable natural features have been recognized as national parks or, in certain circumstances, as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Chbu-Sangaku National Park in Honshu’s center is one of the country’s most spectacular. The Hida Mountains, or Japanese Alps, are a series of mountains that may be found in the park’s northern and central parts.

Hotaka, at 3,190 meters, and Yari, at 3,180 meters, are two of the country’s highest peaks in this region. The Japanese Alps are similar to the Alps of Central Europe in many ways, including the character of the scenery and the availability of snow in winter. They draw significant numbers of walkers and climbers in the summer and skiers in the winter.

The park’s diverse flora and animals, which includes uncommon ptarmigan and mountain antelopes found at higher elevations, are particularly interesting. The park’s numerous hot springs also attract visitors, leading to the establishment of a number of spas and vacation resorts, the most well-known of which is Kamikchi.

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