As an avid traveler, surely you haven’t overlooked Japan, not even in the slightest. No explorer, such as yourself, should take pride in themselves without stepping foot in this cultural and, for the worst and best reasons, historic landmark.
Made out of more than 6000 islands, the Japanese archipelago offers a great deal of swimming possibilities, however, and for the sake of this article, the subject of the matter is places where you can walk on land in Japanese territory. A territory which is as rich in culture as it is in people, the thousands of islands are small, and harboring 127 million is no small task for no big country; so, y’know, maybe don’t go running around as much as you’d like so you don’t hit a pedestrian or, god forbid, two.
Japan is beautiful and it offers all kinds of environments from a high-tech urban atmosphere filled with people to quiet solitude surrounded by nature. Which city will best suit your needs?
Find out in the list below!
I know, shocker, right? Well, this article is not supposed to be a subversive narrative anyway, so why don’t we strap in and enjoy the soothing predictableness that is the best of the best from Japan?
Tokyo isn’t one of the most famous cities in the world for nothing; for starters, it’s the capital of Japan, and as a consequence of it or not, it’s also the most populated city in the world. But we never find ourselves in another country for the people, or anywhere, for that matter.
Tokyo is sort of a hybrid between traditional and modern, you can check out the blinding neon lights and, while blind, try to catch a quick look at some of the ancient temples. It is a one in a lifetime experience with something for everyone. When you’re there you can’t miss places like the Tokyo Tower, the Tokyo Skytree, or the Sensoji Temple nor avoid tasting the famous monjayaki or the kintaro-ame.
With a name serving as an anagram of the word “Tokyo”, Kyoto makes us believe in a slightly more magical world (even if it’s incredibly far from it), with its gardens, temples – like the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) – and masterpieces – present in the intuitively named Kyoto National Museum. Though subjective, Kyoto is considered as Japan’s most beautiful city – especially when considering the highly revered “geisha district” of Gion – rival only in taste to the famous cuisines, that will not only delight your eyes but also your already delighted calorie count with the kaiseki (multi-course Japanese haute cuisine) or the shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine).
Interested in where the money is made? Look no further than Osaka, a vital economic center in Japan. If you’re ever so inclined, you can, and are encouraged to, transfer some of your own funds into Japan itself through Dotonbori (nightlife district) or even in something a little more American at the Universal Studios Japan (which seems a bit counter-intuitive since you’re traveling, and that concept is defined by being away from home, but hey, to each their own, I guess). A bit away from money spent, and for a purer trip, the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan or the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine offer plenty of great visual and spiritual engagement. Taking a step back and focusing on the gluttony side of things, eating some takoyaki, okonomiyaki or kitsune will satisfy whatever hunger-fueled needs you might have.
Hiroshima is a historical landmark, both in recent and ancient history. This city still has remains of the atomic bombing more than 70 years ago, proving itself to be a testament to endurance and rehabilitation, and, for this reason, if you find yourself in the neighborhood, it’s almost mandatory for you to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Not only is it a place for reflection, but one rich in ancestry, represented by its ancient gardens and castles like the Shukkeien Garden and the Hiroshima Castle.
Foodwise, Hiroshima offers the spicy Tsukemen and the sweet Momiji Manju. This city, despite all the hardship, and now considered a “City of Peace”, has managed to rebuild itself and cement its place in history, and that alone is reason enough to pay it a humbling and powerful visit.
Japan is and always will be all kinds of rich in culture, history, personalities, and even in the number of people. It is a mandatory country for everyone who likes and doesn’t like to travel, its worldwide significance should, by no means, be overlooked. This article was meant to highlight Japan’s culturally and historically best cities, it’s up for debate, sure, but the whole territory of Japan is worth a visit, so don’t let us limit you, we’re just making mild-mannered suggestions!