Top 30 hottest spots to visit for foreigners in Japan (Part II)
It is always a huge challenge to choose what to see and do while you are in Japan. Here we introduce you to 30 places that are especially popular with international visitors, just to narrow down your challenge a little. You will find some of the best places to savor the traditional, unique culture and landscapes of Japan!
15. Ritsurin Garden [Kagawa]
This traditional garden is one of the true cultural treasures of Japan, it received a national designation in 1953 as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty. You will be enchanted by the picture perfect vista as you stroll along the park. You can also enjoy a boat ride on the pond, just as the daimyo (feudal lords) used to do centuries ago, or have a pit stop at one of the quaint tea shops, treat yourself to a lovely day out immersed in nature and history!
Open every day of the year
Admission: Adult ¥410, Elementary and Jr. High students ¥170. Free for pre-school children.
HP: ritsuringarden.jp/jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-20-16 Ritsurin-cho, Takamatsu-city, Kagawa, Japan (Google Map)
14. Sanju-Sangen-Do [Kyoto]
Photo by rafm0913 on Flickr
The proper name of this temple is “Renge Oin-do”, however, it became famous as Sanjusangen” (or 33 spaces), because of its notable 33 intervals between the columns of the building. This temple is famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon (the Buddhist goddess of mercy). As the legend has it, visitors will find one that looks identical to them among them. Why don’t you take your time and meet them all, and find your look-alike?
Admission: Adult and Uni student ¥600; High school and junior high student ¥400; Children under 12 years old ¥300. Half price for the handicapped visitors.
HP: sanjusangendo.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 657 Sanjūsangendōmawari, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto (Google Map)
13. Eikan-do Zenrin-ji [Kyoto]
Zenrin-Ji, or more commonly known as Eikan-do, is one of the best spots in Kyoto to admire the landscape with the beautiful autumn colors. There are a few must-see attractions when you visit Eikando. Amida, a beautiful statue in a unique pose of turning its head, looking over its shoulder. Suikinkutsu, an amazing musical instrument of bamboo and spring water, and of course if you are lucky to be in the season, the splendid autumn colors that surround the temple.
Open every day of the year
Admission: Adults ¥600; Students (6-18yrs) ¥400
HP: www.eikando.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 48 Eikando-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Google Map)
12. Koyasan Oku-No-In [Wakayama]
Photo by Christopher Chan on Flickr
Oku-no-In of Koyasan, with its history that stretches over 1200 years, has always been a big attraction. It is a sacred spot for Kukai, the legendary master of Buddhist teaching from the 7th century. Therefore it has been heavily visited not only by tourists but also by the religious followers to pay homage.
Open: 8:30am-5:00pm (last admission at 16:30)
Admission: Adult ¥500; Children 12 years and under ¥200
HP: www.koyasan.or.jp/meguru/sights.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 132 Koyasan, Koya-machi, Ito-gun, Wakayama (Google Map)
11. Hakone Open-Air Museum [Kanagawa]
The first open-air museum in Japan opened its door back in 1969. You will encounter some of the masterpieces by great artists such as Henry Moore and Pablo Picasso in a beautiful, natural setting. At the same time, you will also find plenty of attractions for your children to pass their time in its unique playground. The museum is truly family oriented, setting itself apart from a typical art gallery. It is considered one of the largest open-air museums in the world.
Open from 9:00am-5:00pm (last admission at 4:30pm)
Open every day of the year
Admission: Adult ¥1,600; Uni, high school student ¥1,200, Elementary, jr. high student ¥800, Senior citizen 65yrs and over ¥1,100
HP: www.hakone-oam.or.jp/about/ (中文)
HP: www.hakone-oam.or.jp/about/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1121 Ninohira, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)
10. Kiyomizu-dera [Kyoto]
Kiyomizu-dera (or Kiyomizu Temple) was founded back in 780, during the Nara Period, as the headquarter of Hosso sect, one of the oldest schools in Japanese Buddhism. You can enjoy a spectacular vista from its famous, massive, soaring main deck. The deck has inspired a popular aphorism, “Jumping from the deck of Kiyomizu”, which means the moment when one takes an extremely bold decision with no possibility of turning back. The temple was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1994.
Open from 6:00am-6:00pm
Admission: Adult, High school student ¥300; Elementary, jr. high student ¥200
HP: www.pref.kyoto.jp/cn/index.html (中文)
HP: www.pref.kyoto.jp/isan/kiyomizu.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Google Map)
Discover more Kiyomizu-dera temple at here.
9. Akiba Fukurou [Tokyo]
Who can resist a chance to sit down and spend a relaxing yet exciting hour hanging and chilling with a group of adorable owls? Akiba Fukurou offers just that! Located in the middle of the busy center of Tokyo, you can experience a close encounter of the total Fukurou (=owl) kind! Lose yourself in their big round piercing eyes, a visit with Akiba Fukurou is sure to be a memorable experience! Photographing allowed, online booking required for a visit.
Open M-F 12pm-10pm (Wed. 4pm-10pm) Sat. Sun. Holidays 12pm-11pm
Open every day of the year *Online reservation required.
Admission: Adult ¥890, Child ¥540
HP: akiba2960.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 67 Kanda Neribei-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0022 (Google Map)
While its official name is “Rokuon-ji”, this zen temple has become universally famous as “Kinkaku-ji”, or golden pavilion, because of its stunning golden appearance. The structure was originally built as a villa for the great Shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga, symbolizing the extravagant Kitayama culture. It looks over a tranquil pond and the garden that represents the pure land. One of the most significant historic treasures of the world, Kinkaku-ji burned down back in 1950, and was completely restored after 5 years.
Open from 9am-5pm
Admission Adult, uni & high school student ¥400, Elementary, jr. high student ¥300
HP: www.pref.kyoto.jp/cn/index.html (中文)
HP: www.pref.kyoto.jp/isan/kinkaku.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Google Map)
Discover more Kinkakuji temple at here.
7. Nara Park [Nara]
Nara Park became famous for its special residents, the deer. Currently, 1100-1300 deer live in the park; they are national treasures and are fully protected. The visitors can freely interact with the deer; deer snacks can be bought on the premises. Inside the park, you will also find Todai-Ji Temple and Kasuga-Taisha Shrine (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The park is an ideal place to enjoy the amazing colors of autumn.
Open 24 hours a day
HP: www.pref.nara.jp/1713.htm (Japanese Only)
Address: Nara-shi, Nara (Google Map)
6. Shinjuku-Gyoen [Tokyo]
Photo by kirainet on Flickr
Shinjuku Gyoen opened in 1906 as a garden for the royal family. It later became a public park. It merges the distinct styles of English, French and Japanese gardens, creating a unique, eclectic atmosphere. A spacious green oasis in the heart of Tokyo, the park is a perpetual favorite for anyone looking for a moment of relaxation and tranquillity.
Open 9:00am-4:30pm (last admission at 4pm)
Closed on Mondays, New Years Eve and New Years Day.
Admission Adult (15yrs and older) ¥200; Elementary & jr. high student ¥50
HP: www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 11 Naito-machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
The theater is especially designed for international tourists. Apart from the amazing Seiga-ryu “Kembu” (Dance of swords) performance, the visitors have the opportunity to transform themselves into real samurai. The staff will not only help you to properly dress up, but also teach you to act and pose like a real traditional warrior. You will get a photo at the end of the lesson, which became a perfect souvenir for many tourists.
Admission starts at ¥1000, depending on the program (Extra charge for a Samurai lesson)
HP: www.samurai-kembu.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Neo Art Bldg. B1F, 3-35-7 Sanjo-Hanamikoji Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi Kyoto-fu (Google Map)
Find out more Samurai Kembu at here.
4. Todai-Ji [Nara]
Tokai-ji is one of the most famous temples in Nara. And the star of the temple is arguably the massive statue of Buddha, or “Daibutsu-sama” of Nara. Just looking at its benevolent expression, you feel as if you received a special blessing. Other attractions of Todai-ji include Sangatsu-Do and its statues, and Omizutori, or the annual sacred water drawing festival, at Nigatsu-Do in early March.
Admission ¥1000, Children 12 yrs and under free.
HP: www.todaiji.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 406-1 Zoshi-cho, Nara-shi, Nara (Google Map)
3. Miyajima (Itsukushima) [Hiroshima]
Photo by nophoto.nolife on Flickr
Itsukushima Shrine of Miyajima Island is considered as one of the three most scenic spots of Japan. It became one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1996. It is one of the most beloved travel destinations for international tourists, along with Kyoto. Its famous Floating Torii is beautifully illuminated in the evening, truly a remarkable sight. Cherry trees and maple trees surround the temple, making the scenery even more splendid in spring and autumn.
Admission Adult ¥300; High school student ¥200; Elementary & jr. high student ¥100
HP: visit-miyajima-japan.com/zht/ (中文)
HP: www.miyajima.or.jp/sightseeing/ss_itsukushima.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-1 Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima (Google Map)
2. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum [Hiroshima]
The victims of the nuclear bombing have contributed many of the materials on display at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It is a somber experience, and you are reminded of the incredible tragedy which must never be repeated. The museum receives increasing number of visitors from abroad in recent years. It teaches us of the horrific historical fact, never to be forgotten yet we all must learn from it.
Open Mar-July 8:30am-6pm, Aug 8:30-7pm, 5th, 6th of August 8:30-8pm, Sept-Nov 8:30-6pm, Dec-Feb 8:30-5pm
Closed 30 & 31 December
Admission Adult ¥200, High school student ¥100, Children 15yrs and under free.
HP: www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-2 Nakajima-cho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima (Google Map)
Photo by Loïc Lagarde on Flickr
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, the headquarter of “Inari” Shintoism, is one of the biggest draws of Kyoto. It is considered as the patron of business. Walking through thousands of bright red torii gates all the way up to the shrine at the top of Mount Inari is an unforgettable experience. You can also try your luck with “Omokaru-ishi”, a mysterious stone, by guessing the weight of the stone and then trying to pick it up, which may bring you a good fortune!
Open every day of the year, 24 hours a day
HP: inari.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchi-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Google Map)
Discover more at here.
See more: Top 30 hottest spots to visit for foreigners in Japan (Part I). Read more Japan travel guide at here.