Going Places in Japan (My Idea for Japan Travel)
Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
48Trip End May 17, 2013
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Table of Contents
1. Useful Links for International Travellers to Japan
2. My Past Destinations And Recommendations
3. Michelin Green Guide Japan Recommendations
4. Tourist Attraction Rankings
6. One Traveller's Tip
Disclaimer: This is not a blog about my hometown, Taketoyo, but the pictures here are all from Taketoyo. Taketoyo has few tourist attractions, but it is the base of my all trips. If you happen to get a chance to visit Taketoyo, please check out the pictures with captions.
1. Useful Links for International Travellers to Japan
JNTO: Japan National Tourism Organization
If you have already decided where you go in Japan, search the index of this website for detailed information. There are also plenty of beautiful pictures and videos.
Timely information is updated frequently. Check out seasonal information on this site to enjoy cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, or festivals.
It is a comprehensive guide for Japan travellers
Visit Japan Channel
This channel on You Tube is operated by JNTO, including more than 300 videos related to Tourism of Japan in several different languages.
Japan in Motion
The website includes a great number of miscellaneous videos about Japan. It is best to watch them when you have plenty of spare time.
This is my favorite website about travel stories from Japan. There are some interesting videos in which two British introduce Japan, travelling around the country and talking with native Japanese. You can find more related videos on YouTube.
There are seventeen videos related to attractions of Tokyo.
Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Travel Forum
This is the most reliable BBS, when you cannot find information you need. If you post a question on the BBS, those who have travelled to Japan or native Japanese kindly answer your question.
2. My Past Destinations and Recommendations in Japan
I would like to summarise the tourist sites I have ever visited in Japan here. I have travelled not only internationally, but also domestically over the 35 years of my early life. Japan is definitely a part of the world and without Japan, the world does't complete (as a matter of course). So my country is also important as one of my destinations. Unfortunately, I have not blogged about all the destinations, but before I forget where I visited, I would like to jot down at least the names of all the places, events, and things. From the northernmost and easternmost part of Japan, Hokkaido, to the southernmost and westernmost part of Okinawa, I listed as many places as possible below. The sites typed in bold face are personal recommendations to visit.
Prefectures (I have visited all the 47 prefectures.)
2. Aomori (Nebuta Festival, Mt. Osore, Lake Towada & Oirase Stream, Shirakami Mountain Range & Anmon Waterfalls, Hirosaki)
3. Akita (Nyuto Onsen Hot Spring Resort, Alpa Komakusa, Kakunodate)
4. Iwate (Hiraizumi Chusonji Temple)
5. Miyagi (Sendai Weaver Festival, Zuiganji Temple, Matsushima, Zuihoden Mausoleum)
6. Yamagata (Zao Soft Rime, Zao Onsen Hot Spring Shimonoyu, Yamadera, Shinjo Station Mogami Experience Hall)
7. Fukushima (Aizuwakamatsu Castle)
8. Ibaraki (Tsukuba Research Centre, Tsukuba University Canteen, Gym & Medical Library, PT Practicum)
9. Tochigi (Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Rinnohji Temple & Taiyuin Mausoleum, Futarasan Shrine)
10. Gunma (Oze National Park, Kusatsu Yubatake, Sai-no-Kawara Park & Spa, Kusatsu Visitor Centre, Kusatsu Onsen Museum, Shirahata-no-Yu Spa & Yoritomo Shrine, Kosenji Temple, Netsu-no-Yu Yuami Show)
12. Saitama (Tokorozawa, Waseda Medical Care College)
13. Tokyo (Mitaka Gymnasium, NAS Kichijoji, Yotsuya, Sotobori Park, Sanada Moat Cherry Blossoms, Myogadani, Dormitory Roppongi Dance Party, Kanda Antique Book Stores, Meiji University Canteen, Gakushuin University, Odaiba Shiokaze Park, Gundam & The Statue of Liberty, Asakusa Hanayashiki, Asakusa Rockza Theater, Sensoji Temple, Mitaka-no-Mori Ghibli Museum, Sumida River Firework Display, Tokyo Great Firework Display, Koganei Edo Tokyo Outdoor Architectural Museum, Tokyo Dome, Korakuen Amusement Park, Kodokan, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Tower, National Diet Building, Ueno Zoological Park Panda, Ueno Park, Meiji Grand Shrine, Hibiya City Ice Skating Rink, Tokyo Dome Skating Rink, Tsukiji Fish Market & Honganji Temple, Hotel New Otani, Akasaka Prince Hotel Cake Buffet, Ameyoko Shopping Street, Yasukuni Shrine, Yushima Tenjin Shrine, Yushima Seido Holy Temple, Tsukishima Monja Street, Akihabara Electric Town & Maid Cafe, Chinzanso Garden, National Museum of Western Art, Yoyogi Park, Yoyogi Olympic Pool, Kishi Memorial Physical Education Hall, The Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine Congress in Tokyo International Forum, Nihon Budokan Hall Judo Meet, Shimokitazawa, Torasan Museum, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Joypolice, Shibamata Taishakuten Temple, Shinjuku Hanazono Shrine, Komabano Park & Gymnasium, National Centre for University Entrance Examinations, Keio University Judo Practice, Keio University Medical Library, Waseda University, Harajuku Takeshita Street, NHK Studio Park, Akasaka Detached Palace Geihinkan, Rikkyo University National Licensure Examination, Takushoku University, Meisei University Summer School Session, Machida, Haneda Airport, Shinjuku Takadanobaba & Kanda LEC, Imperial House Marathon, University Lantern Procession, Sophia Nanzan Exchange Meeting, St
14. Kanagawa (Yokohama Chinatown, Yamashita Park, Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum, Miura Coast, Kamakura Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Kotokuji Temple Great Buddha, Hasedera Temple, Enoshima Island, Hakone Open-Air Museum Sculptures, Hakone Owakudani & Kowakien, Sophia Junior Collage Hadano Campus Orientation Camp & Humanics Class, Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel, Yokohama Municipal Sport Medical Centre, Tokai University Gym, Yokosuka Naval Port Cruise, Mikasa Park & Battleship Mikasa, Verny Park, Zushi Beach Yabusame & Samurai Procession, Minato Mirai 21 & Red Brick Warehouses)
15. Yamanashi (Fujikyu Highland Amusement Park)
16. Nigata (Oze Toden Lodge, NJA Britten-Norman Islander, Futatsu-game, Ono-game, Nanaura Coast, Meoto Rocks, Nishimikawa Gold Park, Yajima & Keijima Tub Boat Ride, Osado Skyline & Hakuundai Observatory, Sado Gold Mine, Senkaku Bay Park, Toki-no-Mori Forest Park, Mt
17. Toyama (Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Kurobe Dam, Murodo Nature Preservation Centre, Bijo-Daira Plateau)
18. Ishikawa (Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa Castle Park, New Year Ceremony of Kanazawa Fire Department Brigades, Myoryuji Temple, The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa Noh Museum, Higashi Chaya District & Teahouse Shima, Kazuemachi Chaya District, Omi-cho Market, Hakusan Super Rindo Forest Road, Ubagataki Waterfalls & Oyadani-no-Yu Hot Spring, Fukube Waterfalls)
19. Fukui (Fukui Academic Meeting)
20. Nagano (Tsumago, Komoro Judo Camp, Karuizawa, Kamikochi, Zenkoji Temple, Yamanouchi Jigokudani Hot Spring, Matsumoto)
21. Gifu (Nenoue Highland Camp Site, Gifu Castle, Nagaragawa Fireworks Display, Takayama Sanmachisuji District, Akigami Hot Spring, Shirakawa-go, Magome, Shin Hotaka Ski Resort, Sekigahara Skating Rink, Ota Post Town, Tajimi, Mt. Hatofuki, Nagaragawa Cormorant Fishing, Kiso Sansen National Government Park, Aqua Toto Gifu, Honokidaira Ski Resort, Lake Miboro, Asahigaoka High School Open-air School, Mino Japanese Paper Lantern Art Museum & Festival, Meitetsu Mino Ex-Station Museum, Kawaminato Lighthouse, Mino Bridge, Seki Swordsmith Museum, Seki Cutlery Festival, Gero Spa Resort with Hunsenchi Spa, Hakuun-za Theatre, Shohoji Temple Great Buddha, Gifu Self Defence Base Air Show 2011, Takayama Historical Government House & Morning Market, Kusakabe Folk Museum, Hirayu Folk Museum & Hirayu-no-yu Hot Spring, Shin-Hotaka Onsen Hot Spring, Shin-Hotaka Ropeway, Sengokuench Nature Park, Sangakukan Shin-Hotaka Visitors' Centre Photo Exhibition)
23. Aichi (Nagoya Castle, Atsuta Grand Shrine, Nagoya Port Aquarium, Osu Kannon Temple, Higashiyama Zoo & Botanic Garden, Mizuho Athletic Stadium, Nagoya Ballpark, Nagoya Dome, Noritake Square, Fujimae Tidal Wetland, Nagoya Design Expo, Love the Earth Expo, Mt. Sangane Skyline, Kiyosu, Noma Daibo Temple, Tokishi Kannon Temple, Chita Shikoku Pilgrimage, Meijimura Museum, Little World Museum, Inuyama Castle, Japan Monkey Park, Minamichita Beachland, Tokoname Motorboat Race, Bolshoi Circus, Ichinomiya Star Festival, Sophia Nanzan Exchange Meeting, Takeshima Island, Tsushima Tennoh Festival, Shurakuen Giant Buddha & Autumn Leaves, Shinnittetsu Festival, Souri Pond Plum Forest, Agui Industrial Festival, Agui Town Marathon, Agui Sports Village, Higashiura Grape Picking, Wind Ensemble Tokai Concert, Oike Park, Red Brick Beer Factory Ruin, Niimi Nankichi Memorial Museum, Yakachi River Cluster Amaryllis, World Collaboration Festival 2009, Kainan Kodomonokuni Park, Kariyado Park, Okazaki Iwazu Tenmangu Shrine, Okazaki Castle, Mikawabushi and Ieyasu Museum, Ieyasu Mechanic Doll, Hekinan Wave Pool, Hekinan Seaside Park & Music Fountain, Ryusenji Temple, Asuke Elementary School Camp, Korankei Snake Centre, Korankei Autumn Leaves Viewing, Atsuta Festival, Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament 2010, Isshiki Giant Lantern Festival, 138 Tower Park, Handa Planetarium, TOYOTA Kaikan Exhibition Hall & Plant Tour, Midland Hall Wildlife Film Festival, TOYOTA Commemorative Museum of Industry And Technology, Toyohashi Fire Festival, Futagawa Honjin Museum, Goyu & Akasaka Post Town, Taketoyo Museum of History And Folklore, Konomiya Hadaka Festival, Kunizakari Sake Museum, Handa Canal, Handa Hina Doll Festival, Handa Carp Stream Display, Mitsukan Museum of Vinegar "Su-no-Sato", INAX World Tile Museum, Takahama Kawara Museum, Nagoya Agricultural Centre Plum Blossoms Viewing, Aichi Health Plaza, Suehiro & Sawatari Parks Company's Cherry Blossom Viewing, Gojo River Cherry Blossom Viewing, Yamazaki River Cherry Blossom Viewing, Tsuruma Park Cherry Blossom Viewing, Nakayama Shinmeisha Shrine, Sumiyoshi Shrine, Mt
24. Mie (Toba Aquarium, Mikimoto Pearl Island, Ise Grand Shrine, Okage Yokocho Corner, Sarutahiko Shrine, Kumano Kodo Ancient Pilgrimage Route, Akame 48 Waterfalls, Nagashima Spaland Swimming Pool, Suzuka Race Circuit, Tsu Kairaku Park, Nabana-no-Sato Flower Garden, Tado Taisha Shrine, Ueno Park, Ueno Castle, Iga-ryu Ninja Museum, Haiseiden Memorial Hall, Seki Post Town, Yokkaichi Plants Night View)
26. Kyoto (Chionin, Uji Byodoin Temple, Kiyomizu Temple, Rokuonji Temple Golden Pavilion, Fushimi Inari Fox Shrine, Toei Uzumasa Movie Land, Ryoanji Temple, Ninnaji Temple, Myoshinji Temple, Nishi Honganji Temple, Amanohashidate View Park & Kasamatsu Park, Motoise Komo Shrine, Arashiyama Togetsukyo Bridge, Tenryuji Temple, Gioji Temple, Jishoji Temple Silver Pavilion, Walk of Philosophy, Gion Shirakawa Cherry Blossoms Night View, Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama Park, Kodaiji Temple Garyu Pond, Tofukuji Temple, Kameyama Park, Jojakkoji Temple, Nonomiya Shrine, Nijo Castle, Nanzenji Temple, Eikan-do Zenrinji Temple, Kyoto Station Skywalk, Sanjusangen-do Hall, Toyokuni Shrine, Hokoji Temple, Heian Jingu Shrine, Kurama Fire Festival, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Hirano Shrine, Sanzen-in Temple, Hosen-in Temple)
27. Nara (Horyuji Temple, Todaiji Temple Giant Buddha, Kofukuji Temple, Nara Park Tokae Festival, Sarusawa Pond, Kasuga Grand Shrine, Murouji Temple, Mt. Yoshino Cherry Blossom Viewing, Yoshimizu Shrine, Mikumari Shrine, Kinpsenji Temple, Yakushiji Temple, Heijokyo Imperial Audience Hall & Suzakumon Gate, Mt. Odaigahara)
28. Osaka (Dotonbori, Universal Studios Japan, Tsutenkaku Tower, All Japan Powerlifting Championship, TOEFL exam, Spa World, Osaka Castle, Breeze Tower, Hanadako Takoyaki, Ikuno & Tsuruhashi Korea Town)
29. Wakayama (Mt.Koya, Okunoin Approach, Kongo Zanmaiin, Nachi Fall, Seigantoji Temple, Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine)
30. Hyogo (Kobe Nanjing Chinatown, Meriken Park, Luminarie, Himeji Castle, Port Pier 81, Human Renovation and Disaster Reduction Institution, Arima Onsen Hot Springs, Maioka)
32. Hiroshima (Hiroshima Castle, Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park & Museum, Miyajima, Itsukushima Shrine, Kiyomori Shrine, Daishoin Temple)
33. Tottori (Tottori Sand Dunes, Sand Art Museum)
34. Shimane (Adachi Museum of Art)
35. Yamaguchi (Kintaikyo Bridge, Boyo Ferry)
36. Kagawa (Ritsurin Garden, Yashima, Kotohira-gu Shrine Omon Gate, Kanamaruza Theatre, Takatoro Stone Lantern, Tanukiya Sanuki Udon Noodle, Sayabashi Bridge)
37. Tokushima (Awaodori Kaikan Hall, Aibahama Park, Oboke Gorge Pleasure Boat, Iya Kazurabashi Bridge, Otsuka Museum of Art, Tea Garden Observatory, Naruto Whirlpool Observation Boat, Great Naruto Bridge Uzu-no-michi)
38. Kochi (Harimaya Bridge, Sunday Market, Katsurahama Beach, Kochi Castle, Hirome Market)
39. Ehime (Matsuyama Castle, Dogo Onsen Hot Spring, Hojoen Square, Bocchan Train)
40. Fukuoka (Seaside Momochi, Fukuoka Dorm, Tsukushi Mayer Meeting, All Mission University Judo Championship, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, Kanko Historical Museum, Dazaifu Tenmangu Museum, Kyushu National Museum, Komyozenji, Canal City Music Fountain)
42. Saga (Yoshinogari Historical Park)
43. Nagasaki (Unzen-dake Disaster Memorial Museum, Mount Unzen Nita Path, Unzen Hell, Unzen Oyamano Johokan Annex, Shinyu Public Bathhouse, Ariake Ferry)
44. Kumamoto (Kurokawa Hot Spring Yamamizuki, Daikanbo Observatory, Kusasenri-ga-Hama, Mount Nakadake Crater, Shirakawa Riverhead, KKR Hotel Kumamoto Castle View, Kumamoto Castle, Kyusho Ferry)
45. Miyazaki (Takachiho Gorge)
46. Kagoshima (Shiratani Cloud Water Valley, Oko Fall, Yakusugi Land, Kigen Ceder, Nagata Inakahama, Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen, Shitogo Banyan Garden, Kagoshima, Saigo Takamori Statue, Nishihonganji Temple Branch, Sakurajima, Sakurajima Lava Nagisa Promenade, Sakurajima Shirahama Onsen Centre, Karasujima Island Observatory)
47. Okinawa (Naha, Shuri Castle, Churaumi Aquarium, Ryukyu Mura, Southeast Botanic Garden, Nakagusuku Castle, Cape Manza, Shikinaen Garden, Seifa-Utaki, Okinawa World & Gyokusendo Cave, Hirakubozaki Lighthouse, Tamatorizaki Lookout, Yaeyama Parm Tree Forest, Kabira Bay, Nagura Anpal, Yaema Village, Nakama River Cruise, Painu Maya, Iriomote Wildlife Preservation Centre, Hamieda Beach, Nagomi Tower, West Pier, Buffalo Car)
All the prefectures have attractions, but I like visiting the places which are unique to Japan
Visitors' Satisfaction Rating Rankings (by Nikkei-R, Japanese website)
1. Iriomote Island (Okinawa)
2. Taketomi Island (Okinawa)
3. Ishigaki Island (Okinawa)
4. Tateyama (Toyama)
5. Northern Alps (Toyama, Nagano, Gifu)
6. Miyakojima Island (Okinawa)
7. Gokayama (Toyama)
8. Kamikochi (Nagano)
9. Oze (Gunma, Fukushima, Nigata)
10. Shiretoko (Hokkaido)
3. Michelin Green Guide Japan Recommendations (destinations given three stars)
1. Kyoto (Sanjusangendo Hall, Kyoto National Museum,Kiyomizu Temple, Ginkakuji Temple, Kinkakuji Temple, Daitokuji Temple, Ryoanji Temple, Katsura Rikyu Detached Palace, Koke-dera (Saihoji Temple), etc. 16 attractions in total)
3. Nara (Todaiji Temple, Horyuji Temple, etc., 7 in total)
4. Miyagi (Matsushima, Zuiganji Temple, etc., 3 in total)
5. Hiroshima (Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima, etc., 3 in total)
6. Kanagawa (Tokeiji Temple, Hokokuji Temple)
7. Hyogo (Himeji Castle)
8. Mie (Ise Grand Shrine)
9. Gifu (Hida Takayama Museum of Art)
10. Shiga (Miho Museum)
11. Ishikawa (Kenrokuen Garden)
12. Tochigi (Nikko Toshogu Shrine)
13. Okayama (Korakuen Garden)
14. Ehime (Dogo Onsen)
15. Fukuoka (Kyushu National Museum)
16. Oita (Hyotan Onsen)
17. Nagano (Binzuru-zonja Statue)
Beautiful Japan video from Visit Japan Channel (1 minute)
Check it out
Japan Tourism Video - Soulful Japan Extended Version (three and a half minutes)
This is the official tourism video of Japan. Unfortunately, there are no narrations and captions in the video. So even if you get interested in a specific site, you cannot see where it is.
4. Tourist Attraction Rankings
I found some rankings of popular tourist destinations. The survey result was intriguing and far from my expectation. To be candid, it includes a lot of destinations which are not interesting to Japanese tourists.
I found that most of the listed tourist attractions are located in Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto. It seems to me that they don't bother to travel to the countryside, although JNTO recommends a lot of tourist attractions all over the country
They like spas and amusement parks, although Japanese tend to expect them to visit traditional sites and to know more about Japan. That's probably because they visit Japan for family vacations. Frankly speaking, the spas and amusement parks are not unique to Japan. On the other hand, the truth is that some foreigners, particularly kids, are not so interested in Japanese culture and tradition.
I am not disappointed at the results of the surveys, but I would like you to confirm that the recommendable tourist destinations by locals or the national tourism organization, are very different from the destinations actually visited by foreign tourists. My question is whether you are interested in travelling like a native Japanese or just like one of the foreign tourists.
Anyway, the raking below may be helpful while selecting your destinations. The sites typed in bold face are personally recommendable. I made some comments on the list below, but they are just my personal opinions
Popular Tourist Attractions among Foreign Tourists 2008 (by TripAdvisor)
1. Tsukiji Fish Market (Tokyo) - I visited the market, since I saw this ranking.
2. Tokyo Disney Land (Chiba) - American amusement park in Japan
3. Pokemon Centre Tokyo (Tokyo) - Is this a joke?
4. Roppongi Hills (Tokyo) - Nothing to see but a view from its observatory
5. Tokyo Disney Sea (Chiba) - American amusement park. It's more suitable for adults than Disneyland.
6. Sensoji Temple (Tokyo) - Not a bad choice, if you don't go to Kyoto.
7. Kinkakuji Temple (Kyoto)
8. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine (Kyoto)
9. Spa World Osaka (Osaka) - If you stay in Osaka, it is a must-visit at night.
10. Universal Studios Japan (Osaka) - American Amusement Park in Japan, again
12. Kiyomizu Temple (Kyoto)
13. La Qua (Tokyo) - ??? http://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/e/laqua/ Check it out by yourself...
14. Osaka Castle (Osaka) - It has the highest keep of Japanese castles. Unfortunately, it is a rebuilt modern castle with an elevator. Visit Himeji Castle instead.
15. Meiji Jingu Shrine (Tokyo) - This is an alternative, if you don't have time to go to Ise or Izumo Shrine.
16. Takaragawa Onsen (Gunma) - Judging from its pictures, I also want to visit.
17. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (Osaka)
18. Shitennohji Temple (Osaka)
19. Hokkaido Jingu (Hokkaido) - I have never heard of it.
20. Shinjuku Gyoen National Park (Tokyo) - I lived in Tokyo for ten years, but I have never been there.
Popular Tourist Attractions among American Tourists 2009 (by TripAdvisor)
2. Tsukiji Fish Market (Tokyo)
3. Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea (Chiba)
4. Pokemon Centre Tokyo (Tokyo)
5. Sensoji Temple (Tokyo)
6. Kiyomizu Temple (Kyoto)
7. Oedo Onsen Monogatari (Tokyo)
8. Spa World (Osaka)
9. Universal Studios Japan (Osaka)
10. Shinjyuku Gyoen National Park (Tokyo)
11. Gion (Kyoto)
12. Kurama Onsen (Kyoto)
13. Shibuya (Tokyo) - Is this a tourist attraction?
14. Kinkakuji Temple (Kyoto)
15. Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden Observatory (Osaka)
16. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (Osaka)
18. Dotonbori (Osaka) - It's just for foodies.
19. Sanrio Puroland (Tama, Tokyo) - Surprisingly, it has an English website!
20. Osaka Castle (Osaka)
Popular Tourist Attractions among European Tourists 2009 (by TripAdvisor)
1. Roppongi Hills (Tokyo)
2. Sensoji Temple (Tokyo)
3. Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea (Chiba)
4. Pokemon Centre Tokyo (Tokyo)
5. Universal Studios Japan (Osaka)
6. Kiyomizu Temple (Kyoto)
7. Tsukiji Fish Market (Tokyo)
8. Kurama Onsen (Kyoto)
9. Gion (Kyoto)
11. Shinjyuku Gyoen National Park (Tokyo)
12. Shibuya (Tokyo) - Is this a tourist attraction?
13. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Tokyo)
14. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (Osaka)
15. Kinkakuji Temple (Kyoto)
16. Himeji Castle (Himeji, Hyogo) - The most beautiful Japanese castle
17. Sanrio Puroland (Tokyo)
18. Edo Tokyo Museum (Tokyo)
19. Spa World (Osaka)
20. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Hiroshima) - Highly recommendable
If you have a plan to visit Kyoto, please read another entry of my blog: Going places in Kyoto.
It is obvious that a gap between what Japanese want to show and what foreigners actually see, but Kyoto seems to be a common tourist attraction between them. Kyoto is close to Osaka and also accessible from Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet train, so foreign tourists don't need to waste so much of their time just in travelling. According to Japan-guide.com, Tokyo is the most popular tourist destination of Japan, but I cannot personally recommend anything from the city. (I am originally from Nagoya, but I lived in Tokyo for 10 years.)
Most Visited Destinations Ranking (by Japan-guide.com)
2. Kyoto - Must-visit
3. Osaka - No way! Spa World is the best attraction of Osaka.
4. Nara - first permanent ancient capital of Japan
5. Yokohama - The largest Chinatown of Japan is its only attraction.
7. Kamakura - One day excursion from Tokyo is enough.
8. Nagoya - How come?
9. Hakone - Try an onsen hot sprig.
10. Kobe - Luminarie Decoration Lights are splended
11. Himeji - Castle is its only attraction, but worth visiting.
13. Miyajima - It's a beautiful island and a view from the island is selected as one of the top three most beautiful sceneries of Japan and a World Cultural Heritage Site of UNESCO. It's very accessible from Hiroshima.
16. Sapporo - It's the capital city of Hokkaido, northernmost islands. The city is intriguing and the island is full of attractions. The downside is Hokkaido is far away from Tokyo and Osaka.
17. Narita - This is not a tourist attraction. It's just a city with an international airport, located in the countryside with no attractions.
19. Okinawa Island
5. The Best Season to Visit Japan
Sometimes, I got the question from a friend from a foreign country,"When is the best season to visit Japan?" Honestly, that's a tough one, because it depends on what you expect from Japan. Japan has four different seasons: spring (roughly March to May), summer (roughly June to August), fall (roughly September to November), and winter (roughly December to February). Except rainy season and typhoon season, you can find something fascinating here in Japan. Spring is the season for cherry blossom viewing. Summer is the season of new green leaves and hiking in the mountains. Fall is the season for autumn leaf viewing
According to ecnavi.jp, a survey result revealed that the most popular season among the Japanese people was autumn. The main reasons were that it was neither hot or cold in autumn, that good foods were available in autumn, and that they can enjoy wearing fashionable clothes especially in autumn. The second place was spring, followed by summer, and then winter.
6. One Traveller's Tip
As a backpacker, I have made it a rule to visit a few best attractions in one place and move on to the next. On the other hand, any countries, cities or towns advertise several attractions to tourists. Actually, it seems that they include some boring spots, but to attract tourists, some local governments advertise even boring spots. For example, Icchoda wetland is a tourist spot of my hometown, Taketoyo, but a lot of tourists or hikers would be disappointed at the small wetland