A hub of traditionalism and modernism, Japan is a true reflection of the beauty of life. From skyscrapers to Virgin islands, pop culture and monarchies; Japan has everything for everyone. Tokyo, capital of Japan is the most visited cities in the world. Here is a glimpse at the top ten tourist attractions in Japan.
1. GOLDEN PAVILION TEMPLE
Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion) is one of the most popular tourist attractions. The three-storey building with top two storeys covered with pure gold leaf was originally constructed by the Shogun Ashikaga Yosgimitsu in 1397. Even though it was burned down numerous times over the years, it was later reconstructed to its original frame and has been a majestic architecture since then.
Japan plans to make public some testimony denying that Koreans were forced to work under harsh conditions during World War II at what is now a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, government sources have said.
The controversial move could draw an angry rebuke from Seoul, which maintains that Korean workers were forced to toil in the Hashima Coal Mine off Nagasaki, on what is now known as Gunkanjima (“Battleship Island”), when the Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule between 1910 and 1945.
When the island was listed as a World Cultural Heritage site in 2015, Tokyo promised Seoul it would exhibit the history of Koreans forced to work there. Japan may continue to collect more testimony, potentially including acknowledgements of forced labor.
Okinoshima is a sacred island in the Sea of Japan, shrouded in mystery and strewn with ancient treasures.
For centuries, the island was forbidden to all but about 200 men, who could wade ashore only one day a year after “purifying” themselves, naked, in the freezing sea. Women were banned. Photographs were banned. Even talking about a visit to the island was long verboten.
Then, in July, after a years-long lobbying effort by Japanese officials, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Okinoshima a World Heritage site, placing it alongside more than 1,000 high-profile attractions, including the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China.
The designation alarmed the keepers of Okinoshima’s tradition, and raised questions about how communities keep traditions intact — and secrets secret — in the modern world.
Japanese castles are world-renowned for their beauty. Among them, there are five national treasures with their original castle keeps intact. Take a tour of of these incredible structures steeped in over 400 years of history!
Castles of the Samurai
The timeless image of samurai suited in armor and helmets, attacking enemies with swords and spears. Recorded history of the “bushi” (samurai) dates back to the 8th century, initially as defenders of domains, then becoming a distinct social class, and eventually wielding political power. The late 15th century to the end of the 16th century was rife with samurai battles (the “Warring States Period”).
Castles served as the main stronghold for samurai, with large and small structures numbering more than 25,000 at their peak. However, countless wooden castles were damaged and fell into disrepair over the decades, disappearing from the landscape.
Five Incredible Castle Keeps that are National Treasures
South Korea expressed regret Tuesday over Japan’s disregard for its previous vow to honor the victims of colonial-era forced labor in its managing of UNESCO World Heritage-listed industrial facilities.
“The government expresses regret over the implementation report that Japan recently submitted as part of its follow-up measures on the world heritage listing of its modern industrial facilities,” Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said in a commentary issued in the name of its spokesman.
“The government urges Japan to take measures sincerely and swiftly as it promised the international community to remember the victims of its forced hard labor,” it added.
The commentary follows Tokyo’s decision to submit an 851-page report to UNESCO, which pushes for the installation of an information center for modern industrial facilities in Tokyo.
With so much to see and do in the land of the rising sun, it’s hard for first-time visitors to decide where to go. That’s why we’ve compiled a handy round up of some of Japan’s top destinations to help you out.
Think of Japan and images of cherry blossoms, Buddhist temples, and a Shinkansen train zooming past Mount Fuji probably come to mind. But this is a country of diverse landscapes and seasons, 30 national parks, 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, avant-garde design and architecture, and one of the most refined cuisines in the world. With so much to see and do in the land of the rising sun, it’s hard for first-time visitors to decide where to go. That’s why we’ve compiled a handy round up of some of Japan’s top destinations to help you out.
We are in a world of green. Walls of bamboo — stalks and leaves — soar so high that barely a sliver of sunlight slips through. We hear the wind through this otherworldly grove, a mysterious music soothing nerves we didn’t know we have.
Till we leave the city behind for the mountains, rivers and forests of Arashiyama.
Only 15 minutes away by train from Kyoto, Arashiyama feels like a world apart. The first thing that greets us is the iconic Togetsu-kyo Bridge. For over four centuries, this 155-metre bridge — which spans the shallow, slow-flowing Katsura River — has drawn nature lovers during the spring cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons.
The colours exploding all over Arashiyama Mountain on the opposite bank are not unlike Mother Nature’s own fireworks. We observe cormorants diving into the river to fish for their supper.
Gassho-style farmhouses, big, triangular and with thatched roofs are very rare in Japan, only found in the villages of Ogimachi at the Shirakawa-go region (Gifu prefecture) and Ainokura and Suganuma at the Gokayama region (Toyama prefecture). Due to their particular location at a river valley nestled in the mountains and difficult access, they have remained isolated for a long time and people from there developed a particular farming style, cultivating mulberries and rearing silkworms. The architecture of these houses reflects the socio-economic as well as geographic/weather circumstances and, for all those reasons, they are listed by UNESCO as world heritage traditional sites. Many of these are 100 to 200 years old (some as old as 400 years).
How To Get There and Around
The best way to get to these villages is either by car or bus. There is no train station or taxi.
If you enjoy traditional art, architecture and history, there is truly no better place in Japan to visit than Kyoto. The ancient capital is so well preserved it produced a whopping 17 UNESCO world heritage sites, each of which with its own charms. For those planning a trip, this is probably one of the best places to start.
First we have probably the most famous temple in Kyoto, Kinkaku-ji. With its top two floors covered entirely, Kinkaku-ji truly lives up to its reputation as a sight to behold, surrounded by pretty ponds and gardens. Come in the morning to avoid excessive crowds!
Japan is one of those countries that always calls to me. I’m not sure if it’s the country’s strong culture, iconic cities or beautiful landscapes – I just can’t fully put my finger on it. Whatever the case, our first ever visit to Japan was everything I wanted it to be… and more!
Whether you’re looking to explore the incredible cities of; Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto or travel beyond the larger cities to explore the stunning landscapes that seem to be everywhere across Japan.
Whatever your plans, make sure to see some of these amazing places on your trip. It really is an incredible country to explore.
How to travel
Getting to Japan: Okay, we all get how you’re going to get to Japan. Arrive by plane, boat, multi-coloured unicorn, whatever way you choose, just get there!