Attractions in Japan
Fukuoka was established after the port city of Hakata and the former castle town of Fukuoka were united as one in 1889. Hakata remains the name of Fukuoka's central district and main railway station. No visit would be complete without seeing the Shofukuji Temple, the first Zen temple to be built in Japan. It was founded by the father of Japanese Zen, Eisai, in 1195.
Visit traditional Kyoto to see a living museum of Japan’s artistic heritage. Rest in the shade of Buddhist temples that have stood for over a thousand years or peruse the offerings of ultra-modern department stores. Only in Kyoto is it possible to cross paths with a real Geisha. There are more than 2,000 temples and shrines, and no fewer than 17 major sites in and around the city which have gained UNESCO World Heritage status.
Nagoya's history goes back 400 years. The city was created in the aftermath of the Battle of Sekigahara. Uniting Japan through his victory at the battle, Tokugawa Ieyasu commenced construction of Nagoya Castle in 1610, and in the years that followed the residents of the former town of Kiyosu moved to the area surrounding the new castle. The castle still stands and is famous for the golden dolphins adorning its rooftop.
A modern city, you’ll find a skyscraper-studded skyline and vast underground shopping complexes in Osaka. The city is busy, bustling, commercial, creative, energetic, versatile and friendly. Also widely regarded as the country’s gourmet food capital it is the place to go whether you want top-notch a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner or more hearty and generous fare like the pan-fried batter cake, the local speciality. The motto that more than any other sums up Osaka and the mentality of its people is kuidaore, which simply means ‘Eat until you drop'.
Sapporo is an excellent base for exploring the rest of the island – places like Daisetsuzan national park, Akan or Rishirito Island. During daytime you should visit the Botanical Garden in the Batchelor Memorial Museum, the Clock tower - the major landmark of Sapporo - and the Beer Brewery, the first in Japan. During winter the Sapporo snow festival attracts visitors from all over the country to see the huge (15 to 20 meters high) snow sculptures that are on display all over Odori Park. You can rent cross-country skis for free in Nakajima Park.
Effortlessly blending the old and the new, Tokyo is a city that defies definition. Cutting edge technology glitters beside ancient temples, flashing neon lights bathe kimono-clad women, and shining skyscrapers tower above Shinto shrines. With the latest figures estimating an incredible 60,000 eateries in Tokyo and home to the world’s largest fish market, food is an obsession even closer to Japanese hearts. Make sure go and see the sumo wrestlers in action.
*The Small Print
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