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    places to visit in Japan

    Describing Japan as a ‘backpack filled with surprises for every type of traveler’ would just be the right thing to do, thanks to the thousand shrines & temples, gorgeous gardens & palaces, the spectacular mountains, and other major attractions. It’s not only the technological wonders, but also the best places to visit in Japan that have highlighted the island nation on the map. And believe us, exploring each one of them is worth every dime.

    So, if you’ve never wondered about visiting there, it’s about time that you do because these top cities to visit in Japan offer experiences, which you would have never had before.

    30 Best Places To Visit In Japan

    Here are the top places that you should include on your Japan itinerary to make the best of your trip to Japan. Scroll down to know what all awaits you in this scenic land!

    • Tokyo
    • Kyoto
    • Nara
    • Mt. Fuji
    • Hokkaido
    • Ishigaki
    • Hiroshima
    • Sapporo
    • Osaka
    • Yakushima
    • Hakuba
    • Kamakura
    • Nagano
    • Kawaguchi
    • Takayama
    • Shibuya
    • Naoshima
    • Asakusa
    • Akihabara
    • Odaiba
    • Kabukicho
    • Ueno Park
    • Yokohama
    • Nikko
    • Tohoku
    • Kawagoe
    • Nagoya
    • Kanazawa
    • Shirakawago
    • Shikoku

    1. Tokyo

    skytree in tokyo

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    Tokyo is the city that reflects the colors of Japan. In Japan, places to visit are endless, and exploring everything in one trip would always be impossible. But, the popular city of Tokyo still deserves the top spot in your itinerary, thanks to its anime culture and world-class attractions. And if the historical sites don’t impress you much, the city has also got a great culinary scene!

    Top Attractions:

    • Tokyo Disneyland
    • Tokyo Skytree
    • Tokyo DisneySea

    Best Things To Do:

    • Spend an evening near the Tokyo Tower
    • Shop in Odaiba
    • Witness the grandeur of the Meiji Shrine

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    2. Kyoto

    Kyoto

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    The city of shrines, gardens & palaces! Of all the major Japan destinations, the sacred city of Kyoto is one of the best places to visit in Japan in spring irrespective of whether you are holidaying with your family or your partner. The iconic temples, shrines, palaces, gardens, and the bamboo forests are a treat to the eyes, and you cannot afford to miss it on your first trip.

    Top Attractions:

    • Kyoto Imperial Palace
    • Philosopher’s Walk
    • Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine

    Best Things To Do:

    • Visit the Kiyomizu Temple
    • Explore the Nijo Castle
    • Visit the famous Kinkaku-ji

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    3. Nara

    Nara

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    Home to adorable deers, temples & more! No list of the top Japan attractions can ever be complete without including Nara in it. Home to many shrines, monasteries, museums, and the famous Nara Park, this city is where you need to be to get familiarized with the famed Japanese culture and traditions. It definitely features on the list of unmissable places to visit in Japan.

    Top Attractions:

    • Nara Park
    • Kasuga-taisha
    • Ninja Museum of Igaryu

    Best Things To Do:

    • Visit the Isuien Garden
    • Befriend the deers at the Nara-koen Park
    • Explore the Nara National Museum

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    4. Mt. Fuji

    mt. fuji

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    The paradise for adventure seekers! Renowned around the world for offering the most thrilling experience in Japan, Mt. Fuji is the ultimate place to visit. While the official climbing season begins from July and ends in September, you can witness the beauty from a distance throughout the year. It is one of our most favorite places in Japan. Needless to say, this place ought to be on your list!

    Top Attractions:

    • Mount Tenjo
    • Chureito Pagoda
    • Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine

    Best Things To Do:

    • Go for skiing
    • Visit the Arakurayama Sengen Park
    • Enjoy the views of Mt. Fuji from the Subashiri 5th Station

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    5. Hokkaido

    hokkaido

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    The abode of natural hot springs! Popular for its volcanoes, hot springs, and ski areas, this gorgeous Japanese island looks right out of a picture book. And it is because of its various attractions & experiences that it is an impeccable place to holiday with both your kids and significant other. Be it the beauty of the Blue Pond or the Zoo, you’d be left mesmerised. It is one of the most ideal places to visit in Japan during summer.

    Top Attractions:

    • Asahiyama Zoo
    • Farm Tomita
    • Blue Pond

    Best Things To Do:

    • Relax in the hot spring
    • Treat yourself with scrumptious seafood
    • Visit the famous national parks

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    6. Ishigaki

    Ishigaki

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    The most trending travel spot in Japan! Voted as the most trending travel spot for 2018, the Ishigaki Island is definitely amongst the best places to visit in Japan. Despite its size, the island has no limit when it comes to offering unique experiences to its tourists, and glamming up their holiday in the Japanese land. It has been also voted as the best places to visit in Japan in cherry blossom season.

    Top Attractions:

    • Kabira Bay
    • Taketomi Island
    • Ishigaki Limestone Cave

    Best Things To Do:

    • Indulge in snorkeling
    • Relax on the beaches
    • Savour the Ishigaki Beef

    Suggested Read: This Tiny Japanese Island Is The Most Trending Travel Destination For 2018

    7. Hiroshima

    Hiroshima

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    The city that beautifies Japan’s landscape! In spite of being known around the world for being a victim of the horrendous atomic bombings, Hiroshima continues to be one of the major places to see in Japan. And believe us, apart from the dedicated monuments and sites that reflect the history, the city also has other spellbinding attractions like the Itsukushima shrine.

    Top Attractions:

    • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum
    • Hiroshima Castle
    • Itsukushima

    Best Things To Do:

    • Try Okonomiyaki, the local delicacy
    • Visit the Mazda Museum
    • Capture pictures at the Shukkeien Garden

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    8. Sapporo

    sapporo

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    A haven for beer and ski lovers! With cities like Sapporo, ‘what to see in Japan’ would never be your top concern. The city not only helps you escape the heat and humidity but also help you discover your winter wonderland during its famous Sapporo Annual Snow Festival. If not the gardens, then the huge snow sculptures would definitely steal your heart!

    Top Attractions:

    • Moerenuma Park
    • Former Hokkaido Government Office
    • Mount Moiwa Observation Deck

    Best Things To Do:

    • Visit the Sapporo Beer Museum
    • Party in Susukino
    • Indulge in local delicacies at the Curb Market

    9. Osaka

    Osaka

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    With the best shopping arcades, eateries that offer incredible food, and the top nightlife hotspots in the city, Osaka is one of the major places to go in Japan. Believe us, it would not only pamper the foodie or party lover in you, but also the die-hard tourist who loves witnessing the wonders of every place he or she visits.

    Top Attractions:

    • Universal Studios Japan
    • Osaka Castle
    • Dotonbori

    Best Things To Do:

    • Visit the Kaiyukan Aquarium
    • Visit the Hozenji Temple
    • Go beer tasting and partying at night

    Suggested Read: This Hidden Forest House In The land that offers the best of nightlife & food!Japan Is A Heaven On Earth For All Nature Devotees!

    10. Yakushima

    Yakushima

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    An island of magical waterfalls! An island in Kagoshima Prefecture, Yakushima is famous for its wildlife, cedar forests, and waterfalls. If you’re someone who loves venturing into the wild for an experience of a lifetime, then this best place to visit in Japan is absolutely worth your time.

    Top Attractions:

    • Senpirono Falls
    • Jōmon Sugi
    • Mt. Miyanoura

    Best Things To Do:

    • Kayaking or canoeing in Anbo river
    • Witness the Oko-no-taki Waterfall
    • Watch the Loggerhead turtles lay eggs

    11. Hakuba

    hakuba

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    The ultimate winter wonderland! Situated amidst the Japanese Alps, right outside the city of Nagano, Hakuba is a village cum famous winter sports hub. The various mountain resorts that offer incredible skiing, snowboarding, and hiking experiences make the city a perfect place for including it into your Japan sightseeing tour.

    Top Attractions:

    • Mt. Shirouma
    • Hakuba Happoone Winter Resort
    • Lake Aoki

    Best Things To Do:

    • Ski at the Cortina Resort
    • Visit Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park
    • Hike to the Happo Pond

    12. Kamakura

    bronze buddha in kamakura

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    The Kyoto of eastern Japan! In Japan, points of interest might vary depending on the type of traveler you are. But it’s quite the opposite when it comes to the seaside town if Kamakura. Boasting bamboo groves, ancient temples, vibrant beaches, great shopping alleys, and lip-smacking local delicacies, this town has everything that would amuse you.

    Top Attractions:

    • Enoshima Aquarium
    • Kamakura Museum of Literature
    • Kannon Museum

    Best Things To Do:

    • Witness the Great Buddha of Kamakura
    • Go surfing at Shonan Beach
    • Visit the Jufukuji Temple

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    13. Nagano

    Nagano

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    The tropical retreat to beat the heat! Located in the heart of central Japan, Nagano is home to a lot of hidden gems like the Ninja Village for kids, Shiga Kogen Ski Resort, and Zenko-ji Temple that make it a perfect place for all the types of travelers. But, what makes it more exclusive is the pleasant breeze that surrounds the city throughout the year.

    Top Attractions:

    • Karuizawa
    • Matsumoto Castle
    • Kamikouchi

    Best Things To Do:

    • Visit the Zenko-ji temple
    • Enjoy winter sports at Shiga Kogen Heights Ski Resort
    • Rejuvenate at Shirahone Onsen

    14. Kawaguchi

    Kawaguchi

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    Japan’s most natural wonder! While this city in Japan is more famous for its Lake Kawaguchiko and the breathtaking views of Mt.Fuji in the front, it is equally known for being a paradisiacal gem for the culture vultures. The vibrant vibes and attractions of all types undoubtedly make it a great spot to tick off your bucket list.

    Top Attractions:

    • Lake Kawaguchiko
    • Fujiten Snow Resort
    • Oshino Hakkai

    Best Things To Do:

    • Attend the Shibazakura Festival
    • Paddle Around Lake Kawaguchiko
    • Sip on Koshu Wine

    15. Takayama

    Takayama

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    The town with an old-world charm! Nestled high up in the mountains of Gifu, Takayama is amongst the best places to visit in Japan. If you’re looking for an ultimate retreat away from the bustling city life, this is where you need to go. With stunning attraction all around the city, you can experience the charm of old Japan quite easily here.

    Top Attractions:

    • Hida no Sato
    • Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall
    • Sanmachi Suji District

    Best Things To Do:

    • Go back in time at Takayama Jinya
    • Stay in a farmhouse
    • Attend the Takayama Festival

    16. Shibuya

    people crossing the road in Japan

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    It is said that Shibuya has an impressive 2.8 millions footfall on a regular weekday. This is so because not only does this place have a spectacular crossing or as they say, ‘scramble crossing’ which is surely nothing less than a sight to behold, it also has multiple shopping places with really cool clothing brands of Tokyo. One of the main shopping places include the famous 109 shopping mall which is located in close proximity to the train station of Shibuya.

    Top attractions:

    • Meiji Jingu
    • Yoyogi Park
    • Omotesandō

    Best things to do:

    • Enjoy the nightlife at Roppongi
    • Treat your shopping craving with Takeshita Street
    • Witness mesmerizing views with Roppongi Hills

    17. Naoshima

    lake view in Naoshima

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    A tiny island beautifully set amidst the Seto Inland Sea, Naoshima offers a perfect weekend escapade from Tokyo. There’s no shortage of art museums, sculptures and modern architecture woven into the various attractions of the island. Since it’s a long journey to the island, it is best if you plan to stay there overnight just to get enough of the bliss and peace that the place has to offer.

    Top attractions:

    • Lee Ufan Museum
    • Benesse House
    • Naoshima Bath

    Best things to do:

    • Get ready to witness the fine work of Tadao Ando at Chichu Art Museum
    • Visit Kojin Island for some peace and quiet
    • Witness the splendid nature’s charm in Labyrinth of Cherry Blossom

    18. Asakusa

    Temple in Japan

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    Crowned as the cultural hub of Tokyo, Asakusa has a combination of things to do and multiple places to go to for different kinds of travelers. One of the good places to visit in Japan includes the Asahi Beer Hall which is like a gem for all party-goers who wish to try amazing booze in Japan. You can also try the Nakamise shopping block for a wild shopping spree in Japan.

    Top attractions:

    • Asakusa Shrine
    • Amuse Museum
    • Hanayashiki Amusement Park

    Best things to do:

    • Experience blessed vibes at Sensō-ji
    • Have a unique gaming time at Escape Game Nazobako Tokyo
    • Visit Kappabashi-dori for the various topnotch restaurants

    19. Akihabara

    people walking across the road in Akihabara

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    Known as the ‘world’s geek capital’, Akihabara is famous for having a vast category of video and computer games on the planet. One of the main cafes of the like in this region is fantastical Akihabara, that will offer you a fun and engrossing gaming experience. Make sure you look out for the ones which are safe enough and not hoax in any form.

    Top attractions:

    • Tokyo Anime Center
    • Ryōgoku Edo Noren
    • Ginza Line Crossing

    Best things to do:

    • Shop at 2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan
    • Witness endless lush greenery at Chidorigafuchi moat
    • Rent a bike and tour the place on your own

    20. Odaiba

    famous Odaiba decks

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    Further ahead of Rainbow bridge, the magnificent island of Odaiba has exquisite shopping centres which also boast of a ferris wheel inside. What else can you wish for in Japan? Another reason for the fame of this place is the installation of Gundam statue right outside of Diver City mall, which literally seems to be alive! Having a theme park on board, this place is nothing less than a perfect spot for your vacation in Japan!

    Top attractions:

    • Daikanransha Ferris wheel
    • Seaside Park
    • Yurikamome train

    Best things to do:

    • Indulge in a fine sushi experience at the sushi bars
    • Shop at Aqua City for a unique experience
    • Spot a few fun robots at Miraikan science museum

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    21. Kabukicho

    marketplace with people rushing

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    It is indeed not strange for a place like to have several neon signs. So, when you plan to visit Kabukicho, don’t be surprised to spot a few too many here. One of the main red light areas of Japan, this place is famous for various adult indulgences and has many pubs with the same themes for all tourists passing by. Make sure you visit Shinjuku for an extraordinary virtual gaming experience here.

    Top attractions:

    • Robot Restaurant
    • Shinjuku Golden Gai
    • Museum of Haiku Literature

    Best things to do:

    • Try various fun rides at VR Zone Shinjuku
    • Watch a Tokyo Robot Evening Cabaret Show
    • Get to know more about Haiku at Museum of Haiku Literature

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    22. Ueno Park

    beautiful japanese tree bending

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    Having an array of diverse options in one place, Ueno park is the place to be if you wish to have a short stay in Japan. Whether you’re an history buff or not, an ancient black market like the one found in Ameya Yokocho will give you chills down the scene due to its authenticity and extraordinary fun vibes. Don’t forget to tour Yanaka if you want to explore Japan’s cultural and historic past.

    Top attractions:

    • Tokyo National Museum
    • Ueno Zoo
    • Kaneiji Temple

    Best things to do:

    • Try Hanami to respect and experience one of the traditions of Japan
    • Visit National Museum of Nature and Science
    • Experience bliss and serenity at Ueno Toshogu Shrine

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    23. Yokohama

    city view at night

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    Having so many thrilling adventures and simply fun things to do, it is slightly sad that Yokohama doesn’t attract as many visitors as Tokyo, even though it is located quite close to Tokyo. Having a charming Minato Mirai waterfront on board, along with one of the biggest Chinatown regions, this place will surely surprise you more than you’d expect. Get ready to have a warm welcome from the locals here as it is weaved into their culture.

    Top attractions:

    • Yokohama Chinatown
    • Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
    • Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise

    Best things to do:

    • Visit Enoshima island for some bliss
    • Witness a traditional Japanese garden at Sankeien Garden
    • Enjoy a fun outing at Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

    24. Nikko

    famous shrine in Nikko

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    Called as one of the most important regions of Eastern Japan, Nikko is located in close proximity of Tochigi Prefecture and has various shrines to be visited by travelers. These include Kanmangafuchi Abyss and Toshogu Shrine. If you wish to try something different, pay a visit to Edo wonderland which is a theme back taking you back to the ancient era. If you’re thinking, ‘places I should visit in japan’, make sure you don’t miss out on this one!

    Top attractions:

    • Kegon Falls
    • Nikko Futarasan jinja
    • Tobu World Square

    Best things to do:

    • Dip your toes in the hot springs of Kinugawa Onsen
    • Walk down the history with Rinnō-ji museum
    • Go hiking through Senjōgahara

    25. Tohoku

    famous crater lake in Tohoku

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    Also known as the hidden gem of Japan’s main island region, Tohoku has something for every kind of traveler planning to visit this place. But all that is just the tip of the iceberg, since the tourists from all over the world travel to this place exclusively for Aomori Nebuta Festival. Make sure to book in advance as the domestic travelers might make it a housefull!

    Top attractions:

    • Lake Ogawara
    • Hotto Plaza Suginoko Hot Spring
    • Eboshi-dake

    Best things to do:

    • Camp at Ogawarako Park
    • Try a soothing nature walk at Komaki Onsen Shibusawa Park
    • Indulge in a good dining experience at Onsen inn Matsuzono

    26. Kawagoe

    Kawagoe, Japan

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    One of the surreal Japan points of interest, Kawagoe encompasses remnants of the ancient town from the Edo Period i.e. 1603-1867 and allows visitors to disapparate to the streets from past centuries. This tiny town is known as ‘Little Edo’ and is nothing less than a paradise for history buffs. Being one of the most important cities of trade, Kawagoe envelops an extremely rich history of Edo culture and architecture.

    Top Attractions:

    • Kitain Temple
    • Warehouse District
    • Honmaru Goten
    • Candy Alley

    Best Things To Do:

    • Visit the city museum to understand Kawagoe’s history
    • Feel the essence of spirituality in Kitain Temple
    • Explore the only remnants of Kawagoe’s palace from Edo Period

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    27. Nagoya

    Nagoya, Japan

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    Home to little hidden gems of Japan, Nagoya is one of the unique places to visit in Japan and is often treated as a layover en route to Kyoto from Tokyo. Being one of the biggest cities in Central Japan, Nagoya was the heart of castle towns in Japan during the Edo period. Nagoya Castle is undergoing reconstruction by using traditional methods at present and this gives the explorers and wanderers a perfect chance to be a part of the rebirth of one of the most important aspects of the ancient times.

    Top Attractions:

    • Nagoya Castle
    • Atsuta Jingu
    • Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens
    • Tokugawa Garden
    • Nagoya City Science Museum

    Best Things To Do:

    • Stroll through the castle and take in the ancient vibes of this town
    • Witness the serenity of Tokugawa Garden
    • Get in touch with the scientific technologies at the science museum
    • Explore the famous cherry blossoms and the stunning landscapes at Tsuruma Park

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    28. Kanazawa

    Kanazawa, Japan

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    Serving as the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa blankets numerous historical attractions such as reconstructed residences and contemporary museums. One of the less popular tourist places in Japan, Kanazawa experiences less footfall, which makes this destination a perfect escape from the usually crowded world. Famous for its seafood, Kanazawa is a perfect jewel for those travelers who prefer taking the road less traveled.

    Top Attractions:

    • Kenroku-en Garden
    • 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
    • Omicho Market
    • Kanazawa Castle

    Best Things To Do:

    • Devour the famous authentic seafood
    • Take a tour of the castle and explore the hidden passageways and tunnels
    • Witness the beauty of the garden with three landscapes

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    29. Shirakawago

    Shirakawa, Japan

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    Shirakawago is a cute little village in the valley of Ono District in Japan and it looks right out of a fairytale. With ‘gassho-zukuri’ buildings built by the inhabitants themselves, this destination is an epitome of the traditional village life of Japan. Shirakawago is famous for its residences that are crafted to shrug off the heavy snow from the roofs during winter months. For explorers seeking to learn about the authenticity of the Japanese countryside, Shirakawago will leave no stone unturned to help you get a glimpse of the same.

    Top Attractions:

    • Fairytale Houses
    • Wada House
    • Gassho-zukuri Minkaen
    • Hakusan National Park

    Best Things To Do:

    • Get hands-on experience about the traditional life of Japan
    • Witness the soul-soothing landscapes of the village
    • Camp at the Hakusan National Park and satiate your adventurous inner self

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    30. Shikoku

    Shikoku Japan

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    One of the four main islands of Japan, the charming island of Shikoku reflects the perfect blend of nature, tranquility, culture, and cuisine. Home to one of the oldest Japanese spa’s, Shikoku is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, pristine flowing rivers, and surreal Pacific coastline.

    Top Attractions:

    • Muroto-Misaki
    • Ishizuchi-San
    • Iya Valley
    • Dogo Onsen

    Best Things To Do:

    • Relax your mind and soul at the oldest spa in Japan
    • Stroll along the pilgrimage route that connects around 88 temples on the island
    • Hire a cycle and explore the city like a local

    Further Read: A 10-Km-Wide Underwater Supervolcano Could Erupt And Destroy Japan

    If the technological magic of the island nation couldn’t conquer your heart, we are sure that these best places to visit in Japan would! But, which one would you visit first? Let us know in the comments below. Make sure you pack a few extra clothes in case these places change your mind and you decide to extend your amazing vacation in Japan!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q. What is the smallest town in Japan?

    A. The smallest city by population in Japan is Utashinai which is located in Sorachi Subprefecture of Hokkaido.

    Q. What’s the oldest city in Japan?

    A. The oldest city in Japan is Fukuoka which also happens to be the closest city to Korea.

    Q. Are there still samurai in Japan?

    A. Samurai were abolished as Japan modernized. Although, Kanazawa still houses a samurai district and is the only city to preserve the samurai world.

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