Japan The Land Of Rising Sun
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south and it is often called the “Land of the Rising Sun”. Japan is a stratovolcanic-archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which makeup about ninety-seven percent of Japan’s land area and often are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures into eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one. The population of 127 million is the world’s tenth largest, of which 98.5% are ethnic Japanese. About 13.8 million people live in Tokyo the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people.
Tokyo one of the 47 prefectures of Japan, has served as the Japanese capital since 1869. As of 2014, the Greater Tokyo Area ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world. The urban area houses the seat of the Emperor of Japan, of the Japanese government and of the National Diet. Tokyo forms part of the Kantō region on the southeastern side of Japan’s main island, Honshu, and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands
Tokyo is often referred to as a city but is officially known and governed as a “metropolitan prefecture”, which differs from and combines elements of a city and a prefecture, a characteristic unique to Tokyo.
As of March 31, 2008, 36% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks (second only to Shiga Prefecture), namely the Chichibu Tama Kai, Fuji-Hakone-Izu, and Ogasawara National Parks (the last a UNESCO World Heritage Site); Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park; and Akikawa Kyūryō, Hamura Kusabana Kyūryō, Sayama, Takao Jinba, Takiyama, and Tama Kyūryō Prefectural Natural Parks.
A number of museums are located in Ueno Park: Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, Shitamachi Museum and National Museum for Western Art, among others. There are also artworks and statues at several places in the park. There is also a zoo in the park, and the park is a popular destination to view cherry blossoms.
Kyoto is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture, located in the Kansai region of Japan. It is most well known in Japanese history for being the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area.
Kyoto has 40 institutions of higher education, Kyoto is one of the academic centers in Japan. Kyoto University is considered to be one of the top national universities nationwide. According to the Times Higher Education top-ranking university, Kyoto University has ranked the second university in Japan after University of Tokyo, and 25th overall in the world as of 2010.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
About 20% of Japan’s National Treasures and 14% of Important Cultural Properties exist in the city proper. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji, and Otsu Cities) includes 17 locations in Kyoto, Uji in Kyoto Prefecture, and Ōtsu in Shiga Prefecture. The site was designated as World Heritage in 1994.
Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture located in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, bordering Kyoto Prefecture. Eight temples, shrines, and ruins in Nara remain specifically Tōdai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangō-Ji, Yakushi-ji, Tōshōdai-Ji, and the Heijō Palace, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”, a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site. During 710 CE – 784 CE, Nara was the capital of Japan, and the Emperor lived there before moving the capital to Kyoto.
According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, the god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijo-kyo. Since then, the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country.
Takayama is a city located in Gifu, Japan. As of 1 December 2017, the city had an estimated population of 89,278 in 35,464 households, and a population density of 41 persons per km2. The total area of the city was 2,177.61 square kilometers (840.78 sq mi). The high altitude and separation from other areas of Japan kept the area fairly isolated, allowing Takayama to develop its own culture over about a 300-year period.
This city was selected as one of the top ten travel destinations in Asia by Lonely Planet Magazine in the year 2017.
- Mount Norikura, a dormant volcano that is 3,026 meters (9,928 ft.) tall is east of Takayama. A bus takes visitors to a point near the summit.
- Shin-Hotaka Ropeway and Okuhida Spa Resort: There is a 3,200-meter ropeway offering great views of the Northern Alps.
- There are old homes in the heart of Takayama that are cultural artifacts.[
- Takayama has a morning market near the river in the center of town.
- The Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village is nearby.
- Takayama is the home of one of the three largest Shinto festivals in Japan. The Takayama Festivals are two distinctive festivals. The yatai (floats) used can be found in the Takayama Yatai Kaikan (Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall). Nearby is the Sakurayama Nikkō Kan, an exhibit of 1/10 scale replicas of Nikkō’s famous Tōshō-gū shrine.
- Takayama-shi Kyodo-kan is a local history museum with handicrafts and traditional items.
- Takayama Jin’ya is a historical government house and National Historic Site
- Kusakabe Folk Museum is a local museum in an old merchant’s home.
- Hida Kokubun-ji, founded in the Nara period as the provincial temple of Hida, it is the oldest structure in Takayama. It has a three-level pagoda and stands beside a ginkgo tree that is over 1,200 years old.
- Ankokuji Temple and Storehouse is an ancient structure from 1408 that is recognized as a national treasure.
- Hida Takayama Kur Alp (Hida Takayama Spa Land) is a large public bath and swimming area.
- World shrine to Su-God, the worldwide headquarters of Sukyo Mahikari
- Hida Tōshō-gū shrine
- Akahogi Tile Kiln Site, a National Historic Site
- Dōnosora Site, ruins of a Jōmon period village, a National Historic Site
Nikkō is a city located in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, the city had an estimated population of 84,197, and a population density of 58.1 persons per km2. Its total area is 1,449.83 km2. It is a popular destination for Japanese and international tourists. Attractions include the mausoleum of shōgunTokugawa Ieyasu (Nikkō Tōshō-gū) and that of his grandson Iemitsu (Iemitsu-byō Taiyū-in), and the Futarasan Shrine, which dates to the year 767. There are also many famous hot springs in the area. Elevations range from 200 to 2,000 m. The Japanese saying “Never say ‘kekkō’ until you’ve seen Nikkō”—kekkō meaning beautiful, magnificent or “I am satisfied”—is a reflection of the beauty and sites in Nikkō.
- Cedar Avenue of Nikko
- Nikko Botanical Garden
- Tamozawa Imperial Villa
- Shrines and Temples of Nikkō (Nikkō Tōshō-gū, Futarasan Shrine, and Rinnō-Ji)
- The Three wise monkeys (“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”)
- Taiyū-in Mausoleum
- Shōyō-en Garden
- Futarasan Shrine
- Lake Chūzenji
- Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura (historical theme park)
- Nikko is well known for its monkeys that walk around the town in the winter looking for food.
- Jizo Bosatsu statues on the Kanman Walk. A little out of the main city, locals often tell visitors to count the statues while walking and to recount while walking back. The number is often different, fueling a legend amongst locals.
- Kanmangafuchi Abyss is a place that was formed from the lava from the eruption of Mt. Nanta.
Kamakura is a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Although Kamakura proper is today rather small, it is often described in history books as a former de facto capital of Japan, the nation’s most populous settlement from 1200 to 1300 AD as the seat of the shogunate and of the Regency during the Kamakura period. Kamakura was designated as a city on November 3, 1939.
- The Asaina Pass and its Kumano Jinja
- Chōju-ji, one of Ashikaga Takauji’s two “bodaiji” (funeral temples)
- Engaku-ji, ranked Number Two among Kamakura’s Great Zen Temples
- Hatakeyama Shigeyasu’s grave
- Hōkai-ji, dedicated to the memory of the Hōjō clan
- Jōchi-ji, ranked Number Four among Kamakura’s Great Zen Temples
- Jōmyō-ji temple, ranked Number Five among Kamakura’s Great Zen Temples
- Jufuku-ji, ranked Number Three among Kamakura’s Great Zen Temples
- Kamakura-gū in Nikaidō, built on the spot where Prince Morinaga, son of Emperor Go-Daigo, was imprisoned and then beheaded by Ashikaga Tadayoshi in 1335.
- Kamakura Museum of National Treasures
- Kanagawa Prefectural Ofuna Botanical Garden
- Kenchō-ji, ranked Number One among Kamakura’s Great Zen Temples and, together with Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, the pride of the city
- Kōtoku-in and its Great Buddha
- The Kamakura Museum of Literature, the former villa of Marquises Maeda
- Moto Hachiman
- Ōfuna Kannon
- Tatsunokuchi, where Mongol emissaries were beheaded and buried.
- Katase’s Ryūkō-ji
- Sasuke Inari Shrine Sasuke Inari Shrine and Hidden Village
- The Shakadō Pass (see description below)
ji, famous in the past as a refuge for battered women
- Tomb of Minamoto no Yoritomo
- Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, a symbol of the city
- Wakamiya Ōji Avenue with its three torii and cherry trees
- Yuigahama, a popular beach
- Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine, where visitors go to wash their coins
ji, funeral temple of the Ashikaga kubō, rulers in Kamakura during the early Muromachi period.
Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu – the largest island of Japan. Hiroshima gained city status on April 1, 1889. On April 1, 1980, Hiroshima became a designated city. As of August 2016, the city had an estimated population of 1,196,274. The gross domestic product (GDP) in Greater Hiroshima, Hiroshima Urban Employment Area, was US$61.3 billion as of 2010. Kazumi Matsui has been the city’s mayor since April 2011.
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
- The Atomic Bomb Dome
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
- Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima
- Hiroshima Castle
- Mitaki-dera Temple
- Hiroshima Gogoku Shrine
- Kamiyacho and Hatchobori (A major center in Hiroshima which is a shopping area. It is directly connected to the Hiroshima Bus Center )
- Senko-ji Temple (Senko-ji Park)
Kanazawa is a city located in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 January 2018, the city had an estimated population of 466,029 in 203,271 households, and a population density of 990 persons per km². The total area of the city was 468.64 square kilometres (180.94 sq mi). It is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture.
Kanazawa was one of the few major Japanese cities to be spared destruction by air raids during World War II, and as a result, much of Kanazawa’s considerable architectural heritage has been preserved.
Kenrokuen Garden is by far the most famous part of Kanazawa. Originally built as the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, it was opened to the public in 1875. It is considered one of the “three great gardens of Japan” and is filled with a variety of trees, ponds, waterfalls and flowers stretching over 25 acres (10 ha)). In winter, the park is notable for its yukitsuri – ropes attached in a conical array to trees to support the branches under the weight of the heavy wet snow, thereby protecting the trees from damage.
Outside Kenrokuen is the Ishikawa-mon, the back gate to Kanazawa Castle. The original castle was largely destroyed by fire in 1888 but has been partially restored.
Ishigaki also known as Ishigakijima, is a Japanese island west of Okinawa Hontō and the second-largest island of the Yaeyama Island group. It is within the City of Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture. The city functions as the business and transport center of the archipelago. The island is served by New Ishigaki Airport, the largest airport in the Yaeyamas.
Much of the island and surrounding waters including Mount Omoto and Kabira Bay are protected as part of Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park.
Ishigaki Island, like the rest of Okinawa, is culturally influenced by both Japan and Taiwan due to its location, about 300 km off the north eastern coast of Taiwan.
Mount Kōya is the common name of a huge temple settlement in Wakayama Prefecture to the south of Osaka. In the strict sense, Kōya-san is the so-called “mountain name” sangō of the Kongōbu-Temple, the ecclesiastical headquarters of the “Koyasan Shingon School.
Koya-san is accessible primarily by the Nankai Electric Railway from Namba Station (in Osaka) to Gokurakubashi Station at the base of the mountain. A cable car from Gokurakubashi (“Paradise Bridge”) then whisks visitors to the top in 5 minutes. The entire trip takes about 1.5 hours on an express train or 2 hours by non-express.
Local automobile traffic can be very heavy on weekends until well into the evening. On weekdays, however, the mountain offers a pleasant drive followed by the excitement upon reaching the monasteries lining the summit. Many Buddhist monasteries on the mountain function as hotels for visitors providing traditional accommodation with an evening meal and breakfast. Guest are also invited to participate in the morning services.
Hakuba is a village located in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 October 2016, the village had an estimated population of 8,789, and a population density of 46.4 persons per km². Its total area is 189.36 square
Surrounded by the Sea of Japan (northward), Nagano City (eastward) and the Tateyama Kurobe Dam area (southward), Hakuba is also a popular summer vacation area which offers a variety of outdoor activities at an altitude of 700–800 metres, e.g. hiking, rafting/shower climbing, paragliding, mountain bike, bird sighting etc. Other day activities to enjoy include visiting the snow monkeys,