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Where to Go in Japan: Locals Favorite Spots
ViaHero · May 10, 2018
Visiting Japan and wondering where to go? That's understandable, as the country is packed with unique towns and must-see landmarks. If you are planning a trip, check out this helpful list and our Japan Itinerary to plan your route across the country.
Once you do, feel free to message us directly for more information on all things Japan!
Here are some of our favorite places that answer the ever elusive question of….
Where to go in Japan?
Tokyo Sky Tree
As the tallest structure in Japan, the Tokyo Sky Tree provides an unmatched view of the city. The line for tickets to the observation deck can be very long, so be sure to book ahead online. Also, as the spot is popular with tourists, there are many souvenir booths in the tower. If you are looking for something specific (ie: Tokyo banana), there is a chance you will find it here.
Although the tower is big and crowded, it is organized very well. The observation
History lovers who like to party will enjoy exploring the Golden Gai in Tokyo. Golden Gai consists of six tiny alleys crammed with almost two hundred bars. These alleys are truly tiny - no car could ever fit down them.
Each building is only a view feet
Matsumoto, Japan (2.5 hours from Tokyo)
Known as the “Crow’s Castle,” Matsumoto is one of the most splendid castles in all of Japan. Be prepared to take a trip back through Japanese history - this castle was originally built in 1054.
There is a lot of historical information on the castle provided, as well as costumed historical figures (who speak English). Between exploring the town, castle, and walking the castle grounds (which are stunning), Matsumoto is a worthy day trip from Tokyo. Be sure to bring good socks - shoes are not allowed!
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
Hakone is located inside of a national
One of the most famous views in Japan is the Torii Gate on Lake Ashinoko in Hakone.
A final tip: ride the Hakone Mountain Highway (train) in the autumn when the leaves are turning.
Kyoto is a town known for its impressive collection of temples, but one favorite to visit is the Kiyomizu-
Guests receive a nice view
This is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto. The actual Fushimi Inari shrine sits at the base of a mountain. Behind the shrine is a winding trail of thousands of vermilion torii gates that climb up the mountain.
Although this site is very popular and crowded with tourists, the longer you stay on the path, the fewer people you will see. One popular option is to climb the trail at night and see everything lit up. A great mix of religion and nature, do not miss Fushimi Inari-
Located less than an hour from Kyoto, Nara is a city that is very popular with tourists. Nara is famous for its extremely friendly deer, who let humans pet them. These deer typically hang out in Nara
Additionally, Nara was the original capital of
Nara has eight Unesco World Heritage Sites, and some popular temples include Tōdai-
Tsutenkaku Tower is the symbol of Osaka. It is located in the famous Shinsekai neighborhood, where it hovers over the streets and shops.
The view from the tower is not the most famous part, so do not expect too much if you make the trip to the top, and don’t feel guilty if you just view it from the ground! The surrounding neighborhood is filled with different colors, alleys, and plenty to see. The name “Shinsekai” translates to “New World,” and this neighborhood was modeled after New York and Paris. Visitors are typically mesmerized by the retro design, 60s-style advertising, and traditional Japanese restaurants.
For a true trip through a Japanese time machine, make the trip to Magome-
From the remaining villages, Magome-
Nagamachi Samurai District
Kanazawa is another
For history buffs interested in learning more about the Samurai period, head to the Nagamachi Samurai District, where the city’s Samurai once slept. There is a restored Samurai house that visitors can enter and explore. The original samurai residence walls are blended with straw, giving them their distinct yellow color.
The entire area is very quiet and peaceful, as no cars are allowed. Everything is very old and well kept. Designate a chunk of time to stroll around this neighborhood.
Other things to see in Kanazawa include the Kenroku-en Garden the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa.
Snow lovers, this one is for you. The village of Gokayama, and its famous A-line
For homes to be able to support the weight of the snow, they were constructed in the gasshō-
This rare architectural style is very important in Japanese culture, and their preservation over time shows the ingenious engineering of those who designed this style.
The Adachi gardens
This garden has been voted the “best in Japan” for over a decade. Garden lovers cannot miss this spot - especially those who are already visiting the nearby town of Matsue.
The inside of the museum is impressive as well and provides great views of the surrounding areas. There is even a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal while overlooking the gardens.
Ready to plan your trip to Japan? ViaHero can help! Before your trip, make sure to check out: