Japan Travel Guide – Top 10 Vacation Highlights

One of the most popular travel destinations in the world, Japan offers a unique blend of modern and traditional, as numerous ancient temples and buildings co-exist with modern architecture and technology. Immerse yourself in fascinating Japanese culture and history one day, and enjoy a glimpse of the future via technological developments the next.
Japan Travel Guide
Table of Contents

Japan’s natural beauty is on display all year round. And a good place to see it is at Mount Fuji and its environs. The highest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji rises to 3,776 meters and features a volcano with an exceptionally symmetrical cone. A well-known symbol of Japan and frequently depicted in photographs and art, Fuji is also a popular attraction for climbers and sightseers alike.

In Hiroshima, be sure to visit the Peace Memorial, a haunting tribute to the lives lost after the US dropped the atomic bomb on the city in 1945.

Close to Nagano is the Jigokudani Monkey Park, a famous hot spring characterized by boiling water and steam coming out of the frozen ground, and surrounded by formidably cold forests and steep cliffs. The park is famous for its large population of wild Snow Monkeys that descend into the valley during winter when the park is covered in snow, to sit in the warm hot springs.

Kyoto is another Japanese city worth visiting. Kyoto’s main attraction is the Kinkaku-ji or Temple of the Golden Pavilion. The pavilion’s construction dates from the late 14th century with emphasis placed on the building and its surrounding gardens being in harmony with one another. The Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple that dates from the year 798 is another major Kyoto attraction.

Regarded as one of the best existing examples of Japanese castle architecture, the Himeji Castle in Osaka survived the bombings of the Second World War and remains standing majestically today.

A colossal outdoor representation of the Amida Buddha, the Great Buddha of Kamakura is one of the most celebrated Buddhist figures in Japan. Cast in Bronze, the Great Buddha rises to over 40 feet and weighs close to 93 tons. The statue is believed to date from 1252.

Nara is home to the Todai-ji temple, a true feat of engineering. Not only is Todai-ji the largest wooden building in the world, it is also home to the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. As you take a stroll through the beautiful gardens, you will encounter deer roaming freely on the temple grounds.

A poster child for urban drive and vigor, Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world and the capital of Japan since 1652. Tokyo is a city without limits in that a lifetime wouldn’t be long enough to explore it all. For instance Tokyo has an estimated 88,000 restaurants which would take you 120 years just to explore 2 a day. Visitors will find plenty of attractions here to suit every taste.

Okinawa is famous for its beaches. Blessed with the best beaches in Japan, Okinawa is home to Ishigaki one such premier beach destination. While Ishigaki offers plenty for the beach lover to see and do, it also makes for a great jump off point when exploring the other nearby islands.

The island nation of Japan truly has it all – and then some. From the deep rooted cultural traditions, ancient temples and shrines, to the beautiful mountain scenery, lovely gardens, tea ceremonies and geishas, there is just so much to see in Japan that will warrant a second or even third visit.

1. Tokyo

The cultural, political and economic capital of Japan, Tokyo is also one of the largest cities in the world, comprising hundreds of neighborhoods. Appealing on many levels, Tokyo offers everything from quiet gardens to a bustling nightlife.

The Tsukiji Fish Market is the world’s largest wholesale fish and seafood market that handles over 400 different varieties of seafood – from cheap seaweed to the most expensive caviar, and from tiny sardines to 300kg tuna. One of the most interesting parts of Tsukiji is its Tuna Auction. You can also sample some of the best sushi in Japan while at the Tsukiji Fish Market.

Arguably Japan’s most famous spot, the Shibuya Crossing is a great place to witness Tokyo’s bright lights. You may have already spotted this intersection in numerous films, TV shows and music videos.

The Meiji Shrine is the most visited shrine in Tokyo that rests on 175 acres of forest in the city center. The Shrine is famous for hosting various interesting events and a constant stream of ceremonies and rituals. The Shrine also features an impressive torii gate.

Shinjuku Gyoen is a large park built to please an Emperor, with various fine gardens designed to bloom with color during all the four seasons of the year. This is one of the best spots in Tokyo for viewing cherry blossoms.

Sensoji is the oldest and most visited temple in Tokyo. The Temple is also the site of the biggest festival in Tokyo, the Sanja Matsuri. Don’t miss out on the Nakamise Dori market street which leads up to the Senjoji temple in Asakusa. This market is one of the best spots to find souvenirs and gift items in the city.

A wonderland of light and architecture, the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo is one of the largest luxury shopping districts in the world.

Home to the emperor of Japan, the Imperial Palace is another Tokyo attraction worth seeing. Surrounded by an extensive moat system, the Imperial Palace grounds can be toured, as can its parks and gardens.

Yoyogi Park is an area sandwiched between the two busiest neighborhoods in Tokyo, Shibuya and Shinjuku. Its location means that it is often full of colorful characters, from musicians giving performances to actors practicing their lines. The park is all in all a unique space with a generally friendly atmosphere.

Rikugien was founded in 1695 by the Tokugawa Shoguns who ruled Japan during the Edo Period. The Garden is a recreation of 88 scenes from classic Japanese poems and is open at night and during the autumn leaves season.

The Kabukiza Theater is a large theater in Ginza that hosts “kabuki” Japanese theater performances.

Fans of anime cannot afford to miss out on the Akihabara district of Tokyo. This is also the best place in the city to find electronics and all things manga. It is also possible to shop for obscure items such as robot parts in Akihabara.

Ueno Park is the most visited park in Tokyo which boasts an impressive array of attractions including several major museums and a large pond. The Park is also a popular spot for viewing autumn leaves and cherry blossoms.

The Takarazuka Theater is a large theater in Tokyo which shows original productions of western-style musicals with an all-female cast. The theater is quite popular, selling more than 2.5 million tickets a year to a predominantly female audience.

Also visit the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum which features a collection of thirty historical buildings mostly from the Meiji-era.

2. Okinawa

Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture which comprises about 160 scattered islands in a wide area. Naha is the capital city of the prefecture, and is situated in southern Okinawa Main Island, which is the largest island in Okinawa.

Unlike other areas of Japan, Okinawa boasts its own history. The Ryukyu Kingdom flourished here for more than 400 years, from the 15th century. In 1879, Japan integrated Ryukyu into its society and changed the name of its islands to Okinawa prefecture.

During the Second World War, the Battle of Okinawa took place and involved civilians. From 1945 to 1972, Okinawa remained under the control of the United States military. Despite the presence of many US military bases today, the city of Okinawa has managed to conserve its unique traditions passed down from the Ryukyu Era, including arts, music and language.

Be sure to visit the Shurijo Castle, which was the center of the Ryukyu kingdom for more than 400 years. The castle’s architecture is very different from typical Japanese castles.

The Peace Memorial Park is situated on the Mabuni Hill overlooking the ocean, which was the devastating battleground during the Battle of Okinawa. In addition to the numerous monuments situated in the large park, there is the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum that is worth a visit.

Himeyuri Peace Museum is situated near the Peace Memorial Park. The Himeyuri monument was built in commemoration of the Himeyuri Corps who died during the battle of Okinawa. The Himeyuri Peace Museum is situated close to the monument.

Okinawa Hari is a fishermen’s festival held to pray for safe fishing. During the festival, dragon boat races are held in different locations throughout Okinawa. Hari is said to mark the beginning of the summer season in Okinawa. The design and size of the dragon boasts will vary, depending on the location of the festivals. Naha Hari is the biggest festival which is typically held during Golden Week.

Okinawa is home to some of Japan’s best beaches. The island of Kume is situated roughly 60 miles west of the Okinawa Honto and is famous for its beautiful beaches.

Manza-mou is one of Okinawa-Honto’s most popular scenic points.

Kokusai-dori is the main street in Naha-city. It features numerous souvenir stores, clothing shops, restaurants and hotels.

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park is a national commemorative park that was built after the Okinawa Ocean Expo; while Okinawa World is a theme park that comprises the Okinawa Kingdom Village, the Gyokusendo Cave, the Habu Snake Park and many more.

3. Osaka

The third largest city in Japan, Osaka offers a scene of modernity amid historically significant shrines, temples and castles. But Osaka isn’t just big, it’s also very unique, with a warm, outgoing and extravagant streak that contrasts the reserve and shyness of Tokyo.

Osaka Castle is a landmark fortress in the city that dates from 1598, when it was built to outdo the Azuchi Castle. Today, the Castle’s main tower stands magnificently tall over Osaka. More a museum than a castle, visit here to enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top of the Castle, Visitors can also take a pleasant stroll through the surrounding grounds to admire the scenery and other structures.

From the Castle, head over to Namba for some lunch. If you have time, you can take an hour’s walk through the Osaka Business District. Here you will find restaurants that serve delicious Okonomiyaki. To avoid the tourist traps, be sure to first peer through the windows in search of locals. Also sample Takoyaki, an Osakan specialty that can be had at Dotonbori Street.

Shitenno-ji Temple was built in 583 AD and is the oldest officially administered temple in Japan. The temple tower is impressive and well worth the visit. Be sure to take a stroll around the temple grounds, and if you have time, walk around the area and visit the other smaller temples and shrines nearby.

Also visit Osaka’s Kita District in the Umeda area. You can also enjoy the red Ferris wheel at the roof of the HEP FIVE building that makes for quite a ride.

If you have time for a day trip from Osaka, be sure to visit Himeji Castle, the famous multi-tiered white castle acclaimed to be the most beautiful in Japan.

A complete historic citadel that’s also known as the White Egret, the Himeji Castle was built on a hilltop in 1580. Its main features are a 5-story central tower and surrounding moats, pagodas and walls. From its hilltop location, the castle appears to float on a sea of Japanese pine trees.

Go on an organized tour to discover the history of the Himeji Castle and many of its nuances such as the defensive walls. The Castle grounds are flanked by ponds and tea rooms of Koko-en Gardens, where you can stop for lunch or go on a stroll.

4. Kanagawa

A small, densely populated prefecture south of Tokyo, Kanagawa is famous for both its charming old towns such as Kamakura and Hakone, and its modern cities which include Kawasaki and Yokohama. Kanagawa boasts the distinction of being home to numerous top attractions and events in Japan.

The Great Buddha of Kamakura is a 121 ton statue of Buddha that has endured tsunamis, typhoons, earthquakes, wars and hordes of tourists. More than just another big statue, the Great Buddha of Kamakura is a stunning work of religious art that has inspired visitors for close to 800 years.

Lake Ashinoko is a volcanic crater lake found in the Hakone area. The lake is famous for its great views of Mount Fuji and the large torii of the Hakone Shrine. Enjoy a tour of the Lake on a boat designed to resemble an Edo-era sailing warship.

The Hakone Shrine is located in a misty forest on the shores of Lake Ashinoko. As interesting as the shrine itself are the mountain paths that lead to the shrine.

Kenchoji is one of the oldest and largest temples in Kamakura. The first Zen Buddhist monastery in Japan, Kenchoji is famous for its big gate, Zen garden, unique statues and hiking trails.

Engakuji is a temple in Kamakura which features a sublime 16th century example of Japanese Zen Buddhist architecture. Along with its massive temple bell, the temple has been designated a national treasure of Japan.

The Sankeien Garden is a large Japanese garden situated south of Yokohama.

While in Kanagawa, be sure to sample the local specialty of Shirasu, which are baby sardines served raw or cooked on rice. The dish has a soft texture and sweet taste.

Owakudani is a Hakone attraction that is centered on the spot of the last major eruption of Mount Hakone. The crater is still very much alive with hot springs and sulfur vents. The sulfur has destroyed all the vegetation, giving the area an underworld feel. Locals cook eggs in the hot springs of Owakudani until they turn stark black. They believe that eating these eggs will extend your life by exactly seven years.

Minato Mirai is the massive futuristic port of Yokohama, complete with facilities for art, culture, dining and entertainment. Most of the many attractions of Yokohama are situated within this area. For instance, the second tallest building in Japan is found in Minato Mirai and features a sky garden observation deck on the 69th floor that offers great views of Yokohama and beyond.

Visitors can also tour the Nippon Maru, a tall ship built in 1930, which sailed more than a million kilometers before being placed in Minato Mirai as a museum.

Also tour the Hikawa Maru, a luxury ocean liner that was launched in 1929 and which boasts an interesting history. The ship is situated in front of Yamashita Park.

Yokohama Chinatown is another spot worth visiting. This neighborhood is situated in the old port area of Yokohama and features hundreds of Chinese restaurants and shops. The area is particularly famous for its colorful Chinese gates and temple.

Shomyoji is a picturesque temple situated in the south of Yokohama that offers a quiet spot ideal for relaxation.

Hasedera is a temple in Kamakura that is famous for its numerous fine sculptures, caves, city views, ponds, gardens, bamboo forest and a rotating book rack. The temple is also home to a 9 meter high statue of Kannon, which is one of the largest and oldest wooden carvings in Japan. Legend has it that the statue was once thrown into the sea at Nara, only to wash ashore on the beaches of Kamakura.

The Love Bell is a bell overlooking the sea at Enoshima, which is popular with couples. The custom is for couples to lock a padlock designed with a romantic message onto the fence close to the bell.

On Enoshima Island you will find a collection of 3 shrines which are regarded as romantic due to the fact that they are dedicated to the Benzaiten, the goddess of music and knowledge, although the goddess is widely associated with love. Couples are invited here to wish for luck in romance.

Also visit Shonan Beach, a long and wide series of beaches that offer great views of Mount Fuji near Kamakura. This is also party central during the official beach season.

5. Nara

Situated east of Osaka and south of Kyoto, Nara boasts an abundance of historical landmarks that make it a fascinating location to explore. Nara was home to Heijo-kyo, the ancient capital of Japan situated here during the 8th century.

The first stable capital of Japan during the years 710 to 794, Nara experienced a building boom that saw that building of some of the world’s largest structures at the time, such as palaces, temples and shrines many of which remain today.

Todaiji Temple is situated in Nara Park and is famous for its Great Buddha statue, which is a symbol of Nara. Plan your visit in March to attend the Omizutori Festival, a series of rituals held to welcome spring, including the lighting of large torches every evening.

Wakakusayamayaki is a traditional winter ceremony held in Nara on Mt. Wakakusa, and which involves grass-burning.

Be sure to also visit Nara Park which is situated at the foot of Mount Wakakusa. Surrounded by temples, gardens and museums, the Park is home to about 1,400 wild Sika deer that you will see freely roaming the area around the park. To the people of Nara, the deer are regarded as sacred messengers that protect the city.

Horyuji Temple is a 5-story pagoda which is recognized as one of the world’s oldest buildings.

Kofukuji Temple is situated adjacent to the famous Sarusawaike pond. The main highlight here is the 50m high 5-story pagoda building.

Kasuga Taisha features roughly 3,000 stone and hanging lanterns in the shrine.

Toshodaiji Temple was founded during the 8th century by a Chinese priest.

The pagoda of the Hokiji Temple is said to be the oldest 3-story pagoda in Japan.

Yakushiji Temple features 2 interesting pagodas.

The Isuien Garden is a collection of 2 Japanese strolling gardens that date from the 17th and 19 centuries. A number of teahouses are scattered on the property. Another garden worth visiting is the Yoshikien, which features a collection of 3 different styles of Japanese garden. A quiet attraction, the Yoshikien Garden is ideal for taking a rest after a busy day of sightseeing.

For more insights into Japanese history, be sure to visit the Nara National Museum.

6. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain which stands at a height of 3,776m. Situated roughly 60 miles southwest of central Tokyo within the Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, Mount Fuji is well loved by the Japanese people. On a clear day, you can see Fuji from Tokyo.

Mount Fuji is an active strato-volcano that features a towering volcanic cone that is symmetrical. The mountain was formed during 4 volcanic activity phases that started 600,000 years ago. The last eruption of Mount Fuji occurred in December 1707 to January 1708. A symbol of Japan, Fuji is surrounded by 5 lakes.

Fondly called “Fuji-san” by the Japanese people, Mount Fuji is said to derive its name from Fuchi, the Buddhist goddess of fire. While others believe that its name derives from the Ainu language of the aboriginal Japanese people and means “everlasting life”.

Long been regarded as a sacred mountain, Fuji-san was revered by the indigenous Ainu. Shintoists regard the peak as sacred to a goddess who embodies nature, and the Fujiko sect believes that the mountain is a being with a soul. There is a shrine on the mountain summit. Buddhists of Japan believe that the mountain is a gateway to another world. Mount Fuji is one of the “Three Holy Mountains” of Japan.

The most climbed mountain in the world, Mount Fuji has more than 100,000 people trekking to its summit each year. Like many other sacred mountains, many people make pilgrimages to climb Fuji’s peak. While roughly 30% of the climbers are foreigners, the rest are Japanese.

The first known ascent of Mount Fuji was by a monk in 663 AD. Thereafter, the peak was regularly summated by men, although women were not allowed on the summit until the late 19th century’s Meiji Era.

One of the most beautiful mountains in the world, Fuji is revered for its symmetry and beauty, and has been photographed and painted by generations of artists. Spring is the most beautiful time of the year to see Fuji, when the snow-capped mountain is framed by pink cherry blossoms.

The official season for climbing Mount Fuji is from 1st July to the end of August. This is when the weather is mild and most of the snow is melted. Although the trails get crowded during this time, it is best to climb Fuji during the official climbing season as off season climbs are discouraged due to the bad weather.

The steep climb follows 4 different trails and typically takes 8-12 hours to ascend, and another 4-6 hours to descend. Of the 4 trails, the Yoshidaguchi Trail offers the most popular route to the summit. It will take you 8-12 hours for a round-trip hike from here. This is also the best trail for novice climbers. Many climbers time their ascent such that they are able to witness the rising sun from the summit.

Fuji-san has 8 peaks and requires a few hours to walk around the edge of the crater to all the summits. It will take one hour to hike around the crater to Kengamine peak, which is the highest point of both Fuji and Japan.

7. Hiroshima

The Hiroshima prefecture is situated in western Honshu Island. The capital of the Hiroshima prefecture in Chugoku region on the side of the Seto Inland Sea, Hiroshima city offers visitors plenty of history as well as an abundance of things to see and do.

A mountainous prefecture, Hiroshima is home to numerous natural, historic and architectural wonders, including a beautiful island retreat. However, Hiroshima is most famous for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, a morbid reminder of the very first atomic bombing. Today, Hiroshima is known as the first city ever to be attacked by an atomic bomb.

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, instantly killing 80,000 people and nearly destroying the entire city.

Heiwa Kinen Koen is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park that was formed around the epicenter of the World War II atomic bombing. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park serves as a harsh reminder of the destructiveness of war, reminding visitors of the importance of human life and honoring the victims so that they will never be forgotten.

The Peace Memorial Park features the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, as well as numerous memorial monuments situated within the park. The Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome is a building that was destroyed in 1945 by the atomic bomb. The ruins have been kept as a reminder of Hiroshima’s tragedy.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is located within the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Its main building features displays including pictures of the atomic bombing. It shows the tragedy of the bombing aftermath through belongings and photos of the victims, while also telling how the city was both before and after the war.

The building of the Hiroshima Castle led to the rapid growth of the city of Hiroshima during feudal times. The once great structure was destroyed by the atomic bomb but recreated in 1958 into a museum. Hiroshima Castle today features exhibits of Hiroshima’s cultural and historical items.

Shukkeien is a 400-year old garden that is said to have been modeled after West Lake of China. Mostly destroyed by the atomic bomb, the garden has been recreated and today features ravines, islands, bridges, ponds and a tea house. The Garden is ideal for taking a daytime stroll, especially to view the foliage during fall.

Also known as Miyajima, Itsukushima Island is home to one of the most scenic sights in Japan, the Itsukushima Shrine and the Floating Torii. The sea shrine is believed to date from the year 590.

Set in the Seto Inland Sea, Miyajima boasts beautiful foliage during the fall, beaches in summer and year round camping and hiking opportunities. You can also tour the region via a rope-way cable car ride.

While in Hiroshima, be sure to sample the city’s famous and delicious dish: Okonomimura, from one of the local restaurants.

8. Kyoto

Visiting Kyoto feels like time travel. A magical city, Kyoto boasts 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 shrines, mixed with entertainment districts that feel like something from the past – a world of mystery with geisha and teahouses. Kyoto has an abundance of attractions to offer the erstwhile traveler.

Gion is one of the most exclusive entertainment districts in Japan. Many of the streets of Gion have not changed that much in the last 300 years and are dotted with Geisha establishments, tea houses and fine dining restaurants. In this district, you have a good chance of spotting a Geisha or Maiko hurrying off to work. Plan your visit to Kyoto in July to attend the fascinating Gion Festival.

Fushimi Inari-Taisha is a shrine famous for its pathways lined with thousands of torii gates, extending four kilometers into the hills behind the shrine. The ancient hiking trails are also lined with fox statues believed to represent the messengers of Inari, the goddess of rice and business. Beyond these gates, the shrine is among Kyoto’s oldest sites and boasts a number of attractive buildings that are lit at night.

Kiyomizu-dera is one of Kyoto’s well known temples. The key attractive feature of the Temple is the large terrace of the main hall which offers great views of the city of Kyoto.

The official name of the Kinjaku-ji temple is Rokuonji and its main feature is the Kinkaku or Golden Pavilion which was built in 3 different architectural styles.

Ginkakuji is officially known as Jishoji and features a kannon hall known as the Silver Pavilion or Ginkaku.

Toji temple is officially known as Kyouou-gokukuji, and its main feature is the 55m high 5-story pagoda which is Japan’s tallest wooden pagoda.

Nishi-honganji Temple features a garden and many buildings that represent the Momoyama culture of the late 16th century.

Nijojo Castle’s main attraction is the Ninomaru Palace that was built in the Shinden-zukuri architectural style. It features gorgeous Kano-style paintings on the sliding doors and walls.

Kamigano-jinja Shrine is one of Kyoto’s oldest shrines.

Shimogamo-jinja Shrine is one of Japan’s oldest shrines which is famous for hosting the Aoi Matsuri festival. Actually 2 shrines in one, the Shimogamo-jinja both predate Kyoto and sit on the edge of the Tadasu no Mori, a sacred forest believed to protect Kyoto.

Tadasu no Mori is a primeval forest which has never experienced a fire in recorded history. This is remarkable seeing as almost everything in Kyoto has burned down at some point in history due to historical wars.

The Ryoanji temple is famous for its kare-sansui style Japanese rock garden.

The Tenryuji Temple is situated in the Saga Arashiyama area and its most attractive feature is its Chisen-kaiyu style Japanese garden.

Adashino Nenbutsu Temple is a Buddhist temple that houses roughly 8,000 small statues. Believed to be an ancient burial ground, the temple is home to a large number of unmarked graves.

Nanzen-ji is one of the largest and most important of Japan’s temple complexes which features massive gates in commemoration of those who died at the 1615 siege of the Osaka Castle.

Sanjusangendo Hall is a large Buddhist temple that dates from 1164. The temple collection features 1001 person-sized statues of the Goddess of Mercy, with 11 heads and 42 arms each. The main building of the temple is the world’s longest wooden structure.

9. Nagoya

The capital of the Aichi prefecture, Nagoya is the main city in the Chubu region. Although Nagoya prospered as a castle town during the 16th century, it is today a modern city with plenty of historical sites. Nagoya boasts many popular tourists hot spots, scattered around the city.

Nagoya Castle is situated about a mile northeast of Nagoya Station. Two golden shachihoko are displayed on top of its donjon as a symbol of the Castle.

Visitors can also tour the Nagoya TV Tower which is situated in the Nagoya Central Park.

The Atsuta Jingu Shrine is situated about 3 miles south of Nagoya Station. The shrine boasts almost 2,000 years of history and is one of Japan’s most popular temples and shrines to visit for the New Year’s celebrations.

The Tokugawa Art Museum is another attraction worth visiting while in Nagoya.

Plan your visit to Nagoya in July to attend the Grand Sumo Tournament, or in early October for the annual Matsuri festival that features a samurai procession.

Nagoya is also famous for its delicious local dishes such as tebasaki or fried chicken wings; hitsumabushi or grilled eel with steamed rice; miso katsu or deep-fried pork cutlets with miso sauce, and many more. Be sure to treat your taste buds to something delicious during your visit.

10. Nagano

The Nagano prefecture is situated in the middle of the main island of Japan, and its capital city of the same name is located roughly 120 miles northwest of central Tokyo.

The most famous of the Nagano-city tourist attractions is the Zenkoji Temple which is situated on a hill within the city. There are several shukubo or temple lodging facilities within the Zenkoji area. Staying in a shukubo can offer travelers a very interesting experience.

While in Nagano, be sure to sample the delicious delicacy of buckwheat noodles known locally as soba. There are plenty of soba restaurants within the area.

Also while visiting Nagano-city, take a detour to see the famous snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Yaen-Koen (Hell Valley Wild Monkey Park), which is situated in Yamanouchi-town. Seeing the snow monkeys is certain to add a heartwarming memory to your trip.