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The Columbus School News Portal

The Discoverer

The Columbus School News Portal

The Discoverer

Top Places to go in Japan

Gregorio Suarez
Tokyo, Japan

Japan is a popular travel destination for a variety of reasons, including its cuisine, recognizable traditional culture, modern technology, and breathtaking scenery. When it comes to organizing a vacation to this amazing country, “where should I start?” is the most frequently asked question because there are so many amazing cities and quaint towns that offer such a range of personalities, sites, and activities. Since everyone has to start somewhere, we’ve explored every inch of Japan and have compiled a list of the top 5 destinations you just MUST see while there. Many of the cities combine modern living with traditional Japanese culture, so we’ve chosen some that offer a mix and some that just offer one aspect. We’ve also chosen some of the most popular spots as well as some less well-known spots that are best explored on day trips but should really be appreciated to the utmost!


Kyoto is the best place if you want to experience Japanese culture to the fullest. Given that Kyoto was formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it should come as no surprise that the majority of people associate Kyoto with images of geishas, cherry blossoms, Japanese temples, and the famous red gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha. When you travel to Kyoto, you get to experience Japan as it was thousands of years ago before it gained notoriety for its technological prowess and inventiveness. Kyoto should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. I suggest exploring some of the city’s thousands of temples and shrines, such as the well-known Kinkaku-Ji Golden Temple and the iconic Fushimi-Inari Taisha, strolling through the Gion neighborhood, also known as the Geisha district if you’re lucky, you might even spot a real Geisha! and taking in the splendor of the expansive Arashiyama Bamboo forest. Visiting a sake brewery and studying to become a master Japanese warrior are two more awesome things to do! Check out our amazing 12-day Legend of Japan tour, where we visit all of these locations and engage in all of these activities!


Tokyo is arguably the only city in the world where the traditional culture of the nation and the ultra-modern city life coexist in such harmony. As a result, traveling to Tokyo offers a wealth of cultural experiences, whether you choose to explore the anime district (as dedicated manga and anime fans will be familiar with the Akihabara district), wander through the neon-lit streets, or visit the renowned Senso-Ji temple and Meiji Shrine. Tokyo will truly astound you! Tokyo is exciting and fast-paced, but in a good way, making it hard to get bored. You may lose hours observing people as they traverse the well-known Shibuya crossroads or taking in the unique Japanese street design. A karaoke party, a show at the robot cafe, and a visit to the Imperial Palace are some activities you simply must do if you’re visiting Tokyo.


Osaka is the third-largest city in Japan and is fairly populous, much like Tokyo! The lovely city of Osaka is a one-stop shop for everything that makes Japanese culture so great. We’re talking about the best Japanese cuisine available, an amazing nightlife (far more than in nearby cities like Kyoto, which are often a little more sedate), and well-known castles. This city should not be left off of anyone’s itinerary when planning a vacation to Japan, as it is widely regarded as the location of the best places to eat, drink, and party in the country. Party-loving tourists should visit the Dotonbori neighborhood, which is ablaze with bright neon lights (of course, this is a must-do on our Legend of Japan tour). Come on, who doesn’t love to party? If, on the other hand, culture is more your style, then have no fear! There are many historical sites in Osaka; we suggest seeing the Sumiyoshi Shine, Shitennonji Temple, and Osaka’s well-known Castle.


Situated in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is the little town of Hakone. Nestled in the slopes of snow-capped Mount Fuji, with breathtaking views of the summit across Lake Ashinoko, it is renowned for its surrounding natural beauty. Picture-perfect, postcard-worthy panoramic panoramas of Japan’s largest peak, and one of its most iconic icons can be found here. Hakone is an easy choice for a site when visiting this region of Japan because of its renowned natural beauty, which is a miust-see and is essential for any vacation to Japan. Aside from its hot springs, Hakone is also known for its pirate ship rides across Lake Ashi and its ropeway cable cart, which offers unparalleled views of Mount Fuji and Lake


Since Koyasan is a significant religious site, it has a large number of temples and shrines! Although many visitors come to Koyasan as a day trip from Osaka, we strongly advise spending the night in one of the temples to fully understand and appreciate the monks’ way of life and to have the unique Japanese experience of sleeping in a temple—something that not many tourists can say they’ve done. It is a location unlike any other, blending a wealth of breathtaking scenery with religious monuments. There are many hikes available in Koyasan, but the most striking feature is how the surrounding landscape almost completely takes over the religious monuments, resulting in a stunning coexistence between mother nature and these man-made structures. As a result, the religious temples in Koyasan are unlike any temples you will find elsewhere in Japan.