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Top Attractions in Japan

Not sure what to do or where to go on your trip? Look no further. Here are the top attractions in Japan, from the hot springs of Matsuyama to the grand history of Kyoto to the craziness of downtown Tokyo.
  1. Attractions in Hiroshima
  2. Attractions in Kyoto
  3. Attractions in Nagoya
  4. Attractions in Sapporo
  5. Attractions in Yokohama
  6. Tokyo Attractions

Golden Opportunity: 1964 Olympic Sights
As Tokyo prepares to host the Olympic Games in 2020 -- the second time around for the city –- major renovations are in planning, but these changes are dwarfed by the transformation that the 1964 Olympic Games brought to Tokyo, including the Budokan, the National Gymnasium, and the National Arena.

Things to Do in Summer in Japan
Japan's rainy season usually ends in mid-July, and summer months can be hot and humid in most parts of Japan. Here are some of fun things to do in Japan in the summer.

What to Do in Japan
Ideas for what to do in Japan.

Osaka: No. 2 At Its Best
Often over-looked Osaka is a huge city by American standards and remains an economic engine in Asia. It's also a great place to visit, with its variety of top restaurants, towering castle, shopping destinations and close proximity to the Japan of old: Nara, Kyoto and Himeji castle.

Steeped in Tradition: Tea Leaf Picking
Japan and tea go together, like, well, Japan and sushi. But tea is not just a drink to be sipped. In Japan, tea -- mainly ocha, or green tea -- is a lifestyle and includes rituals, ceremonies, celebrations, and unrelenting university research. It's also, at its most basic level, a thing to be planted and picked. Here we look at the tea-picking tours of Japan.

Plummest Parks in Japan
While the sakura's petals make for a stunning sight in mid-spring, the vivid plum blossom bursts with an understated, enduring beauty that marks the start of Japan's spring. The plum, known as "ume" in Japanese, also makes for a great excuse to tour Japan in February through much of March. Here are top places to see the ume.

Soak Up Traditional Japan in Matsuyama

Day Trips of Takamatsu

 Tour the Shikoku stopover city of Takamatsu.

Roar Like a Lion in October
October in Japan is full of festivals such as the shishi-mai festival.

Hidden Samurai Gardens in Modern Tokyo
Hidden samurai gardens of Tokyo.

 

Tokyo's Old Standby Spots for Sakura
Sakura viewing is a tradition in Japan, and Tokyo has some of the most traditional spots for looking at the cherry blossoms. Here are the four places to get a feel for the hanami celebrations of old.

Where to See Sakura With Your Sweetheart
No better place to take a date than a cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo. Here are the Top 3 places in the city.

Royal Gardens of Tokyo
Gardens fit for the ruling class of old.

 

A Garden to Pine Over
Nakazu Banshoen in Marugame city in Shikoku deceives with its small size, but this dense garden park will leave you in awe with its impossibly compact layout, beautifully shaped greenery and massively wide, half-a-millennium-old umbrella shaped pine.

Everyone's Temple: Senso-Ji
Senso-Ji Temple in Tokyo is what most people think about when they think about Japanese temples – foreigners and Japanese alike. The Kaminarimon gate, with the huge painted lantern, is used as a backdrop for TV shows, and when the lantern is raised during typhoons, it is reported on the news. You could call it everyone's favorite temple.

Model view of history: Edo Tokyo Museum
Travel back into the golden years of Tokyo at the Edo Tokyo Museum in Chiba.

True Colors of Japan
Japan has stunning fall foliage at parks and other places throughout the country. Here are the top destinations.

Museums With That Showa Scent
Take a stroll into the good old days of Showa at Tokyo's National Showa Memorial Museum and the Shitamachi Museum.

Tokyo's Best Catch: Tsukiji Market
Tokyo's gigantic fish market, Tsukiji, is a must-see for anyone interested in sushi and sashimi and the awesome sights of Japan's seafood trade.

Carving Out the Perfect Art Trip
Isamu Noguchi's famous works can be seen around the globe: His bridge designs at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, his garden at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and his museum in New York City. But true fans will want to visit his former studio and other sites in Kagawa prefecture on Shikoku island and in northern Sapporo, too.

Countdown to New Year's in Tokyo
If you find yourself in Tokyo during the New Year's holiday, don't fret: Here are the Top 5 things to do Dec. 31 to Jan. 2 in the metropolis.

Ringing in the Japanese New Year
If you're in the Land of the Rising Sun on Dec. 31, here's how to ring in the coming year, from north to south.

The Magic of Marugame Castle
Despite sitting alone as the smallest keep in the nation, Marugame castle still stands tall thanks to its towering, folding-fan shaped stone wall that every day welcomes scores of visitors who hike to the top to look over the city and the Seto Inland Sea.

The Many Sides of Yasukuni
Despite the controversy surrounding Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, ordinary people regularly visit the historic shrine, which is open to tourists and holds annual festivals, just as any shrine or temple throughout the nation.

Shrine That's Fit for an Emporer
Meiji-jingu, or Meiji shrine, near Harajuku is dedicated to the spirits of the emperor Meiji and his wife, who took over the reins of the country when the 400-year-long military rule known as the shogunate fell, and created what was to become modern Japan.

Shikoku's 88 Temples
Some 150,000 people make the pilgrimage to Shikoku's 88 Buddhist temples by foot, bus or car each year. It's one of the island's biggest attractions and a famous religious journey in Japan.

Japan for the Jaded Traveler
Though known for its tradition and technology, Japan offers plenty of offbeat tours and travel packages. Here are a few quirky things to do in the Land of the Rising Sun.

A Solemn Song for Zojo-ji
Zojo-ji was featured in a pop-video commercial, but this Buddhist temple is rich in Tokugawa history and solemn memorials for the unborn.

Dreaming of a Winter White Tokyo
Snow in Tokyo can be rare, but when it falls, the city is a thing of brief beauty. Find out the top spots to visit when Mother Nature turns the metropolis into a winter wonderland.

Hayao Miyazaki's Ghibli Museum
Enter the magical world of famed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki at the Ghibli Museum in the suburbs of Tokyo.

Shinkansen: The Best Ride in Japan
All you need to know about Japan's bullet train.

 

Marugame's Fan Club: A Cool Tradition
The craft of "uchiwa" fan-making is alive and well in Marugame city and offers visitors to Japan a beautiful, affordable souvenir that's part of the nation's tradition.

Racing Through Achipelago
For travelers who enjoy running, it's worth considering timing your trip to Japan with a race, registering and preparing far in advance, so you can get a little exercise while you're visiting temples and shrines and dining on sashimi and rice. Here's a partial list of marathons and half marathons throughout the archipelago.

Next Stop: Tokyo Station
Train and subway stations are usually thought of as a way of getting to somewhere else. Not so for Tokyo Station, where shops, restaurants and amazing architecture make the station itself a destination.

Ninja Attractions in Japan
Lists ninja related tourist spots in Japan.

Japan's UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites
What are Japan's UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites?

Tamamo: A Castle Park Without the Castle
Tamamo park offers a pleasant escape when visiting or stopping through downtown Takamatsu. Conveniently located next to the JR Takamatsu station, the park is the perfect place to go when waiting for a ferry ride at the nearby port or during a stopover at the station.

Things to Do During the Rainy Season in Japan
Japan's rainy season called tsuyu usually begins in early May in Okinawa and in early June in other regions, except Hokkaido. The humidity and gloomy weather might make you uncomfortable. Here are some ideas for fun things to do and places to visit during tsuyu in Japan. Japan's Rainy Season Climate in Japan

Tokyo on Ice
If you're an ice skater and want to sharpen your skills on the ice -- or if you just want to get a taste of what many Tokyo dwellers do for fun -- you're in luck: The city hosts many ice skating rinks. Here's a list of top rinks in Tokyo.

Unwrapping the Art of Ukiyo-e
Hidden in a plain-looking building, the Ota Memorial Museum showcases some of Japan's best woodblock prints.

Tokyo's Top Spots for Sakura Parties
Cherry blossom time is also party time in Japan, when the beer and sake flows on picnic spots under the pink of sakura. Here's your guide to the top sakura party spots in Tokyo. Just bring your blue tarp and a few cases of Asahi beer.

Where Spotting Sakura is Like Child's Play
Touring a Tokyo park to see sakura isn't the same when with kids. You've got to worry about paths wide enough for strollers, changing areas and access to bathrooms. Here's a guide to the city's top spots for cherry blossom viewing with children.

Arts Review: "Playmaking" with Misaki Kawai
If you're traveling to Japan with kids, or if you just want to let loose your inner child, visit "Playmaking," an art exhibit by four Japanese artists: Misaki Kawai, Ryota Kuwakubo, Tsuyoshi Ozawa and Tetsuya Umeda. Just be sure to keep your little one in line.

Sweet on Sakura
As sakura season takes over Japan, the nation not only loves to watch the flowers in full bloom, but also taste them as snack companies make special sakura treats for hanami. Here's how to get your own taste before the cherry blossom time goes away till next year.

Juiced Up Farm Tours
Florida and California may be the kings of citrus in the U.S., but in Japan it's southwestern areas such as Ehime and Wakayama. The two prefectures even offer several orange-picking farm tours where tourists can eat and take home the tangy, juicy fruits.

Quick Kyoto: 6 Spots to See in the Historic City
Heading to Kyoto for just a day or two? Here are six spots not to miss.

Kyoto on Short Time
Though Kyoto is a small city of 1.5 million, it's dense with destinations: It has dozens of temples and shrines and 17 World Heritage sites. So, if you've only got days in the old capital city, you might not know where to begin. Here's a short list of sights to whet your appetite.

Pick Your Berry Best
You don't know strawberries until you've tried a fresh Japanese strawberry. The fruit is famous in Japan, and farms all over the nation let you pick your own. Here's your guide to strawberry picking across the archipelago.

Have Faith in Japan
Japan is known for its temples and shrines of Buddhist and Shinto origin. But Christian churches can be found, and some posses great architectural design. Here are the Top 3 churches and cathedrals to visit in Tokyo.

Roppongi: Living the High Life
Thanks in part to big-money building projects, Tokyo's Roppongi is a center of fine cuisine, culture, and tall, posh towers.

One-Stop Shopping in Shinjuku
Shinjuku station is the world's busiest rail station -- with well over 3 million people passing through each day. But it's also an underground maze of shopping and dining.

Tokyo Tower Can Still Rise to the Occasion
Tokyo Tower is not only an antique of Japan's recovery years, but an icon of the city, still worth visiting, even though it's now overshadowed by today's high-rises.

Tokyo Gas Museum Is Illuminating
It wasn't until the late 19th century that Japan warmed up to the gas energy revolution, brightening streets in Osaka and Tokyo with gas-powered lamps by the early 1870s. And throughout the years, gas has played an important role in the nation's development. This history is documented at the Tokyo Gas Museum in Kodaira.

These Tiny Towns Are Big on Small Wonders
Deep in the countryside of Kagawa prefecture, about two hours from Osaka, are two small neighboring areas that produce 80 percent of Japan's pine bonsai. Tens of thousands of the dwarfed plants grow there in hundreds of nurseries that span as many acres, creating miniature forests of magnificently manicured and manipulated trees. Here's your guide to the small wonders of bonsai in Kinashi and Kokubunji.

Branching Out: Top Bonsai Destinations in Japan
Bonsai may have roots in ancient China, but Japan owns its own tradition of the living art form. And for fans of the craft, plenty of festivals and destinations await on the archipelago. Here's your guide to bonsai in Japan.

B.Y.O.B.: Bring Your Own Barbecue
Looking to cook up a good time in Tokyo? Then bring your own barbecue. But you better know where. Here are the top spots to grill your own steak in Japan's capital city.

Tokyo Gets Fired Up for Hanabi
July and August light up with fireworks festivals throughout Japan. If you're in Tokyo, here's the event lineup for 2014.

Tokyo's a Real Walk in the Park
The vast city of Tokyo can appear like a mass of concrete, glass and steel. But many sprawling parks full of trees and acres and acres of green occupy greater Tokyo -- the city and the prefecture. Here's a guide to the top parks of Japan's capital.

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