Published 23rd October 2019
Japan is like no other country on this planet. In Japan you can buy anything your heart desires from a vending machine, you can go to a café specifically to play with cats, and you can pay good money to sleep in a coffin-sized room in a capsule hotel. And that’s not even mentioning all the natural beauty and historical magnificence of the country. So if you were lucky enough to teach English in Japan, where would the best places be to go on your holidays? We’ve got you covered. Here are the best places to visit in Japan.
Tokyo is the city of all cities. Skyscrapers next to temples, restaurants wherever you look, outrageous fashionistas on every corner. A visit to Japan wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the capital city. But while you are there, be sure to visit Shibuya crossing. Also known as the Scramble Crossing, it is one of the most iconic sights of Japan. If you can imagine 2.8 million people walking over this crossing every day, then you have an idea of the chaos.
Another must-visit city is Kyoto. While Tokyo exudes everything modern about Japan, Kyoto is as traditional as Japan is going to get. Gold and silver shrines, Zen gardens, tea ceremonies and geishas walking the streets, this is the place for culture vultures to go. Downtown Kyoto is the same as many other cities in Japan, but head out to the suburb of Arashiyama to walk through the famous bamboo groves.
If you’re looking for cherry blossoms, look no further than Hitsujiyama Park. From late April to early May, Hitsujiyama Park is an explosion of pink, red, white and violet, all set against the backdrop of the equally impressive Mount Buko.
If you’re up for a bit of a climb, Mount Fuji is the place to go. The climbing season for Japan’s largest volcano runs from July until September. Mount Fuji might be the tallest mountain in Japan but many people don’t realise that it’s actually a volcano!
Did you know Japan has some of the most beautiful beaches? Not many people do, but if it’s the beach life you’re after, head to Ishigaki. Located just west of Okinawa, Ishigaki is Japan’s most popular beach area.
A bit of an odd choice, yes, but hear us out. Hiroshima is less than fifty years old but it has seen more action than cities hundreds of years older. On August 6 1945 Hiroshima became the first city to be hit by an atomic bomb. The obvious attraction here is the iconic Peace Park, where you can see buildings which survived the attack, chat to survivors who are now volunteer tour guides, and pay your respects.
While you’re in the area of Hiroshima, take a few days to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Miyajima Island. This is where you will find the historic Itsukushima Shrine. Never heard of it? Maybe not, but you’ve probably seen photos of its red tori gate which looks to be floating in the water of the Inland Sea.
Jigokudani Monkey Park
Jigokudani Monkey Park is home to the famous Snow Monkeys. If you take a walk through the park you’ll come to a man-made hot pool which is the favourite place for the Snow Monkeys to bathe. Though they are there year-round, it’s best to visit in January and February when the park (and the monkeys) are covered in snow.
If you’re in Japan in April be sure to visit Yoshino to be inspired by the beauty of the cherry blossoms. Quite rightly Japan’s most famous cherry blossom destination, Yoshino boasts thousands of cherry trees in blossom, forming a gorgeous floral carpet up the mountains.
To be honest, there are so many unbelievable places to visit in Japan, it’s difficult to limit them to the few that are on this list. These are our choices but if you do your research you’ll soon realise that there are many other beautiful sights worth seeing in Japan.