Top 4 Cities In Japan & Some Of The Best Things To Do There

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When one says Japan, you immediately think of judo, karate, beautiful riverside shrines, and, of course, the weird game shows that you may have caught a glimpse of on YouTube. But there is more than what meets the eye when it comes to the land of the rising sun. Japanese culture is intense and vast, and there are a multitude of things to do in Japan. It will probably take many Japan tours to get to know it. Kaustubh lists 4 places in Japan you need to visit to truly know what Japan is all about.

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Japan is truly timeless, a place where ancient traditions blend with modern life

Best Things To Do In These Cities In Japan

#1 Morioka

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Admire the famous hanami cherry blossom in Morioka

Morioka is the capital of the Iwate region in Northern Japan. And Iwate is full of surprises. It has historical sites, nature, hot springs, and action – all things one needs for a fulfilling vacation.

For the adventure enthusiasts, Mount Iwate offers a skiing experience like no other. Ski down slopes enveloped with the glorious white sheet of snow. For those who are not into the cold adventure, a dip in the hot springs, which overlook the lush green forest, is a great way of enjoying the non-snow offerings of nature that Morioka is blessed with.

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Soak in the vibrancy of this festival       Image credit – goldenjipangu.com

After taking in nature’s gifts to Morioka, it is time to take in the culture. The Chagu Umako Horse Festival started 200 years ago when the farmers decided to celebrate the completion of rice planting. It continues to this day and is one of the most vibrant sights you will come across. The parade of the festival starts at the Sozen-jinja Shrine, also known as the golden shrine, where the families decide their horses and costumes.

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#2 Aomori

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Aomori City’s skyline at dusk

Aomori, the northernmost region on Honshu island of Japan, is home to the world’s largest virgin forest of beech trees. It is one of the most magnificent places in the world, with an aura of the ancient times surrounding it.

The Oirase stream calmly flows through that virgin forest, which is a UNESCO Heritage Site. A walk along the stream will give you the much-needed peace and tranquillity on your Japan trip. Surrounded by lush greenery throughout, the walk is surely going to be the one you remember. Especially in Autumn, the yellows and oranges intertwined with the greens look like a painting and make it even better. The Cherry Blossom in the region is so magnificent that most Japanese have a visit to it on their bucket list.

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This clear blue lake offers a unique experience of stunning scenery and fresh air.

Lake Towada is not too far from the Oirase Stream and is a part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. Take in the beauty and calm surrounded by a diverse flora and fauna in the region. There are many boat excursions that take you through the lake and show you around. For most tourists, this is one of the unmissable things to do in Japan.

If your visit is in August, you can do a quick visit to the Aomori Nebuta Festival, where a parade of massive lantern floats is organised through the streets. The colours will take your breath away.

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#3 Kyoto

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With its rich colours, history and culture, Kyoto allows its visitors a glimpse into the past.

Kyoto is one of the most zen cities in the world. With over 400 shrines and temples, Kyoto is where you take your journey on a spiritual path. The largest number of shrines and temples in Japan, Kyoto will surely give you the vibe you need. Especially with ladies dressed in the Kimono attire passing by every now and then, you will be transported back in time. A visit to a shrine is one of the must-dos in the list of Japan activities.

The Fushimi Inari shrine is one of the best among the hundreds in the city. Inari is the Shinto god of rice. The shrine is popular for the thousands of torii gates in red which envelope a network of trails around the main building of the shrine.

Along with the shrines and temples, one of the most incredible things in Kyoto is the Togetsukyo Bridge, also known as the ‘bridge to the moon’. The beauty of this place is unmissable and standing on the bridge, especially around sundown, is when you get the best out of this historic structure.

Get smitten by the beautiful shrines and temples in Kyoto!

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#4 Tokyo

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Tokyo’s irresistible charm comes from the clash between its cutting-edge style and traditional culture

Tokyo is an unmissable city irrespective of how many Japan tours you do. There are hundreds of things to do in Tokyo. It is difficult to pick out the best few if you are there for only a short while. It is so vast and spectacular that most get confused about what to do in Tokyo. So, we picked the three things, a treble, that you absolutely should not miss when in Tokyo.

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View from the Tokyo Skytree

The Tokyo Skytree is a must-visit. Tokyo Skytree is a 634 metres tall broadcast tower, but it is also an all-in-one tourist destination. With an observation deck which gives you a view of the entire cityscape of Tokyo and the vast expanse of the city. Especially in the night, the network of multi-coloured lights across the city will surely take your breath away. Tokyo Skytree also has a shopping centre, an aquarium, and a planetarium! Talk about having it all.

After drinking in that view, it is time to drink. Well, to experience the bustling and happening nightlife of Shinjuku. With a truly never-asleep attitude, Shinjuku has become one of the nightlife hotspots in the city and it is an experience you must have. It is the perfect mixture of Japanese life, globalisation, and the core human experience of letting your hair down.

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Tokyo’s largest and oldest Buddhist Temple, and is one of the must-sees

The final spot in the treble is Senso-ji, Tokyo’s most visited Buddhist temple of the Goddess of mercy, Kannon. The temple is located on the serene banks of the Sumida river. Though the present structure dates to 1958, the image of goddess Kannon was miraculously pulled out of the Sumida river by fisherman in 628 AD and has remained there ever since, as per legend.

Japan is a beautiful country and it only gets better as you experience and explore it. So, get your tickets booked and bags packed for an incredible Japan trip.

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