Japan is one of the few countries that has a mesmeric culture, and the customs here are quite distinct and apparent in all its corners; from Sapporo and the iconic snow monkeysto the high-tech metropolis, Tokyo. As an added advantage, most of the cultural gems in Japan are not too far from the major cities. After travelling for a short while, you can explore this glorious country and tick a few boxes on your bucket list.
1. Mount Fuji
The majestic Mt. Fuji (Fuji-San) is undoubtedly Japan’s most recognisable mountain and a great destination for paradise seekers looking for a thrilling experience. Its highest peak stands at 3,776 metres, and it can be seen from Tokyo. For centuries, Mt. Fuji has been celebrated in art and literature, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site. Each summer, over one million people climb the mountain as an act of pilgrimage and are rewarded by being able to watch the sunrise from the summit.
There are numerous interesting places to visit and activities to indulge in on a Mt. Fuji tour, and not all of them include hiking. You can enjoy the views of the mountain from Subashiri 5th station, visit the Arakurayama Sengen Park, or go skiing.
2. Imperial Palace, Tokyo
The most famous landmark in Tokyo is the gorgeous Imperial Palace. Although it was destroyed during World War II, it was later rebuilt in the same style. It has breathtaking 17th-century parks which are surrounded by moats and walls, and although a major part of the palace is closed to the public because the imperial family still lives there, there are still numerous must-see sections and ample strolling grounds for visitors.
However, the public can visit the inner grounds of the palace on January 2 (New Year’s greeting) and February 23 (Emperor’s Birthday). Throughout the year, visitors can take a stroll on the Imperial Palace East Gardens. The Imperial Palace is a ten-minute walk from Tokyo station; convenient and ideal for people exploring Tokyo for a day.
3. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
The August 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshimawas devastating. It was the world’s first nuclear attack that took the lives of over 100,000 people, but today, Hiroshima stands as a symbol of lasting peace. Every year, millions of people visit the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park which is located at the centre of the atomic blast. At this park, there are numerous monuments, memorials, and museums relevant to the events of that fateful day in August 1945.
4. The Island Shrine of Itsukushima
The famous Japan Shrine Island, Miyajima, which is just a short ferry ride from mainland Hiroshima, is the home to the Itsukushima Shrine. The Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto temple dedicated to the daughters of the wind god Susanoo. It dates back to the eighth century and during high tide, the majority of the shrine’s buildings are seen peeking out of the glistening waters of a small bay, creating an illusion of a floating temple.
You can explore the majestic Honden (main hall), Heiden (offering hall), Haiden (Prayer hall), Senjokaku (the hall of a thousand mats), and the breathtaking grounds and gardens.
Japan’s top cultural destinations are filled with surprises for every traveller. The palaces, parks, shrines, scenic mountains, restaurants, and other new and old attractions are worth every dime. Other than the beautiful destinations, Japanese cuisine is delicious, colourful, and healthy. Getting a hands-on experience of the traditional culture of Japan, witnessing the soul-soothing landscapes of the Japanese villages, and experiencing the technological magic of the island nation will definitely conquer your heart.