Japan is fast becoming a top tourist destination visited by people all over the world. Nearly 30 million tourists come to Japan every year to visit its popular destinations and World Heritage Sites. The Japanese government has been introducing campaigns to increase foreign visitors and it has been working. Since 2013, there has been a significant increase in tourists to Japan.
10 Most Popular Japan Travel Destinations
Tokyo, the capital, is by far one of the most popular travel destinations in Japan. There is so much to see and do, you could spend a week just exploring its city centers of Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Ueno, and Ginza. Notable attractions include the electronics city of Akihabara, Tokyo Tower, Kaminarimon at Asakusa, and Tokyo Disneyland.
Osaka is the commercial center of Japan and famous for its unique culture and foods. Enjoy takoyaki (octopus balls) in the entertainment district of Dotonbori and stroll the shopping streets stretching from Namba to Shinsaibashi. Then head over to Osaka Castle Park for cherry blossom viewing in the spring or the tower to see views of Osaka.
Kyoto is a must for every visitor to Japan. The streets are lined with ancient temples and traditional architecture to enjoy in this cultural city. Points of interest include Kiyomizu-dera, Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji and the Gion entertainment district. Just 20 minutes south of Kyoto is Uji, famous for high-quality matcha green tea.
Nagoya is the fourth largest city and centrally located between Osaka and Tokyo. Attractions include the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, Nagoya Castle, and the underground shopping walkways in Sakae.
Hokkaido, the northernmost island, is a place to visit year round because of its cool summers and snowy winters offering ski resorts and hot springs. Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, hosts the annual Snow Festival in February. Other areas of interest include Niseko, Otaru and Hakodate.
6. Mt. Fuji
Mount Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture is the highest mountain in Japan. It reaches 12,000 feet above sea level. Climbing Mount Fuji is open in the months of July and August. The Fuji Five Lakes, including Lake Kawaguchi, at the base of the mountain offer resorts, hot springs, and camping.
7. Hakuba Valley
Hakuba Valley in the Japanese Alps of Nagano Prefecture was a venue at the 1998 Winter Olympics. It is famous for its ski resorts, but also has hiking trails and hot springs. Also in Nagano Prefecture are Matsumoto Castle, one of the oldest castles in Japan, the mountainous region of Kamikochi, and Nagano City.
8. Okinawa Islands
The Okinawa Islands are located in the westernmost part of Japan and have some of the most beautiful water and luxurious resorts. The coral reefs make it a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving. Naha, the capital of Okinawa Island, features Shuri Castle and a large aquarium. Other islands of interest are Iriomote, Taketomi, and Ishigaki.
Yokohama is located in Kanagawa Prefecture and is the second largest city in Japan. The port city is only 20 miles from Tokyo, so it feels like an extension of Tokyo. Tourist attractions include Chinatown, the shopping streets of Motomachi, and the Red Brick Warehouse.
Fukuoka is the capital city on Kyushu Island and is known for its mild climate, fresh seafood, and tonkotsu ramen. The Hakata Gion Festival is one of the most famous festivals in Japan held every year in July. Fukuoka is a great base for visiting other cities in Kyushu, such as Beppu, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, and Nagasaki.
There are so many great Japan travel destinations that it is difficult to narrow it down to just ten. Other notable places include Hamamatsu, Himeji Castle, Hiroshima, Ise, Kamakura, Kanazawa, Kiso Valley, Koyasan, Nara, Nikko, Naoshima, Okayama, Takayama, and Wakayama.
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Becki and Shawn
Japan Travel Specialists
Hi, we’re Becki and Shawn! We love Japan and are truly passionate about Japan and Japan travel.
We’ve lived, worked, and traveled in Japan for 20+ years, so we know where to go, what to see, and how to get there. Join us in Japan for an adventure of a lifetime!