Ask anyone who’s visited Japan, and they’ll tell you it’s one of the coolest and most unique places they’ve ever been to. Japan blends ancient culture and cutting edge technology like nowhere else in the world, refusing to abandon their culture in a bid for technological advancement.
So, if you have plans to visit Japan anytime soon, these are my picks for ten of the coolest places to visit.
1. Himeji Castle
This castle is both a national treasure and a world heritage site. It’s the perfect example of ancient Japanese architecture. The castle has an elegant white appearance and is considered to be the most spectacular castle in Japan because of its size and how well it’s been preserved. If you’re travelling from Hiroshima to Kyoto, you should stop and check out this architectural masterpiece.
2. Miyako Island
Miyako Island is home to some of Japan’s most beautiful beaches. It’s an ideal place for swimmers, snorkelers and surfers to have an unforgettable time. Clear blue emerald waters surround the island, which is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the cities. You can find restaurants, resortS and moderate bars all over this island paradise.
Also known as the bamboo forest, Arashiyama is one of the most photographed destinations in the world. The peace of mind gained from walking through the bamboo forest feels like a dream. Arashiyama is best enjoyed in isolation, so it’s important to try and plan your visit so you don't go at a time when the forest is overcrowded. Go and enjoy the serenity that Arashiyama offers.
4. TeamLab Borderless
This is a unique museum in Tokyo — it’s the world’s first digital art museum. TeamLab Borderless is a group of artworks that form one borderless world. The museum focuses on art without boundaries, and everything is connected here. The artworks here interact with the people that visit the museum and also interact with other artworks; it’s a truly one of a kind experience.
5. Itsukushima Shrine
It was established in the 16th century for Buddhist worship. The shrine and its grand toril gate were famously built over water. The gate is the major attraction; when there is a high tide, it looks like it’s floating on water, and when the tide is low, visitors can go close to it and admire the design. It’s a truly fascinating piece of Japanese history.
6. Mount Fuji
You don’t have to be an intense mountain climber to go up Mount Fuji — people of all ages make it up this mountain. Mount Fuji is one of the crown jewels of tourism in Japan, and it’s a truly magnificent sight. A lot of people don’t even go there to climb the mountain; they just want to look and take pictures of it. Can you blame them?
7. Nara Park
Nara Park is full of ancient temples and wild deer. Granted, this is an odd combination, but it makes for a unique tourist experience. The deers in Nara Park were once considered divine, and even though that isn’t the case anymore, they have been designated as national treasures to the public. The deers here are unique because visitors can interact closely with them. Also, if you bow at the deer, it’ll bow back… it’s so cool.
8. Jigokudani Monkey Park
If you are a wildlife person, you should visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park whenever you’re in Japan. The park is famous for its large population of Japanese Macaques, more commonly known as snow monkeys; they can be found here during the winter. Regardless, you can see the Macaques all year round as park attendants feed them. Make sure you photograph your experience.
9. Inokashira Park
This is the best place in the country to see beautiful cherry blossoms. It has many recreational areas and a pond in the middle, where you can hire rowing boats. The locals love Inokashira Park because it’s a place where they can forget about their worries and relax; you should do the same.
This beautiful village in Japan is a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s located in a mountainous area, and the traditional Japanese houses create stunning scenery. The locals have done an amazing job preserving the village, and they are super friendly. Some buildings here have been converted to hotels and restaurants, so you can really live amongst them while exploring their culture.