Osaka is the gateway to Kyoto with great street food, bright lights and delightful night life. Its main historic landmark is the 16th century Osaka Castle surrounded by a moat and many flowering trees. Kyoto is famous for its numerous Buddhist temples, gardens, imperial Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It is also known for formal traditions like kaiseki dining (multiple courses of precise dishes) and geisha entertainers.
7:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
The main gateway to Shikoku Island and an important focal point for the island’s rail and road transit systems, Takamatsu, on Japan’s scenic Inland Sea, has been a political and economic center since the Edo period. Among the attractions here is Ritsurin Garden, created during the Edo period, and especially popular during spring for the cherry blossoms and autumn for the fall foliage. Takamatsu Symbol tower has several observation decks providing panoramic views of the sea and landscapes.
8:00 AM TO 5:00 PM
Largely destroyed by an atomic bomb during WWII, Hiroshima today is a modern city on the island of Honshu. The Hiroshima Memorial Peace Arch, a UNESCO site commonly referred to as the Atomic Dome, commemorates the 1945 event. One feature is a colorful memorial to Sadako Sasaki, a young woman whose dying wish for peace was told in the story A Thousand Paper Cranes. Also worth seeing is the Hiroshima Museum of Art displaying paintings from Monet, Van Gogh, Fujishima and Asai and the UNESCO red torii of Miyajima.
11:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
Located on the island of Kyushu, Karatsu is one of the closest Japanese cities to the Korean Peninsula. Karatsu Castle is the main attraction here. Built in 1608, it houses a museum of the castle’s history and Karatsu ceramics. Karatsu is also known for its pottery which can be viewed at the Karatsu-yaki Pottery Gallery. Also worth visiting is the Karatsu Hikiyama Exhibition Hall which displays the 14 floats used in the annual Karatsu Kunchi Festival in November.
The second largest city in South Korea is a popular leisure destination due to the nearby hot springs. It is home to many famous beaches that lure visitors from around the world and the UNESCO site of Gyeongju an outdoor museum that was once the capital of the Silla Kingdom and holds many architectural points of interest including ornate temples. Also of interest is South Korea’s largest temple, Tongdosa Temple, renowned for having no outdoor statues.
7:00 AM TO 7:00 PM
With its beautiful ocean scenery, seaside promenade, and bright friendly atmosphere, romantic Sasebo has some interesting attractions and is the gateway to Nagasaki. Nagasaki is notable for the nuclear attack it suffered during WWII. A must-see there is the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Memorial Park, which houses a beautiful 30-foot-tall fountain symbolizing peace. Sasebo is part of the Saikai National Park, which consists of more than 400 islands and is valued for not only its lovely semi-tropical vegetation. Seishin Cathedral, a Neo-gothic church built in the 1930s is the symbol of Sasebo, which is the only Japanese city that uses a symbol of the Christian church as part of its flag.
10:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
The seaside city of Kagoshima is best known for Sakurajima, an active volcano facing Kinko Bay. Take a tour to the Shiroyama Observatory or to the peaceful Edo-period Sengamen Japanese Garden. Visit the Ishibashi Park and the three Edo-period stone bridges or travel to the nearby village of Chiran to see the well-preserved Samurai Houses and the Chiran Peace Museum, exploring the background of kamikaze pilots.
7:00 AM TO 5:00 PM
For over 1,000 years pilgrims have traveled to the Kumano Region to pray at the three Sacred Kumano Shrines. In Shingu you can see the Hayatama Shrine and the Kamikura Shrine. Both of these shrines are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Sacred Sites of Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range. The Kamikura Shrine sits on Mount Kamikurayama and requires climbing 538 steps to reach it.
8:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
Most notably known as the city you can see the UNESCO site of Mount Fuji from. This small port city considered one of the three most beautiful ports in Japan has many historical building like Kunozan Toshogu Shrine, Sumpugo Park, and Shizuoka Sengen Shrine. The 65-foot Shiraito Waterfall, located near Mount Fuji looks like it could be silk. Enjoy tuna from Japan’s largest fishery here or a cup of maccha, a Japanese green tea.
There are so many interesting things about Tokyo it is not possible to list them here and you will want to plan to extend your stay. This is the place for excellent and unlimited shopping choices and from where new fashion trends seem to spring. It offers excellent cuisine and has earned mention on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Even though Tokyo’s neon-lit streets make it seem modernistic, it also prides itself on retaining its shogun past, carrying on sumo tournaments and kabuki productions. Tokyo is also committed to providing green spaces in the city or on the outskirts, quickly reached by train.
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