Other Area

Hiroshima

Tragically, the city of Hiroshima is known throughout the world for the being the first victim of the horrific atomic bombings. As one would expect, the city’s most noted attraction is the monument dedicated to this terrible act – none other than Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial.

Beppu

Beppu is one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts, producing more hot spring water than any other resort in the country.
Beppu offers an unmatched range of baths to be enjoyed, including ordinary hot water baths, mud baths, sand baths and steam baths. In addition, the Hells of Beppu are several spectacular hot springs for viewing rather than bathing.

Kumamoto

Kumamoto is situated in the center of Kyushu at the western end of Japan. Mt. Aso-san stands in the east and the Chikuhi Mountains lie to the north, while the Shira-kawa River, the Kuma-gawa River, and other rivers flow from the mountains to the western part of the lower current area, forming the Kumamoto Plain and Yashiro Plain. The Uto-hanto Peninsula juts out to the southwest from the Kyushu mainland, and the Amakusa Islands lie beyond the peninsula. Kumamoto has two national parks, namely Aso-Kuju and Unzen-Amakusa, and two quasi-national parks, namely Mt. Yabahita-hiko-san and the Kyushu Central Mountains. The total area of these natural parks occupies 20 percent of the prefecture. The Aso district has an active volcano, Mt. Aso-san, with one of the largest calderas in the world and many hot springs. The Amakusa district has the Amakusa-Gokyo (five bridges), historic sites with tragic stories of Christian martyrs, and scenic sites of the islands and a saw-toothed Other must-sees in Kumamoto include Kumamoto City with Kumamoto Castle noted for its stonewalls with 'musha-gaeshi,' a special defense designed to prevent enemy attacks.

Todai Ji

As mentioned earlier, you simply must stop at Todai Ji. Todai famous for being the world’s largest wooden structure, but the temple also holds the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. The temple and its statue are just unbelievably massive and is one of the country’s most incredible temples. Todai Ji can be found at the heart of the city and is a sort walk from any of the other beautiful attractions found in Nara.

Osaka

Osaka holds the second largest city in all of Japan as well as some of the better attractions in Kansai. The city, Osaka, has always been a popular place to visit with its convenient Osaka Castle and night life, but within the past decade or so, Universal Studios Japan has also brought in a great deal of family tourism. The area is perfect for anyone’s vacation and has a lot to offer people of all ages. Be sure to stop by Osaka and see what it has to offer.

Nagasaki

The city of Nagasaki is another major port on Japan’s southernmost main island. As with Hiroshima, Nagasaki also has its own peace memorial. The city also has a handful of temples and shrines that are worth checking out if you’re staying in the area for a while. Among these, you’ll find one of only a few shrines connected to China’s legendary Confucius..

Shirakawago

Shirakawago is a small village in one of Gifu prefecture’s many valleys. The site is best known for its amazing handmade “gassho-zukuri” buildings. Shirakawago receives an abundance of snow during the winter months and these residences were specifically engineered to shrug off heavy snowfall. If you’re looking to see a glimpse of what traditional life in Japan used to be like, there are few better spots than Shirakawago.

Hokkaido

Hokkaido is an island at Japan's northern extremity, surrounded by sea in all directions. It is an extensive land, accounting for 22% of Japan's total land area. Low humidity makes the summers pleasant, while in winter you can enjoy winter sports. The island is gaining popularity as a tourist destination throughout the four seasons. In Hokkaido you can enjoy the magnificence of nature to your heart's content: Daisetsuzan National Park, which forms the roof of Hokkaido; the secluded Shiretoko Peninsula; Kushiro wetland, home to many precious living things such as Japanese cranes; Shikotsu-Toya National Park, which is full of volcanoes and lakes; and the ever-changing Shakotan Coast. There are also numerous hot springs, like the Noboribetsu, Jozan-kei and Sounkyo, where you can enjoy a leisurely bath to help you get over the fatigue of your journey. The Sapporo Snow Festival and Mombetsu Ice Floes Festival are held in winter. In summer enjoy the Furano Lavender Festival, as well as port festivals in every coastal town held to pray for a good catch and safe fishing. Hokkaido boasts of over 1,200 festivals and events held throughout the year.

Kobe

There are very few cities in Japan as famous as Kobe. The city of Kobe has gained international attention recently for its world famous beef, the devastating earthquake, and for it just being a very cool city. The harbor and the city’s architecture has made the city one of the most romantic areas in all of Japan, and thus should be high on your list of places to visit. Just don’t come here alone.

Nara Todai Ji

As mentioned earlier, you simply must stop at Todai Ji. Todai famous for being the world’s largest wooden structure, but the temple also holds the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. The temple and its statue are just unbelievably massive and is one of the country’s most incredible temples. Todai Ji can be found at the heart of the city and is a sort walk from any of the other beautiful attractions found in Nara.

Izumo-Taisha

The Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine is located in Taisha-machi, Izumo-city in eastern Shimane. According to the myth handed down in the Izumo district, the god of fortune, O-kuninushi-no-mikoto, obtained Izumo in compensation for giving his territory to another god.
The existing shrine sanctuary was built in the 18th century, which is said to be the 25th reconstruction. While the present sanctuary is 24 meters tall, the first construction is said to have been 96 meters tall. The main sanctuary is built in the Taisha style, which is the oldest style of shrine architecture. It has a pillar called Shin'no-mihashira at the center of the interior, surrounded by a total of nine pillars on the ground forming four symmetrical squares, and a gabled roof with an opening in the front.

Himeji Castle

The Himeji Castle was built in 1333, and is the largest and most visited castles in the entire country. The castle survived the Meiji Restoration, World War 2 bombings, earthquakes, and a host of other natural disasters that have hit the area. The castle has been placed on many lists, including ours, as the most spectacular castles in all of Japan, and is well deserving of this title. Unfortunately, the castle is under construction at the moment and will be until Spring of 2014. Even though the castle is under construction, you can still access majority of the grounds. In a little less than a year, the castle in all its polished splendor will be revealed and once again everyone will see what makes Himeji Castle at the top of our list of Japan’s Must See Castles.

Osaka Castle

One of our “Must See Castles of Japan,” Osaka Castle is truly a masterpiece of Japanese castle architecture and a landmark worth seeing while in the city. The castle may have been torn down after the Meiji Restoration, but it has since been rebuilt and renovated into one of the area’s most important museums. The castle grounds are expansive to say the least, and offer spectacular views of moats, castle walls, and one of the best city parks in all of Osaka.