If you want to enjoy bits of history, landscapes, shopping, and culture in one package, a tour to Japan will do it for you. This land of sunrise has everything that will drive a tourist crazy –starting from breathtaking scenery, to one of the deepest scars of humanity, to some of the amazing temples and shrines in the world. Surely, a tour to Japan is bound to become a memorable time in your life.
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History of Japan
The country has been ruled by several dynasties and kingdoms for several centuries. However, from the middle of the nineteenth century, Japan embraced the western science and technology and made tremendous improvement in that field. Even today, Japanese technology is revered all across the globe.
What to see in Japan
There are so many things to see in Japan that the list can be too long to complete within a single trip. However, here is a description of some of the major Japanese tourist attractions that will give you an overall idea about the diversity and beauty that the country holds.
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Japan has a long and enduring history. As the country is far off from the mainland of Asia, the country has witnessed foreign influences in fits and starts. Since the earliest stages of the Japanese history, the country was ruled by the mighty empires and kingdoms. So, it’s no wonder that the country will have several exciting castles. Unfortunately, most of the castles in Japan were destroyed during the WW II. Now, there are 12 castles in Japan that are considered original and four of them are located in the Shikoku Island.
Historical sites in Japan
Apart from the castles, there are many other historical sites that you can visit in your tour to Japan. For instance, there are several reconstructed castles that are rebuilt in the recent times. However, many of these reconstructed castles have original structures within them and many of them attract a huge number of tourists. Apart from the reconstructed castles, there are numerous historical ruins that you can visit in your tour to Japan. The most significant among the ruins are the Tsuyama Castle.
Gardens to visit in Japan
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Another place that you must visit during your tour to Japan is the gardens. In fact, the country is famous for the gardens and there are numerous of them that are simply stunning with their landscapes and aesthetics. Some of the temples, especially the Zen Buddhism temples, have sand and rock gardens. The most famous gardens in Japan are Koke-dera, Kenrokuen, Kairakuen, Korakuen, and Ritsurin Park.
Spiritual Spots in Japan
Japan has a long and humble spiritual history. In fact, the country is so full of monasteries, temples and shrines that it is almost impossible to arrange a tour to Japan without visiting any of them at all. The most common spiritual influence in Japan is that of Buddhism and Shinto. Buddhism certainly has the profoundest impact on the Japanese culture. Some of the most sacred Buddhist sites are located on Mount Koya, Mount Hiei, and Mount Osore. Apart from that, some famous Buddhist temples are situated in Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura, and Horyuji.
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The native religion of Japan is Shintoism. The holiest places for Shinto religion are Grand Ise Shrine and Izumo Shrine. Apart from that, there are shrines in Nikko, and Kyoto. In Japan, there are several places that are significant for Christians. The first ever church in Japan was located in Yamaguchi. Apart from that, Nagasaki, Hara castle in Shimabara, Martyrdom museum and memorial park in Fujisawa are some of the places that have bore the history of Christianity in Japan. You can also find some Confucian temples in Japan.
World War II sites
One of the unmistakable tourist attractions in Japan is the infamous World War II sites – Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are several museums and sites in these two cities that preserve the grim past. These two cities are the only ones that are ever hit by the atom bomb and you can still see the impact that the bomb made thanks to the peace parks. Another important war site in Japan is Naha, the capital of Okinawa. This is where some of the fiercest battles between Japan and USA were fought.
Nature in Japan
If you love nature, you can enjoy its pristine beauty during your tour to Japan. One of the most famous tourist spots in Japan is certainly Mount Fuji. If adventure is your passion, you can trek through the trails to reach this highest peak of Japan. Almost two thirds of the country is covered with hills, mountains and forests and the country offers stunning diversity in terms of natural landscapes. In Japan, you can enjoy the subarctic climate and flora and fauna in Hokkaido as well as the sub-tropic nature in Okinawa. Shirakami Sanchi, a mountain range with a large natural forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan. Another world heritage site by UNESCO for its natural significance is Yakushima Island.
Cities to see in Japan
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For most of the tourists, their tour to Japan begins in Tokyo. Apart from being the capital of Japan, Tokyo is also one of the greatest cities of Asia. You can arrange day trips to Nikko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Kamakura from Tokyo. In Tokyo, you should also take a ride on the superfast bullet trains. Another great city to visit in your Japan tour is the Kyoto. The city has several historical sites, temples and palaces that have survived the ravages of war.
Another big city in Japan is Osaka. The great thing about the city is the confluence of the Japanese tradition and the modern economy. Nara is another city that you may visit in your trip to Japan. It was the capital of Japan once and the city is full of shrines. Other important cities of Japan include Kawasaki, Yokohama, Sendai, Saitama, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sapporo etc.
When you are in Japan, you must visit the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. Mount Fuji is not only the most famous mountain of Japan, it is also very sacred, and you can have a magnificent view of the mountain from this national park.
Finally, in your tour to Japan, enjoy the culture, cuisine and landscapes of the country.