If you’re looking for a change of pace this year, consider planning a trip to Japan. “The Land of the Rising Sun” is an interesting country to explore, as it’s known for its rich traditions and ancient sites as well as its progressive technology and stunning architecture. Make sure to include some of these cities on your itinerary for your first visit to Japan:
You could easily spend your entire trip exploring Japan’s crowded and cutting-edge capital, but for now, start with the highlights. Sashimi and sushi lovers won’t want to pass up an early morning trip to Tsukiji fish market, while culture enthusiasts will want to check out the Tokyo National Museum and Toshogu Shrine in Ueno Park. Get lost in the hustle and bustle of Shibuya Crossing, then climb to the 52nd floor of Tokyo City View for a bird’s eye view of the city. Want some place to unwind? Head to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
The former capital of Japan (794 to 1868) is a must for history buffs. There, you’ll find many important temples, shrines, and structures that will provide insight into traditional Japanese culture. One of the most visited is the temple of Kiyomizudera, built on the site of the Otowa Waterfall. Other noteworthy sites and attractions included Higashiyama, the preserved historic district near Kiyomizudera, Kinkakuji, the famous temple covered in gold, and the torri gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine.
3) Mt. Koya/Koya-san
The center of Shingon Buddhism, Mt. Koya is currently home to over one hundred temples, making it the ideal destination for tourists interested in learning more about Buddhism. To get the full experience, plan an overnight stay at one of the temples, where you’ll attend a morning prayer session and be served a vegetarian monk’s diet.
The first city to be tragically destroyed by the dropping of the atomic bomb in World War II has become a symbol of hope and perseveration. Peace Memorial Park is home to several museums and monuments which commemorate the terrible destruction, including Peace Memorial Museum, the A-Bomb Dome, and the Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims. While you’re in the city, check out the reconstructed Hiroshima Castle and Shukkeien Garden as well.
Last but not least, enjoy the sandy beaches and sunny weather of Naoshima, a Japanese island located in the Seto Inland Sea. The island is known for its modern art museums and architecture, so make sure to set aside some time at the Chichu Art Museum, Lee Ufan Museum, and the Benesse House in between those trips to the beach.
If that’s whetted your appetite then it’s time to plan a trip. Want to raise some cash for your first visit to Japan? Click here to sell your old CDs, DVDs, and video games back to musicMagpie.