Japan Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Japan

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Mount Fuji thumbnail
Mount Fuji
Like a king resplendent in all his glory, Mount Fuji stands majestically and proudly covered in a robe of snow. And like courtiers of old, artists, mountain climbers, and nature lovers from Japan and the whole world come and pay homage to its stately beauty and grace. So much so that it is hailed as one of Japan's best attractions. No visit to Japan is ever the same without a visit to Mount Fuji.

Some say that the word "Fuji" actually means "not" and "two", which further goes to mean "no equal". And indeed, there is no other mount to equal Mount Fuji in all Japan. Not only is it the country's highest mountain at 3,776 meters, it is also blessed with a perfectly symmetrical cone. It is the crowning jewel of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.

Mount Fuji is actually a volcano (a dormant one, at that) that last erupted some 300 years ago. Located west of Tokyo, one can see the mount from there on clear days... read more arrow
7.4 /10
Let's take in a little bit of history. Back in 794 A.D. Kyoto stood as Japan's capital. It served as such until 1867, when the capital was moved to Tokyo. As a commemoration of Kyoto's glory days and to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the establishment of Kyoto, the people built the Heian Shrine in 1895. It features a 2/3 scale recreation of the Imperial Palace of the State Hall (Daigoku-den-den) and was dedicated to Emperor Kanmu and Emperor Komei, the first and last emperors to rule while Kyoto was the country's capital. These emperors were deified according to Shinto beliefs.

The Heian Jingu is a Shinto shrine which contains a number of fascinating examples of Japanese architecture. Aside from the Daigoku-den-den (which is the main hall), there are other buildings that are also 2/3 scale reconstitutions that hark back to the golden era of Kyoto... read more arrow
7.4 /10
Kiyomizudera (Kiyomizu-dera) in eastern Kyoto, Japan, is a place for romantics – lovers, poets – and those who believe in wishes coming true. Its trees not only bloom with cherry blossoms but also of paper wishes hung there by the hopefuls who come to the temple to pray for love, prosperity, long life and success. Millions visit this beloved temple compound every year to find peace and an answer to their heart's desire.

Kiyomizudera ("Pure Water Temple") is named after the three streams that flow into Otowa-no-taki (Sound of Feathers), a waterfall inside the temple compound. Its waters are believed to have healing properties. Drink even as you pray for the blessings of the temple deities to be bestowed upon you.

The Hondo (Main Hall) is an example of architecture during the Heian period. You can take a look at some 30 paintings that adorn the outer hall. Inside the hall are stunning gold leaf images and an image of Kannon, the diety of Mercy who is said to have the power to grant true happiness, and the Kanzeon-Bosatsu, an eleven-headed, thousand armed diety... read more arrow
7.4 /10
Paying respect to the gods. The pursuit of true happiness. Pitching coins for good luck. These are the main elements that come into place at the Asakusa Shrine and Complex in Tokyo, Japan.

The Asakusa Shrine pays homage to the three men who established the Senso-ji temple nearby. The story says that over a thousand years ago, two brothers, Hinokuma Takenari and Hinokuma Hamanari, were fishing one day when they found a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of Mercy. The village chief, Haji no Nakatomo, saw this as an important sign and had the Senso-ji temple built. The two brothers converted to Buddhism and spent the rest of their lives advancing this religion. Up to now, these three devoted men are revered and considered as deities themselves. That is why the shrine is also nicknamed Sanja-sama or the shrine of the three gods... read more arrow
7.4 /10
A national treasure ensconced in a picturesque garden and hectares upon hectares of shady trees, the Meiji Jingu Shrine is Tokyo's largest. This shrine is also among the country's most sacred shrines and is one of three Imperial Shrines (or jingu). It is built in the middle of the Yoyogi Park, making it a tranquil oasis amidst the urban sprawl that is Tokyo.

The shrine was built in 1920 to honor the lives of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. The Emperor Meiji is instrumental in bringing Japan to the forefront as an economic power. He also laid the groundwork for the opening of Japan to the rest of the world. For his accomplishments, the emperor was revered and loved by his people.

The Meiji Jingu is a testament to the beauty and grace of Japanese shrine architecture. Its simple yet elegant lines and muted colors offer a startling yet fascinating contrast to the modern buildings of the Tokyo skyline... read more arrow
7.4 /10
Experience history as you walk along Nijo Castle's nightingale floors. With every few steps, the floors give a squeak, announcing to everyone that someone is on the prowl. The nightingale floors also tell a story – about power and history – that revolves around the castle and those that built it. Nijo Castle is a magnificent landmark of the Tokugawa Shogunate's rise to ascendancy. It is designed to awe and impress, and it continues to do so, even up to now.

Nijo Castle is located in the center of Kyoto and is composed of the Ninomaru Palace, the Honmaru Palace, which each has a wall and a wide moat. Other support buildings between the two fortifications include the kitchens, the guard house, the carriage porch and some gardens. At present, there are mannequins placed at specific areas to give you a more complete picture of life at the Nijo Castle during the time of the Shogunate... read more arrow
7.4 /10
Here's one perk of being a shogun: When you retire, you get to do it in style. Take, for example, the retirement villa that Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu built. Kinkakuji (or Kinkaku-ji), Yoshimitsu's famous Golden Pavilion, literally shimmers and shines. Lavishly coated in gold leaf and set amidst lush gardens and tranquil pond, the image it presents is simply breathtaking. "Wow" doesn't quite say it.

Located in Kyoto, Japan, Kinkaku-ji is more formally known as Rokuon-ji (the Deer Garden Temple). It was built in 1397 and was part of Yoshimitsu's estate. However, after the Shogun's death and in compliance to his will, the villa was converted into a temple, Today, it is a branch temple of the Zen temple of Shokoku-ji and houses priceless treasures – the sacred relics of Buddha. It is also a temple dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy... read more arrow
7.3 /10
Museums and cherry trees galore! These are what await you at Ueno Park. It offers a veritable smorgasbord of visual delights – art, architecture, nature – all rolled into one.

Ueno Park is a large park found at the Ueno section of Taito-ku in Tokyo. The park's official name is Ueno Onshi Koen, which means "Ueno Imperial Gift Park". An appropriate name, as this was established by an imperial land grant from the Emperor Taisho. It officially opened in 1873 and is Tokyo's first public park.

At this park, you get to feast your eyes on the extensive collections housed at the Orient Museum, the Tokyo National Museum, the Tokyo National Science Museum, the Shitamachi Museum, and the National Museum of Western Art. Whew! That is quite a collection!

These museums offer some of the best collections of Japanese art and culture in Tokyo... read more arrow
7.3 /10
The Tokyo Tower is Japan's answer to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It soars above the Tokyo metropolis, a symbol of Japan's reemergence as a major economic power after the devastation of World War II. At night, the tower casts a bright glow that beckons and invites, making it one of Japan's most popular tourist attractions.

The Tokyo Tower is located at Minato-ku, Tokyo and serves two purposes – landmark and broadcasting antenna. Thus, it is painted white and international orange, in compliance to aviation safety regulations. It is a candid copy of the Eiffel Tower, but at 333 meters, the Tokyo Tower is higher than its European counterpart. It also makes it the highest self-supporting iron tower in the world. However, it is lighter, weighing only around 4,000 tons. The advances in steel manufacturing have made it some 3,000 tons lighter than the Eiffel Tower... read more arrow
6.8 /10
What do seafaring, song and peace have in common? Well, if you go and visit one of Osaka's famous shrines, you will see that these three qualities are encapsulated in the Sumiyoshi Taishi Shrine, which is dedicated to the patrons of the sea. Fishermen, sailors and travelers venerate this shrine and fervently pray for safe travel and protection for their vessels. Legend has it that the empress Jingo had the shrine built in 211 as an expression of thanksgiving for a safe journey to Korea.

This Shinto shrine is one of Japan's most popular, so much so that there are 2,000 so named shrines all over Japan. As with the original, these shrines are invariably built close to the docks, so that sailors and travelers can readily visit and pay their respects to the gods guarding their vessels.

The original Sumiyoshi Taisha, located in Osaka, Japan, is the most important Sumiyoshi shrine. It is also one of the country's oldest shrines, having been established in the 3rd century, way before Buddhism was introduced into the country... read more arrow

* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

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