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Best tourist attractions in Japan?

senseiman

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Getting away from the bitching of the other tourist attraction thread, I thought it would be worthwile to talk about some positive places to visit. Here is my list.

1. Nara Park. It is a really pleasant place to visit, hardly a trace of concrete in the whole park and a lot of well-preserved temples and shrines surrounded by nice greenery.

2. Kyoto's Higashiyama area. Lots of beautiful old buildings, gardens and nice streets to wander around.

3. Kin Osaki. This is a small town in northern Hyogo prefecture, it has a lot of great Onsens and is on the Japan sea coast with pretty beaches that actually aren't covered with garbage.

I guess my list is heavily Kansai centric because that is where I live. Anyone else have any good suggestions for places to visit?
 

Mandylion

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Himeji Castle (Hyogo), Nijo Castle (Kyoto) - to very nice places to go. If you go to Himeji on a weekday in early summer before school is out (or any off peak time), you might have the entire place to yourself!

Takayama in Gifu - wonderful historic section in this high mountain town. Some nice museums too.

For the nature loving folks- I gotta push the coast of Kochi Prefecture. Out of the way and tough to get to for most tourists, it is a great place to try and get to see. Kind of like the coast of Oregon in the US, only the water is not cold, nor full of sharks. Good surfing, camping, hiking, and biking. Some great mountains inland with some national parks to boot.

There are more, but I'll stop there.
 

senseiman

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Good call about Himeji Castle. I live about a 5 minute walk from it, my wife and I like to take strolls there in the afternoon when not many people are around. If you come to Himeji you should also visit Engyoji temple on Mount Shosha, its definetely worth the trip.

I'll have to check out Kochi and Takayama sometime.
 

Iron Chef

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Odori koen in Sapporo during the annual snow festival is my favorite. And if you're into the nightlife, Suskino in all its neon glory is a must see. Otaru (a small coastal town in Hokkaido) is another great place during the summertime to just hang out and go fishing (great food too btw). :cool: Yubari (famous for their melon) is also one of my fav "little known but spectacular getaways" and is home to the Mt. Racey ski resort as well as host of the annual Yubari Fantastic Adventure Film Festival. It's rather isolated and it's high elevation make for a spectacular drive.
:)
 

mdchachi

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Perhaps it's on my mind because of another thread but Hiroshima Peace Park & Museum are highly recommended albeit maybe not the most lighthearted places to visit.

Despite being highly visited and a "top 3 scenic site", MIyajima/Itsukushima Shrine (the famous torii in the sea that everybody has seen photos of) is worth seeing. It's a neat place, very attractive and actually not that crowded usually. Though I suppose the crowds are hit or miss. It also has the Nara-like tame deer experience. If you climb (or ride up) the little mountain you can get some Japanese nature as well.
 

Maciamo

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I have only been to the Kanto and Kansai regions, so that will limit my recommendations (I won't judge just from pictures and hearsays other lplaces).

Kanto

Kamakura. Best visited during the "kouyou" (autumn leaves) or cherry/ume blossom period. The Daibutsu is majestic, there are enough temples to keep you busy for a few days, good hills to hike around, easily explorable on foot. Finally the Tsuruoka Jinja is one of the best shrines I've visited, very nice with its ponds along the entrance alley and its dominant position on the top of the hill.

Nikko : The Tosho-gu is architectually interesting, as it looks more Chinese than Japanese. Being the tomb of the most famous Shogun Japan has known, it has everything to please. Other temples are also great and the park in which all o this is set is refreshing when one comes from Tokyo.

Tokyo : Whatever nature lover may say, Tokyo is a place not to give a miss, for it boasts attractions unequaled in the rest of Japan (or possibly Osaka). I will skip the shopping areas, museums and Disneyland and concentrate on the architecture and atmosphere.

The last few years have seen a dramatic architectural renewal, with glazed skyscrapers never seen before (because of earthquakes, and I still don't understand what made them change mind). For modern Japanese architecture, the must are Shinjuku (esp. the "Tocho") and the new areas of Shiodome (only 1/3 of the whole redevelopment has been completed so far) and Odaiba.

For something more historical, I recommend the already very touristical Senso-ji ツ静ウ窶伉税ス窶コ and other lesser temples in Asakusa, Meiji Jingu 窶督セナスツ。ツ神窶ケ{ and Yoyogi Park around it, the impressive Imperial palace moat (and gardens in you have time), particularily during the cherry blossom "week", as most trees there are cherry trees and everything turns "white as snow" (not pink in my experience). Then if you are there, also have a look at the Yasukuni Jinja 窶禿オツ坂?伉神ナステ?

One of my favourite in Tokyo is the Matsuri ツ催? The biggest are Sanja, Kanda, Torigoe and Fukagawa Matsuri, but there are dozens of smaller ones all around Tokyo.

Kansai

Kyoto : There are too many temples to list here. Just make sure to see the less well-known but incredible Fushimi Inari Taisha 窶「ナ。ナ陳ゥヒ?ョ窶ーテ冷?佚・ナステ South-East of Kyoto. The shrine itself is quite beautiful, but the best is the 8km of torii behind it creating a kind of tunnel in the forest, only interrupted by intermitent fox statues or stone lanterns. Best visited at dusk if you don't fear the spirits of the forest.

Otherwise, the most touristical places aren't popular for nothing. My favourite in Kyoto are the Heian Jingu, Kinkaku-ji and the Gion district.
 

tasuki

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Although all the places mentioned above are worth a visit (Nikko was an especailly nice treat and the Higashiyama area was a real surprise), when I think back of all the places I've been during my stay in Japan, the one that will stay with me forever is definitely my weekend in the onsen town of Ginzan in mid-February, not so much a place to visit as a place to enjoy, and definitely not a place that draw the foreign tourist crowds...

http://www.ginzanonsen.jp/
 
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caramboo

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O WOW! this is really great! im considering visiting and was looking for some good places to visit... THANKS!
 

budd

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i heard Hyogo got the prettiest women...
 

senseiman

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I live in Hyogo. There are a lot of pretty woman here. Osaka has some too!
 

Brooker

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The Izu Penninsula is a great weekend trip from Tokyo. The train ride from Atami to Shimoda is the most beautiful I saw while in Japan. The train snakes along the east coast of the penninsula and the seats are facing the windows. You also pass through unspoiled jungle-like terrain. Izu is a good place to relax and see the countryside. It also has the highest consentration of onsens of anywhere in Japan. I hear the west coast of the penninsula is nice too, but no trains, only buses - I haven't been there. Along the way from Tokyo is a nice castle in Odawara and some outdoor hotsprings.
 

mad pierrot

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I second Fushimi Inari in Kansai. Take the Keihan train.

It's awesome, plus you can eat whole fried sparrows on a stick.
 

duff_o_josh

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it will soon be me(best tourist attraction :p) in a couple months lol
 

blade_bltz

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I absolutely loved Kamakura, probably because I thought the town in its entirety was beautiful - not just the temples, which of course were spectacular as well. I stayed at a youth hostel near Hase station, right next to Yuigihama beach (which was admittedly not the nicest beach) and even the cramped residential neighborhoods that run along side the incredibly "natsukashii" Enoden are far more attractive than, say, Kyoto's non-touristical areas (obviously Kyoto is a major city, but still). I guess I've always had something for the ocean, and the sort of "summer resort" feel of the place hit home with me. And yes, I realize how corny some of the beachfront bars and surf places are, but I'm a surfer, so hey!

Must-see temples/shrines in the area: Hasedera, Kenchoji, Engakuji, Hachimangu Tsuragaoka, Daibutsu (yappari ne?)
 

Silverpoint

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Iron Chef said:
Odori koen in Sapporo during the annual snow festival is my favorite. And if you're into the nightlife, Suskino in all its neon glory is a must see. Otaru (a small coastal town in Hokkaido) is another great place during the summertime to just hang out and go fishing (great food too btw). :cool: Yubari (famous for their melon) is also one of my fav "little known but spectacular getaways" and is home to the Mt. Racey ski resort as well as host of the annual Yubari Fantastic Adventure Film Festival. It's rather isolated and it's high elevation make for a spectacular drive.
:)
Do you live in Sapporo, sir? If so we should have a beer sometime.

Actually on the subject of alcoholic beverages, the snow festival is pretty spectacular, but most of the local drunks who inhabit this cold little island will tell you that Odori Koen is never so glorious as during the summer beer festival (now on until 10th August if anyone happens to be in these parts).
 

duff_o_josh

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takao in kyoto-fu is really beautiful in the autumn
 

deadhippo

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well, i like the hot weather so I have to say Ishigaki, or Taketomi to be precise . Its a very small island but paradise. I want to go back to that area again.
 

Harvey

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Fushimiinari is great! Here is a little write up I did on it a while ago.
http://www.japannewbie.com/archives/000140.html

Also, I think it is important to catch the festivals!
Gion Matsuri (http://www.japannewbie.com) just ended, current update is a sight to see.

Also like September 14th is a rowdy festival in Osaka called Danjiri. Not to be missed!

Also PL Hanabi (fireworks) in Osaka is the largest firewords event in Japan. It also just ended, but seeing fireworks in Japan is really a thing to experience, because everyone comes out in their yukata and geta, and there are vendor shops to experience.
 

ArmandV

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My recommendations...

If you are a first-time visitor to Japan, here's some places that I would recommend visiting:

Tokyo Tower - spectacular views of Tokyo.
Imperial Palace - a must-see.
Asakusa - beautiful architecture and great shops for traditional Japanese goods.
Shinjuku and Shibuya - some of the best of modern Japan.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine - beautiful.
Great Buddha of Kamakura - you don't have to be Buddhist to enjoy it.
Mt. Fuji - 5th Station. The symbol of Japan. Spectacular.
Hakone/Lake Ashii - fantastic scenery.
Kyoto Nijo Castle - check out the "Nightingale floors."
Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion - great spot for the shutter-bug.
Heian Shrine - beautiful gardens.
Kyomizu Temple - nice view of Kyoto, but there's a lot of climbing. Great architecture.
Miyajima Island - as mentioned before, a beautiful island with its famous torii gate.
Hiroshima Peace Park/Peace Museum/Atomic Dome - definitely a must-see.
Kyoto Station - this place is huge!
 

celtician

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Asakusa is cool but you've got to have a little inside knowledge
Gallery ef is a friendly and interesting place
 

Davey

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Kyoto is great, no words needed to explain!

Himeji castle.. Great building, world heritage.

Niko supposed to be great..

Nara.. havnt been there, but have some great temples etc
 

Carlson

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OK. I have seen all things listed in Tokyo and Kamakura. on my Kyoto Trip i would like to see the various shrines and temples. and also the castle. are there any waterfalls to see?
 

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