10 Places to Visit in Japan Not Tokyo

Introduction: Japan is a realm like no other, a country that seems to encapsulate multiple worlds within its borders. From the futuristic allure of Tokyo to the serene peaks of Mount Fuji, Japan offers a captivating blend of experiences. While Tokyo deserves its place on your bucket list, there’s an entire universe beyond it waiting to be explored. Why not dedicate a week to Tokyo and then embark on a journey to lesser-explored destinations? Get ready to plan your dream trip to Japan as we unveil ten places you must visit in this mesmerizing country.

Ready to plan your dream trip to Japan? Here are ten places to visit in Japan (that aren’t Tokyo).

1. Kyoto: Escape the bustling pace of Tokyo and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Kyoto. Surrounded by natural beauty and a focus on traditional arts, Kyoto invites you to discover authentic Japanese culture. Explore temples, lush landscapes, and serene gardens in this picturesque city.

Pro Tip: Check out our comprehensive guide for an unforgettable three-day itinerary in Kyoto.

2. Osaka: Often overshadowed by Tokyo and Kyoto, Osaka is a haven for foodies. Originating in Osaka, world-class dishes like okonomiyaki and takoyaki await your palate. Delight in local cuisine and explore attractions such as Universal Studios Japan while experiencing the city’s unique charm.

Pro Tip: Dive into the local culture with insights from our guide to Osaka.

3. Sapporo: Hokkaido’s northern island, Sapporo, offers a glimpse into a different facet of Japan. Known for its snowy ski slopes and local beer, Sapporo is especially enchanting during the Sapporo Snow Festival. Witness breathtaking ice sculptures and experience a different side of Japan’s beauty.

Pro Tip: Plan your visit according to the best season with insights from our guide on the best time to travel to Japan.

4. Nara: Nara competes with Kyoto for the title of Japan’s most beautiful city. Its lush gardens, awe-inspiring shrines, and temples showcase a unique kind of beauty. While an easy day trip from Kyoto and Osaka, Nara’s picture-perfect districts make it worth an extended visit.

5. Hiroshima: Hiroshima, known for its poignant history, offers more than just its World War II legacy. Explore Miyajima Island for hiking and breathtaking scenery. Capture the stunning landscapes with your camera, then savor fresh oysters and Hiroshima’s culinary delights.

Hiroshima Japan

6. Himeji: Himeji, famous for its well-preserved Himeji Castle, stands as a testament to Japan’s feudal history. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a national treasure and a must-visit attraction. Explore Himeji Castle, Shoshazan Engyo-ji Temple, and Kokoen Garden in a day trip from Osaka or Kyoto.

7. Nagasaki: Nagasaki’s history as Japan’s sole port open to foreign trade from the 16th to the 19th century has left an indelible cultural and architectural impact. This city boasts a unique blend of Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch, and British influences. Explore the colorful temples of Chinatown and the European districts, savor fusion cuisine, and immerse yourself in Nagasaki’s layered past.

Nagasaki Japan
Glover Garden, nature and city view in Nagasaki, Japan

8. Toyama: Nestled along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Toyama offers stunning views of the Japanese Alps and the Sea of Japan. Recognized by UNESCO for having one of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World, Toyama beckons with fresh seafood and historic charm.

9. Takayama: As you journey between Tokyo and Kyoto, make a stop at Takayama. Experience Japanese hospitality by staying in a traditional ryokan and engaging with friendly locals. Explore the traditional downtown area, visit lovely temples, and soak up the rich cultural heritage.

10. Hakone: A perfect day trip from Tokyo or en route to Kyoto or Osaka, Hakone captivates nature lovers. With Instagram-worthy vistas, views of Mount Fuji, lush hillside treks, and natural hot springs, Hakone offers a blend of natural beauty and relaxation.

Pro Tip: Visit during the fall to witness the picturesque countryside adorned with vibrant autumn leaves.

Conclusion: While Tokyo serves as a captivating entry point to Japan, these ten destinations beckon with their unique charm and cultural riches. Venture beyond Tokyo’s boundaries to discover the multifaceted beauty of Japan, where serene temples, culinary delights, and natural wonders await. Craft your dream trip to Japan and let its diverse landscapes and traditions leave an indelible mark on your travel memories.

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