Traveler’s Guide to Japan!

Posted by on October 26, 2012

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If you enjoy traveling and want to visit a location that offers plenty of history and culture, then consider Japan for your next vacation getaway. With a history that dates back several thousand years and incredible scenic wonders, the island nation of Japan has plenty to offer you during your travels. When planning a trip to Japan, you should consider working with a travel agent. They can provide you with the expertise needed to schedule your trip and itinerary. A travel agency like Liberty Travel can help with everything you need to book this trip.

Located east of mainland China in the Pacific Ocean, the nation of Japan is made up of over 6,500 islands and has a population of more than 127 million people. Japan has the third largest economy in the world and is a major importer and exporter of goods and services around the world.

Map of Japan from Google Maps

Map of Japan from Google Maps

The nation of Japan features four main islands (Kyushu, Shikoku, Honshu and Hokkaido), that offer many great activities and attractions for you to explore. Japan includes some very unique Asian influenced architecture like Japanese Pagodas, Temples and the famous Japanese Gardens.

Japan’s political system is operated as a constitutional monarchy with an emperor as the royal leader of the country. The political structure includes a prime minister who is the political leader as well as the head of the Japanese cabinet. Japan’s political system also includes a House of Councilors and House of Representatives.

The islands that are now the Nation of Japan have been inhabited for many thousands of years, but the country was actually founded in 660 B.C. Throughout its history, the nation has had a number of Emperors from different ruling families including the Kofun period, the Asuka period, the Nara period, the Heian period, the Kamakura Shogunate period, the Meiji period and more.

Since Japan stretches more than 2,100 miles from its northern tip to the southern tip, it has several different climate zones within the nation. Hokkaido in the north has been known to get up to 10 feet of snow in one day, while Okinawa in the south is a more semi-tropical environment. Okinawa averages about 80 inches of rain each year. The greater majority of the Japanese islands are forests with very mountainous areas that include volcanoes that produce a number of hot springs and geysers throughout the areas.

The mountain regions are filled with lush green foliage and landscape that provides for incredible views and photography opportunities. The mountain regions of Japan include peaceful settings where you can find Buddhist Monasteries and Pagodas secluded among the forest environment that provide for quiet and serene locations. The seclusion of these remote forest locations provide the perfect environment for religious meditation and spiritual renewal.

Mount Fuji:
Located southwest of Tokyo approximately 60 miles, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan. The top of Mount Fuji has been a site of pilgrimages by Japanese citizens and visitors for thousands of years. The top of the mountain is also a fantastic place to watch the sunrise or take photographs. The peak is often surrounded by clouds and has a quiet, peaceful feel that offers you a very tranquil environment. Mount Fuji is a volcano that last erupted in 1708, but is well-known for its amazing hiking opportunities and other recreational opportunities.

Mount Fiji

Mount Fiji

Kyoto:
The city of Kyoto, west of Tokyo, is filled with ancient landmarks that date back to its early beginnings. The Imperial Palace, built in the 14th Century, is a great example of early Japanese architecture as well as featuring some of the best designs in Japanese gardens and landscaping. Kyoto also features the Nijo Castle that was built during the 16th Century, the Tenryu-ji Temple that was built in 1339 A.D., the Golden and Silver Pavilions and many more ancient sites. You could literally spend your whole vacation and more just visiting the landmarks in the city of Kyoto.

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle

Imperial Palace-Tokyo:
As the residence of the Japanese Emperor, the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is one of the country’s most respected and revered landmarks. The Palace is open to the public and includes amazing Japanese gardens along with gate houses, protective walls, moats and more. Tours are arranged by applying online and an audio guide is available during the tour to give you a history and description of the various exhibits and displays within the Imperial Palace.

Imperial Palace

Imperial Palace

Hiroshima:
The city of Hiroshima was one of two cities destroyed by an atomic bomb during World War II. The city was targeted by the United States because of its easy accessibility and its high concentration of military troops and factories. Originally founded in 1589 during the Mieji period, the city became a major urban center on the Seto Inland Sea. Today Hiroshima is a thriving city with a population of over a million residents, but you can still see the scars and damage on buildings throughout the city from the destruction that the bomb caused. A park and museum are located in the center of the city, dedicated to the victims who died during the World War II bombing.

Hiroshima

Hiroshima

Ginza Neighborhood:
Located in Tokyo, the Ginza Neighborhood is one of the most well-known shopping destinations in Japan. This shopping mecca features stores and specialty shops from around the world as well as traditional Japanese stores. Originally built in 1612 as a silver coin mint, the Ginza soon began to grow and become a major shopping location in Japan. The neighborhood includes many familiar stores like Sony, Matsuya, Cartier, Chanel, Printemps and much more.

Osaka:
When you want to visit an area of Japan that offers a great deal of amusement and activity then head for the city of Osaka. With a fantastic nightlife and attractions such as Universal Studios Japan, the Osaka Aquarium, the Osaka-jo Castle and the Umeda Sky Building, there is much to see and do here. The city also features the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, the Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses and a giant 112 meter ferris wheel.

Umeda Sky Building

Umeda Sky Building

Nikko
If you are interested in learning about the Buddhist religion and its architecture, then visit the area of Nikko. The town includes some of the most decorated and elaborate shrines in Japan. Set within the Nikko National Park, the area of Nikko is well-known for its spectacular scenery and exotic lakes and waterfalls.

These are just a few of the many landmarks and natural attractions that are waiting for you in Japan. When you are ready to explore a land with an ancient culture and traditions, then check out Japan on your next vacation getaway.

By Lara Nicotra

Images – ivanwalsh, necromage, xiquinho, adragnes

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