Japan Tour Destinations

Yokahama is down Tokyo Bay from Japan’s capital on the island of Honshu.  This location provides a wide variety of places to visit and tour.  Among them are:

Tokyo – No vacation in Japan would be complete without a visit to this cosmopolitan Asian capital.  Among the sights are the Ginza (perhaps the most famous area of the city, containing restaurants and entertainment galore); the Imperial Palace, where you can see the Palace Plaza and the East Garden; the Meiji Shrine, a magnificent 20th century Shinto monument set in a man-made forest; the Asakusa Kannon Temple with its Nakamise Shopping Arcade; the Tasaki Pearl Gallery; and a cruise of Tokyo Bay.

Day trips from Tokyo include Kamakura, home of the 750-year-old Great Buddha; Mt. Fuji, where a cable car ride will take you up to the 5th station of the most famous mountain in Japan, with its panoramic views of the surrounding lake-dotted areas; the Peace Pagoda; and Hakone National Park, where you can visit the hot springs resort (a great way to relax), cruise Lake Ashi, or take a gondola ride up Mt. Komagatake for a panoramic view.

Kyoto – Take the famed Bullet Train from the current capital to Japan’s ancient capital.  Visit the 17th century Nijo Castle, built in 1603 as the seat of the powerful Shoguns; the Golden Pavilion of the Kinkakuji Temple; the old Imperial Palace; Higashi Honganji Temple; the Kyoto Handicrafts Center; the iris-filled gardens of the Heian Shrine; or Pearl Island and Ise Shrine.

Hiroshima – The scene of the first atomic bomb blast offers the famous Peace Memorial Park and Museum; the A Bomb Dome; Miyajima, the Island of Shrines, with its forested slopes dotted with temples and pagodas; Itsukushima-Jinja, a Shinto shrine built in 593 with a Torii gate that appears to rise 53 feet out of the water; Hiroshima Castle, a 1591 construction rebuilt in 1958 containing armor, swords, and other samurai relics along with great views from its outdoor observation platform; and the 17th century Shukkei-en Garden.

Takayama – This ancient city has many fascinating sights: the Takayama Jinja (Shinto shrine); the Kusakabe Folkcraft Museum and Heritage House (an example of traditional Japanese architecture); the Hida Minzoku-Mura Folk Village, containing traditional buildings, farmhouses, and other artifacts and providing demonstrations of traditional crafts; the streets of Kami Sannomichi, with its preserved traditional Japanese wooden houses; the San-Machi Suji historic district containing sake distilleries and lacquerware shops; and the farmers’ market.

Osaka – Among the sights are Osaka Castle, including its temple, originally built in 1583 and rebuilt in 1997; the Umeda, Namba, Minami, or one of the many other underground shopping centers; Osaka Aquarium; the National Bunraku Theater (traditional puppet theater); the Osaka International Peace Center (aka Peace Osaka), a WWII museum; and Sumiyoshi Taisha, Osaka’s most prominent shrine.

Other sights to see on Honshu: Nara (the oldest Japanese capital) - the Kasuga Shrine; the great image of Buddha; Byodoin Temple; Kurashiki – Ohara Museum of Art.; Okayama – the Okayama Castle and Korakuen Park; Matsumoto – Matsumoto Castle, built in 1593; the Japan Folklore Museum; Shirakawa –the unique Gassho-Zakuri (joined hands) style thatched housed, UNESCO World Heritage sites, are only found here; Kanazawa – Kenroku-En (the “Garden of Six Qualities”) dates from the 1670s and is one of Japan’s greatest gardens; adjacent is the Ishikawa Prefecture Crafts Museum, displaying more than 30 traditional crafts, including Kanazawa Haku gold leaf that has been produced since 1593 for feudal lords; Fushimi – Fushimi Inari Shrine has thousands of brightly colored Torii gates.

The above gives you an idea of how much there is to see and do; there is even more.  You can do it yourself or take a guided tour from the U.S.