Top 10 Most Beautiful Places In Japan

Dec 20, 2023

Japan, a beautiful Land of the Rising Sun. This is a feast of mountainside onsen villages, tranquil beach-lined islands, and vibrant megacities. There are countless numbers of stunning sceneries worth visiting dotted over the country. We have selected some of the most beautiful places that you surely shouldn’t miss to experience the fascination of Japan.

1. Mt. Fuji (富士山) – an iconic of Japan

No list of beautiful places in Japan could ever be complete without the iconic Mt. Fuji. Fuji-san is the tallest mountain in Japan, situated on the border between Shizuoka and Yamanashi. This sacred volcano, revered for centuries, offers a stunning silhouette against the sky. Whether admired from afar or experienced up close, Mount Fuji captivates with its snow-capped summit, picturesque surroundings, and spiritual allure. Its popularity draws tourists from around the world.

Mt.Fuji – the second-highest volcano located on an island in Asia.

2. Himeji Castle (姫路城) (Kyoto) – Japan’s best preserved feudal castle

Known as White Heron Castle, this castle is both an official National Treasure of Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the largest and best-preserved samurai fortification in the country. Due to its elegant, white appearance, Himeji Castle is Japan’s most spectacular castle for its well-preserved, complex castle grounds. It is also a highly popular cherry blossom spot during the short and crowded blooming season which usually falls in early April. 

Himeji Castle was registered in 1993 as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.

3. Todaiji Temple (東大寺)  (Nara) – Large temple with a big Buddha statue

Todai-ji is a Buddhist temple complex that was once among the powerful Seven Great Temples. This World Heritage site boasts the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall), which held the record as the world’s largest wooden building. Within this massive structure resides one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu). 

With fifteen meters high, Daibutsu is indeed the largest bronze seated Buddha in Japan.

The seated Buddha, standing at 15 meters tall, represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas. Don’t forget to walk behind the statue to see the models of how the temple site originally looked.

Todai-ji, a UNESCO World Heritage Temple.

4. Ashinoko Lake (芦ノ湖) (Hakone) (Pretty caldera lake with views of Mount Fuji)

The famous lake was formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano’s last eruption 3000 years ago. It is considered that the lake with Mount Fuji in the background is the symbol of Hakone. The best views of the lake in combination with Mount Fuji can be enjoyed from Moto-Hakone (a few steps south from the sightseeing boat pier), from the Hakone Detached Palace Garden, and the sightseeing boats cruising the lake. 

Famous for its impressive view of Mt. Fuji, Ashinoko is a must-see when visiting Hakone.

5. Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社) (Kyoto) – Popular shrine hosting the Gion Festival

Known as Gion Shrine, Yasaka Shrine is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto. It celebrates the annual Gion Matsuri summer festival every July. Arguably the most famous festival in the whole country, the Gion Matsuri dates back over a thousand years and involves a procession with massive floats and hundreds of participants. 

Gion Festival has become Kyoto’s largest and most famous festival.

The shrine also becomes busy during the cherry blossom season around early April, as the adjacent Maruyama Park is one of the most famous cherry blossom spots in Kyoto.

Maruyama Park becomes Kyoto’s most popular and most crowded spot for cherry blossom viewing parties.

6. Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル) (Osaka) – Skyscraper with observation deck

Known as the “New Umeda City”, the 173-meter tall building consists of two towers that are connected by the “Floating Garden Observatory” on the 39th floor. The observatory offers great views of the city through its windows and from its open-air deck. Here, not only you can see all of Osaka but also you can see as far away as beautiful Awaji Island. In the basement, there is a restaurant floor that replicates a town of the early Showa Period, while offices occupy most other floors. 

The ultramodern Umeda Sky Building is a landmark of Osaka’s Kita Ward.

7. Miyagawa-Cho street (宮川町) (Kyoto) – One of the five Hanamachi or Geisha Districts

Miyagawa-Cho is a street where Maiko and Geiko entertain customers with their performances and stories. They are professionals who entertain their customers by performing arts such as Shamisen, songs, dances, and storytelling. Miyagawa-Cho also retains a historical atmosphere, including traditional houses and stone-paved streets. Remember to enjoy the aroma from the many traditional restaurants and ‘Ochayas’, Japanese tea rooms. 

Miyagawa-Cho street features a number of Okiya (geisha houses) and Ochaya (teahouses).

Discover our 10 DAY BEST OF JAPAN to meet Maiko and Geiko and taste Ochaya tea

8. Owakudani (大涌谷) (Hakone) – Sulfurous vapors and warm rivers

Owakudani is the area around a crater created during the last eruption of Mount Hakone some 3000 years ago. Today, much of the area is an active volcanic zone where sulfurous fumes, hot springs, and hot rivers can be experienced. At the top, try the famous hard-boiled egg, cooked in Owakudani’s hot spring pools. Their shells, blackened by sulfur, are available for purchase at local shops. According to local belief, eating one of these eggs is said to extend one’s life by seven years.

Owakudani is a volcanic valley with active sulfur vents and hot springs.

9. Osaka Castle (大阪城) (Osaka) – Reconstruction of the large castle

Osaka Castle was built in 1583 as the intended capital of Japan before the capital was moved to Edo (now known as Tokyo). Now it is surrounded by secondary citadels, gates, turrets, impressive stone walls, and moats. The entire Osaka Castle Park covers lots of green space, sports facilities, a multi-purpose arena (Osakajo Hall), and a shrine dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The park is one of Osaka’s most popular hanami spots during the cherry blossom season, which usually takes place in early April.

Built by the “Napoleon of Japan,” Osaka Castle is arguably Osaka’s most prominent landmark.

10. Kennin-ji Temple (建仁寺) – The Oldest Zen Temple in Kyoto

Kennin-Ji temple is considered as one of the head temples of the Rinzai Sect of Japanese Buddhism. The idea behind the garden is that all things in the universe are represented by three shapes: circle, square, and triangle. Here, you can explore its beautiful ‘Karesansui’, the most widely known and most celebrated of Japan’s gardening styles.

Kennin-Ji temple is renowned for its wonderful indoor decorative paintings and its perfectly tended gardens.

Moreover, Kennin-Ji temple houses the famous artwork of “Fujin-Raijin-zu”, a depiction of the Gods of Wind and Thunder created by the esteemed artist Soutatu Tawaraya. This masterpiece is a treasure that Japan takes immense pride in.

The painting “Fujin Raijin-zu” depicts Raijin (god of thunder) in white and Fujin (god of wind) in green.

At Asia Vacation Group, you can explore all these famous destinations with our various Japan tours. We customize each place to ensure you thoroughly immersed in the beauty and culture of Japan. If you need any information about Japan tours, please contact us at 1800 229 339 for details.
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